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Cat demonstrating flexibility

"I can do flexible"

This week, I have been learning the importance of flexibility in the life of the 21st century job seeker.

At the beginning of last week, I had two job applications in the pipeline. Job 1 was a 3-4 week contract with a small, nice sounding, ecology-related company based in sunny East Oxford. Job 2 was another 4-ish week contract with a large company based on the local Science Park.


Job 2 absolutely had to start on Tuesday, so I cleared the decks on the voluntary job front and made sure that my ironing was up to date. Monday morning was spent ensuring that the work I had been doing at Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre was left in a tidy state and then it was just a question of waiting. Nothing happened.


Nothing happened.


Emailed the employment agency about the job that absolutely had to start yesterday. They hadn’t heard anything either.

Got an email from the nice sounding environmental company to say that my application had been unsuccessful BUT they were thinking about appointing a second person, subject to the outcome of a meeting on Thursday: was I interested and could I be available on Friday?


Rather than spend the day fidgeting at home, I decided to go to the History Centre and make a start on the Quarter Session Records for Trinity 1841. One crime wave (making off with clothes from the workhouse), several assaults and and a couple of rogues-and-vagabonds later there was still no news on the job front. Then, on the dot of 6 pm, I got a call from the nice sounding environmental people to offer me a day’s trial, starting at 10 am the next morning.



"...cold but bright"

Friday was a cold but bright day as I headed off for my day’s trial.

This was something that I’d not come across before, but it struck me as a good idea. It was certainly a refreshing contrast to the labyrinthine recruitment procedures beloved of the public sector which represent the apogee of the box ticker’s art. Wherever there is a bottleneck in recruitment, it requires little skill to detect the dread hand of a personnel officer demanding three copies of everything, ideally impressed on clay tablets in Babylonic cuneiform and baked for three hundred years in ancestral ovens.

But I digress ….

Anyway, I did my day’s trial, which gave the company an opportunity to assess me and gave me an opportunity to get a feel for the work and the company. They’re going through the same exercise with someone else on Monday and will then make a decision.