Reviews, interviews and don’t-know-what-to-dos.


I am back in my comfort zone. A lovely, white, ovular swivel chair with my lovely, white iBook on the desk in front of me, after a trying day. At least I made some money from it in Government subsidised travel expenses.

0900hrs at Stamford Job Centre for my 13 week review. I hate going to the Job Centre at the start of the business day because I swear they open it late purely to dangle us in front of the public for a few minutes longer out of spite.

Anyway, for those of you who are lucky enough not to know; the 13 week review is a proactive way of identifying the flaws in your job search and generally what you’re doing wrong. I am lucky enough to have been offered some Christmas Season work for a relatively well-known camping/hiking/outdoor-type retailer as of next week so I could saunter into this meeting knowing they needn’t bother as I will be signing off on Thursday.

In addition, just to fully establish my innate (even if dormant until very recently) employability to the Job Centre chap who kept on leering at my chest,  I was booked in for a job interview this very afternoon.

Luckily, with one bird in the hand and another one in the bush, I was off the hook and merrily made my way home with travel expenses jingling in my pocket. I very nearly whistled a jovial tune upon exiting the Job Centre but resisted.

The job interview was the first career-relevant I had been invited to since June. Yes. I have applied to over 70 jobs in Journalism, Media, Publishing and PR and this was only job interview #2. I won’t divulge what the position is or where it is but it’d set me up in a nice little editorial career for a well known organisation in a branch of journalism I’d honestly love to be more involved in.

I had been rehearsing my stock interview phrases since last night. I have entered all my bung job interviews with a relaxed attitude knowing I am capable of the task and if I don’t get it, I won’t be crying myself to sleep but today I had true stage fright. Today’s interview was for a job I actually want. P r e s s u r e.

My interviewers were both fashionable, young and clearly successful women. In my freshly ironed, specially bought blouse and trusty black trouser suit I felt like the misfit at school trying to convince the really cool girls who didn’t know me that well that I wasn’t a freak and was actually completely normal. Let me join your gang!

Panic set in and the ability to form complete sentences started to escape me. I think I rambled on about how I came to know my previous employer for a long time but that’s only because it was a left-field question about techniques you use to settle in to new environments. Luckily the more senior of the two interviewers was a Manchester girl! Rambling on about Salford, The Manchester Evening News and living in my beloved Northern city struck a chord – I hope.

Then, after the probing questions ran out, a Competency Test. To be completed in 30 minutes sharp. It is important to bear in mind that I had no time piece, lacked the sense to switch on my mobile lest precious moments escape me, and generally assumed that my internal awareness of time would be an accurate enough measure.

The first element of the test, as far as I could tell, was to prove that I was not dyslexic. Ask me any other day of my life if I am dyslexic and I’d say no. Today I appeared to be afflicted with an acute and short-term bout of the learning difficulty. This first task involved finding the correctly spelled word out of the four options, all of which look like they could be correct. I know how to spell, lets just clarify that now, but the pressure got to me and I began honestly thinking that ‘accommodate’ was actually spelled ‘acomadate’ – which could work?

The next part involved synthesizing the sort of copy the job required me to be able to write. Without having the sense to check how I was doing for time, I worked on guessing the passage of time according to my words per minute average… a risky venture. I did the main part of that exercise before moving on to the next section to ensure the test at least looked finished when I handed it in.

Two enormous pages of copy. Spot the typos. A document of that size and a test such as this, what did I expect to find… 10? I found two. I bloody hope there were only two otherwise I’m going to look even more stupid that I felt.

Time enough to scribble down the remainder of part two. Interview over.

Did it go well? I haven’t the foggiest. All I know is that I want this job. Not only is it interesting, engaging and relevant but the place and people are… for want of a better phrase…  really cool.

Whatever the outcome I am signing off on Thursday, which has been my dream ever since I opened those brown, powered doors into the God of bureaucracy’s S&M themed wet dream AKA the Job Centre.

And the good news is if the career job doesn’t pan out then I can give my family outdoor leisure wear for Christmas with my staff discount.


One Response to “Reviews, interviews and don’t-know-what-to-dos.”

  1. 1 Michael

    Ooh staff discount! I could use a new cagoule! (<–in keeping with the theme, I had to check the spelling of that)

    great article, hope you get the job. looking forward to the follow up.

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