Monday, 16 June 2014

Give an engineer a machine tool

    I never expected to find myself in a difficult position post - transition at this particular employer. I'd better not name them, but I work for a large publishing company whose atmosphere and ethos as I experienced it over the three years before I transitioned gave me confidence that I could so it without worry. As I wrote a few months ago though it hasn't turned out like that.
    It's called constructive dismissal. Force a person to leave by undermining and marginalising them. And in my case it started a few weeks after transition and it's following the textbook. Even to the point that today I will have a new colleague who I find has been hired to do about half of the job I thought I had before I was marginalised out of it.
    It ain't going to work. With twenty years in tech startups behind me I've seen far worse and I've stopped running. Without going into too much detail, I will not go down without a fight. If the legal bill I can cost then weren't enough my job involves the mechanics of internet publicity, and I honestly can not tell the world that they are a good place for an LGBT employee to work.
    It's the stress and demotivation though that's the killer. Which brings me to the title of this piece. The machine tool in question isn't a lathe or a milling machine, it's my sewing machine. In engineering terms as a computer controlled device whose needle can move side to side as well as moving the fabric, it's a 2-axis CNC machine tool.
    So I've gone back to making stuff as a cathartic. In this case I'm doing it from first principles, making my own patterns to my own designs. In the past few months I've made several pieces and I have no shortage of future ideas. I'm still not good at doing zips though.
    Making things has always been my release. Software, electronics, furniture, you name it. And that I'm doing it so much now is a symptom of my work problems, until last autumn my needs were fulfilled by creating products. If you looked up my employer in the app store you'd find their most downloaded product is one they simply wouldn't have had I not come up with the idea, created a prototype, and bought it to market.
     I guess their loss is my wardrobe's gain.


  1. Jenny I am so sorry to hear about your work, I think fighting is the right decision! They want you (all of us) to go run and hide....don't!



  2. Is the word Barsteward in that dictionary? Stand up for your rights Jenny and if it means (and it shouldn't) losing your job squeeze them for every penny you can. Like the dress.

    Shirley Anne x

  3. It is a rule that before you can educate someone, you must first get their attention. Here's to you Jenny. May you get their FULL attention, and come out stronger as they become enlightened in so many ways.
    Lovely to have a glimpse at your creative side. As Shirley Anne says, I like!

  4. Jenny, this is absolutely wrong. Assuming you're still working for the company I think you do, this is really surprising. I hope you can "fix" the problem, but I've heard the same story far too many times.

    I've always thought that it would be fun to sew. Good therapy and nice dress!

    Calie xx

  5. Morning all, and thanks.

    I think the problem is one of clueless middle management. Any halfway decent management training would have ensured this didn't happen, sadly such training is missing. I am fortunate in that I have a trade union who are prepared to work for me.

    I have to pursue it. Not just for me but for whoever's next.

    I'm chuffedd with the dress. It's my own design, I cut the pattern from first principles. It's fully lined and is very comfortable to wear. There's nothing like a garment made to your exact measurements.

  6. Sorry to hear that you are going through this - as Calie said it's really surprising. Good luck with the trade union.

    As with the dress, amazing. I keep thinking that I want to make myself some clothes, and then remember I am completely useless when it comes to this type of thing! Well done :)


  7. I'm sure if you did as I did and dived in, you'd surprise yourself. You will have a few failures, but if you use cheap or scrap fabric they won't matter. If you're a maker then it's another exciting medium :)