Tag Archives: jobs

On the twentieth day of advent: not quite the day I had planned…

For the first day of my Christmas holidays I had big plans. I feel a bit like I have failed. I’ve basically finished as all my shopping but one thing I do like doing is going into Oxford, close to the day itself, when it’s dark and cold and the twinkling lights are all festive and just enjoying that festive-feeling.

So today the plan was to get up not too far off the normal schoolday time, do some productive jobs like cleaning up after 8 cats, feeding the hoards, and generally making the place nice. Then I would settle down to read lots or write lots (to Mr Tumnal), cook lunch for when Emma gets back from work, before heading out to Oxford in the late afternoon before being back in time for the Ocado order. That, as I say, was the plan.

What actually happened was me going back to sleep until half nine and then me being incredibly slow about things until I had barely done the house-being-presentable stuff before Emma got home. Lunch was later than I had envisaged and the weather outside is looking anything but festive.

We’re going to go into Oxford tomorrow afternoon for a bit of a wander.

My future as a Web Designer

Today has been quite a day; a really good day. Shortly after 9 o’clock I got a call on my mobile – private number. This is it, I thought. And it was; one of my interviewers from yesterday. I was sure that they were going to tell me the usual story; that I was very good, had some brilliant skills but that someone else had been offered an accepted. No. This time, that person was me. I’m still not entirely sure if I really believe it, even now. I have a permenant job, 2½ years later. It’s brilliant. As Emma has said tonight, ‘I’ve got a husband with a permanent job!’

Tongiht we went out to celebrate with a meal. We decided to try out the new restaurant in Bicester in the converted chapel. Trintity, Bicester is a really nice place. Excellent food and friendly service. A great night out…

Thomas Shepherd, Web Designer

Yummy steak from Trinity, Bicester

New Beginnings

I have just been been offered and accepted for a new permanent job. From 5th October I shall be a Web Designer for Oxford Brookes University. It’s a proper job with a modest pay rise, good holidays, sickness, a final salary pension (!!) and interest.

Yay, yay, and thrice yay!!

Edited to add: Not that today can be any more crazy but apparently a Newsnight crew are pitching up later at my parents house to interview my Dad. Tune in tonight for more…

The Unspoken Elephant

So, finally, the day for the long-awaited interview for a Web Designer job at Oxford Brookes has come. I applied for this job at the back-end of July, whilst still on on jobsworth seekers allowance, but it wasn’t for another month before I heard I had the interview for another month away. Kind of understandably, I forgot quite alot about it, but this week I dusted down the application notes and got myself ready. That said, for some reason, this morning I was really nervous.

In the end, it seemed to go really well, and I was pretty articulate most of the time. I don’t know whether this was as a result of me, in response to the HR request for ‘any special arrangements we need to make’ I provided them with a Bill-provided declaration of my aspergers:

As regards my interview I would like to notify you that I have received coaching for Aspergers Syndrome.

Asperger’s Syndrome has a slight influence on the way I behave, and interviews are naturally a little stressful, so these notes may be helpful to us all:-

– I may need a little extra time to process questions, so moments of silence may be helpful to me, although that does not mean I am not understanding -l just taking a little more time to arrive a response.

– Multiple questions, or confusing comments may be a little difficult for me to untangle – one thing at a time helps me no end.

– I may sometimes seem as though I go off at a tangent – it makes sense to me at the time and the most helpful thing an interviewer can do is to bring me back by re-stating the question

– I am a little bit likely to miss social cues, so if the atmosphere feels uncomfortable to you, or if I seem to be unsure of what is expected, just tell me what you expect me to do. This can feel a little odd, but I will grateful!

Nothing was said about this, and I didn’t feel that I needed to reiterate it, as I actually got the feeling that the message had, probably, got through from HR (it should have done), but I do wonder whether me knowing that they know something subconciously made me perform better? I don’t know. There are five other candidates who have been shortlisted, so we shall see what we shall see. Hopefully it won’t be too long.

Back on the interview trail

Finally! I was beginning to think that I wasn’t going to get another one, but yes, yes I have. I have an interview. Weirdly though, I felt sure it wasn’t to be in this case as the closing date was a month ago, so I’d kind of given up on that one, but the interview isn’t for another month, so they can’t be desperate. It’s for a Web Designer job at Brookes. Fingers crossed … umm, for a month’s time…

Back At The Press

I’m back in the basement, the dungeon, the morgue. Okay, technically speaking its not actually any of those things, but it is unearthly quiet, it is at the back end of the building, and although its not technically in the basement the long, dark and dingy corridor lined floor to ceiling with ringbinders of Spanish and German dictionary notes does give it the impression of some X-Filian setup. It’s not thrilling work, but it will be money coming in; money to pay those bills.

The End Of Freedom

It being an unexpected Monday off for Emma, we were just getting ready to go and visit Sue and Tilly for the day, when I got a call from the agency. OUP had been on the phone to them, desperate and wanting to know whether, instead of next Monday, I could start work tomorrow…

It seems that I am going to work tomorrow. Umm, that’s going to be a bit of a shock to the old system… :-

The call to return

Okay, so they might be aggressive (in a business sense) and have a hold over me as so far as other work at OUP, but Progressive have got me some more work in the basement/dungeon/morgue. Starting in August for 6 months, I’ll be back there for 3+ days, which whilst isn’t absolutely ideal, is about 1000 times better than the proverbial kick in the teeth as offered by the jobsworth centre every fortnight.

Use according to your personal preference.

Once more unto the jobsworth centre

Today was the day for my annual pilgrimage into Oxford to pay visitations to the line of beauocracy for my pound of flesh (or 60-something pounds a week). In an effort to make the effort of getting into Oxford a bit more worthwhile I also had a wander round M&S to see what I might be able to get with the birthday vouchers from Emma’s grannie. I did see a rather nice canvass bag type satchelly thing, but shied away from buying it in case it was considered a man bag.

Whilst in Oxford I had a missed call from the agency, asking me to phone back asap, so I wandered into the offices instead. I have an interview set up now for tomorrow morning for a two-month rolling contract, which they say *might* go permanent…

I also got (at a not trivial expense) a cable, which I think, should make it possible to view photographs and video from my computer on the tele. Here’s to crossed fingers…

Productivity vs. Uselessness

In the morning I got stuck into painting some more of the garage – by degrees I will get there – before a bit more Wimbledon over lunch, and through the afternoon.

It’s awkward though, before the wedding I coped with unemployment because although I wasn’t earning money I was at least useful as a full time wedding planner. Now though, I don’t have that *excuse* but finding jobs, even these completely ‘out of my area of experience’ is hard.

And tomorrow I have to go to my bi-weekly visit to the jobsworth centre for my misley pound of flesh…

The Waiting Game

I’m not a big fan of telephone interviews at the best of times. I’m even less a fan of late telephone interviews. Today’s was scheduled for 2.30pm and I was sitting, waiting with both the landline and the mobile waiting. By 2.45pm I was emailing the HR person (thought it best to keep the line free), and then at 3 o’clock I phoned. Apparently they did call but it just rang out. Weird?!! Must have dialled a wrong number.

At 3.30pm the guy did call me and I had to leap straight into interview mode, but when they call it an ‘informal’ chat, just what does that mean?

I think I did okay but as always these things are impossible to judge. I suspect though, that they might be looking for someone who is less the designer and more the hardcore developer and/or IT nerd – all together more geeky than me.

Another Nice Day For It…

For the third time in two years, my first day of unemployment has had the sting taken out of it by gorgeously beautiful and warm weather. That said I started the day positively, with an interview &#z2013; or be it an interview for a temporary job – at Nominet which is in the luxuriously landscaped Oxford Science Park.

It seems like an intesting job, helping to create their new intranet site, and the the interview went surprisingly well so I’m really feeling quite positive about things… 🙂

Signing On

It’s been a funny ol’ start to my new unemployed status. The last time this happened, Tuesday 1 May 2007, was similarly bright, sunny, warm and distinctly spring-like, and it has been the same today. It takes the sting out of the situation, I find.

Another thing to take the sting out of the situation was to get on my bike and cycle into the town centre to sign on at the jobcentre. That is, that was the plan before I discovered that there is no jobcentre in Bicester. Strangely, knowing that there obviously is no unemployment in Bicester is not much of a comfort to me – not having a job must be just in my head after all!

There is a branch of Subway in the premises-formerly-occupied-by-the-jobcentre. I can’t help but imagine that the last jobs to be handed out there before they were closed were for a certain well-known branch of sandwich-sellers.

A third reason to not be too upset by not being at work today, or rather not having work to go to, is that Emma was at home today. Okay, so its not good – not good at all – that she was at home ‘cos she wasn’t well, but it was nice having her around.

I’ve managed to sign on online, which was tedious to the point of losing the will to live, but it did leave me free to head into Oxford and do some stuff I needed to do. Not just signing up with an agency that actually looks promising but also finding menu holders for the table decs at the wedding and researching travel books to Scotland.

Here we go again…

Shit, shit, buggity-buggery-buggeration, shit, shit! So the projects that were going to be kicking off soon in the department that I could have been involved have now been pushed back ’til later in the year, if they happen at all, which means that my contract won’t now be renewed come the end of February. Yes, I will be on the top of thie list to contact if and when the project (and thus the work) comes about but, quite frankly, that isn’t any kind of consolation to me at the moment.

Excuse me, but I think I need to go and rant and scream and have a bloody good cry…

The Agony of the Waiting

I’ve cancelled my printing press order. I was sick in the stomach and full of butterflies last night. It’s an expensive purchase, no more expensive than I had expected, and budgeted for out of Grandpa’s inheritance, so I had no worries there. The worries are that it would clean me out of my savings at a time when my current contract comes up for renewal at the end of the month and I haven’t yet had it confirmed if it’s being renewed or not.

Whilst I don’t want to spend this money on living (it would barely cover one month of missing salary), I can’t leave myself completely out of a safety net. Last night I talked to Em about it and she reassured me that whatever happens I will get my printing press whatever happens, even if we both have to save up for it to replenish any used funds.

I will have my lasting memory to Grannie and Grandpa.

One Year On

I’ve been feeling a bit sad and miserable and disjointed all day. Ordinarily I would say it was just the effect of the torrential rain and grim skies. I’ve also been worrying about whether I’m going to get everything done that I need to do this week. I have a viewing on my house on Saturday, which is good, but it does mean that I have to leave the house tidy, which means I’ve had to spend time tonight cleaning, because I’m out at band tomorrow and on Friday I’m going to Emma’s. And there’s other things I need to do as well, and I was wondering when I was going to have time to it all.

Then, tonight I realised what it is that is wrong. Today is exactly one year since I left BlackwellWiley. I really thought – I really hoped – that sometime in the intervening year I would land myself a new permanent job; a new career.

Of course it’s not like I’ve been without work for the whole year. It’s not like I haven’t had some nice holidays. It’s not even as if I haven’t had the best year ever with Emma, but it has been a year tinged with uncertainty, and I guess an uneasy curiosity as to whether I ever will succeed again at an interview. Just one of those really low evenings I guess.


Yesterday I had a weird phone call from the agency who previously employed me. They were following up on a call I’d had with one of their colleagues last week (not that I remember this call, but I think it might be the curious one, from a different agency, for a job with immediate start in Brighton?!). Basically, without me knowingly having said anything they’ve found out that I’m still at OUP, or be it on a completely separate job, got via someone who knows me and my work from a different company five years ago.

The upshot is that the agency are now chasing OUP for their cut of the ‘finder’s fee’ which quite frankly I don’t think they deserve (for reasons stated above). Not that this is really anything to do with me. OUP still want me and are prepared to pay for me. This is something for them to sort out for themselves with the agency.

What is it with the job title agent though? Is it code for ‘bull shitter’, ‘cos they seem to be all like that, with the gift of the gab and making money out of getting what they want through sly words. How sly is it to find out what I’m doing job-wise by pretending to be another agent?!!