Thursday 7 November 2019


Useless if delayed! A month ago, I voluntered to bang the recruitment drum at a school-leavers job fair. Actually make that The Job Fair. Dozens of 3rd level educational institutions from Ireland and abroad have a presence there because thousands of school leavers will be in the same hanger for a couple of hours. Handing out brochures has got to be the most ineffectual method of persuasion but I could be convinced that an engaged chat with someone who works at St Trinian's College Dublin would tilt the table in StT's favour. You won't find anyone more bat-shit bonkers with enthusiasm than Old Bob. But I had a class to teach at 0900hrs on The Day. If I went by public transport, the whole event would be in the sweeping-up-unread-brochures phase. Accordingly, with the approval of my line manager and her line manager, I ran from class and arrived at the Fair (or affray) just after 1100hrs.

I talked until I was hoarse for the next three hours.

4 weeks later, our Admin told me that The Institute didn't approved of car-travel to Dublin - which is served by an efficient system of public bus and rail connexions. I knew that because, a few years ago, I loaded up my car with post-grads and we all drove to a {relevant | important | interesting} scientific conference. Then also, I got the travel signed off by my HoDept and the HoFaculty, but the application was refused by The Money because that was institutional policy. One could have wished that my managers had been aware of the policy when they signed the paper! Then we could have gone, at much higher expense and inconvenience, by public transport. I left the refused application form in my To Do drawer until the heat of indignation drained away.

That's the baggage. This year, Admin advised me to xerox an AARoadwatch route-planner and attach that with a brief explanation for Finance. Yer 'tis
My Yaris clocks the base-line [engine < 1200cc] mileage allowance €0.38/km so my application for refund was €64. Fatter cars, because less efficient at transporting fatter bottoms, can claim more 1200-1500 @ 40c and >1500cc @ 45c. The public transport cost (train taxi taxi train) is about €60 and, because it falls within policy guidelines, goes through the system like butter. We'll see if I get refunded . . . or if I have to go and spitefully shoot the three probable students I recruited at the HORDS event.

But really wot are we like with the mileage? At the last save-the-planet event I attended, the founder of one of the NGOs said that their policy for reimbursing travel for voluntees, trustees & committees is totally flat. Everyone gets the same mileage whether they come in a 4x4 Chelsea tractor, a  Yaris or a bike. That's got to be better. Why should the company subsidise your Choice to tool about the planet in a gas-guzzling steel tank?

There's an old joke about a magnate explaining his success to his over-privileged son.
Mag: When I were in t'school, lad, my folks used to give me the bus-fare but I'd run along behind the bus and save t'brass.
Son: But Daddy, why didn't you run to school behind a taxi and save more money?

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