Saturday, 23 June 2007

Gosh! It's all going WRONG!

Well. What can I tell you?

The data entry position at the West Bromwich warehouse finished very abruptly. I got a call last Tuesday morning telling me not to bother going in again. The work is there, but the money to fund the temps isn't.

I went up to the college, reprinted my cv and applied for a couple of jobs on the reed.co.uk web site before visiting CareerProspects, Reed, Brook Street and registering with Tudor in Walsall.

I've applied for a night shift position at Sainsbury's which I doubt I'll hear from and a part time evening position at a new Tesco that's opening up in Willenhall.

There was an open weekend in Wednesbury for the Tesco recruitment drive. I got lost. When we got there, we were given a short PowerPoint presentation by the prospective management team, shown a video and had a quick question and answer session before being queued past the table with the application forms and shown out the emergency exit.

The Willenhall superstore is still being built. There have been two major arson attacks on it so far (what, the minor ones don't count?) but the management team were remaining resolutely upbeat. I filled in the form and corrected the spelling mistakes along the way. There are two 'b's and one 'r' in Caribbean, not two 'r's and one 'b'. C a r i b b e a n not carribean.

Well, if that doesn't prove my attention to detail, nothing will.

I've applied to Severn Trent for a position as a Waste Water Analyst, I've applied to the Tipton & Coseley Building Society for a Saturday morning position and to Laura Ashley who are opening a new store in Bentley Bridge.

I rang Reed Scientific and they told how to write a new "science oriented" cv. I sent it off to them. They'll let me know as soon as Luana gets back from her holiday. Luana lives in Wolverhampton and works in Birmingham, she knows the area best. I'm not holding my breath.

I've had to shut down my mini cash ISA - the last £600 goes into my current account next Tuesday and I've written off for and printed a cracking load of application forms for everything from a Library Assistant in a college to Customer Service Advisor for a social housing company.

I'm trying to wring as much value as I can out of the college facilities before they close for the summer. I've got about two weeks left. The printouts are cheaper at 6p an A4 page instead of 10p a page here at the local library.

Fear of losing my house is causing this very productive outburst as is the fact that now I'm not working full time (ha, I'm not working at all) I have the time to ramp up my job application output.

I spent most of last week with a grand total of £4 in both current acounts (Nationwide for bills and HSBC for general) counting on yesterday's pay and next Friday's pay to see me out of June. Fat chance. Next Friday's pay will consist of less than £50.

To try and get a bit more mobile, I went to Birmingham city centre on Wednesday to change my tram card (£44) for a Birmingham and Black Country Faresaver (£42.50). I went to the Centro office at New Street Station and was told to go to the Travel West Midlands office in the Pavilions shopping centre.

There I was told that I couldn't downgrade.

If I wanted a Birmingham and Black Country Faresaver then I would have to go to the agent who sold me the ticket, see if he would give me a refund and then buy a Faresaver.

See if he'd give me a refund?

There was no guarantee that he would.

But I was at the "head office". Couldn't they do it?

No. They didn't sell me the Metro card and they couldn't downgrade.

So I had to upgrade. I now have a Regional Travelcard which covers all the way to Coventry. And they quibbled when I handed over my debit card for a £2.50 transaction. I have so little money in my account, that I wasn't able to draw cash from my account.

All this and my Dad and Middle Brother are showing up on Monday for a couple of days work on the house. They're probably leaving on Wednesday. Maybe.

Great. That'll really help me be more productive. Dust, dirt, cooking, cleaning, washing up, errand running - I can see it now.

Will I find more temp work? Will I hear from any of the places I've applied to? Will Dad survive without being strangled?

Tune in next week and find out.

Monday, 4 June 2007

No joy

Nope. None.

The job interview (Friday 25th May 2007) was a nightmare. Made worse by the fact that I told my family about it. The interview was in a West London college and getting there meant passing through Shepherd's Bush. Naturally, Dad wanted to see me. Before and after the event. No pressure there then.

The interview was awful. In an effort to keep the interviews fair, it has become quite normal for interviews to be scripted. Everyone gets the same questions and the different answers are noted on separate forms for each candidate.

The interview panel read the scripts as if they'd never seen them before. The questions were nothing like what I had expected and the panel seemed to be going through the motions as if they'd met the perfect candidate and were just interviewing me out of politeness. They also seemed the kind of questions which suggested they hadn't read my application form.

If I had any experience dealing with 16-19 year olds do you not think I would have put it down on the application form?

On my way out of the building, the HR lady told me that I'd be getting an expenses claim sheet with my notification. I thanked her, it was unexpected.

On my way back, I stopped by at Dad's and he told me that he was coming up with me the following day. Um, no Dad I've got to go home today.

Married Brother with Kids took me to the local tube station. It was a very hot day and I was sweating hard.

I left my house at 06:45 and got back at 22:15. It was freezing up here. Dad had already left two messages on the ansaphone.

The following day I

went shopping for Dad staying a couple of days

went to the local library for the computer session and cut it short drastically

dusted, tidied and vacuumed and basically did all the housework that I'd neglected over the past few months or so

and Dad arrived just as I was sweeping more dust out of yet another corner.

The DIY was a disaster.

The finish plaster that has been sitting in sealed bags in the front room for the better part of 2 years had gone off. For those who don't know what that means, once the plaster gets wet it starts to set. Fresh plaster has a working time of about - oooh say - three quarters of an hour. This allows the plasterer to mix the powder, work it onto the walls and finally smooth it off so that the wall is smooth and the plaster can set evenly across the wall. Once it gets too old and left exposed to air, the working time gradually reduces until finally it sets so fast that it's impossible to work it onto the walls.

He managed to bond one wall in the front room (bonding is a rough, thick layer which, with a layer of PVA, bonds any loose plaster to the walls, evens the wall off and provides a key for the final, smooth finish) but he wasn't able to manage a quarter of the wall with the finish. It set like rock onto the board he poured out onto and he had to break it out of the mixing bucket.

He went out and examined the garden with the incomplete fence. He measured the middle bedroom after 10 square metres of laminate flooring was over delivered to a job he was doing (it is 12 square metres not including the cupboard) and decided that staying till Tuesday was a bad idea. So I called National Express and rearranged his ticket with them so he went home on Monday morning instead. He also gave me £50.

That's embarrassing. My Dad needs the money as much as me if not more so and he won't take it back or take no for an answer. I paid the money into my Nationwide account.

I went to the cinema and bought a Student ticket to see Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Three and a half arse numbing, bladder straining hours later the film finally rolled its last. And you have to stick right to the very end to see the end of the film. Past "No animals were hurt during the making of this movie", past "proudly filmed in Technicolor" past all that and then you see the end of the film. And it's been set up so that there could be a 4th.

Nope. Keira Knightly is still a plank. Johnny Depp is still doing a remarkable impression of Tommy Cooper and the unfeasible plot needs to be followed closely to watch deal, cross, double cross and triple cross.

The money is running out. I've got 2 months worth left in my savings and that's if I remain working solidly for the next 2 months. I need to find a job before the end of July. My savings and temp work will take me to the end of August. Then I'm fucked.

I'm watching pennies and going to Tesco and Sainsbury's about the time they start to reduce stuff. I've gained weight as the reduced stuff includes pastries, cookies and pizza. Now and again there's some browned salad or squashed fruit, but that's fairly rare.

Last Friday, the washing machine repair man called round and fixed the machine. Temporarily. The first wash went like a dream, the second wash ran while I was out and the third wash sounded like a pneumatic drill kicking off. The cement block at the front is shearing off the plastic it's bolted onto and it looks as if it's going to be a running repair thing.

I also got the rejection letter from the West London College. Sure enough when I rang for feedback they had found someone who had more relevant experience and I seemed to be phased by the questions. I also didn't seem to make much reference to The Big E. Well, I said, much of my work experience there didn't seem, well, relevant. She wished me luck in my job hunt and expected to see my expenses claim soon. I thanked her.

I got my hair cut on Saturday. I was conned into getting a "relaxing treatment" which bumped £6.50 onto the bill. £38.50 for a wash, cut and blow dry. Hmmmn. Looks like I'm going back to the college salon again. Pity. The college is cheap but the quality of the cuts can be hit and miss.

I've soooooo stressed myself out over the money and jobs thing that I didn't get out of bed until 3pm yesterday. I've landed myself with a stress induced migraine that really hasn't started to lift. I had to call in sick to Reed, lose a day's pay and even though the pain won't have completely eased off by tomorrow, I'll have to go in. I can't afford to lose too much money.