Monday, 17 October 2011

Dear John...

Continuing on the line of my job seeking, I will share the story of my attempt to secure employment with Asda.  Previously, I had avoided applying, as the Asda is literally a stones-throw from my house.  Surely a plus point, I hear you cry?  However, at the moment I work as a dinner-lady in the local school - a stone's slingshot away? - and can't go shopping as it is, with children stopping me every two minutes to say hello and introduce me to their parents, while said parents attempt to conceal two bottles of wine and a pack of chicken nuggets.  So if I was to work there, I'd be a sitting duck.  However, they were looking and I was seeking so I applied.  And - YATTA - I was called for interview.

I was told the interview was a group format and formal dress wasn't required.  So I made the mistake of dressing informally.  And, of course, all the other fuckers had dressed to impress and I looked like I was sticking it to the man.  We were all led into a cramped room with a big table which we all sat around. Before anything else, there would be an "ice-breaker" - yep, it was THAT type of interview - where we would find out about the person next to us and introduce them to everyone else.  I tried to be friendly and make genuine conversation with the lady next to me.  Ah, but she was a seasoned interviewee.  Her tactic was to fire questions at me, gleaning as much information as possible without offering up any of her own.  After the three minutes, she looked on smugly as I stood up to introduce her to the ensemble.  But I had an ace up my sleeve.... I was just gonna downright lie!  I didn't "quite" say bestiality was her hobby nor that she cultivated recreational drugs, but they got the picture. 

Then we were given a "talk" about Asda - facts, figures, policies - you know the sort of thing.  It wasn't quite how I imagined.  What it came down to was a massive  bitchfest about how much better than Tesco they were.  Literally.  She bitched about their staff.  She moaned about their prices.  She complained about their delivery system.  And worse than that, this she did with cringe-worthy grammar and questionable spelling.  (We were supposed to be shown a video to back-up all the "information" she'd given us, however the TV didn't work (?)).

Next we were split into four groups, given a bag of equipment and told we'd to complete a task as a group - setting out a plan, achieving a goal and presenting our findings.  The task?  To construct as high a structure as possible, using balloons and sellotape......... yes, really.  I'm a bloody dinnerlady, for fucks sake!  I can create a game with two sticks and a hairclip.  This is child's play!  However..... I hadn't reckoned on what everyone perceived to be the ACTUAL "object" of the task - to stand out from the crowd, to show you can be a team player, while being an epic team leader, to be confident and not afraid to speak our minds.  Well now, not to blow my own trumpet, I'm actually all of those things and I don't need no balloon-task for me to show it.  However, I AM very competitive, so cue my taking over and making sure our tower was the highest.  We made our plan, wrote it all down, got the thing to stand four foot high and one of the lads gave the presentation at the end - I showed my delegating skills, as he was supposed to be an actor (ok, so he was looking for a job at Asda which made him a pretty shite actor presumably).  

Task over we were back at the table for a run-through of the working hours, rates of pay and general requirements to work.  "Uniform always to be worn.  Polite and courteous at all times.  No vibrant or unusual hair colours...".  Wait, what?  WHAT?? It was only then that I sensed the elephant in the room.  Really?  She waited until she'd subjected me to Tesco-bashing, talking to strangers and "playing" with balloons to tell me this?  Didn't she notice, because surely it's her job to see these things?  Did she think I'd be offended if she asked me to leave?  Was she colour-blind??  

So at that stage, I felt it was time to leave.  And with the words, "We'll be in touch" ringing in my ears, I took my PURPLE barnet outta there.  Yes, purple. I sat there for forty bleedin' minutes, for her THEN to announce that she never had any intention of giving me the job in the first place. *sigh*

And, the VERY NEXT DAY, I received the obligatory Dear John... letter.  They were so glad I applied and, although they had nothing suitable at the moment, they would be in touch once something arose.  I'm sure it's only a matter of time before they realise that need a purple-haired, bossy, loudmouth Irish woman.  I'm thinking something in PR.....

Friday, 14 October 2011

Job Seek Her - The story of my efforts to gain employment

So, ok, I do have a job.  But I only work for five and a bit hours a week.  The money comes in handy, but I am available for other work.  I'd love to get out there, meet new people, contribute to the household.  But for someone in my position, it's not easy.

For many years, I was the main breadwinner in our house.  I was successful, I made decisions, I wasn't just someone's mum.  Then it came time the eldest of my lads to start school.  I wanted him to go to our local school, which meant our previous childcare arrangement no longer worked.  So I gave up work.  Although I've never regretted spending all those years with the boys when they were younger, I would have liked to have done both.  My OH would be first to admit that he took a firm step back and never allowed any flexibility in his work-life to help accommodate with MY potential to work.

And so we moved to the UK and this diminished even more, my ability to work.  So I stayed home, settled the boys into school, made sure I was always around.  I did brief take up a job, but as I was essentially the boys sole carer during waking hours, it involved working nights.  I stuck it out for two years, but found it extremely hard.  I used to come home at 7am, go to bed for an hour, get up, get the lads sorted for school, drop them off and then eventually get back to bed to sleep until it was time to pick them up again.  When I finished there, I didn't work for a while, for most of the boys journey through primary school.  Then when my eldest was in year six, I was lucky enough to get a job working as a dinner lady at his school and I've been there ever since.  I love my job and I think I'm pretty good at it.  But it's not enough.  

So fast-forward a few years and I'm still a dinner lady and although I've been searching on and off, I haven't been able to find another job.  I find filling out applications daunting.  My CV is somewhat like Chesney Hawkes and stuck in the 90's.  Although I think I have gained very beneficial experience through life in the last two decades, potential employers don't see it.  I understand it a tough market, I understand there are single earner families that wouldn't understand my necessity to work.  But it's tough out there, I want to do my bit.

This is where I will vent from now on.  I will attempt to find two jobs to apply for each week and keep you abreast of the outcome.  Here's hoping this is a short-lived idea with a successful result!