Monday, 26 October 2009

It never rains, it hinny pours

Hey you - yes, you, reader number three thousand two hundred and something. Have you entered the competition yet? Have you perchance had an amusing thought as to how hinny might be included into an original ironic ridiculous clever sentence or anecdote?

Yes? Well, top marks for thinking then.

Now put it in writing. THERE IS A PRIZE to be won. No entry, no chance of winning, capisc?

Honestly, like dealing with small children sometimes, the bribes you have to resort to, just to get people to make an effort....

*walks off with thundercloud hanging over hinny*

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Bark vs bite

Since the LCM blog (abbreviated version) started a couple of weeks ago in the Evening Standard online, I had actually forgotten some of the posts that were sent through to the editor in the run up to it going live. Some of the more observant amongst you - and there are many - might have noticed that the topics (all 200 odd words of them) lag a little behind the LCM blog proper.

What I found most intriguing, indeed rather intimidating at first, was that one of the posts went from having zero to 78 comments in the space of a couple of hours. Besides the nature of some of the comments themselves (I guess this is where it really shows if you have a thick skin), I was amused to see that someone was also posting replies, posing as myself, aka London City Mum.

"Moderator! Foul play!" I cried. Then I sat back and thought that actually, this whole lot of people had taken the blog into another environment altogether, that the purpose of my post (a lighthearted view on juggling family, kids and career) was totally forgotten as they bantered amongst themselves, frequently using 'me' as their punching bag.

You know what? There are a lot of very peculiar people out there.

Monday, 19 October 2009

And the score so far

So there I am, all primed and ready to go, looking the true professional businesswoman, up on the most recent news and market movements, fully briefed as to the latest company decisions and economies of scale, chomping at the bit as I prepare myself to face a grueling panel of interviewers and impress them with my background, knowledge and experience.

Half an hour later and I was back on the street on the phone to the headhunter.

"Already done?" he asked, incredulous.

"You could say so," I replied. "Let me just put it this way," I continued, "I am not impressed."

In a nutshell, the big shebang of a panel of decision-makers who had rescheduled my meeting so that they could all attend and (supposedly) block out a couple of hours from their calendar to devote their full attention to me - under the pretense of finding out where I would best fit in and add value to the organisation - were called off to some "urgent business". On a Friday afternoon. At 3.30pm.

I was left being 'interviewed' (slight misrepresentation of the truth) by a techie whose idea of management was someone who thought Java was a type of coffee bean, and C++ was a grade on your report card from high school. Hilarious.

Once he had exhausted all of his (2) questions and answered my several queries (poorly), he returned from his excursion to seek out the main big guy only to say he had been "called away to a meeting". Another senior person "that you really should be talking to" was going on holiday and this was his last day in the office, so he was really busy. As for the remaining names I had on my schedule to meet with, no mention.


Of course, everyone was terribly apologetic and they definitely want to reschedule and all meet with me, blah, blah, blah, blah.

I told the headhunter that should they want me to return for another meeting, they had better come up with a very valid reason as to why I might still be interested.

LCM -1
Prospective Employer - 0

A case of "null points", as Eurovision would have us say.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Job hunting - a different perspective

Countdown to my second interview with prospective new employer. I am told by the headhunter that this will be more of a 'formality', a very generic two-way discussion, more for them to find out where I can potentially fit into their programme. It will be with a panel of some 4 to 5 people, all senior stakeholders, one of whom is the overall person in charge.

Re-reading those last lines it sounds like I am signing up to a NASA project.

Either way, I am now going through my checklist in the lead up to the actual event. Now don't get me wrong here, I love interviews. Something about the person on the other side of the table and the fact that (typically) I know nothing about them, and all they have is my CV and references to go by, makes it a little bit like going on a first date.

How so? Think about it.

  • You take great care in wearing the right outfit, not too serious, not too outrageous, smart but individual
  • You do your homework and find out what you can about the other individual and/or the company they keep
  • You make a note of questions you would like answers to
  • You are on best behaviour
  • You trust your gut instinct as to whether your potential partner is genuine or a complete waste of time
  • You decide pretty quickly whether you a) are interested, b) wish to meet up again, or c) need an exit strategy asap.
So how do you adapt this when facing a panel of potentially 5 blokes? Turn on the charm? Try to be witty? Say something they will remember, an amusing anecdote perhaps?

All I can say at present is that I hope my recently-acquired cold does not hamper matters. I am now having regular sneezing fits that are scaring even the children. How ironic would it be to find myself rejected for a job on the basis that my nose overtook proceedings?

Ait-choooooo! Watch this space.

Monday, 12 October 2009

M.I.A. - or not, as the case may be

Just in case you were starting to think I had gone missing in action and fallen seriously behind with regular blog posts, I am pleased to state that this is not the case although a nasty case of bronchitis has laid me low for a few days.

The downside of this (depends on your point of view I suppose) is that I:
a. had to bail on the farcical interview, now rescheduled for this Wednesday - so watch this space;
b. am seriously considering whether I will need to drop out of the Great South Run on Oct 25th as my training schedule is very sorely lacking in "miles under the belt" and although I do not have an issue with running 16km, the persistent gurgling in my chest might prove a slight impediment;
c. have been busy composing blogs in my head but not putting pen to paper (or fingertips to keyboard as the case may be).

The upside - and there is always one - is that I have become a 'paper tart' as you may have noticed from the link in the top right of the LCM page, and now have a regular blog in the Evening Standard online. There is a backlog of some dozen posts or so at present, hence they are slightly 'behind the times' for the moment, but will undoubtedly soon catch up.

The challenge with the ES is to keep my posts to around 200 words each.... already exceeded here.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Discovering hidden talents

So you know how when you have time on your hands you sometimes start to doodle? 

This is what I came up with this afternoon.

Remind you of anyone?


Time to find a new job I think, before I really get carried away!

All in a name

Fresh from being wholeheartedly ignored by all of you who read the last post (visitors +100, comments 0) despite my plea request for some interactive discussion, I have to admit I feel much the same as Ladybird World Mother did last week.

No matters. Ignorance is bliss, as the saying goes.

However, this all coincided with an email out of the blue from a former colleague who wrote to notify me that she had been contacted by one of her clients who was enquiring about me. As she so elegantly put it, they were "using your married name. As I did not recognise it, I claimed never to have heard of you!"

Get the feeling I am being ignored in more ways than one. 

Friday, 2 October 2009

Lipstick on a pig

Since the consultation period began, I have started venturing into that dangerous arena known as ‘grocery shopping on a week day’. In an effort to save some money I have managed to avoid using my preferred home delivery service (“£5.99 to delivery within the half hour you desire”, err, no thank you… for the time being anyway) and am now clocking up the miles to and from the nearest supermarket.

Wonderful to remember what produce actually looks like on display. Amazing the ranges of items that perform the same function (aka how one bleach can be more bleach than another bleach, aside from the colour of the bottle). Interesting the varieties of cereal that ultimately all taste identical to Mr Man, Blossom and Widget, give or take a dried cranberry.

So bearing in mind how conscientious I am trying to be, how do you think I felt when upon returning to the crowded car park I found myself unable to get near the driver’s door, let alone around the front (or back) of the vehicle because some prat had decided in their wisdom to park so close, at an angle and well over the designated bay? Exactly.

Pig, I thought. And then I remembered that spare red lipstick in the glove box. 

Let’s just say if you saw anyone in a large silver SUV driving around this afternoon with a very smeared front windscreen, that was my doing.

Oh, and did I get out? Of course. I did not learn to drive on narrow, winding, two-way cobblestone roads for nothing. And that was after the athletic manoeuvres to get Widget into his car seat first.

No point offending if you then cannot make a clean getaway.

Yadda yadda yadda...