Back to Corporate life, but this time in SA

Because of the economic downturn Lené and I decided to send me back. Back to the evil dungeons of corporate life. In other words; a real 9 to 5 job. I haven’t worked in corporate since leaving the UK in August 2006. Everyone knows corporate has its bad aspects, but by-and-large I enjoyed the environment. Some people hate it, but I seem to do well in it.

Once the decision had been made, I was expecting to wait a while to actually start working. Not so, luckily. Lené’s cousin’s husband referred me to someone at Dimension Data, probably South Africa’s biggest IT company in Port Elizabeth. After a few to-and-fro emails I managed to secure an interview. I have done many many interviews and am very comfortable doing them. In the UK I was so good I would go for 4 interviews on one day and get offered them all by 5pm! Anyway after the interview they said they liked my skills but they had nothing right then. Fair enough I thought. But about 2 hours later I got a call asking when I could start! The rate was obviously not as high as I would expect in the UK – where I made serious money. But I am pleased with what I got.

My first job was to jointly build 83 Infopath (for Sharepoint deployment) forms for Sabco, a major Coca-Cola bottling company. It was something I hadn’t done before, so there was quite a learning curve. I was nervous about impressing my new slave masters (so to speak; they’re actually dead-nice), but in the end I think I did OK and I expanded my skill set. It seems DiData was happy as well as they’ve offered me another contract; this time with Volkswagen. And best of all this time it will be in C#, which has been my bread and butter for many years. I can honestly say I think I’m not a bad C#/ASP.NET developer. Time will tell I guess!

Coalinga: A Place for Paedophiles

On Saturday I watched Louis Theroux’s Coalinga: A Place for Paedophiles, a documentary about the Coalinga State Hospital. This hospital houses 850 sex offenders who are thought to be too dangerous to release into general society. I am a big fan of Louis even though I know many people can’t stand him. This episode though really got under my skin.

The whole idea of Coalinga to me seems unethical. Despite the real crimes of the inmates I don’t think the proponents of this system are honouring the constitutional rights of the prisoners (called “individuals” by the staff), especially considering that they are being held after serving their full prison sentences. Trust me, I have two daughters myself, so I take this seriously. But to legally lock a guy up for the rest of his life because of what he may do seems unjust.

Also the ridiculous tests that the “clinicians” give to establish if a prisoner still has sexual tendencies seem like something out of the dark ages. Seriously. For  instance, one of the tests goes as follows. A prisoner has a measuring device installed on his penis and then shown sexually charged (but not nude) images of various people including children. If the guy gets an erection he fails the test. With this test I have major issues. I wonder how many “normal” people wouldn’t also fail these tests. I don’t think it is fair. Essentially many many (if not most people) on earth have impure thoughts about anything imaginable. But there is a massive fundamental difference between thinking something and doing it. I can’t even think how many times have I wanted to bliksem someone without doing it. By all means increase the prison sentences of the offenders for what they have done, but this is wrong.

The hospital gets granted $200,000 per year for every prisoner. Makes a nice turnover of almost $200m!

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