Archive for the ‘unemployment’ Category

It’s a wonder any single parent can get out from under the duvet, let alone show their face in public with all these hideous media stories about. Oh, but hang on a minute, we’re all too busy bringing up to children to give a hoot.

No one can have missed the raging debate about multiple birth and underage parenting. I’m not upset by these stories, but I know people really who are. Who are we to decide if a woman has a right to bear 14 children? Well the chattering classes think not and Octomum Nadya Suleman is getting a bashing in the media (we all know she’s got 14 but the moniker for the latest litter just makes better copy).

Can a boy be a father at 12? Well depending the on the results of a DNA test, for now, little Alfie Patten is believed to be that very thing. And yes, people are horrified. And the Mum is only thirteen. The mind boggles at how they even managed it at that age!

These pantomime stories won’t last long – and they fall into the deep dark well of what I call Plastic Parenting. In the same way that glamour models will go up to a FF cup with plastic surgery to get the biggest boobs (and bucks) on the block, these people will go to any lengths to exploit their fertility in what can only be described as the new sport of extreme breeding.

These stories are just fuel to the fire when it comes to single parenting or in fact conceiving children outside of the bedroom. But this goes on everyday without the grabbing headlines. In fact, the real stories are being pushed to the back pages.

The charity Gingerbread published a story recently about it’s research into what happens to families once they break up. Apparently many children lose contact with one parent, about one in three are left with a big question mark above their heads. Why did this happen to me? Is it my fault?

The Children’s Society also published a report, damning selfish parents and working Mothers, because it was so sensationalist, it got covered everywhere and I’m pretty disappointed about the whole thing. The Gingerbread story, a more realistic and poignant snapshot of our times has received a lot less media exposure. If they had decided to run with a sensationalist headline, say, one in three Mothers loses contact with their children after family break up, instead of one in three Fathers, I’m sure a tabloid witch hunt would be underway by now.

Now, I’m just going to get on with the rest of half term and put the newspapers away…


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Still no job interviews, so what’s a girl to do? Well, best to get some great inspiration to keep away the out of work blues; first, one of my fabbest friends is a teacher so I told her about this fab offer from Lucky Voice – key workers get 2 free hours of singing like a cat’s chorus at this super glam karoaoke establishment – so we did and it was super fab…


Take a look at this great cover – is he the new Elvis?


Brush aside those frumpy fash mags and get hold of this super inspirational title, Wonderland, my top favourite magazine

And have you seen this great ad? It’s such a feel good few seconds, I think I’m going to have to dig out my old shell toes

And last but not least, spring is nearly here and that means, cherry blossom everywhere and I got these today from Graham and Green, so pretty and fluffy, they can’t help but bring a smile to my face – and don’t worry, I didn’t spend a penny, I had a £50 voucher to splurge…


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As I sat down to enjoy my beautifully prepared lunch yesterday, things took a drastic about turn. My cosy domestic bubble burst in the manner of a very large party balloon being pricked by a very large, sharp pin.

My mobile phone trilled, !NUMBER WITHHELD! flashed on the screen – Ok, better put my professional/together voice on!

‘Hi, can you talk? It’s me, how are you?’
‘Yes, sure I can talk, fabulous thanks and you?’
‘I’ve got something for you’
‘Great, what it is it?’
‘It’s a blah-di-blah-di-blah at blah-di-blah? Yeah? Interested?’
‘Wow that sounds great!’
‘Read the spec, I need to send your CV to them today, they want someone to start immediately’
‘Sure (choke on flapjack silently) I’ll have to you within the hour – I need to change it. I’m not sure it’s working – I’ve had my CV appraised and was told it would cost £350 to put right’
‘Yeah, that social media thing on it, no one gets it.’
‘OK, I’ll dump it’
‘Good idea – get it over, be quick’

And then three job specs came through on email. Three job opportunities! What a bloody shock. I caught myself suddenly having to think. Life could change imminently. This little adventure of unemployment could soon be over. Shit.

As with all things work related, thought was quickly galvanised into action and I dragged my CV out of the document folder – grrrrrrrrrr. I gave myself an hour to rewrite it in a comprehensive and chatty fashion – yes, I’m a dyed in the wool deadline addict.

I began removing all links to my work on the worldwide wonder web which I’d lovingly searched out in my first jobsearch sojourn. Boo hoo – my social media CV was lame and had to be put out to pasture.

Then taking the advice of my CV appraiser, I dumbed down the font (apparently it was distracting and would mean my CV would be straight in the bin), I removed the bolded type (apparently incredibly distracting and annoying and would mean my CV would be straight in the bin) and I added some editorial around my work (apparently just listing it would be incredibly annoying and distracting etc. etc.). The finished work was much better and I spotted a most embarrassing typo – I’d spelt Communications as communciations – which I swiftly changed. Cringe – my usual faves are brest regards and daft copy which never go unnoticed, thankfully I’ve never committed the cardinal sin of typing pubic relations as many of my (former) colleagues have. I digress, as I pressed send message, I breathed a sigh of relief and waited ten minutes before calling the recruiter.

‘Hi – I’ve sent you my redraft, it’s much better’
‘Thanks, I’ll pop it across’

Ten minutes later, !NUMBER WITHHELD!, I knew it was her…

‘Darling, what was your last job title? I can’t see it on the CV…’

Oh god, in my panic I’d left it off.

‘Don’t worry I’ll change it and pop it over.’
‘Thanks (choke), speak to you soon!’

With that done it was time to pick up Miniminx – we did the weekly shop and went hideously over budget. By the time we got home I was feeling tired and irritable.

‘Sorry, Mummy is feeling a bit cruddy’
‘Don’t worry Mum.’
‘It’s just that there’s all these job thingies.’
‘Yeah great, you need a job.’
‘I don’t know if I want to work, I like being at home and doing my blog and writing.’
‘Well it’s tough Mum, I’d rather be at home all day but I have to go to school. Sorry but you have to go to work’

And so I heard a small version of myself deliver the bare naked truth…Mummy needs to get a job.

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Oh my oh my – how much fun we’ve been having the last two days – no school, lots of fun and lots and lots of snow. And the best bit (among many) – I think I’ve finally fallen in love with this area!

I’ve been a complete urban minx for most of my life, so living in Zone 3 has never cut the mustard. We’ve lived here for 2.5 years now and my friends and family have always said ‘It’s great for kids, you did the right thing.’ But when they’ve asked me, ‘Are you happy?’ I’ve always said ‘Yes’ through clenched teeth.

It’s hard to uproot yourself, even if it’s for the better. I love 24hr living – but everywhere shuts early here. I’ve looked for the secret underground bars, but there are none and you can’t get a pint of milk after 10pm. To me, it’s all been a bit on the twee side. It’s very well-to-do, there are lots of 4x4s, boutiques aimed at the over 50s plus very noisy air traffic and even worse, nowhere to work locally. I’ve downplayed this with the upside of good schools and low crime, but it’s never really played out to anything like the way I’ve felt about where I’ve lived before.

I’m pleased, no, delighted, to say that all changed for the better yesterday. I’ll be honest, after an action packed weekend, we overslept and I was tempted to sleep in, but my half Catholic side got the better of me, it was time to get up and face the world.

It was so peaceful, so bright, so wonderful, so snowy. ‘Mummy! It’s Winter Magic!’ cried Miniminx as she looked outside, we both felt like we’d woken up in Narnia! Sitting down to breakfast and I put the news on – Radio 4, lots of snow, England’s gone to the dogs, yada, yada, parents are selfish (see Children’s Society story) and my phone rang ‘School’s closed!’ ‘Thanks heavenly Mum-babe! – School’s out honey, get your cosy stuff on, we’re out there’ – we headed out the door to one of life’s wonders…ankle deep snow everywhere and all our friends having a ball. It was like a perfect dream.


We went down the river (just at the end of our road) and who couldn’t help but squeal with delight and run around – all of Miniminx’s school friends were out frolicking and so were the parents. Lovely rosy cheeks, snowballs and smiles. It’s been such an unexpected delight, two days of freedom for the kids – building snowmen, toboganing, snowballing, crunchy stepping in the frozen snow – and everything pushed aside for once. It feels like a big, huge, belated Christmas present and it looks so beautiful round here, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else and I’m so happy that we’ve had these two days.

So, it’s time to put out the rubbish and the recycling, make sure we get up on time and find that lost homework, but I tell you, there’s a lot to be said for Winter magic, as cold as it is, just thinking about it makes me feel warm inside, and it’s not just the central heating on full blast!

And a big shout out here – thanks Jo for your lovely bloggers campfire – I’ve really enjoyed reading all the posts and what a great collection of people.

Ciao for now…more snow forecast

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After a sleepless night, coffee seemed to be the solution, but oh, how wrong can you be?

My day is an empty sandwich; I’ve done my good deed for the day.  This morning, I walked Miniminx and her class to their swimming lesson at the local pool – think herding cats across the M4 and you get the picture.  And tonight I’m toasting my Sister’s birthday at the Dorchester and off to the theatre, think sophisticats and you get that picture 😉

But in between?  Yikes, I’ve totally screwed this day up…1 large cappucino + 2 supersized mugs of coffee thick with sugar later and I have percolated a huge sense of panic; I MUST log in to messenger, facebook, linkedin, my new ning thing, my blog – check, refresh, check everything…look at other blogs, check the news, google anything, everything, something, otherwise I’m going to miss out (on what, I’m not really sure).

Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.  Only a dummy wouldn’t look for the latest jobs.  I hit the jobs boards, page down, page down, click, click…nothing new, same old, same old. Exhausting.

Oh my god, yes!  That critical appraisal of my CV I got, I MUST reread it immediately and take notes, and I must, I must rewrite my CV – it’s so rubbish.  Or, should I pay them £350 to rewrite it for me – a ‘simple investment in my future’ the email says, lazy way out says me.   But I’m far too embarrassed to even think about sending my CV out to anyone now, apparently the font is wrong, wrong, wrong.  I’ve not sold myself well at all for someone of my professional standing and even worse, the lay out is distracting!  How the hell did I ever get work before, it must have been a complete fluke!!!

Oh, I know, how about all those other exec-jobs-subscription-only web shites sites I got a guest subscription for, should I cough up?  Nah, bad idea. No money coming in remember?? (I refrain from kicking myself for fear of falling off my chair, I’ve already nearly trapped my hand in the bin lid by leaning from my seat to pop something in it with one hand and trying to close the lid with the other hand – well, it seemed like a good move at the time).

Oh, there’s a thought, why don’t I retrain as a plumber? Where’s that email I got in my junk folder on hotmail yesterday….? Oh god, where is it, have I deleted it?  I’m sure there’s a fortune to be made out of drains…and now I’ve lost the blinking email.

I can’t handle this, I can try and fidget out this cappucino-neurosis, but I’m actually going to get a life, switch off my lap top and go and do something more interesting instead. 

Now, where are my glad rags, it’s time to get glammed up…

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Yes, homonyms, or in my case, irony!! Instead of doing nothing, I’m going down the signing on to get benefits route – if only they would pay me in Benefit products, at least I’d feel pretty…. Maybe that’s a new marketing idea for the brand, Job Seekers’ Make Overs.

Before Christmas I was listening to Moneybox on Radio 4 and a government spokersperson said everyone was eligible for Job Seekers Allowance. But guess who isn’t??? Yes, the Nixdminx gets nixed again! So while I sold my flat the day before prices plummeted, I have kept the cash but it counts as savings so I’m no better off really. Apparently I will get my stamps paid, but I still have to go and sign on. The ‘rebranded’ Job Centres – now called Job Centre Plus – have just about all closed down, which means I’ll have a 20 minute walk and a tube journey every fortnight to get just about nothing. Even the Lone Parent thing is rubbish. Keeping it all positive, I applied via the government web site for Job Seekers Allowance last week and at the end of pages and pages of forms it said I would be contacted by telephone within 48 hours – it took over a week for someone to call me. ‘Is it convenient? This call may take around 25 minutes…’ Well, I hardly at work am I? I then had to do an online claim over the phone, it was all the same questions which I’d done online, pointless. As a result, I have to go for an interview at the dole office and see two people (what horror!). I’m going to do it Rab C Nesbitt style.

I’m sure this so called modernisation of the benefits system has created two extra layers of bureaucracy to the whole process by adding the online and telephone facilities. At least the bloke I spoke to was ok. It’s all pretty mortifying, they ask you if you’re pregnant and if your baby father is still alive – what a joke.

‘And what have you been doing to find a job?’ I was asked – well, jobs boards, personal contacts, newspapers, seeing recruiters of course. Harumph. I have actually found something pretty cool, a site called The Ladders. I applied to a job yesterday and signed up for a three month subscription which I think will pay off. It’s brand jobs and inhouse mostly and I would recommend it already, even after 24hours, because it has 600 jobs in marketing and a really comprehensive set up – take a look.

And back to my physical and spiritual evolution…I spent 2 hours on Wii Fit yesterday and then Miniminx beat my scores in minutes – we have been having such a laugh – the most hysteria has been raised by the football game where you have to do headers and dodge football boots and Panda heads, it gets a bit scary.

I started my giant collage yesterday and will finish it today. It’s like tapestry of colour and I’m using photos I’ve doctored in photoshop, tear sheets from magazines and acrylic paint, plus some of Nixminx’s art, so it’s a lovely piece. I dug around an old portfolio and found some pen and ink sketches I did about 10 years ago which I’m going to frame as they’re quite inspirational. In my social whirl during the holidays, I realised that most of my friends have got my paintings and photography scattered around their houses and I have very little. They’re very life affirming and I want my own art round me as a bolster – I suppose a bit of a comfort blanket in these strange days…

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I know I’m beat when my Bejewelled2 scores are below par on King.com…it’s been a very long day.  One job opp came up – way below the money I would expect but I’m going to check it out. Then the company I have been keeping my eye on for the last two years has just posted THE dream job. It’s probably gone already – all corporates have to advertise jobs publicly before appointing someone internal, but hey, I have to be in it to win non?

So, how do I get myself noticed? I think I found the answer. I’ve spent the last five hours creating a Social Media Curriculum Vitae – SMCV, you heard it here first! Yes, I’m excited, I’m packaged in 2.0 wrapping.

So while I’ve bought craft packs, glitter, glue, sequins and festive postage stamps for sending out Christmas cards, I realised, the only way to get myself heard in that hideous old fashion CV format is to link, link, link away.  So yes, linkedin, youtube, blinxx and every other place possible is now connected to little old me. I think I’ll leave out facebook at this point in time.

It took over an hour to post my CV on a corporate application, but when I finally managed it and the little 🙂 appeared, it was an Aha! Eureka! moment. So there you have it, I answered my own question, well not quite, as always, a chance meeting made me think about it. It was all triggered by a very nice breakfast at my favourite pre-9am haunt Highroad House – while my wheat free toast, bacon, tomatoes and eggs did not quite make the grade – they all appeared on large plates separately so I looked like the biggest fatso in W4 – the company was what counted and the conversation. We were talking about how to put the world to rights, and work and lovely people and new media and the light bulb about the SMCV came on after a couple more coffees 😉

So this Christmas is what I’m calling the CreditGrunch – while I waited for my guest, I was horrified to read a feature in The Sun about cures from the kitchen, ranging from Rosemary for PMT and chicken soup for colds – it really is a war effort – I’m the first to use almond oil on my skin or salt in the bath but I’m that kind of person – I don’t think Page 3 readers are! As the day wore on, I must have heard news round ups counting around 100,000 job losses today, and closer to home, the contractors I have been working with were all fired this morning with instructions to clear off and out tomorrow. Everyone is so miserable and the Grinch is very hard at work stealing Christmas this year. They’ve been Grunched…

But not everyone is sad, Miniminx had the Christmas Carol concert today, and not a dry eye in the house – tears of absolute joy and such wonder these cute bundles of innocence are so full of hope. Let’s hope we grown ups get a grip, I want Miniminx to have a glittering future and do something normal like be a vet(?!) and not even dream of being a WAG.

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