Wednesday, 12 November 2008

Morning job seekers!!!



JSA Part One: The Telephone Interview in pictures.

So this morning I went to the job centre to sign on for Job Seekers Allowance. Ordinarily, as I'm sure anyone will testify to, this is a laborious, repetitive, and depressive affair. Today, however, gave me some surprisingly useful leads as to language courses and work trials, therein making it one of the better 'interviews' I have been subjected to.

I made the decision to sign on in a different Job Centre this time. Partly due to the local demographic (less screaming children) and partly due to the architecture. It sounds bizzare I know, but this really was a factor in my decision making process when presented with a choice of centre to attend; Upton's centre is poorly ventilated with a distinct lack of climatic control. Coupled with this, it has a low ceiling and gives more of an air of a WW2 medical camp in a trench than it does as a likely place to source a job.

Hoylake turned out to be a good choice; it's impressively high ceiling with wooden arches straight out of the industrial revolution and red brick construction very much conveyed at least a vague scent that thought had gone into the space and I suppose, by proxy, into the willingness of the staff to help me find gainful employment (or at least that is how I read the situation).

First up was my 'financial assessment' with Jan. Despite being subjected to a 1 hour telephone conversation last week, and reaffirming every last detail down to any property I might own abroad and whether or not I have £16,000 of savings or more, Jan was there to quadruple check my details. Poor Jan seemed to think that I was some form of non-sentient being and as such, spoke to me as a senile old lady might speak to her Chrysanthemums. In any case, I let Jan dictate the pace of linguistic and intellectual convergence and decadently cast my thoughts back to a friend who had yesterday told me about a derivative of Ritalin he had obtained from a pharmacy in Chile whilst there travelling. Apparently, intermittent erections are a well known side effect of a dose but the calming effect of the substance I'm told is quite desirable. We toyed with the idea of taking a few yesterday but decided the likely side effect would render the situation untenable. I wondered if Jan had ever taken this Ritalin variant and thought how different the turbo-charged interview might have been had she had indulged in a few.

Whilst Jan waddled off to the photocopier, I couldn't help but notice that a bite-size chunk had been taken out of the arm on her generic Job Centre chair. I wondered if this might have been a previous claimant in response to the tiresome, repetitive verification process. It could quite easily have been my DNA the police would be mopping up had I have consumed just one more cup of Columbia's finest this morning.

Jan has clearly been working in the Job Centre for a long time and I was probably less memorable to her than a two foot long shit she took back in 1983. The upside of her desperation to pass me on to the next cherry picker (the 'employment advisor') meant that I could at least stop repeating myself as to the state of my numerous off-shore bank accounts.

Jan shat me out at Julie's desk where the state of my current employment history was assessed. Thankfully we didn't go back as far as I had anticipated to the days of being a milk monitor in primary school and instead, Julie seemed content to know just the previous year's history. Whereas Jan was clearly hyperaware that she was something of a patronising-obese-gargoyle-come-to-life, Julie spoke in equally patronising but seemingly sympathetic tones. It's probably actually quite hard to differentiate here given that the average Job Centre lady is operating at a transcendental level of belittlement. In any case, and as I suspected, there were to be some details from past claims that we had to mull over and some slight innane tweaks to be made to 'my agreement' but on the whole, this was the least tedious of the three phase interview.

So there's just a brief overview of what you can expect if your boss catches you surfing the net during working hours.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Anticipatory vibes

Had a decent week of training/climbing all in all. Was up in the Pass on Sunday past as well as yesterday where me, O and Crouch went up to check out the deal with Lizard King. I've looked at it in the past and been pretty motivated by it but never had enough pads/balls/power. After some serious sequence interrogation, we devised two main methods to do the first move; one a sort of Piranjaesque lock with the left hand to a decent (but awkward) rail for the right hand. The other was an equally painful but also powerful lock to a sharp cluster with the left hand leading. The problem was somewhat damp, yet despite this, Crouch managed to fumble the good slopey jug on a late attempt and would have no doubt topped out to glory given better conditions. O was exactly the same and only shut down by dampness, not power or ability. I managed much of the problem but the previous month's layoff means I need to do a couple of campus board touch sessions to get back to (and indeed beyond) power. Really nice line and a nice day out with a small team.

Today I sent off my application for trainee project co-ordinator. Initially I thought the role pertained exclusively to information architecture, but on closer inspection it seems the placement would open up a few different avenues within the company. I'm pretty happy with my personal statement for it all and am told I will hear within 20 days if I have got it or not.
The UKB contingent were as helpful as ever with knowledge/opinion dissemination. This reminds me to make a considerable donation to Bubba when I'm in the black.

Tonight is more studio time and recording. The partytime schedule is pretty intense throughout the next 2 months, but here's to a dedicated attempt to crush as well as party.