Tag Archives: life

The recruitment process

I thought it was time to update my blog, since important things have happened in the last few weeks.

So, at the end of July I was made redundant. It wasn’t a big shock, I kind of saw it coming, and it wasn’t heartbreaking in the slightest since I hadn’t enjoyed the job for a while and last year I even applied to a couple of job offers (although nothing happened with those, obviously)

So the day I was given my redundancy I started applying for jobs. I updated my CV and signed up to CV Library and Reed (and perhaps Monster too, but I don’t really like their user interface, so I haven’t used them)

I originally started looking for roles very similar to what I have been doing in the last few years, and found a couple that were perfect for me. However I wasn’t being called.

For three weeks nothing happened. I applied for tons of jobs, I would chase them up and “unfortunately this time you haven’t been successful”. Imagine how soul destroying this can be! Roles that were perfect for me, and even roles that I could do with my eyes closed.

So I started applying for lower paid jobs, thinking that maybe people weren’t really interested in paying top dollar for someone like me. But I was still not being called!

And suddenly, one day, I get a call from a recruiter.

Hi, listen, I’ve come across your CV on a job board and you seem to have the perfect skills for my customer. Can we have a chat about your availability?

And as if by magic, I suddenly start being called almost everyday by other recruiters. Some for jobs that I applied for online, and others as “head hunters”!

I have now had a couple of telephone interviews (apparently this is the thing now – first you have to “pass” a screening process before they invite you for a face to face interview) and I have a couple more face to face next week. Things are looking up, and if anything, I’ve got a feeling I’m going to have to make tough decisions when it comes to choosing an employer!

Some things I have learnt from this experience:

  • You are absolutely nothing to the recruiter. Their number one interest is the employer and you are just a disposable item on their to-do list.
  • Recruiters are ruthless, and if they feel like you will get the job, they will do anything to make sure that it is THEM who will get the credit (and commission, of course)
  • You have to chase them and do their hard work for them!
  • Some of them are really caring though. I have been having telephone conversations with one of them who is an absolute sweetheart. My feeling is that he has not been in the job long.

So, fingers crossed, hopefully I will have a new job soon! It’s time to go and spend money on office clothes, as I haven’t had to dress up for work in years! (and nothing will fit me anymore…)

I’ll update soon x

 

Contentment

The secret of happiness is contentment.

I’ve been thinking about this all morning. It’s one of those existential topics that we all can’t help but think about from time to time. Am I happy? But, what is happiness?

Happiness is relative. Every person has their own definition of what happiness is, what makes them happy, and how to achieve that state of mind. There’s no point in making statements like “money gives you happiness”, or “you are only happy when you compare yourself to the misery of others”, because, as I say, happiness is relative.

It is true, though, that wealth makes you happy. But not material wealth, but the one of the spirit.

I have come to the conclusion this morning that the secret to happiness is contentment.

Firstly you have to have the right state of mind. You need to see the glass half full. Then, after you’re realised that happiness is not going to happen overnight, you need to evaluate your life: Are you doing what you want to do with your life? Do you find time for yourself? Are you finding pleasure and satisfaction in the little things?

If the answer to those questions is YES, then you are content with your life. There is no reason why you shouldn’t be happy. We must remember, though, that happiness is an emotion. And emotions can come and go, like sadness or excitement. Being contented, on the other hand, is a more stable and long-term feeling.

So, based on these principles I have to say that I am happy. I have been happy for a long time. Of course we all have our ups and downs, have better days and worse days, and there are days when you simply don’t want to get out of bed. But, it’s got nothing to do with money, with success or with “the neighbour’s grass is greener than mine”.

I read somewhere that being happy is being in love with living, and I couldn’t agree more.

I love being alive. I love who I am and who I’ve become. I love my husband. I love my cat. I love being moved by little things like the clouds, the sun, the stars, the flowers, nature in general. I just love enjoying life my own way. My attitude towards enjoying life is definitely different to other people’s. I don’t need to climb mountains or adrenaline rushes. I live life my own subtle way and that’s the path I’ve chosen, hence me being happy with it.

Different choices

Sometimes I wonder how my life could have been different if I hadn’t made the choices that I made or life had gone in a different direction for me. For instance, what if I had actually been good at flamenco dancing and my mum had never taken me to private English lessons? (long story short, after two or three months at flamenco lessons, the teacher called my mum and said to her: “don’t waste your money here, she has no rhythm, it’s useless”)

Later on in life I made choices that are responsible for where I am now in my life. Hadn’t I studied English a University, I might have not come to the UK for an Erasmus year and not met Darren. If I had not met Darren I might have not decided to move permanently to the UK. Or when we realised that our relationship made no sense I could have gone back to Spain rather than stay here.

And that last thought is what I really want to talk about.

At some point I’ve wondered what I would do if for whatever reason I had to go back to Spain. Would I go to Motril or would I choose a different town? To start with, I suppose I would have to go to Motril and stay in the little flat until I got a job and become financially independent again.

And that is the most important issue of all. What would I like to do back there?

I think that I would like a job where I use English very regularly or all the time. Teaching English as a foreign language either in a “academy” (private lessons) or in a School come to mind. At the end of the day, I did do the CAP (Spanish equivalent to the PGCE) and I am almost qualified to teach – I say almost because I would only be able to teach in private schools, as I would need “oposiciones” to teach in a public school, and I have no intention to go through oposiciones ever in my life.

I am not sure I would want to work in a office doing the same that I am doing here (project coordinator in a “domotics” company), unless it’s in English. Mainly because, like I’ve said a few times, all the technical and work-specific vocabulary that I know, I learnt in English and I would find it a bit awkward trying to express myself in Spanish. I know it’s silly, but before I came to the UK I had never had to deal with invoices, delivery notes, databases, consignment notes, excel spreadsheets, purchase orders, gantt chants, etc.

Depending on how financially independent I am, something else I would like to try is teaching cardmaking, or even starting my own greeting cards company. There are lots of stay-at-home mums in my town and I know they would be interested in something crafty. My only doubt is whether sending cards is something that people actually do regularly in Spain and whether it would be enough for me to sustain myself and make a living. Scrapbooking might be a better idea, as people scrapbook for themselves, not for other people. But I am not that experienced in that field… (and would I find the materials and products necessary in Spain? that’s something else to bear in mind)

And then, last but not least, depending on how crazy I am, I might take the Ice-cream parlour business over again. Although it would have a very different business model to what it used to. For starters, we would have three shifts, not just two, so no one has to work for 12 hours with just a half hour break. Then, an overall manager would have to be appointed, as I don’t really fancy having to be there for 15 hours a day like my grandma or uncle used to do. Also, you pay as you order, not the usual Spanish way of paying after you’ve consumed your order (making it very difficult for the waiter to keep an eye on everybody)

So yeah, I suppose one has to make the best of their situation, and although I have no plans whatsoever of going back to Spain in the near future, it is always good to know that I might have several options open for me to try (that is, of course, if the economic situation of Spain was a bit more stable and unemployment wasn’t so high)

But we can’t help but dream, eh?!

Another due update

I know, I haven’t been updating this blog as much as I should… I haven’t given it up, it’s just that the other one and what it entails keep me too busy!

So here’s a summary of what’s been going on lately in the uninteresting life of Maria La Chica:

Card making. Yes, I’ve been spending quite a lot of time making cards. You can visit my other blog if you want to have a look at some of my creations. I am loving it, but it is a difficult hobby to have, because it requires lots of concentration and imagination. And I can tell you that sometimes it is very hard to concentrate on what you’re doing when your cat is jumping on your desk and walking back and forth over your card and tools…
The imagination bit I am overcoming by looking at lots of other blogs for inspiration. One of my favourite cards was inspired by a photo that I saw on the net. It was just a very rough sketch and idea, but it worked out perfectly in the end.

Work work work. Many things have been happening at work lately. I was finally given a promotion, after 3 and a half years at my previous position. I am quite excited about what the new position means and changes that it will bring to my daily routine. But at the same time, there are things going on in the office that I am not happy about. As I already told you, my company was recently bought by a multinational company and I can already see that it is going to take me longer than I thought to get used to all the changes and politics involved with a large organisation. I have had many a frustrating day lately, and there is very little I can do about it. “It is like it is and I can’t change it” – I’ve been told.
I will be travelling to Copenhagen in a couple of weeks for an Exhibition. I will be there for almost 5 days and I have plans to “disappear” for a few hours one day… There is no way that I will be in Copenhagen and won’t see any of the city! I was quite excited about the whole Exhibition thing at the beginning, but the more I think about it the more nervous I become. I am not a real talker and making small talk is quite hard for me. I am not a technical person either, so I wonder how I am going to get by. I will be fine, I know.. but all these questions keep popping up in my head.

Visiting friends. Jon and I have been a tiny bit more social lately (not hugely, but a bit more than usual). It is very handy than Jon’s best friend lives in Basingstoke as well, so he already goes out with him often enough in town. We’ve met Jon’s friend and his wife and kid a few times now and also met up with another couple who are mutual friends. We’ve also seen quite a bit of the family, doing our usual “games evening” thing (almost all of us love board games and meet up for a games evening from time to time. However, very rarely we manage to actually finish the game because we get caught in conversations, dinner and other bits and pieces and the game stays unfinished. I don’t mind too much, but Jon finds it frustrating and you can see his face and whole attitude changing the moment he realises we won’t finish that game…)
We also went to meet fellow Spaniard Elena and her other half (aka the Welshman) in the roman city of Bath just the other day (sorry, the photos are still in the camera!). It was a very enjoyable day, despite the freezing cold weather. I’ve just had my hair cut quite short too, so my poor little ears were suffering considerably…
Bath is gorgeous, I love it… The roman baths were very interesting.. you can’t beat a bit of roman history! And the company was great too… Sometimes it’s weird meeting someone face to face when you’ve only met them online. It’s strange to finally put a voice to the face and things like that… But at the end of the day, you realise that it is the same person that you’ve “known” for all these years!

Changing car? I am thinking of upgrading my car. There is actually nothing wrong with my little Micra, but if I am honest it is not the most comfortable car to be doing 70 miles everyday on. It probably isn’t the safest either if I was to have an accident (god forbid). So I believe now is a good time to make the change.
The biggest two contestants are the Ford Focus and the Hyundai i30. I like both and can’t really decide. I think the Focus is a bigger car (longer) and maybe I would struggle a bit more with it than with the i30. But the Focus is a safer bet than the Hyundai (despite the 5 year guarantee that Hyundai give you when you buy new). There are other cars that I like too, but they are far too expensive for me.. for example the Audi A3, the Mazda 3 or the Mercedes A160 (among others).
I will keep you posted in the coming weeks with these dealings…


Focus Zetec

i30

Other “smaller” issues:
I am a great aunt now… My teenage niece had a baby just last week. It’s a little cute baby girl who will be called Aroa (I hate the name… what’s wrong with “Maria”? xD). So yeah, my 17 year old niece is now a mum and my 40 year old brother is a grandfather… Wow.

I am really looking forward to our little break in Cornwall at the end of April. We’ve rented a self catering apartment for a whole week for only £250, which is amazing value. Plus I have never been to that part of the country and I am really excited about it (I know Jon doesn’t count holidays in England as real holidays – but for me this is amazing! Hopefully we will also be having another break abroad, so Jon can say that he’s had a proper holiday this year, lol)

And I believe this is pretty much it! I promise to update more often!

Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Change is one of the words that I’ve used the most lately on my facebook updates and other places, and it’s because there are important changes to come in my life soon.

The first one, and the most important one, is that Jon has got a new job for a different company and will be leaving Andromeda. Jon and I met at work and have been together since. We moved in together quite soon after meeting and haven’t been apart for more than 4 days at a time ever.

We wake up together, come to work together, have lunch together, drive back home together, have dinner together, watch TV or a film together, go to bed together. A fine routine. The one that my life spins around of. Sometimes we would socialise separately, or he would spend time at his computer whilst I watched some programme that he’s not interested in. But I could easily say that we spend 90% of our time together.

And this is going to change from January 10th onwards. Then we will become another couple who only see each other in the evenings and weekends. I really think that it will take some time for me to get used to this.

The second big change happening soon will somehow affect me. My company has just been bought by a big multinational company (shhh, it’s not official yet! We will be told tomorrow.. but I just happen to have this confidential information, hehe) and hence we expect big changes to happen. We have been assured that nobody (important) will lose their job…

The thing is, nobody was expecting Jon to move on and he is going to leave a position to fill. I’ve heard rumours that I may take some of his responsability on board, meaning that I will be somehow promoted to something else.

This scares the life out of me. Jon decided to move on from Andromeda because he needed a challenge. His job was too easy for him, he was on his comfort zone. I, however, am happy on my comfort zone. I’ve done my role for 3 and a half years now and I am just starting to feel happy to deal with it on my own, without any supervision.

I know that if I am given more responsibility I will happily take it, however, the initial fears will haunt me for a bit.

Then you better start swimmin’

Or you’ll sink like a stone

For the times they are a-changin’