Three Billion In Change

Bank Dance

All This Needs Is a Soundtrack By Loituma

Are we not the sharpest-dressed protesters you have ever seen? We’re at the launch of a new commemorative coin – face value, €15 – an event we found more than ironic on the day that the Dáil debates a budget designed to exact from the poor the money promised by the rich to the rich. Unemployment benefit is being cut. Children’s allowance is being cut. Respite support for carers is being cut – this last so obscenely cruel to the vulnerable protectors of the even more vulnerable that I strongly suspect it was put in the budget just to make the other cuts seem politically acceptable.

All of this, basically so that we can make the latest €3.1 billion of payments to the people whose reckless lending destroyed our economy. Yes seriously, we continue to reward the rapacious, wilfully short-sighted, knowingly unsustainable lending that led to 2008. Though we cannot afford it, though we will never be able to pay back the enormous sums our banks went bust owing, we continue to try – by means of attacking the unemployed and impoverished. This is not the function and duty of a state.

Ours was a restrained, even polite protest today. The only real way to tell us from the people who were invited was that we wore less make-up. I’d come directly from an exam in project management. There my wearing a suit had been cause for comment, but I think it gave me a real psychological advantage. No one else did the management exam dressed like the manager.

Whether it was this or the intense preparation I put in, my least-favourite subject turned out be probably my best exam. If it had a fault it was that I spent more time than I really should have on a favourite question. This concerned people issues in “Agile programming”, a modern approach that requires the code-trolls to closely interact with clients. The people issues, they abounded; for the rest of the exam I kept going back to the answer to add new ones I’d thought of. Mixing people with coding skills and interpersonal skills together is not a business methodology, it’s the premise for The IT Crowd.

And that, incidentally, concluded my first semester. What a short strange trip it’s been. That in six months I could end up actually enjoying questions of personnel management theory… It’s some change all right.

We Submit

And you thought I never went inside a church.

Woah. Well we got our term assignment project in. I have to admit, it was a pretty messy last-minute rush. Which is funny because it’s about Project Management, and in it we go to great lengths to display our knowledge of all the techniques and methods you can use to make sure that your project is not a messy last-minute rush. The irony is intoxicating.

Kinda head-wrecking too. It’s a project, about doing a project. It’s our Project Management project management project… project? I can’t tell any more. To make it worse still, there is no real project involved. I mean, it is a real project. But our real project is to describe a project we had to make up – ours was installing a computer system into a retirement home.

We didn’t actually get to create a system that elderly people would be depending on, thankfully. But we did have to research and understand the obstacles we would face if we did. So we went around and asked questions to a lot of real retirement home owners and staff, who were all very helpful. That was a good exercise, but still it was weirdly detached from reality. In an actual job like this, what would you be spending most of your time thinking about? Your client of course. Trying to please the bastard. We had no client. One of the members of our team tried to pretend, but it’s just not the same. Her interests are our interests.

So our objective, in our project about our imaginary project, was to please ourselves. No wonder it was hard to keep focused.

Incidentally, the picture has nothing to do with the post – as far as I know. I just thought it was time I used it. It’s a lovely brass electric candle-offering machine from a church in Castlebar, Mayo. You put in money, press a button. and that’s lighting a candle for someone or something. Oddly un-prayerlike, but kind of beautiful nonetheless.