Tag Archives: work

Interview nerves

Is it just me or are job interviews like blind dates? You need to make a dazzling impression in 3 seconds flat, you spend ages on your outfit and you practice your witty laugh and come-back comments in the mirror. I had an interview yesterday and I always reckon Friday interviews are a good bet – everyone’s looking forward to the weekend and we can just kick back and chill. Wouldn’t you know though, it was a job I applied for and promptly forgot about as I was only asked to submit my CV and a covering email. Yet I can spend hours and hours on carefully-crafted, 10-page long personal statements and not hear a peep.

I took an inordinate amount of time selecting a suitable outfit, painstakingly applied make-up so that it looked like I wasn’t wearing any, teased my unruly hair into bouncy waves and applied perfume very liberally. I read up on the company, memorised facts and wrote a few tiny crib notes on my wrist, carefully hidden under my watch. Unfortunately, as this whole process took over two hours, I downed gallons of coffee to steady my nerves. By the time I left the house, every nerve was buzzing, but, hey, I was on form, I was flying.

At the reception desk, a jaded receptionist slapped a very large ID sticker on my coat and commanded me to sit and wait until I was ‘collected’. I was then lead to the most open-plan office ever designed where the workers were handing round birthday cake, casting sad little glances in my direction,  as I huddled in the tiny corner sitting-area.

Finally I was called in to The Panel and an hour (an hour!) later, I was led back to the lift and sent on my way. I won’t be cracking open the Champagne just yet, but I think I have a good chance. If I am successful I get called back for a second, then a third interview, gulp. Wish me luck and watch this space…

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Job centre blues

After burrowing around in the murky depths of disability and work legislation, I have now been assigned a Disability Employment Advisor and on Monday I went to visit her at the local Job Centre. To cut a very long, sorry saga short, I have been bullied quite badly at work ever since my diagnosis of multiple sclerosis was confirmed and I need to find a new job. Pronto. Can you believe this is still happening in 2012?

Anyway, I’m told to bring my CV and turn up at 11.20 sharp. I arrive early and am met by two doormen. Bouncers? Honestly, they stand there in dark suits, look me up and down with raised eyebrows and I’m half expecting them to say ‘sorry love, you can’t come in here looking like that’. I’m on the list though, so I’m in.

I’m directed into a vast, bland, utterly depressing room with splashes of green logo and dotted with a bewildering array of prams, shopping bags and people slumped on the sofas. Other people are hunched over large ‘job generating machines’, pressing and clicking buttons like they’re playing one-armed bandits in a pub. I pick my way through the crowd, perch on the edge of a dingy sofa and wait. And wait. The staff call people up to desks, looking bored out their skulls (well, they already have jobs) and still I wait, my CV wilting in my sweaty hand.

Finally, I’m called. We run through the ways MS can get in the way of working, my skills, my career aspirations and which hours I can work. My advisor then turns the computer screen round so I can see it. Two possible jobs. Cleaning and daytime pizza delivery. Huh?

She tells me I am over-qualified for most of the jobs they have, but due to my reduced working hours, childcare issues and disability, that’s all they have. I thank her, walk unsteadily to the door which as much dignity as I can and leave it all behind. On second thoughts, I go back, slip past the bouncers and yank a ‘How Did We Do?’ form from the front desk.

On it I write Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here, shove it in the box and go.

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