Rock Dog

I’ve done remarkably little today, breakfast, gym, sunbathing, a a couple of beers in the pool, a short walk along the beach where I sat on some rocks for a while (and got nicely burnt), catch-up TV, a short doze and a longer walk along the beach at dusk.

It seems like a lot written down like that, but I’ve drifted along today, brain nicely in idle and I’ve enjoyed it so far.

I have 3 cars ordered to take 12 of us into the nearest town at 730 local time (2pm to most of you) and we’re going to try a local restaurant for a change.

Also today, I have continued my irrational but committed effort to wear a T Shirt to destruction.

It’s a pristine 1991 Guns N’ Roses ‘Here Today, Gone to Hell” shirt that has only been worn once before. I’m not exactly sure why it’s being subjected to daily wear and washout, but it has.

I’m determined to destroy it or wear it so much that it’s unrecognisable.

Sitting on the rocks for a while was wonderfully calming, nobody walked past for the whole time and the most effort apart from breathing in the salt air was to take one single photo.

I walked back to the pool feeling strangely serene and finished my beer in a reflective frame of mind.

It must have showed; as the pool barman engaged me in conversation about life in the area, his job, his town and his belief that the local people have a drink problem en masse. According to him, if the bars are left open all night, people will drink all night and no work would get done.

I disagreed, but then thought about Liverpool, so shut up fairly quickly.

My new friend also offered to do a beer exchange service for me – I buy at local rates (£1.30 a 750ml bottle) and he exchanges for a cold one from the fridge (hotel rates £4.50 for the same beer). I’m considering the merits of a case in the room now….

It’s dusk as I write this, the crows are going absolutely mad in the trees above, there are hundreds of them and the sound is strangely hypnotic, almost like a language that I could understand if I just listened a bit more.

The light is fading quite fast and the sea is at that curious pale colour that it gets just before darkness falls.

which means it’s time to get ready for dinner.

I’m looking forward to our trip out tonight, it’ll be good to see something a little less sanitised than the hotel, I suspect the food will be spicier too.

Have a good Sunday, I feel the real Thunderdog barking and growling in my subconscious , so may actually tell some more of his story soon.

Offshore Thunderdog

I’ve never really talked about my job, mostly because it’s boring. This isn’t Facebook and I’m not here to share the details of my fairly mundane life.

I work for an IT outsourcing supplier and I suppose that the best description of what I actually do is “Mong Wrangler”.

I have a real job title, but the work changes through each project or service that I work on. What doesn’t change is human nature, which makes the problems I’m asked to fix come back around to the same set of issues every time.

Not listening
Not thinking for yourself
Budget restrictions
Bad Management
No teamwork

All of this is at the top of my mind at the moment, I’m working on a toxic project that should have been drowned at birth and also taking on a pretty large, troubled service.

I’m now going to be in India until April, mostly Chennai but a few other cities too. Working with the offshore teams needs a completely different skill set to working with UK staff. What’s interesting though is that the people here accept 6 day a week working with 18 hour days as being acceptable.

I’m in awe of their capacity for work, if not always their ability, but that’s why I’m here, to help them.

This trip is 5 working days long so far (I started writing this from the office on Saturday afternoon and have just got back to the hotel at 7PM) and I think I’ve gone native.

Which is bad news for the UK team.

From this end of the conference calls, I can see their lack of leadership skills, their willingness to blame relatively junior Indian staff for every mistake, their lack of patience and their utter spinelessness in the face of a difficult client.

I can also see that offshore mid-level management is appalling, the staff are workhorses led by lobotomised donkeys.

It’s all a dilemma quite frankly.

Staff that have worked at insane levels for months now are being pushed by a client to work longer and harder, because that always fixes things.

For. Fuck’s. Sake

I can’t fix the management style here, nor can I replace staff in the UK, as much as I’d like to jump on a flight and point out some home truths.

Like, their levels of stress are high because they haven’t done enough research and don’t have the confidence to push back to the client.

Like, having ‘Consultant” in your job title doesn’t make you an expert.

So, all I can do is to work with the local team, show them the stuff that I’ve learned the hard way over a long time and show them that we actually care, a little bit.

I instituted ‘Pizza Friday” yesterday, from now until I leave. the whole team gets a pizza delivery and everybody stops work for 10 minutes to chill out.

We’ll be having a little award ceremony next week to reward the team members that have gone the extra mile.

I don’t actually think that this will boost performance, but it’ll cut the sick time down and maybe build a better team.


I’ll keep on rounding the Mongs up, wipe off their dribble and get the flavoured window spray stocked up.

On the plus side, I can hear the roar of the surf as I type this, hundreds of crows are having their early evening chat and I’ve seen a couple of bats flitting between the trees, ghostly wings shining in the light.

I’m supposed to be night-clubbing with the Germans in the team tonight, but the idea of just sitting by the sea, drinking cold beer til midnight and a good night’s sleep is winning the discussion in my head so far.

I’m adjusting to this place and think that the adjustment back may be quite tough too.

The beach and beers are calling me.

Have a wonderful Saturday wherever you are.

Thunderdog abroad

I walked on the beach before work this morning.

Before that, I went to the gym, had breakfast and spent some time sunbathing and swimming in the pool.

Then sat on my veranda and half-typed , half-stared at the sea for a while before showering in the open air.

I’m working UK hours in a place that’s 5 hours 30 minutes ahead, so 1:30 AM UK time is when my alarm is going off at the moment.

It’s 31 degrees outside and will now get hotter day by day for the next two months, I more or less melted walking from my hotel room to reception today before getting into the car to go to the office.

An alien world passes before me every day.

Stray, almost generic dogs wander the streets, cows sit in the middle of the road, calm and relaxed in the knowledge that cars will actively avoid them.

Goats roam the roads by night, unknowable eyes glinting against headlights.

There are open fires on the streets, whether for warmth or waste disposal; I don’t know. They glow red and orange on back streets and in doorways, flickering shadows on walls and buildings.

Women still walk along with baskets on their heads; posture perfect and seemingly unaffected by the heat and the weight that they carry.

Up to 5 people in a family ride a single moped, with shopping and luggage, crash helmets are for wimps.

It’s a place of remarkable contrasts, the hotel is luxurious, has a good gym, a swim-up bar, wi-fi and possibly the most inept ‘technical support’ people I’ve ever met (more of that another time, I think).

the nearest village is incredibly poor, there’s no running water, a seawater well for clothes and cleaning and a water tower for drinking.

Indigenous high-status people are somehow more entitled and lazier than almost anybody that I’ve ever met in the UK – they don’t walk anywhere if there’s a buggy available and treat the staff in ways that would likely get them assaulted back home.

The streets are ‘safe’ – well for me anyway, I’m not sure that I’d like to be a lone female here, but they’re uncomfortable, there’s much more attention and direct appeals at begging than anywhere else I’ve been in the world.

Huge potholes, piles of rubbish in the streets, and people urinating and defecating in public are all pretty normal here.

I’ve got around 7 weeks in total to go on this trip and I think that I need to get my head around this new world fairly quickly.

I’ll post some updates on an occasional basis .

Apparently I have to go to a nightclub on Saturday…….