PPI HELL LIMBO

So…having returned the last PPI evidence to Insurance Company by Recorded delivery last week, I did not get any acknowledgement of its receipt. Great Start.

I phoned them up. The forms are in limbo. Being previewed by administration.

Mexican stand- off time.

What the hell can you do? 

If they say yes – it buys some breathing space.

If they say no – I’m screwed, I can’t make a payment and the insurance policy not worth the paper its written on, despite me being diligent enough to cover my arse in case things went tits up, protecting me from them and them from me. I can’t do anymore.

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Jobs fair #2

So..heard about this jobs and homes event at Liverpool Town Hall, so tied this in with a visit to a job agency, to save on train fare.
A friend was aware of said event, didn’t bother to tell me about it. Thanks for that. Knowledge is power….
It was surprising good, despite her not letting cat out of bag.

The stalls were a lot more engaging than some previous event I’d attended. So much for Liverpool being a brand or reaching out around the region, If you were from Wirral, not exactly welcome – but that was due to funding.

There is, to me bizarrely, a ‘mental block’ with some people from Liverpool about being from ‘over the water’ or ‘from the darkside’ ie on the Wirral. I had an interview in a cafe at Blackburne House, but the chef was more concerned as to how I’d get to work! I was stood in front of her, I wasn’t scotch mist. Half an hour from door to door by train and walking. It didn’t ‘register’ with her that the train ran under the Mersey. What was I going to do, zorb across the river?? Never saw my basic hygiene certificate after that day, either. Weirdos. But this is what I’m up against.

It was nice talking to people, bit of a contrast from talking to myself or having a one sided conversation with the dog. I picked up information- tips on Cv writing, a list of job websites, some places to sent a speculative CV to, I guess. Got this brilliant book mark and a 6″ ruler, which as it turns out to be invaluable.

I enquired about potential housing, in case the worse came to the worse.
My two up two down may be cold, but facing moving to a one bedroom flat in Anfield without my dog? No, I’d rather hang myself from my banisters.

Job Agency Registration

So.. the last time I was at this agency was last August, a month before my last contract finished.That’s an hour and a half of my life I won’t be getting back. So I was back again, to re-register with this bright bubbly young thing.
I never got any work from the agency, despite applying to them via internet on more than one occasion. They never even sent me the online test I had to do, despite me following this up. Now it turns out that they’d lost my file and I was forced to re- register – not what you’d expect from a blue chip company,eh? Fills you with confidence,not.
I had to once again go over the last two years of my employment – or lack of there of. I’d been through this with the bank interview on monday. I’d rather be putting distance between these jobs, if it’s all the same to everyone – five shitty job,only eleven months of work.It’s the economy,stupid.

Why is this a reflection on me? Is this all I’m capable of attracting? My ‘ previous experience’ running round in the same, ever decreasing circles, because no one trains anyone up anymore in something else or is too f***ing thick to see your potential.

I did get the online test sent to me with the ominous title of ‘PROVE-IT’. Despite getting the ECDL in 2005, I’ve not run macros nor done any mail merging since. I found the program clunky. As for the typing -I’m not a typist – copy typing for me is a nightmare- but I put that down to my astigmatism. I didn’t even type out the first two paragraphs in the five minutes (the typing screen was Soooo tiny!). No idea how I scored in the test. Hardly a real world experience.

Oh, As for the Medical Record Clerk job I was hoping to apply for..that went to another candidate before I even got there…. what a bummer.

Adrenalin Junkie

So.. just had my first proper interview in a while.( I’ll ignore the trainee dental nurse saga).

Thankfully I went for the earlier train. £3:50  poorer and nervous as hell, I sat on the Manchester Airport train. Luckily my stop was the first one. You couldn’t half see the difference with MerseyRail and Northern Rail, for a start no on-board digital station displays for the nervous passenger/ tourist. The station was in the middle of no where when I got there. Hardly the most sophisticated of areas either, guising as a ‘technology park’, Chester knocked Wavertree in to a cocked hat. Then I had the problem of do I turn left or do I turn right. across a platform bridge. Left didn’t initially look promising.  I asked the nice man in the ticket booth as I had the name of a road from my saved interview letter on my crackberry. As per most industrial parks, the signage was extremely poor, so I collared two nice blokes at what I think was a software company. In all it took me fifteen minutes to get there, if I’d have got the later train I’d be having kittens by now. ALso there was no parking – chocka, so in one way I was grateful of not having that added stress.

I felt sorry for who ever was going through my what I did in the last two years evidence. Every P45, P60,JSA claim, wage slip. passport, water bill, deed poll and birth certificate.

The Interview was a mix of competency based questions and scenario questions and then checking some calculations. Why I was surprised I had a maths problem  I had no idea, as it was at a bank !!

SO I’m left like a cat on a hot tin roof for the result of my £12k job,  for a week, waiting for a start date late April.

I felt like I was in a heap on the floor after. A quick detour from Lime street to Tescos, despite a full bladder, to get a Crispy Kreem donut was my reward to myself to make me feel better about myself when I got home.

Competency based questions

So….I’ve been prepping for my interview.
Bit of background on the company – pity I didn’t research the bank I use so thoroughly. If I get the job it’s mandatory to bank with them. How’s that for choice? There isn’t a branch near me for one thing.
Also an ‘advantage’ of working at said bank is that you’re a sitting duck for their products. I personally can’t see how that’s an ‘advantage’ to work for them, I don’t want to purchase anymore financial products and feel vexxed that it’s bigged up like that. The rates on my web saver suck; the Insurance on the credit card is a bleeding nightmare to jump through hoops, when I only took out the insurance to stop me stressing in the first place and no, the small print wasn’t pointed out in 1997.

So now I’ve a competency based interview to face and a task, whilst someone scrutinises all the paperwork for where I was for the last two years. That opened a few cans of worms, crap agency jobs and the not very nice people whom I’d rather forget.

I decided to use some post cards to write out my competency based experiences on, and some bumpf about the employer – my mind tends to go blank half way when recalling stuff like this anyway. If you don’t get the job, why waste precious time and brain cells remembering this?

Competency based questions, the favourite of the civil service, aka STAR are
a) Situation -what were the circumstances/place it happened
b) Task – what YOU did (that’s YOU, not the team,pretend you were that winner)
c) Action -How you did it (problem solving)
d) Result – what was the outcome (make you look good)

The important thing is to remember to spice these up with
phases such as
1) (improved) efficeincy / Increase of something (sales)
2) Resolution
3) Empathy, Rapport, Listening
4) Customer Satisfaction

SO my S-T-A-R answers covered topics like
1) Using IT
2) Team working
3) Good customer service
4) Going out of way to help
5) Resolving conflict
6) Communication – precise written
7) Communication – public speaking
8) Achieving a (personal) goal

I’ve also noted the questions to ask
1~ dress code (what are the other sheep wearing) – pray for a uniform so you don’t have to think about a wardrobe and bitchy women (and save my identy for out of 9-5 world).
2~ start date / what next (how long until I start earning, which is the point of being there)
3~ training (avoiding the actual job, giving me time to wait for outstanding job applications to fizzle out)
wasn’t sure to ask about job security as they were laying people off in 2010 – but if they’re going to flog me a personal loan at new best mates rates….

So to squeeze into my suit, put my paperwork into a smart bag and organise my transport….and keep my IBS under control.

Job Seeking….for ‘these people’…

So…it’s hit and miss applying for jobs.

Maybe it’s luck? Right time, right place, certainly was true in my last role, but landed in a shit storm of office politics betwixt the coven of witches upstairs and the bitch on the front desk I had to work with.

I’ve a target to meet, set by the JSA, either that or forced to come in each week. I can put enough pressure on myself applying for jobs without anyone else riding my back. Job Search takes up most of the day, usually from 11 Am to about 6Pm, searching from the wheat from the chaff and recording my searches.

Being unemployed it’s NOT my default mode. I worked two jobs successfully for quite a while – one full-time, the other evenings and weekends. I’ve not had a full-time permanent job since I moved to the Wirral 14 years ago….If I’d had stayed where I was I’d have been made redundant and as a consequence lost my cottage and not gained a degree along the way.

So, what can I do to get work? I’ve got my JSA universal job match mandatory searches, searches I’ve set up myself with places like Cv-library, I’m registered with a few agencies and have a jobs folder full of links I work through weekly to all the major local employers, plus specialist job searches in the archives and museums sector.

I’ve no retail experience,nor have got a job through touting my CV door to door or working through the yellow pages. I’d also can say, never in my twenty odd years of working, walked into another, squishing the BS that it’s easier to get a job, when you’re in a work.

I’ve got an interview with a bank. They wanted evidence of all my employment over the last two years. That’s P60s I had to find, P45 from each job, wage slips from each. Not as easy as it sounds.
Of the 24 months, I had five different jobs but only employed for a total of 13 months. I was ill for two months after anxiety got the better of me having taken the first and unsuitable job, I was offered, the of the time I was on JSA. Thank goodness but it’s just luck, I didn’t throw out any paperwork, being depressed I just shoved everything in one drawer. I don’t even particularly want the job, but no one else is hiring and I need

something.

Last Wednesday I applied for 15 jobs. Of those two were acknowledged and two were rejected over two days. As for the other eleven, who knows? It’s a typical day in the life of a job seeker in 2014.

I don’t apply for jobs I can’t do, so it really pisses me off to get a condescending rejection letters to the tone of other candidates more closely matched the person specification or the you’re not a high calibre applicant. All of them say you can’t be a member of our gang.
It’s like being back of school and not being picked for a hockey team in PE. I may not have been popular, but I always scored. But that never seemed to matter, or was conveniently forgotten by the week after.

As time goes by your confidence level hits rocks bottom.So, What do you do? can reduce you to tears. You feel you can’t even tie your own shoes. Staying motivated is a constant problem.

1) There’s volunteering, but you can now only do that at a registered charity. I’ve made two attempts to volunteer, but for one reason or another it didn’t work out.
2) I’ve started free online courses through the Open University. They keep me sane, but still interfere a bit with my job search.
3) Visiting the local MIND group had helped -courses and open days
– I don’t have many friends, nor can afford to go out with them. When I say out, it’s cafe’s,shops, museums,free arts events, going to the next city on the train ‘out’ – not ‘going out’- getting mindlessly drunk with complete strangers.
4) Downloading free snippets of books for my kindle /kindle on my PC also helps
5) Joining PINTEREST had helped stimulate my creative side, but I’m too depressed to actually do anything practical, nor have I the funds to get the materials to make stuff anyway. But at least it’s there.

Roller coaster

So….. up and down today. Mainly down.

Two rejections – an entry level science job at a pharmaceutical company  and a family run outdoor clothing manufacturer.

One telephone interview of which I was highly suspicious, given the last scam. Well this was from a bank this time. After a buttock clenching half hour (oh god the cost of the call), I was told that I passed the interview (up yours dental apprentice role)..BUT… I’d have to go to a face to face interview and was only up on a priority list. SO I had my hopes raised, and didn’t result in a job.