Monthly Archives: October 2007

Having Some Fun At Work

Photo: A platform indicator at Central station.

While I’ll stay with the “what goes on tour stays on tour” theory, sometimes I believe that you have to have a bit of fun at work sometimes. If you don’t and you are like Ned Flanders (aka Mr Serious) all the time, will that do your head in? It would certainly do my head in!

This afternoon at work, I had one of those moments. You had to be there and if you weren’t there or doesn’t know what happens when you are there, it might not make sense. And it might not make sense to anyone who probably had no idea what was going on.

One thing that I have noticed the change in at work are the announcements at Central station during the peak hours. Rather than letting the computer do all the work or have someone on the microphone who has poor English, the powers that be have seemingly worked out that people can respond to manual announcements made in plain and clear English.

Well I used to use plain and clear English and I still do now. Despite what some people write in the Mx letters pages, drivers do not make announcements but sometimes it would be better if they did. So what has changed?

For years, I have joked that the PA announcements at Central and other railway stations are trying to sound like a radio station. The announcements would just be going on and on with no gaps in the middle, just like a radio station. In radio, silence is called dead air and at Central especially, you’d be hoping for dead air.

It can be really frustrating for me (and I work there!) when some people decide to do announcements that overlap with other announcements being made on other platforms. So you’d have something like “the train on platform 18 is smoking. Stay behind the Macdonald line. Transit Officers skateboard all stations to co-operation.” I do understand what I often call “Passenger Lack of Information”.

But now, Central station’s platforms are like an open air radio station. The staff announce the trains, give delay information, do some safety announcements and also add personal touches like wishing people a good weekend. I’ve even heard third hand of music being played but I haven’t heard it personally.

“You are listening to platform 16/17 FM. The next train on platform 16 goes all stations to Hornsby. The weather is fine and the train is on time. And after this song, the next train on platform 17 is a City Circle service.”

At least, that is how it sounds sometimes. I am only usually there for a minute here and a minute there but people using Central on afternoon shift seem to be happier which can only be a good thing.

Disclaimer: This post contains my personal opinions only. Stay behind the yellow line. CityRail thanks you for your co-operation.

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Equal Wages for Dick & Jane

Photo: Office buildings in the centre of Penrith.

This afternoon, I was listening to LBC’s Alison Bell talking on her October 30 show about inequality between male and female wages. In London, a study has been done and on average, they found a 17% difference in the favour of men when it comes to wages. Or to put it another way, women would be working for free from October 30 until the end of the year and to highlight this, October 30 was called “Women’s No Pay Day.”

Obviously I do not have the advantage of living or working in London so I do not know to the extent that this is true. However even here in Australia, stories like this surface from time to time. So I will comment merely on my Australian experience.

On the surface, I do not believe that this survey (if the result is similar here in Australia) would be correct. While I have spent the vast majority of my working life working in the public sector, I have worked casually in the private sector. Of course, I also know people who work in the private sector.

At rock bottom, I believe that men and women start as equal in the wage department for doing the same job. Note that I am comparing apples with apples and not apples with oranges or salad. After all, you don’t win friends with salad.

After all, when was the last time that you saw separate wages quoted in a job advertisement for men and women? They don’t say “if you are a bloke, the wage is $25 per hour but if you are a chick, you are on $18.50”

Let’s take my job as a train driver for example. There is absolutely no difference between male and female hourly rates for drivers of the same grade. While there are separate grades based on length of service (trainee, 1st year, 2nd year, thereafter), there is no difference between men and women AT THIS POINT. The same applies for the base annual rate.

Where is DOES change for everyone regardless of gender is when you get above the base rate. This is where things can get vary depending on each person’s circumstances and also depends partly on the luck of the draw in relation to rosters. Things like weekend work, super duper early morning work r late afternoon shifts (and therefore penalty rates) can have a great effect on the final figure that you earn above the base in each case regardless if you are Dick or Jane. Another factor that can increase or decrease someone’s final actual wage is overtime.

Each person have different circumstances and personally I know that I value my days off so I do not do any overtime. Some people might do 1 or 2 days per fortnight. However at least in my experience, the difference isn’t always due to gender or family responsibilities.

Then of course there is the stage of your life when you have kids and I don’t have experience in that. Obviously this is a major time for a family and this is one stage where women can lose coin.

Also, there is the situation where women and men may do different type jobs and there are very few women in executive type positions in a male:female ratio and this obviously affects wages as well.

However, if you had a woman following me around and doing exactly the same rosters as me for an entire year, you will find that she earns exactly the same amount of coin for doing exactly the same amount of work as me and that is what needs to happen. And that is my main point, if you do the same work, you should get the same amount of coin.

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Squeak Pod – insert slogan here

Photo: The tails of 2 Virgin Blue planes at Sydney Airport

This morning I was (pleasantly) shocked to find that my mate Squeak has decided to join the world of podcasting! He has been paying more attention than I thought to Erk Pod and decided that he wanted to have a go himself. Bravo!

Anyhoo, the podcast is called Squeak Pod but he hasn’t thought of a slogan yet. He has released episode 1 that he recorded and edited all by himself. It goes for 11 minutes. In what turned out to be a co-incidence, Squeak chose the same song to play during his podcast that I chose as my first featured song a few episodes ago.

I have given Squeak some feedback and have offered to give him a hand with his podcast. Despite what he says in his Myspace bulletin, I hope that he decides to record more episodes!

Squeak’s podcast

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Erk Pod – milestone episode 50 suggestions wanted

Photo: Simon & Sue Evans celebrate their 3rd place at the 2005 Rally of Bathurst, the first rally that I ever attended.

On Tuesday night/Wednesday morning, I recorded episodes 47 and 48 of Erk Pod. This means that next week, I will be recording episode 49 and possibly milestone episode 50.

I have some ideas in mind for episode 50 but I am also looking for your comments and suggestions. Do you have a favourite part of Erk Pod? What’s your favourite episode? Would you like to record a promo or a message for me to mark my 50th episode?

If so, please email me or comment on this post and I will take any suggestions into account. 50 episodes, who would have thought!

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Erk Pod 48 – Show Notes


Stupid Stella Bones Gretel & Mr Strong

Erk Pod episode 48 – 42 minutes
Photo: Cars leaving Penrith Plaza

Welcome to Erk Pod episode 48. In this episode:

  • Erk Pod 50 milestone – suggestions welcomed
  • Say What – Stella Awards 2006 (thanks, Eddie!)
  • Say What – Heartless AT&T?
  • Say What – PC Mr Men cartoons
  • Erk To The Diary Room – Friday Night Download Review
  • Erk To The Diary Room – Gretel Boned
  • Erk to the Diary Room – New Audition process for BB08

Music from the Podsafe Music Network, jazz theme:

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Erk Pod 47 – Show Notes

Wasting Time With Erk Wii’ing All Over Squeak’s Lounge Room


Erk Pod episode 47 – 70 minutes
Photo: Erk self-portrait during a training course at Katoomba Airfield.

Welcome to Erk Pod episode 47. In this episode:

  • Suggestions open for Erk Pod episode 50
  • Ipodding Across the Universe – Get This petition & Vote Me Up forum updates
  • Ipodding Across the Universe – “Wasting Time” podcast. G’day, Richard! Thanks for mentioning me , your reply and for allowing me to play the show snippet. Enjoy the episode!
  • Ipodding Across the Universe – London’s LBC. Mmmmmm, LBC…..
  • iTunes problem – thanks for the solution, Tom!
  • Wii’ing all over Squeak’s Lounge Room
  • Erk talks Horse Flu and changes the day of the Melbourne Cup (CART IT UP!)

Music from the Podsafe Music Network. This week’s theme is Jazz

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Erk Pod episodes 47 & 48 being recorded tonight (Tuesday)

I plan to record episodes 47 and 48 tonight (Tuesday) after work. I have a few things to say so again I will do what I did last week where one episode will feature some music along with talking into the stick and the other episode will feature usual Erk Pod segments such as “Say What?” and “Ipodding Across the Universe”.

There is a lot of “Ipodding Across the Universe” news to get through including an update on the arsing of “Get This” and a lot more.

As usual, show notes for each episode will appear when the episode is uploaded. And as you can see from the last couple of posts, I love sign generators. There are lots of signs to choose from here. I’ll still keep using my photos when I can but sometimes (like the last two entries here), I don’t have a suitable photo.

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