Saturday, 4 September 2010

New Job, Happiness!

I have a new job. I am very happy about this. My last job was doing my head in and I hadn't realised how badly until I left and during the week between jobs felt as light as air! That dragging, dread-loaded feeling of impending doom was evaporated. Surprise! There was no weight on top of my head bearing me down into the ground! Relief. Smashing, wonderful, marvellous! Even though, the last three weeks of the job were probably the best there ever were. I could sit back and watch the drama's and general shenanigans, knowing that I had no part in them, did not need to take part in them, or any sides. I did not need to try to pacify anyone, or reason with anyone, or even please anyone, I could just watch them all at it and smile, and breath, and leave. Beaut. I probably have not yet quite recovered from the general wearing down-ness of the last 17 months, but I'm getting there.

My main concern right now is my health and trying to disguise from everyone at work just how much pain I am in and hoping against hope that I am doing OK and they are not disappointed in my performance. Because as sure as eggs are eggs, I have had a flair-up of the marvellously reliable-under-stress, IBS and after 7 days of working, had to take myself off to the emergency department of the hospital and beg some painkillers.

However, I think the job is going to be brilliant. I am really enjoying the walk back and forth (I drive 5km, park and walk 3km), the way everyone relates to each other and to me (with respect and good will), the clean kitchen! I have a theory, I think that the morale of a workplace is directly related to how clean they keep their communal kitchen. UCH kitchen - dreadful and sticky. DMP kitchen - immaculate. The proof of the pudding workplace is probably WAIMR where the kitchen was dire and the fridge was a science experiment, but there was a lot of stressed people and a lot of unhappy people, I was OK but knew how bad it was for some of the others, and the kitchen? - bad. QED? Not a big enough sample size, really, but a theory in the making!

There is a very wide range of types of people at the new place. There are men, for a start! There is also a wide age range and (apparently) because it is a government department, there are quite a few long-serving staff members. One of my team has been with DMP for 43 years! Amazing in this day and age, I didn't think that happened any more. That demographic has its own special needs and becasue I work in occupational safety and health, their needs are partly my concern. All new stuff.

DMP is also very big on their wellness program, which might be the reason they are all so happy at work, or it might be the product of that general level of satisfaction with their working day. My job is to a large degree concerned with arranging the WoW (Working on Wellness) program, which is very new for me and is also very administrative and not much to do with "OSH". An audit has recently been carried out (there is an internal auditing department, which does a bloody brilliant job and if I decided to specialise in auditing, I could certainly look at going into) and as part of that audit it was highlighted that the department is deficient in the normal OSH skills, such as investigation, risk assessment and review of controls. These are my skills and I only need to be given a smidgen of a chance or a lookin, to be more than happy to train, investigate, risk assess, follow up and generally to have a rollicking good OHSy time! :) So, you can see the huge potential for satisfaction in this job.

Previously, there were no OSH qualified staff in the department, apart from the manager. Part of the audit outcome was to employ yours truly to fill this knowledge gap. The administration was admirably covered by my predicessor, who has just retired, I have no intention of doing only the admin. I have every intention of rattling that bit of the job off as quickly as possible and then getting on with the interesting stuff which is the hazards faced by the staff in the labs, and the staff who go on field trips into the bush maybe lasting weeks at a time. They have very interesting needs that are not covered by wellness programs! But, I am aware that the morale is very, very high and everyone is very proactive and positive about the OSH dept and their role within the organisation. I would not, for all the world, disturb that balance. It is very refreshing to be welcomed even when the person you are being introduced to know you are part of the OSH team! I am much more used to their face falling and to emails and phone calls being ignored and being argued with and managers brought in so they dont need to follow your recomendations, however mild! I am used to reports and audit findings being ignored or "lost".

So, maybe now, my life will improve and become lighter and more humorous once again. For it to become completely super, I need to be pain-free, that would be nice. I have a feeling however, that that might be a hard ask, and pain management might be all I can expect. If that could go along with enough sleep, it would do, really it would.