Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Get On Your Bike

For background, I'm looking for a suitable job at the moment, after being made redundant due to company restructure, etc etc. I was, or might be again I suppose, a bit of a generalist, having to be competent at quite a few things to keep the wheels of the business I was involved in turning smoothly.
Like a lot of us no doubt.

However, having no particular specialisation, but varied competencies & experience gained from a good background in commercial publishing coupled with department management, I've found it difficult to tick the right ticky boxes on agency registrations, job search websites and so forth.

I've ranged far & wide in person and on the web in my search for suitable vacancies, but for some reason I'd never really considered my local Job Centre. So I thought I'd ring them up and make an appointment to see one of their career advisers.

What follows is the verbatim account of what happened next.

JC Woman: "Hello, Job Centre, how can I help you?"

Me: "I'd like to come in and talk to someone to get some advice and maybe some career leads. My problem is that the website job searches the job centre have, and the agencies as well, are making me tick boxes that aren't really 'me' and aren't giving me the kind of opportunities and vacancies that I can apply for successfully.
I thought if I could talk to someone who is involved with taking briefs from local companies I might get better results on what is out there at the moment."

Her: "Oh, ok, I see. Are you on benefits at the moment?"

Me: "No"

Her: "Err, ok, do you have any disabilities that might prevent you from working in particular roles?"

Me: "No".

Her: "Oh, well, if you don't have any disabilities and you're not on benefits then we can't really help you."

Me: "But, I haven't got a job at the moment, I want to work, and I need some help finding the right roles to apply for."

Her: "Well, we can't make an appointment for you to come in and talk to us unless you are on benefits and/or have a disability. You're welcome to come in and have a look at the boards or look on line yourself."

Me: "So you're saying that I have to wait until I'm so in trouble that I'm on benefits before you'll help me get a job? Would it be better if I lost my house as well?"

Her: "That's right. Unless you have a disability, anyway."

Me: (incredulously) "Really?".

Her: "I'll give you some phone numbers and some other website addresses etc"

Me: "Are those the same ones I can already get from your website?"

Her: "They might be."

Me: (laughing by now) "Right, ha ha, well, goodbye then".

Her: "Yes, sorry, goodbye"

You couldn't make it up, could you. If I saw this on the telly, on "Not Going Back To Work" or similar, I'd think, 'oh yeah, over imaginative scriptwriter at work'.

Several hours later, I still can't really believe it happened. So I've written it down, if only to give myself some evidence that I'm not trapped in some kind of Chekhov story.

I'm going in there tomorrow, to see what's what.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Hello World


Well I've come late to the blogging revolution, but better late than never, that's what they say. I like to keep up to date with some regular blogs myself so I thought I'd have a go as well and see how I get on.

I've been putting this off for a while until I was in the right frame of mind to do it, but I've been waiting for ages and that still hasn't happened so here I am anyway.

I was wondering what to write about for my first post and I thought I'd share something with you that's been popping in and out of my mind for maybe 35 years now. It's about George Martin, the Beatles producer, more specifically his composition 'Theme One', written for the BBC to be their Radio 1 theme tune. This was in the days when they actually used to go off the air at night and come back on in the morning.

Anyway, in the early seventies, for various reasons I had a spell of living at my grandma's house. She had a put-you-up bed settee thing that wasn't too bad to sleep on, but it was in the living room and the curtains were really thin, meaning that I'd be awake at the crack of dawn (it must have been Spring or Summer).

I had this tiny light blue transistor radio and one morning I put it on and there was this, to me, scary organ style music, which sounded like something from a Hammer film but speeded up.

I liked it, was thrilled by it, was fascinated by it and I was scared of it all at the same time. It got to the point where I'd wake myself up purposely to hear this strange music every morning. However, I never knew what it was, or who made it until much later but the strange way I found it has popped into my head every so often since that time.

So there I was, looking through YouTube the other day and I thought...I wonder. Well, I didn't find George Martin's version, but I did find this:

I love it. Listening to it now, it still kind of affects me, but I like it even more now because this is my nostalgia.

And I wasn't aware of them at the time, but looking back now didn't VDGG have it all. Apart from the vocalist who's not needed for this track, the three VDGGs featured here are; the handsome, capable keyboarder; the crazy genius saxophonist; and the super-competent jazz-rock drummer who must have been the template for every surf dude and grunger who ever existed. I love his style of head down, hit it hard and fast. Great stuff and I hope you enjoy it, whether or not it personally still gives you the tingles.

See you soon.