26 March 2007

The End of Things

I already saw this coming but it still is really uncomfortable to learn that you don't have a job anymore. Last week, both my shifts were cancelled (compensation: 25 £ one-off per cancelled day) and all employees were told that we were now coming to an end with numbers and the project. I asked one employee while we were alone, if there were going to be other projects and he said jokingly, "Serrula didn't build this office in London just for [this project]!" Another woman said that they didn't know yet about the following week (we usually have to write our preferred shifts one week in advance) and they would notify me in case there was nth to do for me on last Saturday as well. This struck me as really weird, as it doesn't really take time to upload a few numbers into our network and if they had had another project, they would have just prepared some numbers.
Nth really indicated that this was going to happen, they even bought some new equipment lately. Maybe the people in our London office only found out about it themselves just now? I have a contract, so I at least have some kind of security but not everyone does (I am entitled to holidays). Best thing is, that I booked summer accomodation for Dinwiddy some time ago with the same credit card I am going to use for my last term-time instalment. Probably, I will have both of them on the same receipt which is... shit. Lila has to pay her international tuition fees (10k £) plus rent and some other people have to work off the mortgage on their house, as far as I know. Funnily enough, the London office wants to organise an end of project party. I wonder why they do that. Do they hope to keep everyone interested, in case they rise again from the ashes or do they want to save their image? REALLY WEIRD. EVERYTHING. Great part is, I now have to look for another job so shortly before the exams!

Good news: I received the pin code for my debit card.
Bad news: They sent it to my last address in Vienna (even though an employee deleted that one from the system some months ago after I had complained that some letters were sent to Austria)
Good news: My mum sent it to me, not knowing what was inside. The issue date was 15 March 2007. My debit card was ordered on 13 March 2007 when I was in the bank and the guy confirmed my address. It seems, they never sync their databases (the pin was sent from outside London, probably from a specialised office). I call this a breach of security! Sending my pin to a random address, that is really grossly negligent! They will hear from me about that, trust me.

Sometimes I wonder if being a student in London is all about fighting for your rights. The library was so efficient the whole year but after the survey a month or so ago, their service level crashed dramatically (if we ignore extended - but unstaffed - opening hours for a while). The security barrier in the Teaching Collection is broken and the extremely high-pitched alarm went off every time someone went through (every 2-3 minutes) during the 30 minutes I tried to do research there (the PCs are right opposite to the entrance) and it was still broken four days later. I wanted to pay my fines (because in that particular case I would otherwise not be able to take out books until three days later) but since I was 20 seconds late, they guy told me off. All this just because they only accept cash (I had to dash to the ATM where two people were queuing before me) and back again. He then made two disrupting announcements shortly after each other in a really unprofessional tone of voice. And today I went to the library to get a book I reserved which should be at the issue desk until Tuesday. However, it was not there, I was sent to look for it in the main library myself (I reserved it so no-one else would get that damned book), after a fruitless search I queued up again and asked if it was maybe reserved under my first name. This employee checked but since he couldn't find it either, sent me to look through the reshelving trolleys (which is REALLY not my job). Of course, to no avail. I didn't want to wait again so I went to the enquiry desk instead this time and the woman just said, that this is all really unfortunatey, they are sorry. I said, is it possible that my pick-up period is extended so you guys have time to look for that book? She relegated me back to the issue desk where in the meantime seven people were in the queue. I told her I will leave it and decided to file a complaint. I don't have time for these things. And I reserved it, I don't care if so. took it out and they have to call it back from that person. Funny thing, there was so. in the queue else who had just the same problem, he was even a researcher on visit at SOAS from Warwick University. You might find this library rant endlessly boring but it sparked an idea to start a "How to defend your rights as a customer"-society next year.

Orientation Week Working Group Meeting:
Gave me a good overview of how orientation is organised at SOAS, how much effort is put into it and who is involved. I also met some of the welfare office people. However, I will not comment on the contents and happenings of this meeting online, only that the deadline for the orientation handbooks (normal and international) is 24 April. So if you have any suggestions how you want it to be improved, contact me. Also, if there is anything about the enrolment/registration process which you believe can be improved!

Last but not least, Silvia has returned to Germany yesterday. Thanks for all the stuff I inherited from you, Silvia! I already showed off with my shiny "new" plate today and slept cozily in a proper blanket for a change, hehe! I believe the new resident has moved in already, however have not seen my new neighbour yet. Let's hope, whoever it is, does not have a relationship nor a passion for drum&bass! Amazing, how time flies by in this place...

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