I was busy.
I have applied to lots of things, amongst them police admin, council scrutiny, TV News Librarian, Engineer (ooh, controversial) and technology journalist.
I have had another assessment/interview, this time with the establishment that is currently my choice for my fiscal storage*, my credit card**, and other services *** - Barclay's Bank.
I rang up the number for the general recruitment line on the 'sunny holiday' advert in the window of my local branch, and was astounded, after answering a single question, to be offered an interview/assessment. I asked the chap on the phone if, at this assessment centre I was headed for, I would be able to have an interview/assessment for graduate vacancies. He said yes. I asked if I could claim back the expenses. He said yes.
I went over to the mainland, Eastleigh to be precise, and I sat for 45 mins whilst a woman reeled off the usual corporate spiel, which boiled down to 'We only take good people'. She informed me of behavioural competencies, and the personal characteristics they look for in potential employees. Standard interview fare so far. Then she asked me a few questions.
'Would you consider working elsewhere in the country?'
'Would you like a permanent or short term placement with Barclay's?'
'Permanent, or as near as makes no difference.'
She wrote this down, recrossed her legs and pouted.
'Are you aware of the renumeration for the position of Customer Advisor (1)?' she said, effortlessly pronouncing the brackets as my jaw dropped.
1 - No, I wasn't aware of the remuneration for Customer Advisor (1).
2 - Customer Advisor (1)?
The answers to these unexpected enigmas were:
1 - It's £9,000 to £9,500
2 - Yes - that's what you're here for, isn't it? The cashier position?
It was my turn to ask the questions.
'Can I go back a few questions and change 'I will work elsewhere in the country' to 'I won't be able to afford to work anywhere other than my parents' living room on that kind of money'?'
'Oh, all right then.'
'Can I be assessed for graduate recruitment today?'
'No, where'd you get that idea?'
And so the afternoon progressed.
For what it was worth, thinking that there'd be a reasonable cashier's job in it for me on the Island, I persevered and tried to look as earnest as I could whilst finishing the 20 minute maths test in 4 minutes.
Then she dropped another bombshell.
'Okay, let me tell you what will happen now. We'll have a look at your interview notes and your assessment, and if you're successful, we'll then look to see if there's anywhere we can place you on the Island. If not, we'll keep you on the books and let you know if anything crops up.'
'Isn't there a definite job that I've come to be interviewed for?'
* - Not so much storage as...hypothetical negative storage.
** - Not so much a credit card as a piece of plastic that I carry around, in mortal fear of ever having to use.
*** - That's about it, actually...
I am now on the 'New Deal', a wonderful scheme provided by Her Majesty's Government to help me into a job.
In two weeks time, I have a two week compulsory course to help me with my basic literacy and numeracy skills.
Actual Work Update
Yes, that's 'Actual Work' as opposed to 'A Job'.
I was totally and utterly bowled over by something I read about the science fiction writer Isaac Asimov. He split up with his wife and moved into a hotel suite, and in the next five years wrote 57 books. That's roughly a book a month. That's one hell of a lot of words, kids.
So why not just sit down, get away from all the bullshit, all the anxieties, all the excuses, and just write a fucking book?
A book a month?
Not quite. But it's a start.
I have well and truly stuck to my 'To Do List' activity of writing every day, and I am now the proud Daddy of what I suppose is a quarter of a novel(ish), three short stories and a radio play script, the final draft of which might be in the post, or possibly on the desk of the Head of Radio Drama at the BBC. Who knows?
Needless to say I am very proud of the effort put in to create my babies, if not all of the babies themselves. (Is this true with actual babies as well, I wonder?)
The novel(ish) is a bit disjointed.
I started it just after the New Year, and since then I've developed a much better idea of where the story is going, as well as developing the style in which it is written. This means that the early stages read awkwardly, and even I have to put effort in reading them to extract what I meant, and the later bits are smoother, and generally better written.
VERY Quick Plot Synopsis
Joe is a journeyman writer. Well, he'd like to be. He journeys, anyway. And he's a man.
He's read his Yeats and his Hemingway and he decides that experiencing a war is an important factor in the development of a writer. On the other hand, he's not that stupid, and so he heads to the tiny (and non-existent) Central American state of Merida, where a more or less nondescript and casual conflict has been going on for about five years. Whilst there he is robbed, falls in with the Communist faction of the 6-way civil war (very civil) and after boasting uproariously with them in the bar on his first evening, is kidnapped the next day. His captor turns out to be a well-groomed Englishman, apparently in command of a small army. It turns out that these are Las Pacifistas, The Pacifists. They are a peace-loving movement, periodically sending letters to all the other factions begging them to lay down their arms and join together as Meridians. Joe has been 'relocated' as their new letter writer, and the author of their soon-to-be released manifesto. In this unique position, he finds out that Las Pacifistas aren't new-age bastions of peace, but the only reason there's a war in the first place...
FEATURING: Rumours of the whole country being sold to a Columbian Drug Baron, Canadian Chicks with Backpacks, Ex-Vietnam War Army Surplus Shop-owners and a very special guest; international mega-bestselling author and all-round lovely man Paulo Coelho as 'The Barman'!
So there you have it.
I'm actually really impressed with how non-shit that sounds when I read it back.
The Rest of the Known World
Yes, yes all right, this isn't exactly a short-and-to-the-point entry, but I've been away a long time.
-Allie and I are moving toward our six-month 'semi-anniversary', and cooking up celebratory plans. Everything is wonderful, spiffing and gorgeous.
-Allie has just obtained a house with a friend in Greenwich, London Village, and is moving in at the beginning of March...I think.
-My Dad has just had an interview for his PGCE, so that when he finishes his five-year part-time degree in the summer, he can get on with becoming a teacher...
-I've begun an exercise regime. The regime is very relaxed, very much like the Netherlands in that respect.
Yes, that really is all of it.
Sorry about the distinct lack of posting to the old blogography, as Allie calls it, but I've been writing lots and not really using the interweb all that much.
Money: Not much
New huge screened televisions donated by sisters and associated boyfriends in fits of generosity: One
Books being read at the moment: Uncertain, over five.
Hours per day spent writing words on a computer on average in the past week: five and a half
Direction life appears to be heading in at the moment:
Keep in touch, people, I'm buried under more words than I can easily write in a day here...
I didn't get the college job, despite being the physical embodiment of the job description I was given.
According to the head of Personnel at the Isle of Wight College, the successful applicant got the job as a result of their 'Welfare' experience.
There is a Welfare Department at the college, but the job is not a part of it, and welfare experience, duties and/or requirements were not mentioned in the job description, the advert in the paper, or at any point in the application process.
Needless to say this has pissed me off.
She did however ask me if I had considered taking a lecturer's position, which, seeing as there are none available, and even if there were, would be unlikely to go to a graduate with no industrial experience, would appear to be a bit of post-rejection buttering up.
I write in an internet cafe in Newport, IW, after the interview at the Isle of Wight College for the post of Student Liaison Officer.
The interview went quite well, I thought, but I think they were a little taken a back by my non-commital reaction to them saying "We appreciate what it's like waiting to find out about a job after an interview, so we'll let you know either by the end of today or tomorrow morning.". I've heard this sooooo often now that I'm almost disappointed to hear it. Not that "We don't give a shit about you or your feelings and we'll tell you if we feel like it," would be much better.
I'll keep you posted.
'To Do' List Update
Seeing as people are already bemoaning being unable to keep their NY's resolutions, my 'To Do' list looks like this:
1. Get a job: Pending.
2. Finish the book: Pending.
3. Move Out: Pending
4. Write every day: in progress, kept with so far.
5. Leave the country....pending...
You get the idea.
People and their places
Allie is, at present, doing a passable impression of a genetically-engineered Lara Croft/Anneka Rice hybrid in the Lake District. She's on some kind of management training exercise, but as far as I can tell, sounds like the plot of a kids' TV programme from the late 80s. Damn her, I'm jealous.
Dave has gone back to work in Southampton, and seems pretty resigned to working solidly for the next two weeks, weekends included. Whether or not Dave and I will make a repeat performance at Warwick Student Unon for the RAG Valentine's Ball remains to be seen.
(As resolutions are easily broken...)
1. Get a job.
2. Finish the book.
3. Move out.
4. Write every day; discipline being important in such things (not necessarily book)
5. Leave the country, if only temporarily...
6. Pay off minimum £800 of debts, no maximum...
7. Watch sunrises and sunsets.
8. Be who I want to be.
...and there you have it. Some concrete, some wishy-washy, but all things 'to do' rather than resolutions. You can't break something 'to do' and give up. It's always there.
For some reason, the place I use for hosting comments etc etc has changed the phrase 'comments' to 'poseurs', with, as far as I can see, no option to change it in the HTML of my profile. Freakish behaviour, and not conducive to people leaving comments. Sorry about this, if you wanna say something, say it and be damned. I won't think you're showing off or anything. I need to change my comments provider. Thoughts anyone?
Happy New Year!
Get out there and make some trouble!