It’s been a while friends….

16 04 2012

Well friends it’s been a fair few old weeks since my last post but a number of factors contributing to this. Got into a bit of a slump after my last post, ended up shutting myself away a little bit, and then a flurry of job activity! But lets catch you all up.

So up until the end of March, with the exception of working on Bond I have been unemployed. Now if you’ve been keeping up with my previous posts you will no doubt be aware of my distinct disdain for retail and standing on shop floors all day so my job hunt was focussed exclusively on things that were very specifically not that! To start with anyway, but we’ll get to that. Unemployment first.

I don’t really like being sat around not doing anything, I find time tends to go by somewhat idly and at a very slow pace. Don’t get me wrong, I do love a good lazy day but when it’s your 16th in a row, I’m starting to feel stale. Living at home only served to exacerbate the situation and get me further down into a slump than I started. I tried to resist claiming for Job Seekers for a long time, a certain amount of pride attached to that decision but necessity won out in the end. But since I left Bose, back at Xmas, I did manage to go a whole month without signing up until after I finished on Bond so that’s something I guess. My first time at the Job Centre was probably the most soul sucking experience of my life. I just didn’t feel like I belonged there as I’m sure the majority of people who go there do too. But go I did, long interviews and a cheap recycled form to fill out and return to them. One section headed, “please give reason as to why you left your last job.” That part was easy enough, I printed off some of my blog posts and just sent them with the form. I don’t understand what the need is in this day and age to still make people fill out form in pen and paper or fill out paper applications for jobs for that matter. What can an application tell you that a CV and interview can’t?! Anyway, I digress, so after all the red tape, finally sorted out the JSA and the payouts started, not a huge amount of course, but enough to sustain my sanity.

Speaking of which, I probably owe a lot of that sustaining to Netflix during my unemployment, there’s only so much job searching you can do in one day before you start to become disillusioned with the number of recruiters working for “global business looking for smart, friendly people. The client cannot be named but is leading in its field in marketing blah blah blah” Seriously, what kind of advertisement is that, especially when it’s repeated about 20 times on the same page! But anyway, Netflix! The saviour of my sanity in this period of slump and unemployment. On the plus side I did get through 4 season of Mad Men, 7 Seasons of The Office (US) and 9 Seasons of Spooks! Time well spent, thats my story and I’m sticking to it! :-P

The flurry of career activity came around I guess the 2nd week of March. It all started with a Telephone interview for a company that specialised in Pharmaceutical sales. I thought sure, this is something that I could do. It’s not retail or standing around on a shop floor so who knows. And all the films and TV shows, skewed view on reality not withstanding, haven’t actually made the profession look terrible. So I was invited to a face to face after a telephone interview. That was for a Friday. On the Thursday I received another telephone call from a different recruiter. This time the job was for a high end garden furniture company. I’d been unemployed a while now so I thought best it not to close doors on any opportunity. Passed that, invited for a face to face Friday morning! I could do that interview and then head straight on over to the Pharma one, no problem. At this point I should mention that I was sending out applications left right centre to all sorts. Things like an Ad exec job (Don Draper inspired) with Argos and the like. But I digress, that Friday this is how it went.

I got up super early that morning, shaved. An act which I hadn’t done in almost 2 months so some serious grooming was needed. But did my 3 S’s and went on my way to the first interview at half 8 in Banbury. I met the national sales director of the company and we had a chat that lasted all of 15 mins before I was offered the job. In some ways I felt bullied into accepting it by the recruiter and the sales director despite my hesitation in it all but thought again, I don’t really have anything else going right now. So I agreed to a trial day the next week. Off I went to the Pharma interview which was in Cheltenham so a few hours train journey away. Unfortunately, I never made it to the interview. First Great Western trains in their infinite competence had a train breakdown at the other end of the country which somehow had backed up the entire line all the way to me, so by the time I even got the Cheltenham I was 40 mins. Thankfully the company were understand and invited me to the next interview day which would be two weeks from then. Fine, plenty of time to plan and prep and get there much much earlier to account for any of FGW’s incompetencies.

Next week rolls around, the high end garden furniture company (HEGFC) ask me to come along to a training day on Monday. I think fine, I’ll get to meet the rest of the team and we’ll get down to business. What followed the rest of the day was a really poorly put together “training” of how to speak to people and get them to commit to a sale. Like I hadn’t been doing that for 10 years already and all in all a waste of a day, the feeling seemed to be mutual from the other new hires there that day too. I knew I should have said there and then that I wouldn’t be back but I thought, really how bad could it be. What a mistake. I should say that the only reason I actually applied for this job was because I think reed or jobsite have a section or their site called £50,000+ jobs. This job was the first search result  on the page advertising earnings of up to £127k!!! What a crock! So the next day, I went to my store that they placed me on, there was one other guy that was going to be working that store with me. He was nice enough, and we stay in touch. Neither of us are working for them anymore and that should tell you everything. It was quite possibly the most soul destroying job I have ever had and that’s saying something. You’re tucked away in a forgotten corner of the store with the rest of the furniture and your’e lucky if you see another soul all day unless you leave the floor. Needless to say, I called the recruiter told him, I wasn’t going to be coming back. A this point he got a bit arsey with me and started going off on me telling me it was unprofessional and I don’t stand a chance in the real world with an attitude like that, I very simply told him if he bothered to do his job properly he would have seen that I specifically asked for non-retail sales jobs in my applications and I’ve been doing it longer than he has to know whether or not I’ll enjoy a job after having done it for a day. And if he didn’t like it well then that was his failing not mine. That was the last I heard from him. I never got paid for those 2 days but I really couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of chasing them for it.

Anyway, the next two week roll by fairly uneventfully, It’s almost time for the interview with pharma company. Again, on the Thursday before hand, I get a phone call for a telephone interview by a recruiter who found my CV. This time for a job with Nokia as a part of a new “Tactical Field Force” they’re putting together. This sounds promising. A few email exchanges with the sales director, a nice guy called Greg, and we arrange a Skype interview. Now, most of you will know I own a mac mini which has a distinct lack of camera and mic. I tell him I’ll be there despite not having a clue how to pull it off but I’ve got a few hours so I should be okay. Firstly I tried called friends in the area who have macs with cameras. They’re all working. Okay, friends with camera’s on the home computers. They aren’t home. 2 hours to go. Crap crap crap! Finally, I set up my old Xbox Live Vision camera balanced on a stack of books and a blue tooth earpiece. I get dressed. Suit up top, trackies down low. It went well, I got offered a place on the training the following week.

I’m aware I’ve been blabbing for about 4 paragraphs now so I’ll cut it short. I went to the Pharma interview and they offered me the job, but they wanted me to relocate down to Cornwall. No chance. The Nokia job was more or less the same money and it sounds more fun. So off I went to Bristol the next week where they were holding the training, over the two days I became fairly well acquainted with the trainer Maddy and Greg, and I’d like to think the relationships I built there will be well remembered. I didn’t realise until the morning of that first day that I hadn’t actually been offered the job yet, it would subject to successfully passing this training over the next 2 days. Thankfully, I aced it with a 98% score. Cursed 2% but as I said to them when they asked me if I wanted to do it again to get the 100, I’ll keep the 2%, it’ll keep me humble. That got a laugh.

The following week, off I went to Reading to start my new job with Nokia! Without going into too much detail about what I do, what I can tell you is, I love it, yes I am standing around on a shop floor again and yes it is a retail environment but the way I do it is vastly different to anything I’ve done before and as a result find myself much happier for it

I’ve taken up enough of your time now, but I’ll post again in a few days and I’ll tell you in a bit more detail about stuff. Till then, toodles! x