Ted Barrett                                                   - Training, Consultancy and Technical Services

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Blog for February

Hello Folks, I’ve just about had enough of Winter now and my SAD wotsits is saying “Ted, that’s enough bleeding rain and snow, you need to get some sun old chap”. Thankfully, it won’t be too long before myself and CO will be once more heading down to Espania. If you are also down that way and happen to see someone propped up under a palm tree studying a pre-publication issue of the 18th Edition Electrical Regulations you can quite happily kick him in the knackers cos that won’t be me. I’m more likely to be propped up under an adjacent palm with a Bacardi & Coke and a copy of Inspector Montalbano.  
When we entered 2018 a lot of people would have been declaring ”New Year – New Start” and give up smoking/eating/drinking/breathing and perhaps started a new job. If you are in that position, take a tip from me. If on Day 1 the job doesn’t turn out as you expected or something isn’t right, then walk. Don’t waste time, just get out of there, you can then obliterate it from your CV and move on. I once started with a great company, this was an American owned global company with great conditions for employees. But from the day I started there was one guy in the department that took a dislike to me. I even overheard him in conversation say to a co-worker “I don’t trust him” referring to me. In all the time I worked for that company this guy never gave up his dislike for me and would undermine me whenever possible. After a while I figured out why he didn’t like me around – he was taking back-handers. At this point you might say “you should have reported him” but when you are in this situation there are a couple of considerations. One would be “where is the evidence” and the other is how far did this level of corruption go up the ladder? As I had a wife, kids and a mortgage to support I kept quiet, got on with my work and kept my head down. I stuck it for five years, but should have left at the end of the first week. He’s probably in charge of their Engineering Division by now, which is scary. It shows how far creeps can slide up the ladder and how fraud can grow to massive proportions.
Talking about work, I really love my working life now. As a freelance I only take jobs that I am interested in and I deal with people who want to learn. Teaching apprentices can be very rewarding, Unfortunately a lot of apprentices (in my experience about 15%) don’t want to be there, and are only there because Dad was an electrician or uncle Bert was an electrician or Dad is Director of Estates at St Codshead’s College and is calling in a favour for his dysfunctional son. When I was teaching apprentices full-time we had one apprentice who was the son the director of a large local electrical company. As so very often the case, such a character was a complete waste of time. However, I do not put people in boxes, I wait a little while to see how they perform and engage. Apart from falling asleep in class and causing maximum disruption when awake, something was definitely out of kilter with this guy. So I asked the College Special Needs officer to discretely run a few tests and analysis on him. The result was that in her opinion (which I had a lot of respect for) was that he was brain-damaged by the use of heavy-duty marijuana, commonly known as “Skunk” at that time. I fail to see why we should have to deal with twats who think smoking shit like this behind the village bus shelter is cool.
I was reminded of this during December when a certain engineering company in Somerset asked for a couple of apprentices to join an adult session. Well that certainly took me back to seeing stupid faces yawning, sneering and generally not engaging. And please, we’ve heard all the codswollop about “make it more interesting” and that is really ridiculous. If a student isn’t interested in the topic they are studying don’t you think they are in the wrong class? This is the nonsense that colleges spout because they want to keep bums on seats and keep numbers up. They don’t actually care about how these crap students distract other students from learning. “Oh Dear, young Byron has run round the room setting fire to his classmates notes again – well not to worry he has ADH”. Young Byron is actually a sociopath who really needs telling what he is doing is wrong. But let’s not get rid of him, the grants we get for him keep the College management in Oxfam vouchers (for a knees-up in Haiti).
As it happens, I strongly feel that I shouldn’t have to skate around in a tutu to make a session on electromagnetism or Power Factor Correction more interesting. On top of which you won’t attend a more interesting or fun packed session than one of mine anyway. I was once marked down by a lady on a bike in a lesson observation because I did not cover any elements of “Multiculturalism” – this was in a lesson on AC Theory! I began to realise then that the writing was on the wall and the lunatics really were taking over the asylum.
On a more personal level it certainly is a funny old world. If a middle-aged bloke or women buys a sports car the envious will often shout "Mid-life Crisis". I'm about to treat myself and buy a new motorbike and at 62 I reckon I'm fairly past middle-age. Not only that I've got less crises now than I ever had. The reason why we tend to buy these things later in life is quite simply because we can afford them. I had motorbikes and sports cars as a young man but when I got married and settled down I gave up those things, now our children have spread their wings we have a bit more freedom to enjoy life a bit more. So I decided to get back into biking about five years ago and bought an old Suzuki 250 to get back in the saddle. However the power-to-weight ratio of a teenage boy versus a sixty-something lump of lard can be quite noticeable, I also felt that the bike was just a little too small for me so I am buying the latest Suzuki (always faithful to the brand) 650. I will freely admit to been a fair-weather biker only and reckon the sheer pleasure from a ride on a summer’s day is very hard to match. I would buy another sports car but for the fact I’m finding it more difficult to get in and out of the things.
Ok, enough wool-gathering. Where has Ted been this month? Well, whizzing round the M25 again with a few old customers and some new. I’ve been to Vauxhall, Whitehall, Bournemouth, Cranleigh, Banstead, Gerrards Cross and Milton Keynes.
In closing this month’s report, I would say try to be patient with all those you come across, not everyone is “the sharpest knife in the drawer” it doesn’t mean we are daft, it’s just we take a little longer to digest information and make commitments. There are many who could have done with slowing down a bit and not been in such a rush with life.

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