Titli’s Weekly Blog – March 2012
27th March 2012
Goodness gracious me! March is almost over and I haven’t written a single blog this month. I suppose that is testament to how busy I have been in the last few weeks. At the moment Man is in my study watching football on the big screen so I am relegated to the lounge and my netbook. Let’s blog about some stuff…
The weather here for the last few weeks has been remarkable. High pressure has been sitting over the UK bringing unseasonably high temperatures. This has provided lots of opportunities to get out in the garden and to get out on my bicycle. Weather like this is a gift for making episodes of Titli’s Busy Garden, and maybe I should take some time to compare and contrast Titli’s Busy Kitchen and Titli’s Busy Garden.
I think of TBK as an eccentric cooking show which allows me to express my zany and bizarre sense of humour. TBG on the other hand is more gentle and relaxed and I try to give a feel-good atmosphere to each episode. In some ways these two YouTube channels reflect two different sides to my personality; the real me is somewhere in-between.
There are also numerous technical differences in the filming of TBK and TBG. When I am in the kitchen I have complete control over the environment. I control the lighting, the temperature and the background sounds. There is no concept of time in the videos. You as the viewer have no idea whether I made the video at 10 o’clock in the morning or 10 o’clock in the evening, or whether it took me 2 hours, 2 days or 2 weeks to shoot the video. Ensuring continuity between shots is important to the “timelessness” of the videos.
TBG is very different! I can control very little. The light is what it is and usually changes throughout the shoot. I have to be mindful of the sun as I don’t want to point the camera into the sun and nor do I want shadows of the tripod in the shot. Background noises can be problematic, especially when one of the neighbours goes by on his motor scooter or two neighbours decide to have a chat over their fence. Sometimes I have to stop filming and go and have a cup of coffee until the chatter has stopped. And then there is the weather… I can cope with cold and I can cope with wind (I use a sturdier tripod to film TBG) but I can’t film when it is raining. The most frustrating is when there are showers about. Filming can be going very well when suddenly the skies will open and I have to hurriedly put all the equipment indoors. Continuity between shots is very difficult in such cases and in the final video the ground can go from dry to wet with no apparent explanation!
So TBK appeals to the side of me that likes to keep control of things, while TBG plays to that side of my personality that likes to do things by the seat of the pants! And you thought I was just a loveable old granny… Shame on you!
Shameless plug: If you haven’t seen any episodes of Titli’s Busy Garden then please check out the YouTube channel by following this link.
I suppose I should give you an update on my weight loss. The pounds are still coming off but more slowly than before. “Aha!” I hear you cry. “Too many cakes and chips!” Not so. I’m still being thoughtful about what I eat and I’ve been eating a lot of my weight-loss recipes. My waist is shrinking as the fat gets burnt off by all the cycling I’ve been doing in recent weeks. At the same time my thigh muscles are getting bigger, so I’m trading fat for muscle. The net result is that I’ve lost 5½ kg (12 lb) since I started my “diet”. I know that some of you have noticed that I look more slender lately, but amazingly I am still technically overweight. Only another 3 kg to go before I cross that particular border…
I had some disturbing, and yet unsurprising, news last week. A lady (I’ll call her S) who was in the team that I managed has left the company I used to work for. I phoned her as soon as I heard the news to find out what had happened.
I last spoke to S back in January when she wanted my perspective on a problem she was having. She had recently had her annual face-to-face performance appraisal with her boss. Everything seemed to go well, but when the paperwork was being completed her boss declared that her performance for the last year had been “below the required standard” and that she needed to put together a plan to improve her performance. S was taken aback by this as there had been no mention of issues during the face-to-face session. She (quite rightly) asked to be told what exactly she had done to warrant this performance rating and pointed out that without this information she couldn’t possibly start on an improvement plan.
Over the next few weeks S’s boss kept telling her to complete the paperwork and develop the plan. She kept asking to be told what were the problems that she had to address. Each time her request was met with silence. In frustration S started to escalate the matter up the management line but was told that she should sort it out with her boss.
Things came to a head at the beginning of the month when S’s boss decided to end the stalemate. It was “suggested” to S that she should resign, and if she did so immediately she would receive a compensation package. S took a few days to consult her lawyer and decided to take the money and run.
I saw many examples of poor management practices in my time at DuPont, but this is definitely one of the worst. This is like a doctor curing a disease by choosing to kill the patient. Why on Earth would you tell someone that their performance was poor but not tell them why??? Knowing the personalities involved the only conclusion I am left with is that S’s boss and S’s boss’s boss (both Spanish men with infeasibly large egos) had concocted a scheme to get rid of S for whatever reason. S was put in an impossible position; if she refused to complete the paperwork she was exposing herself to disciplinary action. If she completed the paperwork as they wanted, she would be signing a piece of paper stating that her performance was below standard and exposing herself to disciplinary action. Either way they would achieve their unstated objective. This kind of management practice disgusts me. It’s illegal in many countries but only ever comes to light if the employee can be bothered to go through a long and stressful court case.
S sounded very calm when I spoke to her. She is taking time to plan her future with the big bag of cash given to her to keep quiet. As she said to me, “I don’t need to travel, I don’t need to earn so much, and I want to spend more time with my family”. I felt a tear come to my eye as those were the exact same thoughts that I had about 2 years ago…
So, my dear S, if you are reading this I would like you to know that I don’t miss those pathetic patriarchs pushing their petty politics, pointless policies and protracted procedures on the peons. I pray that you will come to feel the same way too. Be strong, be forward looking and most of all put your faith in God.