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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Ok, I didn't want to do this but...

I know it's the run up to Christmas an'all, but I've been very observant recently (some people might call it nosey) and there have been an increasing list of things I've seen which are getting on my nerves.
I've already blogged about the irritating habit shown by some women who apparently lose their capacity for thought when they give birth, and fail to show their children simple lessons in how to behave towards others, but this was just the start of it.

I am NOT going to pretend that I am perfect - NEVER guilty of a silly mistake, or not realising that I'm doing something which might cause an inconvenience to another person BUT (and it, as far as I'm concerned is a big BUT) I am also able to admit my inadequacies, failings, weaknesses... whatever you wish to call them, and apologise when I have caused something to get in the way of one of my fellow human beings. Not something I see happening very often sadly.

So here, for your reading pleasure is a list of all my complaints about the world...... (I'm sure you can add some - please feel free to comment at the appropriate moment!!)

1. If you are using public transport & are accompanied by small children (or not so small bags of shopping) and there are seats close to the front not required by those less able than yourself - SIT IN THEM!!
Please do not traipse down the vehicle right to the back, no matter how much little "milly" or "frank" might beg.... all you are doing is delaying the departure of the bus for everyone else, and said small person is at risk of falling up the inevitable stairs at points along the gangway of the bus, causing them discomfort and you to lose your temper .....

2. Again, If using said public transport & you have to bring on a wheel case of some sort (i.e you are lucky enough to be going away or just possibly carrying a laptop in one of those poncey wheeled cases - or even, dare I mention, a damnable shopping trolley) SIT AS CLOSE TO THE FRONT AS POSSIBLE!!

The rest of the passengers do not wish to have their shins, toes or other bodily parts damaged by your luggage. And besides this there is not enough space for the aforementioned luggage between the seats unless you are going to be selfish enough to take up two by yourself.

3. When out shopping with your family & your mobile phone rings, it is probably a good idea to keep this item somewhere you can get to it fairly quickly - i.e. your coat pocket or just maybe a handbag pocket if you feel a little more secure with this. WE DO NOT ALL WANT TO HEAR YOUR STUPID RINGTONES!!
I, myself, have had my fill of Rihanna, JLS, Take That etc......coming out of a mobile device speaker which produces, at best crap quality sounding music......especially when it is just a short burst going round and round and round until your voicemail decides to pick up (thats if you ever got around to setting it up!)

4. I actually don't care what happened on YOUR night out! ..... Funny that, and I'm sure I'm not alone in that. So PLEASE KEEP IT DOWN!
I do not want to listen to half a telephone conversation & no, I'm not eavesdropping, its the individuals who seem unable (or unwilling) to keep their voices down whilst holding a chat with someone on their mobile in the middle of a public space - shopping centre, bus station, cafe, bus...... you name a place & I've probably been subjected to a half-convo there!

5. As parents (well some of us are anyway) you become familiar with particular behaviours exhibited by children, especially when they are small - pulling hats, gloves & socks off are all games they love to play - not many small people like them on.... HOWEVER.... if YOU as the responsible mother or father are out on a cold winters day wearing nothing but a sleeveless top, leggings and sandals (yes, I've seen this at least a dozen times in the past month alone) then how is YOUR child going to understand that THEY need these things on? You are the example they follow..... DRESS APPROPRIATELY..... Help them learn that in the cold they need to wrap up, not expose themselves!!


I'll stop there for fear of being accused of, well being a miserable old cow........ and start looking for positive role models in my local population.

I'll let you know when I find any.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Why social media can get you job .. or .. plaster yourself over cyberspace!

Readers of my blog over the recent few months will know that I've been getting every desperate - to get back to work! But that despite trying everything (so I thought) I was getting nowhere.... I had spent hours online hours applying for almost everything I could find, got hold of "local" papers and combed the pages for adverts I could apply for, and then walked around my town high street handing out my CV left, right & centre, and filling out so many application forms I got cramp in my hand!!
And still I only got 2 interviews, neither of which came to anything............... it was heartbreaking.

Now, as someone who uses social media to communicate with friends & family on a daily basis (and had gone so far in putting myself out on these platforms) even I hadn't fully appreciated just how powerful SM could actually be.
Once I actually realised this, I started to push as much as I felt was acceptable, on all the streams I used each day - Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc, and found that when my contacts realised what was happening they began to respond to my requests in a positive way, either by showing me places to look (specific websites etc) or by offering to keep their ears & eyes open for positions which they could refer me to.

It was through one of my contacts placing a job advert up on Facebook that I applied for & the subsequent conversations arranging the interviews via Twitter that I now have the post I'm in now.
In my interview my new boss was quite open about the fact that they had found it amusing to see how "widespread" I was over Social Media, and that my LinkedIn profile was really useful, both facts I was rather pleased about - and had worked quite hard to achieve - so to have this recognised was satisfying.

Words of advice...

1) Make sure your LinkedIn profile is complete - it is your online CV & will be looked at - DON'T FOOL YOURSELF IN TO THINKING IT'S A WHITE ELEPHANT!

2) Make sure you clean up your behaviour on your Facebook & Twitter streams - I'm not saying you should become a robot, just watch what you are saying and control your temper!

3) Start writing a blog - Choose a topic you are really comfortable about & can write about regularly and reliably about (a hobby, favourite film genre or anything) and make sure you post links to your blogs out on your other Social Media streams whenever you write a new article & if they are less frequent than weekly, repost the link every week.

4) Get an up to date photo of yourself & use it uniformly across your social media platforms - please don't choose one of you in a silly pose or as part of a group - try and get one taken of you looking comfortable, well let & tidy - this will be a reference point for people when they meet you after seeing you on your profiles (especially in an interview situation)

Anything else than this should be common sense - just get yourself out there and keep asking your contacts to help you out! You never know... it might just be "who you know" and not "what you know" .....

Monday, 21 November 2011

Pop music Icons.

I was born in the 1970's but even as a little girl growing up in the 80's I listened to music constantly and by the age of 4 I wanted to be involved in playing music somehow. Now, by this time my family and I were living in the South-East, in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, and my nursery school didn't have the facilities to offer me that opportunity so I had to wait until my mum, brother & I moved to our own home (we had been living with our Grandparents) across the county border in Hertfordshire, to a new school and in fact had the chance to join a church choir some 16 months later, aged nearly 6, and even then I was only allowed to do practices and the Sunday morning service.
It wasn't until I was 7 that I was given the space to partake in the full life of the choir, join in with weddings, evensong and all the Christmas, Easter & the whole joy of music involved in the chorister's world. Shortly after this I began Guitar lessons and soon after this Violin lessons too. and by the age of 16 I had learned 7 different musical instruments.

Meantime the 80's music scene was filled with individuals & bands I can only describe now, as Icons. Names I now look back at with wonder & remember fondly & sing along with, remembering the words of the huge tracks that they released during my childhood. Bands such as Mr Mister & tracks like "Broken Wings" http://youtu.be/aWyeVfuolT4, or Bonnie Tyler "Hero" http://youtu.be/7f_HsjpSVaI and The Bangle "Walk Like an Egyptian" http://youtu.be/BWP-AsG5DRk, as just a very small selection. I bet you could add so many many more!!

As I reached my teenage years, I began to have the chance to buy my first singles & albums (on tape - Freiheit "Keeping the Dream alive http://youtu.be/w9aYrHzEW-w" Michael Jackson Black or White)
and eventually I even owned my own tape player & Walkman. This last piece of kit was a Christmas present and was a Sony Walkman & must have cost my mum a lot of money so I treasured it greatly. But it allowed me to listen to the music of those bands of the 80's & 90's I now feel influenced my early exposure to music as well as my continued love of it.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

It's hard not to become disheartened...

As most of you will know I have been looking for work for some weeks (and YES, I realise that compared to many many others this is nothing) and in that time have made several hundred applications for jobs as far away from home as Surrey, Milton Keynes, and Oxford as well as everything & anything I could find close to home.

My outbox is full of the emails I have sent in application for posts but (maybe not surprisingly to those of you who have been through this situation) my inbox is fairly sparsely populated with responses - either of acknowledgement or with a resulting interview appointment/rejection etc.

Now I also realise that in most cases there is one person responding to these job applications & that they will almost definitely be overwhelmed by the number of interested candidates, but with email systems nowadays it is no great deal to set up a responder to such applications, so that people sending in their CV's etc know that they HAVE actually arrived at their destination, and not disappeared into the www somewhere. It would also allow those needing to keep a record of their application history (whilst claiming unemployment benefits say) to prove to the relevant people that they were indeed making the effort & not just saying that they had sent off their details for a job and not had a reply.

I have now been for interview twice in the last month for completely different roles - neither of which have resulted in any positive outcome. Obviously I haven't been lucky enough (and yes I do believe that luck plays a big part in this process - how else could you explain some of the things I've seen?) to be given the role I was interviewed for, but neither was I able to gain any insight into why I was felt unsuitable for the role. In the first case the employer I went to see are now ignoring my emails & calls after initially stating that they would "put some thoughts together" The second interview for which I only got the rejection this morning, have said that "they found a candidate with a better profile" ... but would be no more specific than that.

I have spent a lot of time applying for, pretty much, anything I felt I was capable of, which realistically is quite a lot considering my skills are widely transferable (and no I'm not blowing my own horn, this is what other people have said about me!) but I am now really concerned that considering the amount of competition for jobs, if I narrow my search down to jobs which people genuinely felt fit my skillset then maybe I wouldn't be wasting my own time, that of the people to whom I'm applying & reducing the competition a little, helping someone else maybe?

On the other hand, if I was to restrict the number of jobs applications I sent out would I be cutting off my nose to spite my face?

I'm now more than just a little bit confused... and more than a little disheartened by the whole thing.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Look I know its hard to be a mum but when did you loose your brain?

A couple of days ago I was on a bus bringing my youngest home from school (the last of my 8 buses a day routine) when a couple of stops later I noticed two young women with prams waiting to get on.

Now, at the stop my daughter and I had boarded the bus, a woman with serious walking difficulties & her son had also got on, and taken a seat at the front of the vehicle, along with her walking frame - using one of the two spaces which can also be used by prams/pushchairs. This meant the room left for such users was now reduced to either a single pram (ie one which was lying back) or a couple of pushchairs (strollers) which take up a bit less space.

The two women got to the bus, the first took up the empty area, and used it up obviously, then the second got on and stood in the aisle, looking at the lady with her son, until they obviously felt so uncomfortable with this that they felt forced to move very slowly & painfully much further down the bus!!
I was livid!!!

What on earth gave that young lady the right to expect this less-able woman to give up the seat she needed close to the exit, just because they couldn't be bothered to wait just 15 minutes longer for the next one?

I'm not unfeeling.

I have personal experience of the difficulty of using public transport with young children, and all the paraphernalia which accompanies them. I have four children & at one point my three eldest children were all under 4 years old, but I also know (again through my own personal experience as well as through living with someone who has disabilities) that getting around on buses, trains etc. when you ARE less able bodied is a near impossibility unless other people show care, respect & thoughtfulness - something which seems to be lacking in some younger people, including parents, nowadays. I would very often collapse my pram/pushchair in order to allow a wheelchair user access to the dedicated space on the bus I was travelling on if required because of the infrequency of such buses on some of the routes in our town. If there was a mum with a younger child & I was already using the space, again I would take which ever one of my children was in the pushchair out, and fold it, allowing them the use of the space - it is far more practical to sit with a youngster of 12 or 18 months old on your lap, than a tiny baby of a few weeks or even 6 months old.

What I also can't understand is the complete disdain shown on the faces of people when they are asked if they would mind moving to allow someone to share the space they are in or give it up. Would they prefer the new arrival to just barge in? Or are they so arrogant that they feel they own the air they breathe, the seat they are sitting on, the space they occupy?

Any way to end this discussion on the brainlessness of mothers....

When we gave birth we introduced a new life into a world which is hard enough already without our bad examples. Surely it is our duty to show our children the the ways in which to live with everyone around us. How to show respect to all those who share our world is one of the simplest lessons we should impart to our offspring - is it so hard to include this in the daily actions we do ourselves along with teaching our children to read, write, put on their shoes, and feed themselves.