Employment

MSN - Male Stalking Network

by The Odd One Out, with Dan Millen Tuesday, January 8 2013

 



Well when you work with a group of women, anything can happen. Everyday brings a new adventure, sometimes a challenge, and as always I am at some point left scratching my head at something one of them has said to the group during the working day... hence this latest post.

Well at the time I was writing this, I was sitting on a leather couch in the suburbs of San Jose, California drinking juice and looking at my notes from previous weeks. I was literally another world away from where I usually am when I encounter my issues as 'The Odd One Out.'

Today's weird and wonderful post is surrounding the inner workings of a colleague of mine when she uses MSN Messenger. (MSN Messenger, for the computer illiterate, is principally an instant messaging service that allows contacts to talk to each other - a sort of text messaging service that is online).

So the women and I were discussing things that annoy us about Facebook when one of them suddenly said 'Do you remember MSN Messenger? We all responded with a unitary nod. 

MSN was great when I first used it, in fact it's how I first began talking with my soon to be wife (She is American and lives in San Jose), but after 4 years we grew tired of the breakages in connection and service and chose to move to Gmail. (Google Mail is awesome).

Anyway... my colleague then proceeded to say aloud to the rest of us "Yeah, did you ever do the sign in, sign out thing?"

I was confused and raised my eyebrow. What shocked me more was that my other colleague said "Oh yeah, I used to do that."

I continued to stay quiet, trying to focus on the invoice I was processing. I didnt want to get drawn into another strange discussion. One a week is enough for me!

Then came another comment "I used to love MSN, I've had some great conversations on there."

The conversation continued, going back and forth across our pod desks. Different pros and cons were listed and they also discussed all the features they enjoyed using. (I can say now, I hated the 'nudges', which shook your computer screen when people wanted to talk to you when you had been idle for 5 minutes or so).

I couldn't take it anymore, I had to interject otherwise I would just look ignorant or worse still, they would draw me into the conversation at a point where it would become uncomfortable for me to back out and they would tease me about it.

"Yes, Jess and I first began chatting on MSN after my holiday to San Francisco in 2007." I said. "But what the hell is the 'Signing in and signing out' thing?" 

Curiosity got the better of me.

The two girls laughed, knowing it would send me into a frenzied rant, as most things do. The others in our group sat silently, waiting to hear.

"Come on what is it?" I persisted.

"The 'Signing in and signing out' thing is where you're already signed in, chatting to other people and you see a guy you like come online. He will obviously look down his contact list and see who is online and talk to who he wants. What I did was to sign out of messenger and then sign back in again." [Cue my long pause and thought] - What the hell for, I thought? "That way, he will see the little notification box that pops up in the bottom right hand corner, signally that I have just come online. That way he is more likely to talk to me."

To say I was thinking of the movies 'Fatal Attraction', 'Obsession' & 'Misery' while she was explaining would be pretty harsh. I was a little disturbed originally but the more I thought about it, the more I thought that this was a pretty clever tactic to get a guy to notice you. In fact, it was bordering on genius.

The good thing to add to that is that my colleague appears to know where the line is and is not hovering over it, ready to hop into the weirdo territory. As long as she stays behind it, I am happy to continue sitting next to her.

So that's the latest from me - keep checking in to see my posts and remember, if your on MSN, either remain invisible or sign out first and stay offline before JS sees you. 



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Categories: blogs and bloggers | Business | Employment | Entertainment | Environment | Humour | Just Life | Leisure | Moaning | Moans and groans | People of Kent | Work

When an ill wind doesn't blow all bad...

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Monday, June 25 2012

It sounds pretty bad, coming on top of the Thamesteel crisis, but all is not lost for Sheppey and wind jobs despite the depressing withdrawal by Vestas.

Peel Ports, the owner of the proposed factory site at Sheerness - not Vestas - has the planning consent from Swale council. Although the Government might have called in the original proposal for a blade-making factory because of a listed building on the site, a refusal would have been unlikely in the face of such massive job creation - up to 2,000 - in a favoured sector.

The stage is now set for other firms to be encouraged by Peel, Locate in Kent,  Kent County Council, Swale council and MPs to consider investing in a manufacturing or assembly plant, or a mixture of both.

It is possible that a similar number of jobs could be created but don’t hold your breath. It could be a lot fewer than the Vestas plan.

While Vestas blamed market uncertainty which had stalled orders for the decision, there is probably more to it than that. The Government was about to unveil a new Energy strategy which might have addressed some concerns.

But the winds of financial, technical and structural difficulty blowing across one of Denmark’s biggest firms,  played a part. The manufacture of a prototype for the massive V164 blade that would have been built at Sheerness had been delayed. The firm had issued a profits warning, its share price had plummeted and bosses had been replaced. It was not a happy context for a big investment decision.

While middle managers proclaimed their support for the Sheerness project, and the company had invested a lot of kroner in working up plans, there is little doubt that new bosses and shareholders were nervous about such a huge investment in a potentially risky venture in Sheerness.

Vestas is not good at PR and had already suffered a bashing over its Isle of Wight plant. It has not properly promoted the fact that the factory was replaced by an R&D plant, and most casual observers think Vestas is no longer on the island.

Vestas has superb plants in Denmark and elsewhere, it is still a huge - and possibly the only - player in the one-stop shop wind turbine industry.

But it is a shame that their undoubted first-rank manufacturing performance will be overshadowed by a feeling that they led Locate inKent and Swale up the garden path, giving them false hope of a jobs bonanza.

Locate in Kent and Peel Ports were tireless in their wooing of Vestas. It seemed to have paid off. But they have been left standing at the altar, disappointed and a little embarrassed. The hopes of potential employees, including the dozens of apprentices being trained for the offshore wind industry, have been dashed.

Of course, there is always the outside possibility of reconciliation - but by then other partners may have come on the Sheerness scene. Let’s hope so.

 

  

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Categories: Employment | Environment

Take a lesson from graduates' contribution to society

by The Business Blog, with Trevor Sturgess Tuesday, November 9 2010

In all the debate about the staggering hike in student tuition fees, I have yet to see any mention of the contribution that graduates make to a successful and caring society.

The emphasis has been on the expected salary premium for a graduate – although that is debateable when  looking at the number of graduates I know who earn pretty modest remuneration for their years of study  -  and the perceived unfairness of the “poor” having to subsidise university fees for the “better-off.”

But I know most poorer people would prefer to be treated by a qualified doctor and, facing a surgery or hospital appointment, would hardly begrudge their small contribution to the cost of his or her education.

Universities need the cash, but a civilised society, whatever its immediate deficit problems, should be helping them more generously to foster the skills and aptitudes of future generations. Businesses could take a lead by giving some financial help to help talented young people taken on the payroll at A Level proceed to HE.

Once again, middle Britain will be the hardest hit by the scary rise in fees. If you are disadvantaged, there will be plenty of financial help, and that’s a good thing. If you are rich, then you may be used to paying £5,000-a-term school fees already and will not mind the “cheaper” cost - circa £9.000 a year - for your offspring’s university education. They may be able to pay off the cost upfront too.

No, the problem will be for young people brought up in families earning just above the £44,000 threshold. They will have a culture of thrift and saving that will conflict with the obligation to take on university debts of around £50,000.

These families will already be hit by the removal of child benefit and just about every other benefit until they reach retirement age. I am sure that unless a young person is aiming to enter the professions, the prospect of even more debt burdens will deter many clever young people from sending in the UCAS application.

As for the young people themselves, when they achieve the seemingly impossible by landing a job, they will not only have to repay tuition fees, they also have find enough money to pay a huge mortgage - if they can find a 25 per cent deposit - and set aside savings for a pension. Not of course to mention paying for food and - is this still allowed in hair-shirt times? - splashing a little cash on enjoying life and its finer things.

This is a frightening prospect for young people.  I just hope they can keep as stress-free as possible because life is about living, not being scared witless about massive debt. You only come this way once, and to spend it constantly worrying about money - which is what the poor sadly have to do - is a waste of something rare and precious.

As well as self-help, shouldn’t the Big Society also be about the wider public investing in the future of Britain – our young people?

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Categories: Business | Education | Employment

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