Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Pringle's Wandering Bison

Much of this has been dealt with in previous blogs; but maybe not with such a sardonic tone...

I've been looking for a new job. I might have mentioned this. So far I've been lucky. There have been 3 jobs that I have deemed worthy of me doing; or to put it a different way, after 6 weeks of searching the papers and on-line, I've managed to find 3 jobs that I've felt confident about applying for.

The first one seemed like a shoo-in. Not only was it similar to what I'd been doing for the last year, it was actually being advertised as a position where male applicants would be considered more desirable. I knocked together a stonking application; spoke to the right people, included the right phrases and was pretty sure they couldn't not give me an interview.

Then I heard... nothing. About 10 days after hearing nothing, one of the 'right people' I spoke to for guidance informed me that the position and the organisation behind the position had effectively been hit by the cuts and they weren't looking for a new member of staff, the five existing members of staff were now looking for new jobs!

Job #2 was one of those jobs that I could do with my eyes shut and one hand tied behind my back. Having worked with the organisation advertising on a number of occasions and having been told by one of their senior managers that I should consider applying for one of their team leader positions when it arose, I figured I was a shoo-in for an interview, at least.

Then I discovered that I couldn't actually get their application form to load, so I wrote a detailed covering letter and sent it with my updated CV to the HR department. I believe I've told you that the said HR department were as useful as a chocolate teapot and subsequently my application, written into a template for an operating system that very few people have and I was not aware that openoffice.org would have let me do the necessary there, was like the remains of a psychopath's fun with an axe, a blender and an idiotic victim. I basically realised the only way I would have got an interview for this job was if people had died.

Then I learned from someone I know that the job effectively never existed. It had already been filled and my gut feeling that I was just going through an equal ops exercise was confirmed. The application pack, being in Microsoft Excel and not compatible with either my spreadsheet software or work's Office 2007 software, was a mixture of bizarre and off-putting. I was beginning to think that getting another job was going to be impossible and, to be fair, it might just prove to be that.

However, the fates seemed to be against me with job #3. Where I'd done everything possible to fall in line with jobs #1 and #2, produced excellent copy for my applications, even if one of them looked like a dog's dinner, #3 was no where near as smooth.

I saw the job in the paper the Thursday before last. Thought that I could do it, but also figured that it was probably way beyond my capabilities. I told the wife that I was going to apply for it and promptly forgot. Last Tuesday she asked me if I'd done anything about it and I said that I hadn't, but figured that perhaps I should, to which she said she had better see if she could retrieve it from the rabbit's hutch as she's used it on Sunday and hopefully it wouldn't be piss stained and unreadable. Fortunately for me, she did and it was readable.

I was at a prison last Wednesday, sitting in the car park waiting for my time slot when I figured what the hell, I might as well phone up and speak to the HR woman about this job and subsequently I ended up taking a tour of the establishment where the job is situated; as explained in a blog entry from last week.

What I didn't say was that the tour of Northampton Academy I took was an informal view of the place for potential candidates for the job I was inquiring about and that while it was 'informal' I was the only person on this tour that looked like a tramp. I had jeans and a sweatshirt on, a pair of grubby trainers and a Berghaus jacket that essentially needs a good boil wash. It wasn't until after the visit that I realised that I really looked like someone who wasn't that bothered by the job. I also had to get the application form in to them by Friday lunchtime and I hadn't even downloaded the thing from their website. It was all looking a bit bleak and I'd virtually decided that I didn't even stand a chance of getting an interview so I might as well not bother.

However, the wife wanted me to apply, so I spent much of last Thursday night, coughing and sneezing and struggling to get the application forms to format in my crappy Word alternative called Microsoft Works - or in this case Microsoft Doesn't Works. I filled the application out, saw that there was about a dozen formatting errors, couldn't put half the information I wanted to without it falling apart and ended up writing a covering letter apologising for the bad layouts and the fact that I had to include one of the sections as an addendum on a extra sheet of paper.

I woke up Friday morning feeling like several variations of pooh, banging headache, chesty cough, painful, sweaty and obviously running a temperature. managed to does myself up with Lemsips and ibuprofen and dropped the dreadful application form into the hands of the school's receptionist at 12.55, with about 5 minutes to spare and figured that would be the last I would see or hear of the job.

You can guess what's coming, can't you?

The interview is Friday at 2pm. They have already asked if they can approach my referees, who have both sent excellent references on my behalf, and while I really don't think I'm there for more than just to make up the numbers; I must have said some things in my application that has given me a fighting chance of being considered; after all, why else ask for references, if I really am just there to make up the numbers?

Do I want the job? I don't know. I do know that I can bring a fresh perspective to the position, which I will talk about a little more next week, and I have expertise in some areas that other applicants maybe don't have, which in turn promotes the first point. I just have to be able to do well at the interview; articulate myself; do my homework - which I have started to do already - and maybe make myself a bit more luck; after all, lots of things conspired to prevent me from applying, yet I managed to and now I have an interview, so I'm hoping that's not all my good fortune used up to get this far.

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