All change

Well, kind of. Those who find even vicarious life uncertainty stressful should probably look away now…

1. So, I was up for a promotion at work. It took me a week to figure out if I’d even apply for it (warning sign #1 – it doesn’t take me that long to make major, life altering decisions) and I still wasn’t convinced that I wanted the job. In fact, although I thought I ought to want it, the plain reality was that the prospect made me downright miserable (warning sign #2).

I am so not management material, I realised. I don’t care about the politics and empire building, and it rarely occurs to me to explain stuff to people because it’s so bloody obvious, why would you need to explain it? Why can’t they just get on with it? Also, I hate budgets, spread sheets, appraisals, resource planning, unending droning meetings and having lots of responsibility without any corresponding authority.

I went to the first interview, and then I bailed before wasting anyone’s time at the second round. And OMFG, was that ever the right decision! The sun shone, birds started singing, music played wherever I went and David Tennant and I waltzed down Broad Street. (Ok, that last bit may have been a fantasy but the rest is true.)

However, given that my existing role is temporary, this means that at some unspecified time in May I’m shifting into another as yet unspecified, temporary role. This is by mutual agreement, and I must say that my employers are reiterating that they want to keep me, and waiting patiently while I figure out whether I want to stay and if so, what I might do.

2. Because, when I stop procrastinating by writing blog posts, I’ll complete that PhD application. Then I’ll spend a few weeks trying not to pester the supervisory tutor to find out what’s going on; then there will be a decision. So, either I’ll be moving to Sheffield later this year, or I won’t. If not, then I suspect there must be something truly amazing on the cards that I don’t yet have any inkling of, because that is usually the case when I don’t get the thing I think I really, really want.

3. However, back in the now, the lease on my flat is up on July 12 and I want to move somewhere cheaper. Since I don’t currently know how long I’m likely to be in Oxford for, I’m looking for a short term let while simultaneously hoping that the PhD decision will be in before I have to commit to a new place. If not, then, erm, don’t know.

4. Meanwhile, I’ve been asked to revise my MPhil proposal for the OU, to which end I’m in the process of getting a Bodleian card so I can do some research in a library and not on Google. The MPhil is now Plan B. Probably.

So there you go. Life as a game of pin the tail on the invisible, moving donkey!


Music Manic Monday

Really, I am so over working. It just doesn’t make any sense that I keep having to go to the same place to do the same thing, for the next 28 years. Who thought up that crazy ass system?

‘I was kissing David Tennant by a crystal blue Italian stream…’

When is an e-ticket not an e-ticket?

When you buy it for the Oxford Tube. It took me a while to figure that out though, what with the whole ‘Click here to buy your e-ticket’ thing, and the fact that what was delivered to my inbox was called an e-ticket.

Now when I buy ‘plane tickets, or indeed, other bus tickets, and they are prefixed with the magic ‘e’, it generally means I don’t need a bit of paper because what I have purchased is a genuine ticket entitling me to travel. I might need the appropriate credit card, but I don’t need a print out. Because it’s 2011.

Not with Oxford Tube, though. Of course, they don’t tell you that you need a bit of paper until after you have paid for the alleged e-ticket, at home on Sunday morning, when there is no printer within reach. Post-purchase, the website is very clear that one must print out a piece of paper, although without giving any explanation as to why. Thus one assumes, in passing: (a) that the person who designed their e-commerce system is an absolute moron; (b) user testing is an entirely unknown concept; but, more importantly, (c) that Oxford Tube simply haven’t bothered to update the website since the advent of the smartphone, but it’s all right because no one prints anything out anymore. Then the ‘e-ticket’ arrives by email, and pretty much confirms point (c) because it just says that you have to take it with you. The pertinent information on the e-ticket is date of travel and ticket number, so ‘Great, it’s just proof of purchase, I won’t need a print out’, I thought.

I waved my phone at the ticket man.

Ticket man: ‘No, you have to print that out so we can exchange it for a ticket. We have to treat it as a cash sale.’

Me: ‘Eh? But, I’ve already paid. This is an e-ticket’.

Ticket man: ‘Yes, but you have to print it out so we can give you a ticket.’

Me: ‘But it is a ticket. It says e-ticket.’

Ticket man: ‘You have to print it out for our records, otherwise we don’t know that ticket number got used.’

Me: ‘???’

I still don’t know what information, exactly, was needed, because all anyone would say is ‘You need to print that out.’ Since there wasn’t a printer to hand at Thornhill Park & Ride, I ended up buying another ticket. In retrospect, I can only assume that Oxford Tube are desperate to track that everyone who buys a ticket actually uses it, and that the system for tracking ticket numbers is entirely manual. What I had bought, it turned out, wasn’t an e-ticket at all. It was a number I could exchange for a real ticket. My understanding of the entire purchase had been fundamentally flawed.

Ticket man: ‘Oh, but you can get a refund on that ticket, because you haven’t used it.’

Me: ‘The website says no refunds on e-tickets.’

Ticket man: ‘You haven’t used it, though, so you can get a refund.’

Me: ‘???’

Really, I haven’t had the heart to phone Oxford Tube and try to navigate the doubtless serpentine logic behind why I can or cannot get a refund. Life is too short.