Job agency hell

So… are recruitment agencies supposed to make you feel like shit after visiting them?

I had an appointment booked at 1pm – she was a no-show – one of the recruiters had no idea why I was even called in the office. By 1:25 asked to come back at 2PM or wait. I felt forced to buy sandwich, which could ill afford to kill some time. Two PM – still not there. Even took a call from another recruitment agency whilst I was waiting.

On the phone The woman came across as an air head – what about the gaps in my employment and some throw away comments that ‘some people didn’t need to work’ didn’t endear me to her. Needless to say any gaps in my employment are a very sensitive issue. I had to keep justifying being one of the 399 out of the 400 who didn’t get job X. Someone with an understanding of her own field should have been more sensitive herself. It transpired that her ulterior motive was that her client was an ex-recruitment (some exclusive club??), and
she was going to be asked how well she knew her clients. So it wasn’t for my benefit….
I’m not going to lie or spin about being unemployed though, am I?
I didn’t blame agencies for lack of jobs (just crap T&Cs) or myself, I’ve a strong CV – despite gaps in employment and doing the best that I can.

My spidey senses had a feeling that it wasn’t a role for me, and ideally I didn’t want to be on the front desk embarrassing myself that my clothes were ‘tired’ and beginning to get ‘too tight’ and had no suitable office shoes.

I was getting bottled up and the tears were welling. she told me I was coming across as being ‘aggressive’ ( who me?!!!) and she didn’t feel comfortable talking to me.
I felt insulted I’d had to wait for her for over an hour and didn’t like being stared at through her piggy little eyes. I felt hurt and defensive that I was unemployed and it was insinuated that I was doing something wrong… like what was I doing to find work – all I could – UJM, register with agencies, job alerts, newspapers,websites. Never worked in a shop i.e no retail experience on CV so can’t give out CV willy-nilly, going through a phone book is an utter waste of time)

I was advised
1) I shouldn’t apply for loads of jobs but a few….wonder what the DWP had to say on that score.
2) Apply for jobs that I wanted….. note that due to the economy they’re firing, not hiring in libraries/ museums/ archives sector.
3) I should work on a ‘positive attitude’ (fucking insult)
4) AS I was intelligent I should sent my CV to the universities to see if they had any jobs … oh yes they just magically find the funding for a job for me cos I sent my CV to them (clearly the woman was away with the fairies and no clue as to their recruitment!!)
5) Had I explained to the jobcentre ‘how I was feeling’ and take time out from job search….what about my JSA agreement, you think Iain Duncan Smith/ McVey gives a crap how I ‘feel’?? To her I was just some mad, psychotic bunny boiler without a job and blamed agencies for their misfortune.
6) Oh, and not to drag baggage from one agency if you haven’t heard any thing to them, as they weren’t to blame for the job situation – not as though they actually had any jobs on the books apart from this ‘receptionist’ job and a one month role down by the airport.
7) Don’t apply for a job – “just because it was a job” – clearly she’d led a charmed life, and ought to speak to the DWP

She’d phone me about the job in Speke, but it was only for a month – “so wasn’t worth me signing on and off the dole”. I spy.. yet another gap in my employment for me to lie about???

Yes she’s spoken to other people, who like me were ‘broken’ by the jobs market, but clearly she only wanted ‘winners’ on her books.

One of the agencies clients had popped her head around thee door earlier, she’s worked bank holidays over Easter and hadn’t been paid at all, never mind the time and a half and had only been paid £50..and had bills mounting, etc, etc. I wasn’t impressed by her treatment.

I called into another, well-known agency on the way home – they hadn’t any work – things were ‘a bit quiet’ but check their website for genuine vacancies. That’s what I wanted to hear and felt glad I popped my head around the door.


Why does it always rain on me?

So.. it’s Thursday and been to doctors for yet blood test for fibromyalgia. I’m struggling typing this…

Needless to say therefore I’m not at the two week job the two agents from Reeds emailed about, nor am I celebrating getting the £21k pro rata permanent 20 hours per week role within ten minutes walk of the house and staff tai chi lessons on wellness wednesday.

No idea what was wrong with my CV re Reeds, probably lack of car when they offer free car parking is usually a clue public transport wasn’t an option. The money would have been welcome to fund new office clothes and travel to the dead end job at the bank.

I was offered to opportunity of feedback at the interview for the job yesterday, luckily I missed them calling me to give me the bad news in person. Why would I want feedback, I didn’t get the job.
My self esteem is so low at the moment I couldn’t cope with calling, to find out.. what exactly – internal candidate got it, I came close, some other candidate more closely matched their criteria? Maybe I shouldn’t have put depression in the equal ops box, but I would have been the candidate who would most benefit from this job, screw what experience anybody else had.
SO I can kiss goodbye getting seriously into CRM. Another door closed or slammed. Round and round I go, drowning in a pool of past experiences I can’t escape or develop< I'll always be the trainee Archivist who things didn't work out for (ie no ££ for a Masters Degree), or the failed scientist (no one outside of that employer wanted my skills).

What I also didn't say dear listener was that on the way to the interview, I was stopped by the postie to sign for a letter. My ex-husband had got someone to address the envelope for him, to hide his distinctive and illegible handwriting. It was a nasty, poisonous,cowardly letter of blackmail, based on misinformation.
It was a total body blow to someone on the way to a job interview.
So I had that going through my head as I was sat in front of a panel of three yesterday. Nice.

How can I not get out of negative thinking when after six months of trying I didn't get the job I wanted?
I try – I fail, I try again -I fail. Repeat ad nauseum.
SO, clearly their must therefore be something wrong with me.
THe CV of my not perfect life, is getting some response, but when I show up in person….
I dress correctly , mind my P’s and Q’s, I even entertain the panel with my enthusiasm…. but it’s not enough.
I was told after the Archives job, that I wasn’t the best candidate, but I was the most personable….yeah, that put me in my place …to someone who answers the councils FOI enquiries with Cut + Paste answers from the FOI itself and though you needed an FOI request for a burial record..duh!

So last night i was in total turmoil. I didn’t know if to scream, cry or kill myself… Somehow I managed to calm myself down playing a game on my mobile phone.
No real friends to call on, like the ones in the ones in the ads on the TV or you read about in books or magazines…
That spineless, financial parasite of an ex-husband was after his share of my house that the court had given to him, after he decided the grass was greener elsewhere. THe definition of husbandry is to look after – not sadly something he ever did and pissed off when the in sickness or for poorer part of the marriage vows seemed to have been conveniently forgotten. The true monster that I married unfortunately isn’t a pretty sight

Least my fate re job was decided, the you- can- do -better- for -your- self- than -this- job, the job that you NEED, rather than the role that you can can excel in, flourish spiritually and do to the best of your ability because its a passion not a chore.
I just need a start date and keep my head down, in case I find out along the line that I’ve made a horrible mistake by taking the job, but sadly its the only job on the table.

I wanna be an archivist…

So… only managed to apply for ONE job in the last two days. I didn’t hit my job application target last time I was at the jobby centre either – but the advisor (a different one – not the usual misery chops) was so pleased I’d be leaving he didn’t want to see my job search and wished me a happy weekend. However, I’m not being caught out as others have by stopping applying for work – just in case my dream job is out there…

Given the only job I feel I’m naturally good at is archiving/library work, not exactly chuffed to hear on news one of the Chester Councils was axing a load of Library posts. Clearly a volunteer can step in for a Librarian with a Masters Degree (… in some cases you can!!)

At one time there was a ‘skill shortage’ of archivists, now there are more people than jobs in Archives – and the jobs mostly happen to be in London (no surprise there) and the only people who benefit are the Universities who run the courses – got a spare £5k from Mater and Pater? **rattles can**

I know of one Chartered Librarian who swapped to doing a Masters in Archiving as she couldn’t get a library job as she’d ‘no customer experience’ – despite her volunteering in a charity shop for over a year. Clearly she had the ‘wrong type of experience’.. or her employer was an arse.
I went the other way and tried to move from archives to libraries -I’ve had several interviews myself for library posts, but my face doesn’t seem to fit or I felt was making up numbers as the jobs were ‘a done deal’. Maybe with the rounds of cuts maybe ability will be a factor over who their friends are and the dead wood can finally go?
The Archivist I worked with used to play ‘spot the archivist’ on the way to some over-priced conference he was forced to attend. As he said – I’ve never seen so much man made fibre in one room before. Ha, you only have to read some of the posts on Archive forums to wonder why some people give archiving a bad name – they’re the ones’ the boss keeps from the general public,preferably in a darkened locked room – not those nice ones you see on the Family History TV programs…

I’m noticing a trend in people with transferable skills being ignored for those who already were doing the job in question. Employers refuse to train up staff, giving them the skills their staff require, in favour of someone coming pre-packed with all the skills and no training/investment required. In the end employers will be fishing from an ever decreasing pool of people, as they’re so short sighted. They (employers) also forget that people don’t live their lives to some preconceived ideal template of an employee.

Locally how can I even break into an entry level law job if I don’t have experience of the world of ambulance chasing? or get into logistics or FM as these jobs (if they exist) seem to be doing the rounds.


So.. Sunday was a write off.
Sunny outside, so thoughts turned to all the place I couldn’t afford to go to. Reality sucks.
So I decided to stay in bed with a book as it was too cold to sit in the back bedroom. May as well keep warm.
By god I was in pain. My upper body ached, for a while I felt a bit weak down my left hand side – even moving the duvet hurt. As for my shoulder, neck and lower back -the agony. I don’t like taking painkillers – took a few too many once, but that’s another story.
I’d turned the mattress over, changed the sheets, smoothed out the mattress protector, the pillows are those supposedly memory foam type. Still doesn’t help put head in position where sinuses are kept clear. I probably need a new mattress as its about 16 years old. An expense I don’t need right now.
I’ve noticed for a while that my upper body strength was getting weaker, bending down hurts- tying my shoelaces is a nightmare, as for putting my socks on- I dread it. As for kneeling – can’t do it, and start panicking if can’t get up. Pressure on my chest if I bend down, also sends me into a panic.
I’m assuming all this is a reaction to STRESS. The job hasn’t started, indeed they phoned today to say they didn’t know a start date. As long as I get out of workfare, that’s all that matters in my goldfish bowl world at the moment.
Least I haven’t broken out in cold sores, yet, that was a recent stress reaction that started up after that useless shit I married buggered off. I large stye burst in my eye yesterday, so that shows I’m run down. Also been getting spots and cysts in my scalp, which is getting me down.
My skin isn’t great either.I’m forcing myself to drink water,not something I’m a fan of because I hate going to the loo so often, too often. I hope my kidneys aren’t packing up. Booked in for another blood test next week.

The ‘Unemployed’ to be criminalised in April 2014

I was really upset after going to the jobcentre today. I’m only signing on for money I’ve already paid in over the years, I’ve worked 13 months out of the last 24, but it’s licence to treat me like something they scrape off my shoe and label me “long-term unemployed”.
As of next month I’ll have to sign on daily or be forced to work “in the community” for 30 hours with a 10 hour supervised job search. Ironically it’s precisely small-minded employers from my ‘community’ and their ‘assumptions’ about me that are preventing me getting me a job!
Community, what community? Where are my like-minded fellows in this shit hole, Birkenhead?
Maybe I should write the word graduate on my fluorescent jacket in black marker so as I’ll be distinguishable as some falling foul of the law on “community service”. My only ‘crime’ is to be unemployed, it’s not as though I can’t or won’t work, no one will give me a chance. I’m free-falling into debt as I’m ‘overqualified’ and its assumed soon as I get a job, I’ll be off…where I’d like to know, as I’ve been treading water for six months now.

Having a ‘supervised job search’ would mean using the mandatory Universal Job Match. Channel 4 News pointed out, 1 in 50 jobs were fake and 30% decidedly ‘dodgy’ or repeats – I tweeted last month about a shelf stacking job that appeared TEN times on the same page of the UJM.

Any way, I was starving and went on to ASDA, as I could have killed from some nice fresh crusty bread. Turns out I’d forgotten my purse, so I discovered when I got to the till. I was hell bent on not losing the pack of stewing lamb and veg to make a pan of scouse to last for a week. So I had to walk home again and back, my legs/ankles killing me, but managed to get my goods back – thanks to the customer service staff. Must admit I had tears welling in my eyes on my way home, out of embarrassment and frustration.

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.



Whatever job I was shortlisted for – “reference Admin Liverpool’ –  I’d never find out.

Given the ignorant man didn’t phone me back,  nor reply to my email, I wasn’t going to beg. I found out, by boy with strong a local accent that the job had been filled that morning. How convenient !! So being ‘shortlisted’ was tantamount to who phoned up first gets the job? Sod that for a game of soldiers.

What a bunch of f**king amateurs.And no, I didn’t want them to keep my CV incase any other jobs turned up.

I may be unemployed but I have high standards – I only work with ‘professionals’.