gamiila: (Default)
...but it can buy security.

I did really well in the interview this afternoon...They were impressed with me; I was impressed with them -- until the point where we had to discuss the salary. I don't mind taking a little pay cut if the job and the distance are right, but not one worth thousands of euros a year. I promised them I'd think about it, but really...

Still, it was good practice.

Whoopsie!

Sep. 26th, 2007 09:58 am
gamiila: (Default)
I've got a job interview! Tuesday at 14:30 -- I'd better brush up on my interviewing skills; I haven't had to call on those for a while...
gamiila: (Default)
Nor was yesterday, if I'm honest. I woke up with a tummy ache that over the course of the day kept growing worse and worse to the point where I doubled over in pain and lay clutching at my belly until sleep mercifully descended on me. Unfortunately, this morning it was still there, though slightly less bad. Aspirin has no effect so I'll just have to ride it out. This is the third time this year this has happened, and I wonder what the cause may be. It can't be anything I ate, as all I've had in the last 48 hours is a bowl of yoghurt (well within its Sell By and Best Before dates), and my last square meal on Saturday consisted of some grilled vegetables and horsemeat (yes, horsemeat). I'm not constipated, and apart from feeling like there's several sharp-angled objects rolling around in my gut, I'm fine...though obviously, much preoccupied with and rather distracted by this strange sensation.

Also, when after several days of toying with the idea, I finally make up my mind to apply on-line for a job here in The Hague, I find that I can't complete the application form as an error occurs every time I try to attach my cv. And when I go for the second option and type it all out again, it won't save. No, today's definitely not a good day...

...but I managed to set up the DVD-player no problem!
gamiila: (Default)
All of you who've commented on my last message, seeking to cheer me up. All of you who didn't, but tut-tutted at your screens and sent good vibes my way. All of you who've rooted for me, who've had fingers and toes crossed for months on end...All of you who believe in me, even and especially when I don't believe in myself. Your thoughts, comments, vibes, all help to make me see things in perspective, and not to take them and myself too seriously. You ground me. I love you.

This morning couldn't have started off any better. I woke up feeling something I hadn't in months: Leila, licking my eyelids with her rough kitty tongue. It hurt, but it was a good hurt because it was Leila, who for the first time in ages had moved out of the bathroom and jumped up on my bed, purring like mad and not taking any notice of the other two cats already enjoying a cosy snuggle.

So I stayed in way past the time I normally get up to go to work. I called the plumber, to sort out my loo once and for all. I called Jobsworth and told him I had to take up emergency leave. He's just called back to say he's not happy about me taking up emergency leave this week when I already took two days off last week for the same reason. Was it really necessary for me to have a working loo? No, of course not. I'll just shit in a bucket until my retirement, and then I'll be free to dispose of my time and have things done round the house at no inconvenience to him at all! What is he like? I was so looking forward to being shot of him...

Anyway, the sun's shining, it's a lovely September morning, and I've got things to do.
gamiila: (Default)
It would seem they do take a perverse pleasure in getting people's hopes up by leaving them messages asking to call back. Based on the assessment report, the selection committee was of the opinion that there were too many 'points of attention' and they've decided not to hire me.

Yes!

Sep. 10th, 2005 01:39 pm
gamiila: (Default)
Or maybe...no.

But I don't think so. They wouldn't be leaving messages for me on my mobile if they wanted to tell me they didn't want to offer me the job, would they? Surely, they'd send a letter if that were the case?

I was having a problem with my SIM-card this week, which I finally managed to sort out this morning. There were several messages waiting for me. Most of them left by "Frank, of the agency" to please get in touch with him on Friday, and on Friday he rang to please get in touch on Monday. So, they must be keen, mustn't they?

Oooohhhh, I'm so excited. After the week I've had, I could really do with some good news.

Vagueness

Sep. 3rd, 2005 03:52 pm
gamiila: (Default)
Today is my dad's 76th birthday, so I went round and brought him his favourite pastries this morning. We had coffee and a chat. Mum was there as well. I worry about her; she insists she's fine, but there's something about her breathing -shallow, erratic- that I don't like, and she just keeps on losing weight. I've sent her to the doctor's before, but he's not been able to find anything physically wrong; said it was probably just down to stress and grief after the death of her sister last January. And it's true she's changed since then: she used to always be very lively and animated -- now, she hardly ever smiles or says anything, and she looks as if she's ready to burst into tears every second. She never phones me now, either, which is weird because before she always used to get in touch 2 or 3 times a week and we'd chat for hours -- now, when I ring her, we run out of things to say within 5 to 10 minutes. I don't like it, but when I try to talk to her about it, she tells me I'm being silly and she's fine. What can you do? Just let her be, and hope for the best, I suppose...

I finally booked my flights, so now I'll be heading out to London Oct 6th and going back the following Monday, Oct 10th. We'll be staying at the Lord Jim again for the first 2 nights and [livejournal.com profile] anonypooh's already found us a place to rest our weary heads in Glasgow, too; so I've only got to think about where I'll sleep my final night, but I'm keeping my options open for now. Who's to say the boys won't surprise us with another gig before leaving these shores again, and I find myself making a mad dash for Manchester/Liverpool/Belfast at the very last minute?

Still no word from the Home Office HR department...What's taking them so long? I'm getting more disheartened with every day that passes, even though, having checked the time table they sent us at the start of the procedure, they've given themselves until week 38 to make up their minds...What week is it now, 36, 37? Looks like I have no choice but to be patient a while longer.
gamiila: (Default)
I have the psychological report in front of me. It's neither good nor bad, but somewhere inbetween. I 'score' highly on sociability and the ability to deal with stress; sufficiently well on academic level, learning ability, teamwork, creativity, flexibility, initiative and awareness of what goes on in the world around me; slightly less well, but still adequately enough, on verbal and written communication, information analysis, judgment and result orientedness; and not so well on interpersonal sensitivity, though they wouldn't exactly call it a weakness.

I have a tendency to talk too much. I'm rational and tend to base my findings on fact. I don't always take other people's feelings into consideration when making my decisions or recommendations. I'm extraverted, self-assured, and calm. I'm open towards and interested in other people and their opinions. I'm flexible and non-conformist in my work, I have a rough idea of where I want to get to and how, but I'm loathe to commit to a tight agenda and strict planning beforehand. Instead, I tend to think and act on my feet. I'm good at determining a problem, giving broad outlines as to how to arrive at a solution, coming up with several ideas, but not good at filling in the details. In fact, it seems as if I'm not always that interested in dealing with the minutiae.

Tomorrow, this report will be sent to the Home Office by courier. Then there will be a meeting this Wednesday, where all the reports and the written test, the policy note we had to write, will be assessed and where the decision as to who to invite on to the next stage will be taken. I expect I'll hear one way or the other by the end of the week or the beginning of the next.

And so the waiting begins once more.

Loot!

Aug. 29th, 2005 12:40 pm
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4 More hours...Then I'll know whether the report that will be sent to the Home Office HR department will be favourable or not. I'm hoping, praying even, that I won't be disappointed. I've looked at my performance in the assessment every way I could this past week, and apart from some minor points, I can't think of any reason why they would not recommend me. I carried out the tasks they set me, I answered their questions honestly, I dealt with the stress. I may have been rather nervous, but under the circumstances, that was to be expected, wasn't it? Of course, I don't know how the others did, whether they did better in the tests, or had more of a poker face than I...

I took Leila to the vet's this morning. That cat -- if it's not one thing, it's another. She appears to have somehow injured her hind leg. Poor Leila; it would seem that the washing machine is not such a safe place to hide, after all. I did the laundry 2 days ago, and somehow Leila managed to get herself drenched in soapy water. I didn't think anything of it, but when she'd dried out and her fur stuck every which way, I decided to give her a bath. She fought me tooth and nail. The next day, she still looked a fright so I bathed her again, this time noticing that she only started to yell and claw her way out of the sink if I touched her right leg. Last night, I noticed she wasn't putting any weight on that leg, and this morning, when she almost ripped me to shreds as I was trying to get the last of the soap out of her fur, I noticed that the leg was swollen and hot to the touch, as if an infection had set in. So I took her to the vet's and sure enough, it seems she must have got stuck, and in trying to free herself twisted her leg, and pulled one or two muscles. This is probably when she fell in the water. My manipulating her to get her cleaned up hasn't helped either, and now she's on a course of anti-biotics and painkillers. It should clear up within 10 days; if not, we'll have to have her x-rayed.

I told the vet all about our excursion to the outlet centre yesterday, and she told me about her shopping trips to Lille (Northern France); and this conversation reminded me that I hadn't shown you the best of my loot. Well, here it is: my gorgeous coat

back )

and my 7 euro shoes )

Also, that last picture gives an indication of how and where I store my shoes. Yes, there's shoe boxes littered all over my place, though I do tend to keep most of them in my bedroom.
gamiila: (Default)
Lately, I've been feeling a bit under the weather; and now that I've read my horoscope for the coming week, I feel worse still. I'm not going to get that job, as it reads that I'll face terrible disappointment, but that I will learn from the experience and in time, will come to see how it was all for the best. I'm trying to ignore this message, by considering how many times in the past my horoscope has ever been correct, and the answer is: exactly never (where's that tall, dark stranger I was promised years ago?) -- but I can't shake the fear that this once, and just to spite me, the prediction may come true.

I was all energetic this morning. Now, I can't shift my butt into gear, and I've got stacks of housework waiting for me. Which isn't going to do itself, so...

Tomorrow, I'm going on a shopping spree with [livejournal.com profile] db2305. Neither one of us has ever been to this outlet centre before, so we're not quite sure what we might expect, but I'm sure we'll manage.
gamiila: (Default)
I've just got home from The Assessment -- and I really don't know what to make of it, or how to rate my chances. It was hard...and it didn't help that I'd hardly slept at all, waking at 3:40 a.m. and spending the rest of the night staring up at the ceiling with my heart in my mouth. And I'm just now realising, perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned this to the psychologist who was assigned to observe me today. And observe me she did -- at times, it felt like I was a specimen of some sort. Anyway, the day started pleasantly enough when to my joy, both Mark and Marcel, the two young men I've been bonding with most during this whole selection process, turned up to take part in this assessment as well. Yay! They got this far, too! We had coffee and later lunch together, but we didn't see much of each other after that. Our individual assessment programme consisted of the filling out of a heap of forms designed to give an accurate picture of your personality; an in-depth interview about your career choices heretofore and the competencies you intend to bring to the job in hand; 2 simulations in which you were basically thrown to the lions - in my case, I had to pretend to be an HR manager who has to decide whether or not to continue with a research project re: women in management, and do a presentation on the fly on how to make a certain governmental department more cost effective as well as productive in the space of 3-4 months. Then, for me the day finished with the writing of a policy document about the financial support given to Al-Qaeda by muslim organisations posing as charitable institutions in the West.

I don't know how I did. I honestly have no idea. I'm not happy with the document I wrote: I had 2 hours to read all the information and write it, but of course I wasted too much time on the first activity and ended up not having enough on the latter -- and so I managed to write a quick introduction piece, but never got to any sort of conclusion. Which is a pity because unlike the other tasks I was set, the results of this test will be sent straight on to the service and judged on its content.

I think I did well in the interview and well on the presentation, but I can't allow myself to become complacent -- or I might very well be terribly disappointed next week, when she'll present her report to me.

I really wish I hadn't mentioned I hadn't slept well...it sounds like an excuse, doesn't it?
gamiila: (Default)
That's me. I've got one more week to prepare myself for my assessment. Two weeks ago, I had three. Every day I've told myself, "I really need to start to read up on things, and think how to match my skills to those required for the position". Every day I've told myself, "I'll do it tomorrow". Every day, I've found something else to do, or read.

This weekend, I'd set myself a simple task: to update my cv. Needless to say, I haven't done it. I did read the organisation's annual report, but I don't think I took anything in. It was boring as hell, as these things normally are. I've earmarked a few more articles and reports to read in the next few days, but whether I'll find the time...Oh well. I hope I get the chance to work on the cv at the office tomorrow.

I'm meeting with Tinny tomorrow night. I'm hoping that after our talk, I'll have a better idea of what I'll need to know and do at the assessment, and calm down a little. 6 Days...should be enough to get ready. Hope they will be...

Just saw Gone in 60 Seconds on TV. That's one Chris Eccleston film I won't be adding to the collection soon.

No 'part 2'

Aug. 8th, 2005 01:15 pm
gamiila: (Default)
Ahem. Although I chose to put "My weekend in pictures (part 1)" as the subject header for my previous entry, I don't think I'll bore you with any more of my photographic genius. As the remaining part of the weekend was spent in the bosom of my family, the pictures I took are mostly of my niece and nephews, and hardly worth including in the family album even -- you can't possibly be interested in seeing those.

Tell you what: you tell me what you'd like to see me take a picture of, and I'll try my best to comply. Can't say fairer than that, can I?

The dreaded invitation to the assessment arrived in the post this Saturday, so now I know I'll be there the entire day being prodded and poked, or gruelled and tested -- there'll be some personality tests, which will probably be a doddle, followed by an hour long in-depth interview, a writing assignment, and one or two 'simulations' (i.e. role play), after which the assessment will finish on an In Basket exercise. They'll write up a report and invite me to a discussion of their findings within the week, and if I approve it, they'll send it to the Home Office. After which HR will decide whether to let me go through to the next round or not. God! Will this application process ever come to an end?

They want me to bring my CV. I'd better tweak it again.
gamiila: (Default)
Ouch! Somehow, some time between going to bed last night and getting up again this morning, I've managed to throw my back out. How on earth did I do that? The pain is forcing me to walk gingerly, like an old, old woman; and to sit very, very still with my back up straight against the chair. And even then, it hurts. If it hasn't improved by tonight, I'm breaking out the aspirin...

My closest colleague's off on holiday for the next two weeks, and I'm inundated with work, his and mine. Strangely, I don't mind too much, presumably 'cause I'm still in with a chance of landing that Home Office job. I know it may still all go pear-shaped after the next test and interview, but I don't want to think about that possibility now. I've got to remain positive or I might as well just give up.

I will miss the easy Internet-access I have here, though...and the international environment, with colleagues and clients from all over the world. I'll also miss our lack of a dress code; for the past decade I've been able to wear pretty much what I liked to work -- but if I go to work at the Home Office, formal attire is a must. I'll have to invest in power suits heavily. I hope they won't mind my more colourful shoes, although I suppose my yellow boots and fuchsia trainers are definitely out. :(

And I suppose I'll miss certain people as well, although in all the years I've worked here only two have become friends IRL as well, and one of them's already moved back to England...I certainly won't be sorry to lose contact with Jobsworth, though I'm sure that, come my last day, he'll make the requisite noises about me staying in touch and me promising to not be a stranger...Ah! how wonderful to be daydreaming like this!

But back in the real world, my Leila's not getting any better -- in fact, she seems to be getting more stressed out with every day that passes. She never ventured out from underneath the sofa anymore, just huddled there meowing pitifully. And kept doing her business there, too, expecting me to clean up after her! So I've relocated her to the bathroom, but it's not a real solution -- she's still terrified, and hides behind the washing machine. I can't leave her locked in there for more than a day or two, that'd be inhumane, wouldn't it?

Perhaps I had better make inquiries to have her rehomed...
gamiila: (Default)
I just can't seem to get James Blunt's 'You're Beautiful' out of my head, which is a sure sign that I've been watching too many Doctor Who fan vids lately. It's a lovely song, and so are its companions (hee! companions!) 'Goodbye My Lover' and 'Cry', but for the love of God, can't they just shut up already? Between the three of them, they're driving me barmy.

So I caved in last night, and bought the album from the iTunes store, hoping that by adding it to My Library, I might finally erase it from my mind -- but so far it hasn't worked...and even though as I've said it's a perfectly lovely song, by now I'm heartily sick of it!

Meanwhile, I'm fairly confident as to what the near future will bring. I woke up in a cold sweat last night remembering some of the embarrassing things I'd said during my interview, why I don't know -I'm through, what do I care what I said or didn't say?-, and in the end got up and e-mailed Tinny to tell her the good news. Now she's just got back to me with congratulations and an offer to take time out of her schedule and coach me for the assessment centre, free of charge. I think I may just take her up on that!

I still can't quite believe my good fortune. I suspect something funny may be going on: just the other day, the bus driver told me to put my money away when I wanted to pay for my ticket, the Home Office seem eager to welcome me into the fold, and now my therapist offers practical help for the sheer heck of it -- people are so nice to me, I can't help thinking there must be a catch somewhere...
gamiila: (Default)
Coming out of the interview room, and whilst I was escorted to the stairs by the HR representative, I spotted another applicant I'd seen and spoken with the first time I was invited to the Home Office premises. So I greeted him and took two minutes to talk to him, and of course he asked me how I thought I'd done. And I told him truthfully that I thought it was really too early to tell, but that I had to own that I could have prepared myself better. All the while, of course, the HR man was standing there listening to me, too.

Anyway, I have just received the eagerly awaited phone call. I'm through to the next round; they said they were very positive they wanted me, but...the selection committee chairman who gave me the news also said that they had two caveats:

1) teamwork
2) preparation

He told me that they will place special emphasis on gauging how I perform in a team during the assessment round, because the work I do at HP at the moment does not appear to them to be so much team-related. Fair enough. I'll just read up on working in a team in the next week or so, and see if anything sticks in my mind.

He also said I could have prepared myself for the interview better, and it had been a special point of concern to him personally, but that I had redeemed myself by making that remark to the next interviewee that I could have done better if only I'd taken more time to read up on things.

But who cares?

I'm through!!!!!
gamiila: (Default)
I'm waiting for the phone to ring. They promised me they'd let me know whether or not to invite me through to the next round (the assessment centre round, more trying to force square shapes into round holes) later today, and so it's out of my hands for the time being.

I can't really say whether the interview went well or not. I babbled. I hadn't read enough of their annual report and couldn't really discuss it in depth. I remembered bits and pieces of it, and talked about a number of things I'd heard on the news or read in the papers regarding the recent London and Sharm-el-Sheikh bombings -- but when asked what my colleagues would have to say about me if they were asked to describe me, I could only say something to the effect that that would depend on who they would ask. I tried to show myself enthusiastic and eager to learn more about the organisation, but what do you answer when they ask you what you would say to those who portray the Secret Service in a negative light (i.e. the media, and friends who may think it's sneaky)? Or how I would feel working for an organisation that has this rather bad reputation, whether I would still enjoy coming to work if people around me IRL were constantly badmouthing the service? So I said I thought I wasn't supposed to mention the fact that I worked for the Secret Service but that if anyone asked, I'd work in the Home Office as a civil servant; and that I could only try and set the record straight in the vaguest of terms by inviting people to consider that there might be another way of looking at it -- and that moreover, what other people thought didn't matter to me, as long as I was convinced that the work I was doing had merit.

On balance, I think I did alright. Not brilliantly, but alright. And now, I'll just have to wait for that bloody phone to ring. Note: they specifically and emphatically told me they would ring me on my mobile, not my landline. Hee -- they're a Secret Service, alright.
gamiila: (Default)
A few years ago, I bought a dark grey two-piece in the sales thinking it might come in handy if ever I were to apply for another job. I took it out this afternoon, tried it on and decided that the skirt was a little bit on the short and tight side. It might do for the second interview, but not for the first. I am, after all, applying for a job at the Home Office, so a certain measure of decorum is called for.

How lovely to live in a secular age! When I was a child, the Sunday was a day of rest, and none of the shops were open. Now, of course, it's a very different matter. Things started to change about a decade ago with Sunday opening once a month; but for the past few years it's been possible to go into town and buy stuff every Sunday (with the exception of Easter and Christmas).

And so I wasted no time in getting myself kitted out properly for my upcoming interview -- or as properly as I could make it in the few hours of Sunday opening that remained. Luckily, it didn't take me more than 10 minutes to find what I was looking for (sort of): a light-weight linen two-piece consisting of a jacket subtly decorated along the lapels and cuffs and a plain well-cut skirt that ends a two-finger breadth above the knee...and because I couldn't quite decide whether to go for the skirt or the matching trousers, I bought both. The only thing I'm not 100% sure about, is that the whole suit is black -- and most articles I've read about 'How To Dress For A Job Interview' strongly advise against the wearing of black. However, having already been to the site once before and having taken careful note of how the women already employed there dress, I think I can get away with it this time. Especially since I plan to combine it with a soft pink knitted polo...or maybe the green V-neck...green coming highly recommended as a non-intimidating colour for the purpose...Bought a new black leather purse, too, big enough to hold those diplomas they want me to bring (still haven't found them, though)...All I need to decide on now is: trouser suit, or play it safest and go with the skirt and jacket?

Anyway, that's my clothes sorted out -- now, I'll just have to worry about how best to convince them to hire me.
gamiila: (Default)
Remember when I said I was pleased my interview wasn't set until the 27th, so I'd have plenty of time to prepare for it? Guess what I haven't done in the last two weeks or so? Most of the time I've been cheerfully ignoring the fact that I have to sell myself to a selection panel this coming Wednesday, and make sure my name comes near to the top of their list when they decide who to invite to the fourth round! Maybe it's about time I started to think about my motivation, work experience, and strong/weak points...and finish reading that dreadfully boring awfully interesting annual report, because as things stand, whenever I think about the questions they're bound to ask, I can't come up with a single good answer.

Maybe it's just that my brain has taken a holiday without telling me, because I'm also having difficulty answering the question as to which 10 fictional characters I'd do (if plied with sufficient booze and/or mind-altering drugs). My list, after much soul-searching, comes to six:

1) Mark Renton
2) Mr. Darcy
3) Ninth Doctor
4) Boromir
5) Robin, The Hooded Man (Michael Praed-version)
6) Spike

I've listed them here in no particular order, although there's little or no doubt that with my current level of obsession and given half a chance (no need for booze or drugs), I would jump the good Doctor's bones. My fascination for Mr. Darcy and Boromir stems from the books more than the box or the silver screen, although I'd be a fool to deny the obvious charms of Messrs. Bean and Firth. Michael Praed's Robin Hood has the distinction of having been the first TV hero I crushed on, and Spike, of course, was the penultimate. And Mark Renton would have to have been clean for a while, or things would get totally embarrassing.

And wow! I just thought of a number 8, 9 and 10 - but really, they're one and the same: Indiana Jones/John Book/Han Solo. Maybe I can be forgiven for adding an extra name to the list: Rick O'Connell. Why? Because he's very much cast from the same mould as Indy; and besides, he's a total dreamboat.
gamiila: (Default)
I made the mistake of opening the confirmation letter that came through the post yesterday. It told me that my interview with the selection committee would take place at 9 am on the 27th, so no news there; but then it went on to say that they expected me to bring all my diplomas, letters of recommendation and the name and telephone number of my present manager as well as that of two further references...I suppose I'll be able to find all my diplomas if I clear out all the cupboards this weekend (not a clue where I might have hidden them), but letters of recommendation? Sorry, but I don't have any. However, it's the demand for name & tel.no. of current manager that's seriously wigging me out. Ask Jobsworth, who obstructed my move within the company when both the company doctor and the therapist suggested it on the grounds that he couldn't, in all fairness, recommend me to any of his colleagues because I had had a breakdown and therefore had not been particularly productive over a number of months, for a reference? Jobsworth, who has let me know that if I ever wanted him to give a favourable report to anyone, I would have to prove myself to him first, and over a prolonged period of time, and then he might think about it? I might as well not bother.

Still, I'll need to get three references from somewhere. I can ask one of my previous managers...who else?

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