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Posts Tagged ‘jobs’

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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I’ve been burying my head in the sand, and this week the snow, and it’s time to face facts. Staying at home with no income is a fool’s paradise.

I’m a bit lost without the social, intellectual and fiscal stimuli of working. Miniminx is bored of me being at home – she’s missing all the goodies I used to bring home from my travels and the general haphazard nature of our life which we’ve grown accustomed to.

Going to school is a bit of a grungefest these days, instead of arriving to drop her off in a cab with darkened windows and tottering in the playground fully made up, with glossy hair and crazy heels, it’s now a walk along the River clad in parka, jeans and biker boots (yes, of course I wear a top!) and lucky if I’ve managed to grab a shower yet.

She’s going to be in for a fright when she starts to notice that my purse strings are going to be much tighter, even though the heartstrings are still tuggable, Pester Power moments will be played out on deaf ears – you know the ones ‘But I really, REALLY need it, I reeeally do – it would make me so happy. You know you’re the best Mummy.’

Don’t get me wrong, there’s fun to be had in this downtime but being at home hasn’t made me tidy the house more or start knitting – I still spend most of my day, mainly out of ‘Im-not-working-but-I-know-I-should-be’ guilt, sat at my computer in search of the main chance! I think I’ve lost my gall these last few weeks and I’m wondering if I will ever work again, it’s a crisis of professional confidence and it’s eating away at me day by day.

It was easy to keep busy in January as it was all very novel – fabulous in fact. But February? It’s time to take stock and hit the refresh button on my reality check page, I’ve got to take a sharp look at our expenses and start making cutbacks;

Newspapers & magazines (now get them online)
Lovefilm subscription is gone (£10 per month)
Virgin Wines Discovery Club cancelled (£80 per quarter)
£8 per hour baby sitters no more (£80 per month)
cut back on the food bill (cut back to £60 per week – difficult when there’s no Aldi or Lidl in walking distance)
designer clothes can wait until I get working (thousands!)
taxis only when necessary (hundreds)
no more cinema (£50 per month)
or eating out (a lot)
no holiday (a massive amount)
personal trainer (£400 per ten sessions)
beautician (back to doing my own pedicures etc)
turn off the heating in the day when I’m home and wear scarf and gloves (well, I’m not really going to do that)

And that amounts to my lifestyle down the drain. My gym membership could go but that’s my sanity, and the cleaner, well it’s a minor expense and there’s nothing better than a loyal cleaner. I’ve also got Miniminx’s afterschool lessons to pay for; Stagecoach £315, guitar lesson £45 and all the school trips, plus it’s her birthday soon which will have to be downsized this year. At least there are no school fees to pay.

So how will I make any cash without a job in the credit crunch? Blogging – I wish I could but why pay a blogger when they do it for free?! Selling stuff online? I’ve signed up to Music Magpie to ditch my CDs, and while I buy on ebay, I don’t tend to sell on it. Carboot sales?

I’ve hit The Wall – like Simon Pegg in Run Fat Boy Run – and I’m wondering if now’s the time to find a different way to make a living…answers on a postcard please!

I’m going to grab my iPod and hit the treadmill in hope of inspiration…

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winter-wonderland

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.

snow-lady

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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…okay, okay, I’ve been lax and not posting recently, I needed to get Christmas out of the way and all the rest. I’d gone into the Christmas break with a flu and unemployment pending so it didn’t feel great and was dreading the whole thing as Miniminx was spending it with her Dad – boo hoo.

In the days before Christmas, I had a look around the internet for anything discussing single parents alone at Christmas – I looked not once, but many times. What for? So I didn’t feel so alone in my situation and such a social pariah – it made me cringe talking to the other school Mums in the playground, it seemed everyone was set for family time except me so it’s hard not to feel bad about the whole situation. I have one foot in the family camp and the other firmly planted in single life these days and this time of the year is the time it really comes to the fore. This Christmas thing seems to be the last taboo – no matter where I looked or what terms I searched under, there were meagre pickings and no advice available even on mumsnet or chat rooms. I used to really like mumsnet until David Cameron did a webchat for them and that nixed it for me – I can’t help but think of it as smug middle class mumsyish twaddle. I feel on the outside looking in and don’t visit the site anymore – why should politics come in to Motherhood??? Grrrrr….

My big question is why don’t people talk about the effect of post separation life – the 14 day rota that evolves as every other weekend is child-free? Is it just too painful? When I lived in bohemian East London there were more people in my situation, now in the W4 middle class ghetto, I’m the odd one out – career girl/single Mum, not stay at home earth Mother.

A couple of days after Christmas, Miniminx called me and we watched a movie, Tooth, together on the phone which was really funny – I mean the film was funny and we were sharing an experience even though we were miles apart. We missed each other like hell so it was great to get her home finally.

So my thinking on this internet community stuff is that people don’t really connect on things that matter to me. I suppose I should have posted something myself somewhere – it’s always been a heinous thought – how can children be wrenched away from their Mother’s on Christmas day? I remember hearing about Princess Diana spending the day alone without her boys and thinking it was tragic, never for once imagining that would one day be my fate, or as it happens, every other year. But I suppose, I signed up to be a fair parent post break up and ensure Miniminx has a life with her Father so that is that…

Happily I spent time with friends and had a great day and we made up for the day by having our own Christmas when Miniminx came home. Thanks Lucky Voice for a fab birthday – I sang my heart out along with my buddies and it was brilliant.

So it’s all on the up now, the dread has gone – I am free of 2008 and going to the gym every day and looking out for a fab job – but there’s not much about. In the meantime, I have to fill my days which is pretty easy. Miniminx is happy I can pick her up from school everyday. I’ve always found the lull between jobs gets pretty stressful after a while. I had a meeting last week with a recruiter and felt pretty ambivalent about the whole thing – having to grin and bear my situation while selling myself as hard as possible. In reality, the meeting went very well and the recruiter told me the job market never gets going until the second week of January, so hang on in there. So in order to keep my spirits up and feel good, the only way for me is to keep active – Wii fit (well it was Miniminx’s pressie) is getting a look in – and my gym gets to see me more. I’m doing yoga, pilates, running and swimming and lots of walking. Hopefully I’ll see a size-mic shift (ho ho) and all this exercise does help beat the January blues which is no mean feat. I’m still loading up my iPod and heading off to my storage unit this week to dig out years of old CDs which I can rediscover – I’m definitely filling my time with inane mundane stuff which I would never usually do if I was working, but it makes my days meaningful. I’m being more social as well – we’ve struck up a friendship with a family a few doors down which is fab – and meeting new people.

I’ve decided I’m going to try something new every day and today I’m going to create a collage on a giant blank canvas…how poetic.

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A week to go before Christmas and unlucky 13 days left ticking on my contract until the dole queue beckons and no concrete progress but the seeds have been sown I suppose.

Guardian Jobs in PR 175
Brandrepublic Jobs Media, Marketing and Comms 2070 jobs, PR jobs 127
PR Weeks Jobs 740
Mad.co.uk PR Jobs 280
Gorkana jobs 310
…and who on earth writes the jobs copy? Check this opportunity flagged as the ‘phenomenal PR explosion in the Middle East‘ who on earth put the that together??? Middle East? Explosions? Ja baby, that’ll really sell this hot job!

3500 jobs to go at Omnicom – you do the maths, lots of people out in the cold

So, a reality check means get real doesn’t it? It’s going to be a fight to just get through the door in these tough times, let alone bag a job. Ok, forget facebook (2facedbook as I sometimes call it) I need facetime – and linkedin? Yes, I am gathering connections but lunchedin is more like it – I’m back from the brink and nearly recovered from the flu so it’s time to get myself around town and hustling for some job opportunities through my true and trusted friends. Yesterday left a bad taste in my mouth with regard to my untouched CV on the desk of a certain company – I have to get in the driving seat here and not rely on the whims of a recruiter who thinks my eyes are the wrong colour. I just can’t give up either, so I’ve got a 9am meeting with a consultancy tomorrow for interim and permanent work, another one lined up for next year and two ‘socials’ – High Road House for lunch today and Notting Hill drinks do tomorrow and that will be the last gasp before Christmas – I could do with a bloody good laugh as well

…while this all may sound a bit Bridget Jones, I can assure you I don’t wear big knickers or keep a weight diary – this is reality and I have to bring in the dosh and bring up Miniminx to the best of my ability, it’s not easy sometimes but it has big rewards. I’ve worked with many women my age, who married to the job, think of nothing else, I call them the Septic Singles – they are blistering towards working Mums, searing in their ruthlessness and embittered about other people’s happiness (well, not all of them are but it’s a trend…).

Mingling with the munchkins at Miniminx’s Class Christmas party yesterday was hilarious, I even figured a career change to teaching might be a better route…and it’s not the first time I have thought that but I’m too bonkers I think. The naughtiest girl in school does not a disciplinarian make!

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England is closing down from the 19th December to January 5th it seems – that’s a long time to be out of the loop on the job front but I just have to go with it. Some movement on discussions but still no meetings. I found out yesterday the CV I had imagined to be languishing on a desk probably did find it’s way out of the window and into that puddle – I never even got through the door for an interview and I have found out through another recruiter that the position is to be filled this week.

When I was job hunting last time, I found I had a price on my head for sale or rent ie. permanent or freelance/contract work. It really made me feel like a piece of property and I can easily compare and contrast the experiences I’ve had with estate agents to the world of recruitment.

While it was a job seekers market back then, the same rules apply in this climate. Some people just don’t give a shit about you and some people do. Needless to say, I’m striking off that particular recruiter, for whatever reason, chemistry? There are people I have met that give you a whole load of spiel and then they never pick up the phone again – and there are others who are great and really committed to the people. I need to find the right people to help me because this is living in a vacuum right now.

Jobs board back up to 783 – weird.

News I’m hearing is that job offers are being retracted, I’ve heard from more than one person, including a recruiter, that people have left great jobs only to be made redundant by the company they are meant to be joining before they’ve even rocked up on the first day. I’ve never heard that in my career before and it’s bloody scary.

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