Wednesday, 26 September 2007

FOR THE ATTENTION OF BUTTON GINGER

Dear Button

Re: ADMINISTRATOR - DATA MANAGEMENT

Further to the conditional offer of employment made to you, subject to satisfactory references, CRB check and pre-employment medical information I confirm we have now received the above information.

After careful consideration we are regretfully withdrawing the conditional offer of employment made on 14th August 2007. This takes into account the potential aggravation that the role might make upon your wrists, the past sickness and absence record provided by you at our meeting and the report received from your medical assessment.

I wish you all the very best for the future

Chief Executive.

Thanks, I'll need it.

So, if I'd kept my mouth shut, I'd have a job by now.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

Hope. False?

Today I had an assessment in the new Stoke on Trent postal sorting office for an MDEC operator position and I registered in Birmingham for a job in Edgbaston.

Reed Stoke on Trent have been contracted to find 555 Royal Mail MDEC temps for Christmas.

No. No one could tell me what MDEC (EM - DECK) stood for either.

The new Royal Mail building looks like one of those giant warehouse/shed things in the middle of a dedicated car park on a desolate and windswept business park that the local transport authority has only just started running buses through.

Bleak is an understatement.

As I had no idea about where this place was in relation to the train station, I got a taxi. It really is MILES out of Hanley town centre.

Once inside, the place was just like any other similar shed. Cardboard walls, high traffic, corporate carpet tiles and magnolia. Magnolia paint and magnolia, plastic coated, high resistance wallpaper everywhere.

There were a series of small computer training and conference rooms up on the first floor all named after different types of pottery. Etruria, Wedgwood, Minton, Doulton and so on.

While it's a fine idea to recognise the rich heritage of "The Potteries" region, why in here? It's the Royal Mail and nothing to do with china at all.

I arrived as one of the last candidates and we were led into "Minton". It was a medium sized, conference room with a computer presentation set up ready to go. There were about 16 desks, the lights were already dim and I got the clear impression that they had been waiting for us before they started.

We were shown an out of date PowerPoint presentation. The wages were wrong. So was the location. And the number of temps required. And the shift patterns were different now.

This was well organised. Not.

The presentation gave us an idea about the work involved and the test we were about to do. The handouts we were given were also handy. When in training we were expected to achieve 400 tasks per hour. By the end, after training we were expected to achieve over 900 tasks per hour. There were nervous laughs from the audience.

The awkward part came afterwards.

I had applied on-line through the reed.co.uk website, got e-mailed and rung up by Reed staff and rang back to check the requirements and I duly I showed up with proof of ID (passport), proof of NI number (P45), proof of address (bills) and my bank details.

I was mortified to be asked for my photos (?) and my cv.

When you're stuck in a conference room filled with desks and there are people sitting two or three to a desk handing over the required documents, it's embarrassing to have to say say "I didn't know, I wasn't told to bring those." when everyone else clearly had been.

They were quite nice about it and told me I could send it to them later - although they pointed out they they had told "everyone" what to bring.

Not quite everyone.

We were led along corridors to a vast open plan office and were seated at different desks. There were a couple of bods helping out with the IT. There were problems with some of the computers.

Again. An organisation thing. Would it have killed them to just try logging on to the computers that were going to be used before we arrived?

There was a test which was supposed to last for about ten minutes. It consisted of a series of scanned envelope images flashing up on the screen and the test was whether we had to tap the post code, the county or the city name into the computer. A series of codes highlighted down the side of the screen even told us what to put in.

The hardest part was trying to decipher the handwriting made less legible by the scanning process.

Before everyone else had finished, my test stopped.

I put my hand up and asked about why my test had stopped. I was brightly told that I had finished it, that's why.

983 tasks per hour. I completed the test so quickly it only took 6 minutes and 6 seconds. With a 99% accuracy rate.

After the West Bromwich warehouse job, that task was easy.

The girl who handed me yet more forms to fill in even thanked me for pronouncing her name correctly (it was Scottish) and I could send in a cv and two passport photos as soon as possible.

I finished the form filling. I filled in a small piece of paper that was clearly going to be an ID badge (that's what the photos are for), filled in my preferences for shifts and left leaving my Visitor's pass at the front desk.

On my way back I tried the bus route. There was close to a half an hour wait for the bus back to the bus station and another bus ride back to the train station and the university.

The registration was the usual thing.

Saturday, 22 September 2007

A wedding. And relatives. And photos. And cake.

The wedding


The wedding was lovely. The church was beautiful, the weather was lovely and warm, the bride was gorgeous (a maternal and paternal first cousin), the groom was embroidered and the service let down by a sudden loss of power to the microphones.

Stuck towards the back of the church, there was no way of hearing what was being said over the din of screeching children.

The were dozens of babies and toddlers who just didn't want to sit or stay still in the summery heat and who protested loudly when told to sit or stay still.

As well as Cute Nephew and Cute Niece, there were all the little second cousins and the children of more distant relatives and friends of the bride and groom.

One cousin of mine is a full-time working mother with five (count them, FIVE) children, all of whom are under ten. Their tempraments couldn't be more different. She was happy to see them all together for the first time in a few weeks, as their house is undergoing major building work and she has had to farm them out to other relatives while the work is going on.

As well as a small 'babe in arms', there are four toddlers with one of the smallest also being the boldest. A total contrast to his brothers (yep, five boys) he wandered up and down the main aisle with a cheeky grin on his face. His mother's frantic stage whispers went apparently unheeded as he took great delight winding her up like a clock.

The church was by the riverside and the lychgate led directly to the river side path. The path was no more than five feet across before there was a sudden drop into the water. Every available adult was on "kiddie alert", herding small children away from the gate regardless of whether they were known to each other or not.

The were no gates by the side of the church which was on a busy main road. That had its moments.

There was once a time when I was quite the David Bailey. One Christmas, in a rash moment I spent £200 on a Canon camera. Not an SLR model, but it had a zoom lens, macro mode, frame retention for trick 'picture over picture' shots, a variable flash and a nice little gimmick where the camera can read the type of film, so that the user doesn't have to remember to set the camera to suit the film. I wouldn't lose all my photos if I had overexposed say, a 400 film with a 100 setting, for example.

It was top of the domestic range and relatively state of the art for its time. It took (takes) very nice photos. However, that was what, the late eighties? It is the size of a breeze block compared to the miniature digital cameras that are out there. And what, a maximum of 36 pictures before I change the film? And what's going on with the battery - it's so big and bizarrely shaped that it could pass for a small novelty camera? And the noise of it. The wheezing noise it makes as the lens zooms in and out, the motor winding on the film after the shutter clicks and the noise of the flash charging up before it goes off. Jesus. It was embarrassing.

I got a number of people telling me to allow to get stolen. The robber could easily mistake it for a video camera. I could claim on the insurance then.


The Reception

The reception was at a local riverside hotel with a fusion restaurant which served up Chinese, Thai and English cuisine. Usually that's not a good move with nothing being done well, but the staff knew what they were doing and the buffet was really good. Relatively well labelled, although someone let a prawn fall into the peanut satay and I went round with a hot red rash across my face for the rest of the evening.

Here's a tip...

Never let the kids play hide and seek without a grown up involved

The Bold Little Man decided to hide really, really well.

He walked into the service corridor that was being used by the waiting staff between the kitchen and the main room, found a room closed for refurbishment, found a flight of stairs up and hid behind a fire extinguisher at the top of the stairs.

He couldn't be found and the other children started to ask around for him. His mother went mental.

She went round the room, then went out the back door out to the car park, followed the path round to the busy main road to the bridge and ran up to the bridge. The bridge had a balustrade arrangement which the Bold Little Man could have fitted through. There was a long drop down into the River Thames. There were also paths which led down to both sides of the river. Then she went hysterical.

MwK meanwhile, knowing how little boys think, stayed inside the hotel to look for the BLM. After all, the children were given strict orders by all the parents and relatives not to go beyond the car park. And, thanks to the smoking ban there was always at least two people outside on the verandah effectively keeping guard. And the children had been very good up until then.

MwK went down the service corridor, found the room closed for refurbishment and the stair case and saw a little lemon yellow head peeping out from behind the fire extinguisher.

He brought the Bold Little Man into the main room just as the DJ started to announce the very serious news that a small child had gone missing.

After Supermum and the BLM were reunited, the rest of the evening was punctuated with piercing, whistling shrieks from the BLM protesting as his Mum kept a white knuckle grip on his baby reins which she just happened to have with her.

The speeches were restrained and there were the obligatory embarassing stories and photographs. Back in the eighties, the groom (now totally bald) had hair and a dodgy perm. The Best Man borrowed a school photo and had it enlarged so that everybody could see.

The first dance was "Stand By Me" by Ben E. King which everyone thought was cute. The dancing was fun. A lot of mothers and children were dancing to Dancing Queen by Abba and someone threw a handbag into the middle of the dancefloor so that we could dance around it. In an ironic, post-modern sort of way. Of course.

I went off to find the amazing disappearing cousin with the photographs. Not outside, not in the main room, not in the toilets. In the bar.

Of course.

She was sitting with a collection of other cousins including a stunning blonde in a strapless blue, lacy, fifties style prom dress. She was thirteen. And that was her Confirmation dress. She didn't look thirteen.


Photos, photos, everywhere.......


We all sat round a table and saw the photos.

Old black and white ones from the forties, fifties and sixties, colour ones from the early sixties when a cousin came back from America to see the family "back home" and someone brought out a prized camera to record the event, old sepia tinted photos from "Frank W Clark of Ilford and Forest Gate Electric and Daylight Studios" from the very early days of studio photography and the ones she took at the funeral of Pathetic Aunt.

She let me keep the one she took of me at the funeral. Thank God. It'll never see the light of day again. I really don't have a jawline at all. My chin disappears into a kind of big neck.

The posed studio portraits were English. Photographer Cousin had found English links to a Prescott family who had a bit of money back in the 1800s.


Cousin with the camera is the Genealogy Nut of the family. She is trying to trace the family tree. It's a tough task. The Easter Uprising of 1916 meant a lot of records held in the national archive at the GPO building were lost in the fighting.

So if you're Irish, you've got to do it "old school". Asking the remaining relatives and looking at the local registers works only to a point. After that, you've got to trail the island looking for the birthplace of this dead relative or the headstone of that dead relative.

Her goal is to have a family tree with a little picture of everyone. That's tough going when you come from a poor family and cameras were only for "special". She was also faced with the unenviable task of looking through cupboards, drawers, boxes, packets and envelopes for photographs and identifying who was in them.

These are a few quick reminders for all the photographers out there.

1. ALWAYS LABEL YOUR PHOTOGRAPHS SO THAT PEOPLE WILL KNOW WHO THEY ARE OF AFTER YOU'RE NOT AROUND TO IDENTIFY THEM!

If you're showing family photos to someone who isn't family, then the conversation becomes one long "Oh, that's my cousin, she's the mother of David, you know, he's the one you saw diving with sharks in South Africa, no not him, that's the other David - he's the one diving with sharks in Australia his mother isn't a cousin, she's an aunt that David is a cousin..........".

It doesn't matter who they are of, or how extraordinary they are or how phenomenal their achievements are - after a while they become a long blur of shiny, out of focus people in various poses in out of date clothes.

The labels on the few that that she brought with her made no sense. "The three of us after the fair out past Dunholme Farm" makes little sense to us now. Even less when you look at the photograph to see four teenagers from the 1950s sitting on a dry stone wall. Even less when you realise number five must have been taking the picture.

2. Digital or Film. Get at least one hard copy and keep the negatives or memory cards separate from the photos.

This should be fairly self explanatory, but a lot of people don't get it.

Without hard copies, if the negatives or memory cards are lost or destroyed, then you've got nothing at all. At least with (labelled) photographs you got something left. You can even get more copies from the photo you've got.

Keep them separate so that if something bad does happen to one of them then you've got the other.



There were a lot of photos of headstones. A lot. Including the one she fell over as a child and nearly died of fright when she saw her name on the stone. Button Ginger. Died 1959. I had to agree with her. It's disconcerting finding out there was someone with the same name as you but you'll never meet them.

I told them of the time I got a letter printed in the Birmingham Evening Mail. It was a letter about the Big E and whether the readership was aware of the Government plans to privatise it. I was thrilled that I'd managed to get something of national importance into a local paper. Then I looked in the obituaries pages. There she was - Mrs Button Ginger died 89 years old. Pure coincidence but unnerving.

The headstone was cut from an unusual red granite. We worked out from the family tree what kind of relative she was to us and someone pointed out my red hair. "You can see the family resemblance!"

It was so late in the evening and some were so drunk, that that crack was actually laughed at.


.......and lots of cake to eat!

The cake was lovely.

There was a lot of cake. The groom explained that he and his fiancee went to see a specialist cake baker who plied them with sample cakes. There was cheesecake (lemon, lime, toffee and chocolate) which left the groom dribbling on the table and there were samples for the wedding cake itself.

As they both had different preferences and they knew a large number of us had different likes, dislikes and allergies (nuts, alcohol etc), they had different cakes made for the three different tiers.

An old fashioned, rich (but alcohol and marzipan free) fruit layer, a chocolate and buttercream layer and a jam sponge layer. All covered in white royal icing with silver decorations.

And there was cheesecake. Toffee as well as lime. We all had little tastes of each others' cakes. I had toffee, but the lime was beautiful. The chocolate and buttercream was fabby but so was the sponge layer. As there was little by way of alcohol keeping the fruit layer together, people ended up scooping up little lumps of it from a big pile of crumbs. It completely disintegrated when the bride and groom tried to cut it.

And this being a predominantly Irish gathering, there was booze. The pre paid bar was free for most of the evening, although a lot of people were driving and a few couldn't drink for health reasons.

Kid Brother, his wife, Cute Niece and her mother and I went home in the KB's car. We had a long wait ensuring everyone had said goodbye to everyone and had gone to the toilet and had a last cigarette before wrestling the child seat out of MwK's car and into the back of KB's car.

As we tried to join the M25, we were stumped to see workmen carefully laying out the cones on the slip road joining the motorway. We had to go the very long and unfamiliar way round to get home.

Cute Niece had to have her head supported as she nodded off and slumped forwards. Now that's a little girl after my own heart. Her mum couldn't believe the difference between the journey out and the journey back. The two Cuties keep squirrelling at each other and picking fights. The journey home was nearly silent.

Al in all, it had been a nice day.

It was only when I was heaving my bulk out of the back of the car and I glimpsed my souvenir from the day in my open handbag that the question formed.

Who the fuck brings two cameras to a funeral?

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Resigned to my fate

Now I've accepted that I'm not getting the job I've been offered, I can get on and look for work.

Only trouble is, there isn't much out there that

a. I can do

b. Will pay me enough to keep the roof over my head

and

c. I actually want to do.

I'm desperate, but not so desperate that I'll apply to be a mobile handset sales consultant at Merry Hill (£5.52 ph) or a Laboratory Attendant in Tamworth (£12,000 pa).

Today I've

tidied paperwork that I don't need, filed paperwork I do need, disinfected the bin after the binmen came, returned my library books, posted a spent battery to the Sainsbury's recycling scheme, paid £2 in coppers into my Nationwide account, applied for a Laboratory Technician post in West Bromwich, arranged an assessment for a data entry keyer position for the Royal Mail and tonight, I'll be going to college for the first of my ECDL classes.

There's nothing like keeping busy.

Monday, 17 September 2007

I've got a bad feeling about this

I didn't get the job I was interviewed for last Wednesday. Surprise.

The job I have been offered seems to be slipping away.

My prior sick record is poor. Even though over the past year my sick record looks like anyone else's, the pre-exisiting conditions thing hamstrings me every time.

At the meeting @ 13:30, I met the Chief Executive.

It was like being interviewed again for the same job. They kept picking away at the painful joints thing.

I also showed them the test and assessment results from the Sandwell Test Centre which showed high marks for accuracy, verbal comprehension and numeracy. Although impressed, the Human Resources lady wasn't impressed enough to photocopy that one.

Although they were really nice and I could prove that my sickness record has improved over the past year, I really think they are going to withdraw the offer.

Two references are a non-starter. One lot won't give references to temporary agency staff and the other lot have scattered after being taken over by another company. The people I used to work with just don't seem to be there anymore.

Horoscope

Aquarius

WE SHOULD be grateful for our moments of weakness. They lead to our times of greatest strength. They teach us the lessons we can learn in no other way. They open our eyes and touch our hearts. When we feel fine, we rarely stop to question anything. Yet, when things are seemingly going wrong, we have to do a lot of soul-searching. Somewhere in this process, we make discoveries that later turn out to be priceless. You have been forced to do a lot of thinking. Soon you will be glad of this.

Thursday, 13 September 2007

Great. More good news.

Still kicking myself over the interview, yesterday, I received a letter from the people who offered me a job.

Actually, it was a photocopy of the doctor's medical report with a compliments slip and a brief note that said

"Meeting Monday 17.0.07 @ 1.30pm"
Absolutely terrific.
The medical report made painful reading.
Dear HR Bod
RE Ms BUTTON GINGER
This is a note to confirm that I interviewed and examined the above lady for pre-employment purposes on the 6th September 2007.
She presents with a history of the following notable ailments.
1. A long history of Asthma for which she has been prescribed appropriate medication.
2. A 7 year history of proneness to Depression for which again she has been prescribed appropriate medication.
3. Dyslexia which she assures me she accommodates for successfully.
4. A proneness to painful joints particularly her wrists and her elbows for which she takes and anti-inflammatory agent.
In spite of the above she reassures me that she has essentially a good sickness record.
Physical examination was overall satisfactory apart from finding her overweight for her age, height and frame size. She had good mobility and agility and there was no sign of gross disease in the joints of her upper limbs. Throughout the interview she spoke sanely and intelligently and displayed no sign of mental disorder which is encouraging.
To summarise whilst this lady's past medical history is a cause for concern she does appear to be overall in reasonable health and fit for employment. You will of course monitor her sickness absence record and I would suggest that if problems do develop that she is referred to me earlier rather than later. Hopefully this will not be necessary.
Lastly she is aware that when involved in periods of prolonged keyboard inputting that she should take regular breaks.
I hope this report is of value to you but if you have any queries regarding its content please do not hesitate to contact me.
Yours sincerely
DR. BOD
I spoke sanely and intelligently?
Patronising bastard.

Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Nope. Not this one either

At approximately 2am this morning, I was woken to the sound of someone knocking on the front door.

As my front door sits next to next door's front door, it sounded as if it were my front door that was being tapped.

I went downstairs to find the tenant of the house next door locked out of her house and clearly thinking someone was in.

She carried on knocking. Then banging. Then shouting and banging. Then kicking.

Then it went quiet until the front door was opened after she'd collected her mother from her house to let her in.

Then there was a lound "discussion" about "responsibility" and "getting real" and how she should "get her life sorted".

This carried on till about 5am. Only then, I nodded off.

At approximately 9am, I was in Birmingham for an interview - so tired that I just wasn't thinking straight.

The preparation I did went straight out of my head, some of the answers I gave the interviewers were just laughable and I just looked and sounded like a giddy, disorganised, girly ditz without a fucking clue.

The interview went as ok as it could have done - but again, it was 1 vs 3, the questions were weird ("What story in the media has changed the behaviour of the community around me?") and I was questioned about my depression. At some length.

I did my best, I really did. I made the chairman laugh a few times with my answers, I tried to speak in whole sentences and I stayed awake for the whole thing. I really did.

But I don't think it went very well at all. Especially when they kept picking at the depression angle.

I nodded on the tram home and I came home to find an Anti-Social Behaviour Incident Diary on the doorstep.

The first incident recorded in the diary was how the next door neighbour woke me up.

As the diary was supposed to be all about the neighbours in the next street whose garden abutts mine (you know, the family that reigns supreme), I'm sure there's someone who's going to be getting back to me when I return the diary.

Tuesday, 11 September 2007

I smell

My head has been itching severely for some time. I've even managed to draw blood.

I've ruled out lice - I regularly comb my hair with a lice comb and, quite frankly, I don't come into close enough contact with people to catch lice.

So.

If it's not lice, then my dandruff must be turning malignant. I went to Boots, and, with a guilty heart spent some of the money Dad gave me on stuff.

My knicker department has been itching like crazy too. It must be the cheap detergents I've been buying whilst I've been unemployed.

Canestan and a small bottle of Polytar coal tar medicated scalp cleanser.

And it works.

The trouble is it smells,


like,



like,



well, tar.


And it carries on reeking long after I've rinsed off.

Now, wherever I am, I'm followed by the faint whiff of roadworks.

It followed me to JobChange where I photocopied my passport for an interview tomorrow and to the computer banks where I looked for a job on-line and accessed my e-mails.

What is it with spam? I don't want a Rolex, don't want to meet "hot girls", and really, really don't want to order pharmaceuticals on-line from dodgy Mexican web sites. but can I get a spam filter to understand this?

No. I cannot.

I am really, really, getting annoyed.

Monday, 10 September 2007

I did it!

I enrolled at college.

They don't keep the pictures from the last enrolment, so I had to have my digipic taken again for the ID card that dangles from a lanyard round everyone's neck.

Last year, I was a STUDENT, this year, I'm a LEARNER. The STAFF are still STAFF.

I paid £13. And felt guilty. Although with still no start date for the job, that guilt may well fade soon.

When I got home, I called Birmingham City Council about why I still hadn't heard from them about the money they owed my uncle.

I got put through to the right section eventually and the lady said she'd call me back after she'd found the file.

She called back.

The process is taking sooooooo long as soooooooo much money is owed. The amount (about £2000 more than I'd calculated) had to be checked, re-checked and authorised before a cheque was sent out.

Okay then.

Friday, 7 September 2007

Places to go, people to see

I lay in.

After checking in at JobChange for the e-mails and and the on-line job search, I strolled out to the college to enrol.

The main hall was a sub-divided rabbit warren of desks and partitions with the different disciplines all in their own little cubby corner.

I signed up, spoke to the ladies in IT and filled in the enrolment form.

Then I was directed to the canteen, there the queue for payment snaked across the hall three times over.

I did not have time for that. I had to sign on.

After checking with an assistant that I could enrol tomorrow or Monday, I rushed off to the JobCentrePlus for my 14:30 signing on slot.

It was on my way there that I realised I'd forgotten my signing on book. This little booklet is crucial. It gives the day, time and rotation code to the benefits people who are then able to find the signing on sheet for each "customer".

I did, however, have proof of benefits and my passport for the college enrolment, so when I got to the JobCentre, I told the security guard/greeter and he produced a form for me to fill in and sign.

I "only" waited 20 minutes before etting my name called and signed on with a chap who seemed pleased that I'd been offered a job. Albeit over 2 weeks ago and with no sign of a start date.

After, signing on, I had a doctor's appointment at 15:40.

I was only a few minutes late. Honest.

The surgery is in parnership with the local hospitals and every now and again receives students. Sometimes they're baby GPs learning how to deal with ordinary patients let out for weeks or months at a time and occasionally they're baby doctors only let out for a few days with strict supervision.

This time it was a trainee GP. Would I mind signing here, here and here for confidentiality, agreeing to be seen by a student and being recorded?

Um. Okay.

He was fine, but needed the prescriptions to be signed by a proper, grown-up doctor.

He probably regretted asking me "So, how can I help you today?"

Thursday, 6 September 2007

That wasn't so bad

The medical examination was today.

It was so brief it was embarrassing.

The doctor was nice enough and the exam wasn't too taxing. Could I clap my hands above my head, walk down a corridor, flex my arms and climb up and down a flight of stairs?

Yes.

Could he have a feel of my shoulders, elbows and wrists?

No probs.

How was I feeling?

Fine.

Alright, I lied, but it was for a good cause.

The clinic is out in Tettenhall Wood along the Tettenhall Road just as it starts to get posh. I used the last of my change to get the bus out there and then walked back.

My left heel was killing. The plantar fasciitis was playing up a treat. I didn't tell the good doctor that. I definitely need to do something about it though.

On the way home, I played fantasy house buyer. If money was no object where would I live?

Tettenhall Wood definitely. There's a lovely late Georgian/early Victorian detached house with gates, drive and grounds along the road there and I want that one.

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

Ch-Ch-Changes

One of the first things I did today was go to JobChange and sort out the errors on my cv. And on the web sites I've downloaded my cv onto.

I got a 'phone call from Sarah telling me what I already knew. The Bilston job wasn't mine.

The Director was going to hire from within. Surprise.

I applied on-line for a couple of jobs - with the corrected cv and signed up to a locally based job finder service called CVMatcher.

Then I went home to adjust the trousers. Not just the Next pair but also the George pair. I'd tried wearing them outside and they were still too long. I took another inch off those.

Monday, 3 September 2007

!!Panic!!

Okay.

I rang Adecco and was automatically transferred to Dudley. Sarah wasn't in. I left a message for her to ring as soon as she did get in.

As I I struggled into my interview clothes, Sarah rang. The internet connection was down over the weekend [and Friday?] and she had just sent my e-mail. Good luck with the job.

With that kind of help, I'd need it.

I trotted across Wolverhampton to JobChange where I printed off the e-mail. Remember, it's only at this point that I found out names, addresses and so on. I always bring my A-Z with me so that I can find my destination and point to it when ever I need directions from anyone I ask.

And it wasn't Darlaston, it was Bilston.

I then trotted back across Wolverhampton to the bus station to try and find the bus that could get me there for, what, 10:45am?

It was gone 10am by the time I got there. Realising that the bus wasn't an option, I called a cab. The Asian sounding guy who took the 'phone call got confused when I said I'd be at the taxi rank, outside the Spar on Pipers Row. Where all the taxis were.

Where was that?

By the bus station.

Yes, but where was that?

We got there eventually.

I got there and the taxi dropped me off quite a distance away. Neither of us knew where the place was so he dropped me about half way down the road.

It was a long bleak road with industrial units, a dairy, a huge Tarmac site and dozens of shut down and/or derelict units.

The place was down an apparently residential road which was a kind of crescent. At the bottom of the curve, instead of houses was an industrial unit.

The interview went well. The Director and I got on well, we seemed to "catch each other's drift" and the interview finished with a quick tour of the place.

I got the feeling however, I wasn't what he was looking for. He admitted that the job was asking a lot of someone and I admitted that the position appeared daunting.

He also found an error in the dates on my cv. It was a genuine error, not a fib, but as the job would entail fact checking and proofreading, that was just awful.

I have printed out and sent that bloody cv out so many times, the mistake was just embarrassing.

I walked back. I was trying to save a bit of money after the taxi ride. It was an hours walk to my house with a detour via Dunelm Mills.

Where I spent more money I didn't really have on coat hangars and pink dye for my raincoat. It's starting to look a bit faded.

Sunday, 2 September 2007

Birmingham Ho!

Wolverhampton is dead on Sundays.

There are no internet facilities. I found this out when I looked up "Internet Cafes" in the Thompson Local and rang a private number which has been erroneously listed as the number for an Internet Cafe in Blakenhall.

I annoyed the guy twice as I assumed I had misdialled the first time.

So. To get the e-mail that Sarah sent me I had to go to Birmingham. The TrulyEverything Internet cafe was closed. Due to unforeseen circumstances, all the computers were shrouded by dust sheets and an Indian guy behind the desk was there telling people that he was closed.

When I asked where there might be another place to use a computer, he suggested the Central Library.

I told him that it was closed on Sundays.

So I tried OmegaSektor.

This is a computer games place - supposedly the biggest in Europe. There must be an internet section there.

There was. £1 for 20 minutes.

After all that, no. Sarah hasn't sent the e-mail.

Saturday, 1 September 2007

Onwards

I went home after getting the 10am bus from Victoria.

I emptied my case into the washing machine and went to Broad Street to check my e-mails. Nope, no sign yet of the e-mail that Sarah promised.

At some stage I'll enrol at college again.

As I'm unemployed, I'll be able to enrol for free. And I'll get an NUS card again.

Just the two courses. ECDL (again) and Web Page Creation. Don't laugh.

I became too anxious and depressed to carry on. Now I'm back on a more even keel, I should be able to cope.

The trouble with a lot of jobs I could be suited to is the fact that I have no web skills. I've never been responsible for updating a web site, never had to start one up or anything. Increasingly for Information Officer/Marketing Assistant roles, web page stuff is becoming key.

I just feel a bit guilty. I'll be unemployed when I enrol, but I'll get a job eventually. That's cheating, I suppose.