‘This train…

… is at the station.’

This can go on no longer! For a while I almost enjoyed the whole Betty Draper housewife thing I had going on. Painting my nails, cleaning, washing and doing the occasional food preparation (I’m not the cook of the house). However, I am now starting to feel a bit ground-hog-day-ish. After fully and painfully realising something I’ve sort of known for a while now – I’m going to be in dept for a long time because of a hugely expensive education that is, at the moment, essentially useless to me, I decided to combat the tragic monotony of job hunting and the serious lacking of funds with the search for a part-time job.

I started with a run… jog… running interspersed with panting… and hobbling. With the glow of self-righteousness that a morning jog provides, I walked to a local jewellery shop (after a shower, just to clarify). However, when I asked whether they might have a part-time vacancy I got a disdainful snort and the words ‘no love, this train is at the station’. Not quite knowing what this meant but presuming it was akin to ‘this is a sinking ship’, I politely displayed my sadness. I then had to listen to a speech about how nobody gets engaged or married anymore because everybody’s poor and nobody loves each other, and a soliloquy on the loss of the many rich old Clifton ladies who used to spend all their dead husbands money (I didn’t want to ask why all their husbands were dead) in his shop. The blame for this financial dry up lies with John Major, apparently.

By the end of the day I had handed out three CVs, one in a shop full of clothes I can’t afford (that’s just painful), the next was in a sweet shop (again, temptation). The third was full-time waiter staff (if they give me free food, I’m there).

This morning I handed in my CV in to a bar (the food thing applies to alcohol too), when the gentleman I gave it to said ‘do you have any experience?’ I replied with ‘no not really, aside from a predilection towards alcoholism.’ He didn’t get the joke. Why do I think it’s okay to say these things, why!?

I feel for the gentleman whose jewellery shop (train) is coming to the end of it’s journey, but I hope that my train is only just leaving the station, perhaps experiencing a slight delay, because of technical difficulties, that’s British rail systems for you…

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How to…

…not get employed!

I read a magazine article about how to ace interviews the other day (whilst on an airplane, trying to not think about death). One thing this article stated is that you should never, ever, write about bad interview experiences on the internet, including social media sites or blogs – fail number one!

Fail number two: do not get into your car (that you haven’t driven in four months) and put on the Bridget Jones soundtrack – it may explain what followed…

Number three: DO leave two hours to get to an interview that is an hour and five minutes away, it leaves time for damaging other people’s cars. In my defence I was trying to avoid a cyclist who had decided the middle of the road was a great place to stop and take a phone call. As I swerved to avoid him I scraped along a parked car. I then did what every normal person does in this situation; a barrage of expletives left my mouth, I burst into tears, called my mum (who I couldn’t get hold of, boyfriend had to do), wrote a note with my sincerest apologies, excuses and phone number and continued to cry. Somewhere in all of this I looked up to find the pillock on the bicycle laughing at me. After taking a moment to gather my thoughts and the appropriate drips of Bach’s Rescue Remedy I continued on the rest of my way, which turned out to be an hour and 20 minutes of thin country lanes. By the time I got to the interview my knuckles were white with gripping the steering wheel so hard, my newly ironed shirt was suitably moist and my nerves were in tiny pieces at the bottom of my brain.

Number four: The interview article also advised not sitting down in the office waiting room, apparently it makes one look slouchy. So when a kind lady showed me into the offices and into the waiting area with the welcoming words “please, take a seat”, I thanked her but declined to do so, to which she gave me an odd look but promised to tell the appropriate person I had arrived. After a few minutes of pointlessly standing in a small space in the foyer, my interviewer came in stating that they weren’t quite ready for me so could I please take the seat. This time I listened to her and sat down, which she seemed much more pleased with and offered me a glass of water.

Number five: Do not bring up Stroke victims in a job interview.

Number six: When they ask the question, “Do you own a car?” Just say, “yes I do, I drove it here today”, do not say “Oh yes, Emanuella – Manny, she’s a trooper, we only just made it here today.”

Suffice to say, I have not been invited back for a second interview. I hope these tips are helpful to all my fellow unemployed. Thank goodness my next interview is a phone interview…

How art the mighty…

… rejected.

Today was going to be a vlog day, I even put on makeup and dry shampooed my hair (I’m unemployed, this is a big deal). Then I made the heinous mistake of calling to chase up a few applications I’ve been waiting on. One post has been filled, the other post I didn’t even get my application in on time (and it was the perfect job – I’m a knob) and the other they’re going to get back to me, probably when they’ve fished my application out of the disguarded ‘NO’ pile on the office floor. So now my make-up is a little worse for wear. I’m also recovering from a cold and PMSing to the extreme. If it’s after lunch and it’s a Friday, it’s okay to start drinking, right? (I’ve just heard back from them, it’s been filled, it’s definitely drink o’clock now.)

This week has been actually been really interesting, with a trip to the past via my Oma’s home town of Flensbug, Germany…

Flensburg

…and the realisation that my rent is due for the second time since I was made unemployed – the low level panic attacks I’ve been experiencing for the past month are now taking it up a notch. But one must focus on the positives and in my blog pipe-line I have how to make these romantic bad boys:

Romantic lightingRomantic candle holders

The Great Gatsby review, it’s had some mixed opinions and I thought I’d go ahead and throw mine into the mix because I am very good at criticising things. I will also be touching of the tender subject ‘Man Flu’ and naming my second vlog ‘Am I a Feminist?’ – bet you’re all excited about that one!

So stay tuned people, because your encouragement makes unemployment actively enjoyable! All you need is love… and a reliable income – one out of two isn’t half bad.

All you need is love...

Salsa…

… and Bachata!

So Salsa classes have been on Christopher and mine’s ‘Fun List’ (every couple should have one) for a while now and yesterday we braved the insecurities that public dancing (when sober) unearth and headed to the centre of Bristol and spent the very little that was left in our joint account on dancing classes (the list must be obeyed).

We got to a vaguely hispanic looking bar where dancing juice meant rum in a brownish water they had decided to term Bacardi and coke. Whilst drinking our water and rum Chris and I sussed out the rest of the clientele; lots of singles, a language school, many short men and lots of ladies wearing a late 90s/early 2000s combo of flared jeans with strappy sandals. I myself had decided on a pair of wedges my mother very kindly purchased for me as a sorry-you-are-no-longer-employed present. I’m planning on wearing them on an upcoming trip to Germany and thought a 3 hour Salsa class would be a great way to break them in. I haven’t been able to walk yet today.

We took our places on the ‘beginners’ section of the dance floor and started to learn the basic steps of Salsa. It was all very fun but I was there with a very handsome man and wanted to get all Salsa up on him. After a while we started partner work but Chris was not my partner, oh no. It turned out a big part of the class was a weird sort of Salsa speed dating in which ladies had to move on to the next man every 2 or so minutes. Two words: sweaty hands. Many, many sweaty, sweaty hands. Then it got worse! After our Salsa class the Bachata class started. In between the two I was given the chance to have a little dance with Chris and realised that he can only go where he’s looking, he literally cannot isolate where his head is facing from where his body is moving and therefore cannot Salsa at all.

So Bachata would have been a lovely thing for Chris and I to learn together because apparently it’s a much more sensual form of latin dancing, do I know this because I was told it whilst in the arms of my beloved? No, I know this because the complete stranger who was holding me close decided to tell me this and then look up into my eyes for an uncomfortable amount of time. I say ‘up’ because I don’t know if it’s because I live with someone who is 6 ft. 5 but I have never seen so many small guys in one room before!

Maybe we’ll find couples Salsa classes, then again that does seem like something we should do when we’re in our 40s and are trying to want each other sexually again – perhaps we should stick to touching up short strangers for the time being…

‘This is not creative…

… it’s all numbers, numbers, numbers.’

These were the hideous words that came out of the mouth of yesterdays interviewer. It was like a punch in the face.

I put on my favourite suit (again) and went all the way to Bath, quite unsure of what I was actually going for. The representative from the recruitment company who sent me there, couldn’t actually tell me what the job was about, or indeed which company it was for. They refused to tell her – probably because it was really rubbish.

I was so excited as well! I was sat in what appeared to be lovely offices, the reception even had one of those chairs that’s round, like a big ball they’ve cut a section out of and filled in with pillowy loveliness. I was just speeding up my pace towards the chair when the receptionist said I shouldn’t sit in it incase I couldn’t get out (cheeky), so I demurely perched myself on the normal boring chair. She then left the room and I spent the next 20 minutes thinking about sitting on it, just for a bit before my interviewer came in, just to see what it was like. If I knew they would have been 10 minutes late I would have had a proper go, 360 spins and everything.

Instead I spent 10 minutes blowing on my right hand to try to reduce claggyness (for hand shaking purposes) until a very abrupt woman came into the room, leading with a firm handshake, much to my despair – the offending hand was still moist. She was the kind of woman who said the word “quite” very often and a lot louder than she said any other words. So we left the lovely reception that had brand names like ‘Hello’, ‘BBC Sport’ and ‘Paramount’ plastered on the walls and went downstairs. Then we went down some more stairs. Then we sat down around a table – in the basement.

After a few normal questions… and a few not quite normal one, my now two interviewers told me about the role. It was direct advertising directed towards old people, house wives and the vast majority of the ‘Nuts’ readership. They explained that often the adverts are “shit” but they seem to do better than the good ones, that clients couldn’t “give a fuck” what the advert looked like as long as they got more money out of it and that the job had “nothing to do with creativity, great copy or good use of the English language”. I left feeling somewhat confused about the whole thing – usually the interviewer/interviewees relationship is that of mutual selling. They explained that they wanted to be completely honest so that I didn’t start the job, realise it was hateful, and leave. I appreciated them being upfront otherwise that definitely would have happened.

After discussing the role with my recruitment representative and finding out the salary (… was insulting), she advised me to hold out for something more in keeping with my previous experience – so I’ve got another interview on Tuesday and this time I know what the company and role is. Please join me in hoping to high (and possibly fictional) heaven that Tuesday goes better than yesterday did!

Well, as my mad and wonderful Oma would say ‘ach vell (oh well) life can’t alvays be a cheesecake.’ I’m going to watch Baz Lurman’s The Great Gatsby tomorrow, spend saturday celebrating my talented boyfriends new employment with my favourite people and I’ve just started re-watching Gavin and Stacey from the very beginning – this just could be an epic weekend. Lush.

Welsh Flag!

This picture has nothing to do with this blog post but I’m loath to upload a blog with no pictures and my sister and I agree that my boyfriend needs bringing down a peg or two after his employment success. This picture was taken after we had pretty much force fed him shots of blackberry vodka liquor (only thing we could find) for a whole evening because I was fed up of always being the most drunk member of our relationship. Enjoy!

All at sea…

… but not in a boat.

Yesterday I suffered one of those dark days. The days Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s described as ‘the mean reds, suddenly you’re afraid but you don’t know what you’re afraid of.’ Her advice is to hop in a cab and go to Tiffany’s, however, I don’t live anywhere near a Tiffany’s and I’m pretty sure if I did I would just wonder listlessly around the jewellery section, my tears and snot gently dribbling down onto the display cabinets full of beautiful diamonds I’ll never be able to afford because I’m poor and always will be because I can’t get a mother fo’ing job, until a security guard kindly but firmly leads me away from the shiny (and now moist) cabinets and out of the premises.

So in the fortunate lack of a Tiffany’s in Bristol (and after two tearful phone calls to my mother… and one to my sister) I decided to head down to the Arnolfini Gallery as I have recently applied for a job there which I would be simply brilliant at. I splashed out on a little treat too – a bus ride down to the harbour side, which at £2.30 for a single is a splash in my opinion, plus I nabbed the best seat in the house – bus – the very front seat on the top deck. Which is usually great for people watching, today however, the rain had somewhat steamed up the massive window and caused a leak through which rain water could flow quite freely into the bus. I got off that bus more damp than I would have been if I’d have just walked in the first place.

The Arnolfini was a lot dryer, and thank fully quite devoid of people, which is good because I don’t like them. It was a pleasure to wander round the exhibitions and swap my day time TV routine for something rather more cultured and inspiring but I’m afraid it didn’t alleviate my mean reds. I’ve taken quite a knock recently and no matter how often I listen to early naughties classic Aaliyah’s ‘Try Again’, dusting myself off and trying again is not as easy as she makes it look. Perhaps I need backing dancers…

And like Aaliyah I too have tried wearing pleather trousers – now that was hard to come back from. But God knows if I can come back from that, I can bloody well dust myself off and try to get a job again. It just feels like every time I do have the chance of getting a job there’s something wrong with it, like it’s a great job but it would be a 90 mile round trip every day, or the salary doesn’t cover living, or I’d have to have the soul of an evil harpy to do it because it’s Door to Door sales.

I think the only thing that’s going to make me feel better is resume my employment campaign with renewed gusto tomorrow (and snacks, many snacks), hold auditions for my backing dancers (I was thinking like four minimum) and bring ‘my babies’ (Sweet Peas) inside because I think this weather will kill them and if I’ve learned anything from Chris’ grandma it’s that fragile things are happier indoors…

For The Love of…

… unemployment! I write to you from my favourite chair (yes I have one of those), with a warm cup of Lapsang Souchong and a piece of wedding cake because this weekend I attended the union of two minds and hearts that is the modern wedding. And here’s how it went…

Wedding Cake

My dwarfish boyfriend is older than me (only by two years but it makes me feel young to say it) and as a result of his mid-twenties dwelling we have been invited to three weddings this year. This was the first, the marriage of his cousin, who I had never met but nevertheless being the soppy romantic I am (I come from a family of people who cry at emotional adverts – John Lewis Christmas adverts are usually a sure thing) I was really looking forward to seeing her get married.

So we arrived in Kent on Saturday morning to find we were staying on the world’s greatest B&B. I spend most of my life pretending I’m in a TV adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Poirot or Marple but it’s a rare and wonderful occasion when my surroundings match my imaginings. But this B&B had all the components of a fine Julia McKenzie (not Geraldine McEwan – personal preference, murder seems to make her genuinely delighted) production. There was the beautiful cottage with splendid gardens and lots of cats (heaven in itself), then there was the terribly eccentric host, Nicholas, who called us all ‘Darlings!’ and pursuaded me to have scallops for breakfast, I would have taken a picture but Nicholas would not permit mobile phones at the breakfast table. Then there was Christopher and mine’s room , complete with separate and flower-clad beds and a decanter of sherry! The smile on my face could not have been wider.

Marple B&B

Three hours, a debate about leaving times, a panic about grandparents, an emergency heated roller session and two strategic glasses of sherry later I was standing in my favourite coat, charity shop hat and happy red shoes fighting against the rain and wind with a flimsy umbrella all ready for a spring wedding – an outdoor spring wedding.

Thankfully it stopped raining just before the bride walked down the aisle. Although it was still damp and cold and I couldn’t tell whether my nose was running because of the cold or my blurry eyed emotion. I know it’s silly to get emotional at a strangers wedding but it’s very touching to watch two people make such promises, whether it’s sunny or raining, whether you know the couple or not. During a small break in the ceremony whilst the happy twosome signed their official papers of law, Chris’ mother lent over and said ‘we’ve got to get your grandmother out of this ceremony or it’s going to kill her.’ I turned behind me to see what looked like a chair that everyone had dumped all their coats on, at the top of the coat pile there was a tuft of white hair – it was grandma in her wheel chair. After that I managed to keep my misty eyes in check – if not my dribbley nose.

Wedding attire

After the ceremony I had the happy surprise of finding that I was sat on the same table as the bride and groom which felt like quite a privilege – until the father of the bride speech. Modern society being what it is, the bride had a father and step father, the result of this seemed to be that her biological father wasn’t that familiar with the groom or his relationship with his daughter. So unable to talk about those things he decided to focus on a) the fact that he really hadn’t spent much time with either groom or indeed bride, b) that they had met on the internet and c) his hobby of ancestry. This combination resulted in a very awkward debate about how the groom’s family pronounced their own name (apparently they’re wrong), a long time spent telling people things they already knew about their own family and some interesting comments about online dating. Myself, after about seven minutes of painful awkwardness (and three glasses of wine… and a G&T… and two glasses of sherry from my bedroom decanter) I found myself clutching on to my cool demeanour as well as Christopher’s hand while the cruel beast that is inappropriate laughter started shaking up my insides. I was shaking but at least keeping my face together until Chris’ grandfather, who had hardly said a word all day but was now being ‘informed’ of his wife’s wealthy family background, to which he loudly butted in with ‘why do you think I married her?’ The whole room erupted into laughter that I suspect they’d been suppressing just as I had, unfortunately for me it meant the beast had been unleashed. I spent the rest of the speech trying to hide behind my napkin and turn my laughter into what I hoped sounded like loud coughs. Through out the wedding I had to dodge the ‘so what do you do?’ questions with a blithe flexibility that seemed to involve talking a lot about knitting.

Apart form that interlude the wedding was lovely , I greatly enjoyed meeting everyone in such a loving environment. I’m now officially wedding broody (everyone who knows me knew this already, but this is the first time I’m admitting it through the written word – go me).

The happy couple

However, now it’s the light of Monday and I’m again realising how unemployed I am. I’ve also started to become sort of scared of potential interviews. I’ve been unemployed for three weeks now, it was my first ‘proper’ job and amongst the lie-ins, finding an unenxpected passion for gardening and shit loads of knitting, I’m afraid of the early mornings, the daily routines and spending every day in an office environment (which can be a scary place to be in itself). I guess the best thing to do in the face of fear is to just keep going, keep applying, keep going to the interviews I’m lucky enough to get and hope against hope that the right job for me, or even what could one day be the right job for me might just come my way.

Wedding survival kit

In the mean time I’m going to keep doing what every other sane unemployed graduate would do, spend their days pretending they’re living in an episode of Marple (without the murder), start referring to my newly potted plants as ‘my babies’ and dabble with the idea of alcoholism.

Til next time! Tesco have Dino vino on for half price at the moment, so if anyone needs me, that’s where I’ll be…