Sunday, April 28, 2013

another running update

4/14/2013 sun 2.50
4/15/2013 mon 17.70
4/16/2013 tues off
4/17/2013 wed off
4/18/2013 thu off
4/19/2013 fri 3.30
4/20/2013 sat 2.00

4/21/2013 sun 3.30
4/22/2013 mon 28.00
4/23/2013 tues 3.30
4/24/2013 wed 3.30
4/25/2013 thur 1.00
4/26/2013 fri 7.00
4/27/2013 sat 31.20

Well, adjusting to 12 hour shift work continues to be a struggle, especially given that i have both day and overnight shifts every week. Trying to get in short runs on days I don't have energy, and pushing extra hard to get in long runs on days that I do. Still managed to drop a few more pounds these last few weeks, so progress continues.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

McCreath quoted on CBC NL Radio Noon Bumping topic 4/24/2013

CBC NL Radio Noon host Ramona Deering was interviewing NAPE president Carol Furlong, for a story about how the layoff 'bumping' process has affected the public service in terms of productivity and office culture morale.  One thing I have found very strange about the bumping process, was the placement of staff into rolls for which they may not have the right experience or skillset for.  In my case, I was bumped into a job that clearly had a job description that required exerience in call centre environments. My resume indicated none of this sort; however, I was placed into a call centre job!

While it is my goal to do my best to fit into my new job and do my best to overcome the learning curve and become a productive employee, I can't help but wonder how it benefits anyone to be placing people into rolls for which they may not be qualified for. It really makes me wonder just how much thought is put into these bumps.

One thing that has been totally lost in this process, is an  effort to demonstrate the human  side of things. Not once was I ever consulted or asked what my career goals were. I was simply plopped into a job that someone in the Human Resources office felt was a good fit.  Ultimately, there is significant risk here, as 1) I could find myself in a roll that I am not able to do, and 2) the organization may find themselves at risk by having someone do a job for which they are not qualified for. Ultimately, while I am going to make the best of a tough situation, I can't make any promises that I won't  take active measure to seek out alternate employment that will better fit my career goals and aspirations. Ultimately, my new employer has already lost someone they didn't want to lose, plus they have gained someone they never necessarily wanted, plus they have the added risk that I may leave before I even complete training, and they will be back to the drawing board.

I tweeted in the following, which was read on air today by Ramona:  i was bumped into a roll for which i have no experience, would never otherwise had even got a job interview!

On another note, today is pay day, and I see I was not give my final pay cheque for my last pay period with the Crown office, nor was I paid for my first pay period at my new job. Going to have to follow up on this.

McCreath quoted on CBC Earth Day Program!

April 22, 2013 marked the 44th annual Earth Day. However, the media seems to have paid less attention to it this year. CBC NL Cross Talk featured a program to discuss this. I tweeted in that I felt the market had been supersaturated with other Earth initiatives, such as the recent Earth Hour, where we all dimmed our lights for an hour last month.  My quote was used on their program. My youtube link here broadcasts the tweet as it was read on air, as well as contains my follow up analysis.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Ankle sprain cuts Marathon training run short!

Well, when you have a grade 2 tear of your calcaneofibular ligament, you know that you are walking on egg shells with every step. This has been my sad reality for the past 18 months. I am waiting to get into see an ankle ligament specialist, who more than likely will recommend surgery. Meanwhile, I carefully carry on with my life, walking and running on it.  While taking steps on it alone will not cause any trouble, all it takes is one little twist or roll and it will be put into a status of seizure for 24 hours.

My attempt to run 42.2k today was going well. I was feeling strong in terms of my energy levels, and my back & knees were holding out fine.  At the 17.7k mark, one little mis-step on a small rock on the trail was enough to twist the ankle. While it didn't initially hurt at the time, I knew it was only a matter of time before my run was doomed. It's like the Titanic hitting an iceberg.  While I had initially planned to do an out and back loop and come in for a gatorade break at 22k, I knew that if I stopped, the ankle would seize up almost immediately, as that has been a consistent pattern for the past 18 months whenever I sprained it.  I tend to sprain the ankle about once a week on average.

So I decided to carry on over to the pond and do as many laps as I could until I reached a state of near dehydration. at the 25k mark, i knew it was time to head home, so I did. I really wanted to run 42.2k today, but I knew that calling a quits at the 28k mark was the right thing to do. Better to cut a training run short and live to fight another day, than to do something stupid that would take me out of action for weeks or months.

28k in a running time of 3.44.39 is still an excellent run, given where I am at with my training. The best thing about a training run, is there's really no official finish line, which means there's technically no official failure for coming up short. Oh well, I think I had an excellent effort and I hope I did a good job honouring the Boston Marathon victims.

McCreath fires back at Negative NL Comments on Local Runner's CBC Article

Heather Barrett works for CBC Newfoundland, and she is a marathon runner. Shortly after the Boston Marathon bombings, she wrote an article questioning how these bombings would impact the Newfoundland running community. Many were quick to post harsh judgemental comments on the thread, accusing her of sensationalizing the story for the sake of a story.  What these non-runners don't realize, is that the global running community shares a strong bond; a sense of comradery.  I'm sure Heather knows that the running community will rally together around this tragedy and become stronger than ever, and that NL runners will work even harder to make sure we send as many runners to Boston next year, as we can.

I fired back at the negative folks with the following:

Great article Heather! all u non-runners making negative comments, have no clue what u r talking about. There is a strong sense of comradery in the global marathon-running community. There r approx 200 st john's residents who have run the Boston Marathon over the years. 4 us 200 people, this was our Stanley Cup, our Superbowl, our World Series. this was something we trained r entire life 4. qualifying 4 Boston & getting there 2 run it, was the pinnacle of r athletic career & will likely b the legacy that we r most proud of, as we go 2 the grave at the end of r lives.

4 anyone who has ever undertaken endurance athletics, you'll know how much effort goes into training & preparing 4 it, both mentally & physically. now, imagine u just spent thousands of dollars traveling 2 another country 2 tackle your athletic dream, then 5 minutes short of the finish line, u get pulled off the course, or even worse, get injured by a terrorist attack?? dreams totally shattered!

As sad as I was when I read about the bombings, my instinctive reaction was 2 log into the Boston site & track the 11 NL runners. I saw that 8 had finished the race already & that 3 were still on the course. once I learned they were all physically safe, my heart was totally broken 4 those 3 especially. their 1 shot at glory taken away. They may never get back there, as u have to re-qualify every year.

The irony of Heather's title, is that it is foreshadowing the opposite. She knows, & every runner knows, that the NL running community will now work and train even harder than ever before, to try to send as many NL Runners to Boston next year. I truly hope i'll b 1 of them.

Running 2009 & 2010 Boston marathons r among my most proud moments in life. i'm determined to get back & represent NL in Boston in 2014!  (depicted above, is me shortly after finishing the 2009 Boston Marathon).

Quasi Race Day - Jenn's tribute to Boston 4.21/2013

Today was the first major race day around the world since boston bombing 6 days ago. london marathon all the way to the Mundy Pond 5K had runners paying tribute, I was stuck on work shift, so my Boston tribute comes tomorrow, in the form of a marathon run of my own.. yup, 42.2k aka 26.2 miles.. in one shot. was gonna wait til May, but i've trained hard and I know I can do this. I need to do this to show it can be done - terrorism-free! 42.2k training run will happen tomorrow, and i will wear full Boston garb! watch for updates..


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

McCreath pays tribute to fellow Nova Scotian, Rita MacNeil 4/17/2013

I was shocked to learn of the sudden passing this morning of Big Pond, Nova Scotia native Rita MacNeil, perhaps the greatest singer/songwriter to ever come out of my beloved home province. Rita reportedly died from complications of surgery yesterday. She was 68.

Often under-appreciated due to her obesity, Rita's singing voice and songwriting ability finally got the credit they deserved in the mid 80s, after years of music in the coffee house scene. She was a featured performer at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics, and was awarded the Order of Canada in 1992. She was awarded best new musician at the Juno Awards at the age of 42 - proof that you are never too old to follow your dreams. She was a true inspiration.

 In addition to her music, she was known for her advocacy work in women's rights, and for being considered a kind-hearted 'girl next door' who always remained humble and true to herself and her roots. I had the opportunity to see per perform live twice in 2010, and had a brief meeting with her, when she was doing a Christmas tour that had two stops here in St. John's, Newfoundland.   While Anne Murray may go down as a the greatest Nova Scotia musician of all time, Rita will always be my favourite. I will always love her music and will cherish the memories of seeing and hearing her sing live, and meeting her. RIP.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Stress & Anxiety reduces early April running stats

4/1/2013 mon 8.00
4/2/2013 tues 6.40
4/3/2013 wed 6.60
4/4/2013 thurs 4.00
4/5/2013 fri 4.00
4/6/2013 sat OFF
4/7/2013 sun 4.00
4/8/2013 mon 6.40
4/9/2013 tue 4.00
4/10/2013 wed off
4/11/2013 thu off
4/12/2013 fri 6.40
4/13/2013 sat 4.10

53.9k month so far

Mostly junk kilometres running to and from work or the store. the uncertainty of my employment situation, combined with a negative work environment in my outgoing job, lead to a very upsetting and stressful week. Getting good sleep was a challenge and I found myself often too exhausted to muster the strength to have a meaningful run. As I phase into a new job that requires strange shift work that will feature both 12 hour day and night shifts every week, I fear that my marathon training is likely to take a serious hit, forcing me to conserve energy and get additional sleep, on my days off. Oh well, one day at a time!

Friday, April 12, 2013

McCreath won't run for Rhinoceros Party in Labrador Election

What started out as an intended April Fools joke, turned into a potential reality, when my approach to the Rhinoceros Party was met with open arms last month. While I initially contacted they about collaborating on an April Fools Joke, they misread my communication and though I was serious about running as a candidate.  While this was initially not my intent, given their warm welcome, I changed my mind and gave serious consideration to running.

However, I have determined that it would not be in my best interests at this time, to run.  First of all, as someone who is seriously considering a run at St. John's City Council later this year, I fear that a run for a seat which I do not live in, for a party with a mandate of mocking the political process, would cause me more harm than good, in terms of further developing my credibility as a potential politician.  Secondly, given that I have landed a new job within the Provincial Public Service, I would be forced to resign in order to run in a Federal Election, due to Conflict of Interest rules.  Unfortunately, I am clearly not in a good enough financial situation to be able to afford the luxury of quitting my day job, to take a run at an election seat, which quite frankly, I have practically no chance of winning.

Ultimately, I am flattered to have been considered by the Rhinoceros Party and openly thank them for their consideration and trust in me.

#nlpoli #cdnpoli

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Quick Update on New RNC Job!

Well, I survived day 1 on new job. It will take 3 months training til I am ready to do the actual job! mostly learn via job-shadowing others. great bunch of people on my team. the work itself will be stressful and the 12 hour night shifts won't be easy. but really pleased to have coworkers and managers who seem genuinely glad to have me there. no matter how long or short my time with the RNC lasts, I know it will add significant value to my portfolio of skills and my understanding of society in general. cautiously optimistic!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

March 2nd half - Running Stats 2013

3/16/13 sat 20.00
3/17/13 sun 23.00
3/18/13 mon 12.50
3/19/13 tues off
3/20/13 wed 4.00
3/21/13 thu off
3/22/13 fri off
3/23/13 sat 19.50
3/24/2013 sun 4.00
3/25/2013 mon off
3/26/2013 tues 2.50
3/27/2013 wed 4.00
3/28/2013 thur 4.00
3/29/2013 fri 6.50
3/30/2013 sat 12.00
3/31/2013 sun 14.00

278.9 km month
465.7 km year to date

Well, the long weekend in the middle of the month produced three consecutive strong runs, perhaps my best 3 day running span since 2009. the final stretch of the month full of emotional stress and anxiety surrounding the much-reported situations i faced at work. Unfortunately, this cost me a few runs. But overall, March 2013 will go down in the history books for me - the best month of running since December 2009, and the best month of running while concurrently juggling full time employment, since March 2009.

I am now down a net 25 pounds and have logged close to 500K. I have made significant progress towards my primary goal of getting back into shape. As I look forward to a new career in a stressful environment, with 24/7 shift work being a possibility, I fear that this may bring my Boston 2014 dreams to an end, but I will continue to run as much as I am capable.

Second Federal Political Party Backs McCreath's Potential Candidacy!

Well, I'm not sure if it is a sign or respect, desperation, or perhaps both, but in addition to the 2011 endorsement I received from the Animal Alliance Voters Party of Canada, I have now received official confirmation that the Rhinoceros Party of Canada would be thrilled to have me run as their candidate in the upcoming May 13, 2013 by-election for the riding of Labrador.

While in the end, I decided not to run in the 2011 Federal Election, and while it is only questionable if I will run in this upcoming Labrador election, I can't help but feel extremely flattered to have had both of these parties put their faith in me - a candidate who has a transsexual medical history.  Sadly, none of the three major political parties have ever run a candidate with a transsexual medical history, something I find sadly ironic, given how at least two of these parties have tabled supportive votes towards trans human rights legislation.

There are many pros and cons for me to run as a candidate in any election, regardless of how the party I represent may be doing in  the polls. Having trans presence in the political world is critically necessary, and has sadly, been lacking here all across Canada, save for one official run at office by a transwoman who ran in the most recent Ontario provincial election, in a losing effort.

What makes this Labrador opportunity interestingly unique, and potentially contentious, are that one, I do not live in the riding nor have I ever even been there, and two, the platform of the Rhinoceros Party is such that my association with them might prove to be a negative move for me, should I attempt to seek election with any other party, in the future.

But for now, I would like to formally thank both of these parties for taking that leap of faith and throwing their support behind me, knowing full well of the risks and stigma that may come with endorsing a trans candidate.  I have advised the Rhinos that I appreciate their endorsement, and I will give them an answer in the near future as to whether or not I will actually run.

Lack of Job Security affect Marathon Budget - McCreath cancels Halifax Trip!

Further to my last blog which spoke about cutting back luxury spending, this blog is to raise awareness to the lack of job security currently placed on all temporary employees of the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador's public service. The way the Collective Agreement with union NAPE, has been written, folks with less seniority can be 'bumped' by other employees. Even worse, they can be bumped out of their job with literally no notice.

While it is ironic that I am bumping someone else and will be starting a new short-term, indefinite temporary job on Thursday, at any given moment, I could be notified that I too am being bumped. I could literally start this new job on Thursday and be bumped out on Friday!  Not exactly the type of job security anyone really wants.

With this in mind, I am already starting to make drastic changes to my disposable income spending plans. I had intended to travel to Halifax, Nova Scotia next month to run in my 4th Halifax Bluenose Marathon in a span of 5 years, but sadly, this trip has to be cut. There's no way I can commit the cost of plane tickets, hotel, car rental, and race fees, when I could find myself unemployed on or before race day.

Yet another sad example of how those with no job security, must live day to day. Sad to think I spent all those years going to college and university so I wouldn't have to be stuck in a situation like this, but as I have learned only too well, when you have a transgender medical history, finding safe and secure employment that maximizes your earning potential, is next to impossible.

Government Cuts affect Running Budget - McCreath out of NLAA Flat Out 5K!

Well, with my demotion from Information Management Tech II to a Communications Tech, I have already started to make the financial adjustment. Sadly, this means cutting out some luxury spending. While I had hoped to register and run in the majority of road races that are organized and sanctioned by the Newfoundland and Labrador Athletic Association, this season, the cost of race registration and transportation to and from many of these races, have forced me to drastically scale down my participation. The first of these cuts will be my absence from the Flat Out 5K race, scheduled for April 14, 2013. It saddens me to miss this event - one which I have never run, but at the same time, I have to watch my pennies!

While let me be the first to say that the fees associated with these races are very reasonable, at the same time, I simply cannot justify paying $25 to run a 5k when I can run 5k for free any time I choose to put on my shoes and walk out my front door step.

This article is just another simple reminder that Government budget cuts will affect much more than just Government entities. There will be a trickle down affect where all employees affected by the layoffs and bumps, will have less disposable income.

Friday, April 5, 2013

McCreath moves from Crown Attorneys to Royal Newfoundland Constabulary!

Well, the layoff and bumping process over at the Newfoundland and Labrador's Department of Justice has finalized its affect on my employment, as I will be officially leaving the Crown Attorneys' Office on April 10, 2013 and starting a new job at the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary on April 11, 2013.  While this bump technically drops me down one notch on the pay scale, and puts me into shift work, it also opens the door for an exciting new opportunity to do some different type of work, and will expose me to many new people.  As someone who has a history of managing and embracing change, I look forward to this opportunity to continue my role as a public servant, and continue to live a life here in St. John's, the city I have now called home for 6 years and love so much!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

McCreath Dominates Typing Test!

Now that I have official notice that my position at Crown Attorneys office is being eliminated, I have started the process to invoke my 'bumping' rights. This is a process by which folks who have more seniority may bump less junior employees when lay offs occur.  While it is unlikely that I will be bumped over to a job identical to the one I had, there is a strong chance I will end up with an opportunity to bump someone at a slightly lower level.

I was given a strong indication that I am being considered for another spot today, as I was asked to provide proof of my typing credentials, by nature of taking a typing test. While I have never been employed directly in a role that required any particular level of typing speed or accuracy, I am pleased to announce that my test results demonstrated that my abilities are far above the benchmark expected in the typing industry.

I was advised that the job requirement was 45 words per minute with 95% accuracy; well, my test resulted in 64 words per minute with 97.5% accuracy - giving me what the tester said was 'one of the best results I have ever seen'.

It will be very interesting to see if I get a call tomorrow with a job offer! While the idea of being demoted to a typing clerk might not be ideal, I would welcome the opportunity to find myself in a new office, where I can meet new people, and make new positive impressions on them!

Monday, April 1, 2013

McCreath gives kudos to Jerome Kennedy

Ok folks, just want to make things perfectly clear, that while I may often harshly criticize politicians and political decisions, I hold absolutely nothing personal against any of them.  Jerome Kennedy has been a target for my criticism quite frequently over the years, but the one time I met him in person, we actually have a lovely conversation and I would consider him a good person.

Quite frankly, I admire him and his work ethic. He is a tough politician who makes tough decisions, but he does his job very well. Here's a video that I recorded earlier this evening in which I further discuss the dichotomy between politics and personal matters.

Here's a picture of me posing with my transgender flag, out front of Jerome's constituency office, yesterday, in Carbonear, NL.

Do I still work here? contract confusion!

Well, it was probably the most bizarre employment situation I have ever seen. my contract expired yesterday and was not renewed or extended, yet I was also not notified that it wouldn't be extended or renewed.  Hence, I went into my office this morning not knowing whether or not I still worked there.

To make the story even more bizarre, my boss said she didn't know whether or not I still worked there either!  I made it quite clear that while I did not want to cause any trouble, I did not feel comfortable doing work or being in the building until I knew what the status was.

Unfortunately, union reps didn't seem to know either. I emailed two different NAPE union reps and got different answers from each one!  I called Department of Justice Human Resources and they indicated they would send someone down to meet with me and to 'sit tight' that's what I did.

When HR arrived, they presented me with a letter with today's date indicating that my 'temp assignment' had terminated immediately, but that I had bumping rights, as per union agreement, and that I had 10 calendar days notice to invoke said rights. the letter also stated that i was required to attend work on these 10 calendar days. a statement that conflicts with my understanding of the Federal Labour Laws, which specifically state that one is entitled to either two weeks notice prior to termination of contract, or two weeks pay in lieu of notice.

Bottom line, I don't want to be a goat here. I'd rather be a hero and leave on good terms. There is also lack of clarity with regards to the 'recall' provisions of the Collective Agreement. One could argue that while my temp assignment expired yesterday, I was deemed 'recalled to work' today, and for the duration of the next 10 days.

Furthermore, I don't want to get myself into a situation where it is perceived that I am being difficult, or that I do not want to work. Bottom line, there's 8 more business days of employment here, and it would not look good on me to turn that down. So I will indeed be reporting to work and will work my heart and soul out, as I always do, until April 10.

Whether I decide to pursue legal action against the employer and/or the NAPE union, is something I will definitely look into.

Meanwhile, as the confusion continued to unfold, I called into local radio station VOCM, to chat on Open Line, perhaps the provinces' best-known radio show, where I talked about my disappointment over the way employees have been treated here.

Honestly, this entire situation disgusts me.