Tag Archives: work

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


Playing my cards

Yesterday I did something of which I am not immensely proud: I played the “weak woman” or “victim” role.

I completely disagree with women who play victim, making everyone feel guilty if they don’t do whatever is in their hands to please these victims… I believe that if women ever want to be equal to men in every aspect of our lives, then we need to be stronger and stop playing the “weak” role.

However, yesterday (kind of unknowingly) I played this role myself – and I am not proud of it.

I went to the Heathrow office wearing a very tight dress that shows my bump completely and when I was asked how I was doing, I replied “Not too bad, pushing through”

Now, this is not something that I would normally do. I try to be honest in every aspect of my day to day life, including work. And when anyone asks me how I am, I reply honestly. Saying “not too bad, pushing through” was a lie. Because I was feeling fine, and I have nothing to push through (pregnancy is being quite easy so far). So why did I do this? There is a story behind it.

Last summer I spent a lot of time at the Heathrow office. And I mean a lot of time. It was getting very stressful, and although I was coping ok, then I started the IVF treatment. I was told that I should avoid stress by any means. So after talking to my boss, it was decided that I would stop going to the Heathrow site. I would come to the normal office instead, which is hard work as well, but nowhere near so stressful (the Heathrow office is a building site pretty much, an environment dominated by men, working under pressure and trying to control everything to the smallest detail. It can get stressful at times, and this is exactly what I was told to avoid).

So I stopped going, and then I got pregnant and never went back again.

However, yesterday I had to go for a meeting which I couldn’t avoid (I am supposed to be based at that office, so it is very inconvenient for them that I am not there everyday). And what did I do? I dressed with a dress that shows my bump (which is getting considerably big now – you couldn’t mix it up with just being fat, hehe) and I pretended that I was not feeling great. I suppose I did it so they would be easy on me and not put too much pressure. And it worked! But I am not feeling great about it. I don’t really want to do that ever again, it felt so cheap!

Time alone

Jon has been at his new job for 3 full months now. Three months is not a lot, and still, it feels like it’s been so much longer!

We knew from the start that this new role would entail lots of travelling, and it hasn’t been too bad apart for a couple of full weeks abroad. At the beginning it’s weird, as we hadn’t spent so much time apart since back in 2008 when he was working at The Point in Dublin.

But after some time, I’ve got used to spending some time alone. At first I idealised the situation, promising myself that in those days I would cook food that I like but Jon doesn’t, I would do lots of crafting, I would read more, etc. But I am afraid that not much of that has actually happened.

On average, Jon spends one night or two away every week and what do I do to make the most of that time alone? Nothing.

I’ve been terribly busy at work in the last few weeks, working many long hours. When Jon is away I make the most of the fact that I don’t have to get back home to him so I start at 7am and I don’t get home until 6:30 or later (and only because little Tom needs feeding)

So by the time I get home I am so tired that I don’t fancy cooking, crafting or reading. I prepare a light bite and plompf in front of the TV for a while before it’s time to go to bed again.

To be perfectly honest, I am doing this for two reasons:

1) Because we actually have this very demanding job at work that needs the hours put into, and
2) Because I am earning some very valuable brownie points with my boss, and I’ve got a feeling that I am going to need those brownie points sooner than i think. But that’s another story for another day…

For now, it’s time to put another episode of Big Bang Theory and retire to bed. Tomorrow it’s going to be another long day.

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?!

The visit to Bogotá

It seems that I will be spending my birthday in Colombia. I will be there for a week for work at the end of February.

To be honest, I didn’t fancy going at all. We leave on a Sunday at silly o’clock, arrive in Colombia in the evening and start work on the Monday morning for the next 5 days non-stop. Then we get a few hours free of the next Saturday morning, get the flight back and arrive in London again on the Sunday in the afternoon. It’s going to be a killer…

The other negative is that the reason that I am going is because they want me to act as an interpreter. I have told them again and again that I am not comfortable doing that. Several reasons, the most important one being the fact that all the work-related vocabulary that I know I learnt in English, I do not know those words and phrases in Spanish and trying to get me to translate would be as useful as having a dictionary with you – I may get the immediate translation but it may not make much sense in the context.

In addition to all of this, our parent company has got very strict rules when it comes to travelling to certain countries. They have put Colombia under “amber category”, which means that they don’t think it’s a safe place to go to, so they have put all of these systems in place that seem a bit ridiculous to me. For example, all taxis have to be booked by the local office and we are not allowed to walk around on our own, least of all at certain times of the day.

But I’ve started to come around it. Now that the tickets are booked and I have no way of getting out of it, I am trying to see the positives.

To start, we are travelling business class and this is going to br my first time ever! (and probably the last time too, judging by the prices). The plane and the service looks awesome and I am kind of hoping that those 11 hours fly by quickly (forgive the pun). I also have a window seat in all four flights (London-Paris, Paris-Bogotá, Bogotá-Paris and Paris-London). And the on-board entertainment looks good (I’ve already checked the films, and they have “Melancholia“, which I’m looking forward to watching)

Whilst in Bogotá I know that we will be looked after by the local office, and they will probably take us to decent restaurants and all, and with it being my birthday while we are there, I am pretty sure that it will be fun.

And the third positive about the whole thing is that I will be getting two or three days off in lieu.. Not bad 🙂

I suppose I will write a bit more about the trip after it’s happened; hopefully I’ll get to take a few pictures!