Saturday, April 24, 2004


Sorry, couldn't think of an all-encompassing post title, so I had to revert to my default word (eyes left).

So, yesterday, after eight weeks of being on display, this:

was finally and undeniably true... and I've got the bank balance to prove it... but shush, dear readers, it *will* of course be invested back into the property market in the near future... well, most of it... probably...

Well, at least I won't have to spend any of it in TK Maxx as, thanks to my birthday, I've now got £45 of TK Maxx vouchers to keep me going on that front. Now £45 in normal currency may not feel like much - but in TK Maxx terms, I'm cash rich! This was my present from the Southampton contingent - they know how to shut me up, bless 'em.

Other presents included a digital camera, a book and a dozen red roses from the Big Fella (plus last night's dinner in a posh Indian), a Miffy t-shirt, choccies and Sex and the City (season 4) DVD from bro' (though probably chosen by sis'-in-law, bro' not being a fan of shopping...) plus more items to come when I see my other siblings next weekend.

And I got a *million* comments and e-cards and messages and stuff from my lovely bloggie pals - gawd bless ya!

What a lucky little Witho I am! (or should that be a ?)

So, yesterday, as well as being my birthday and completion day, was also the first day of my new job. I'm working for a recruitment consultant specialising in engineering and IT disciplines. It's an office completely devoid of men, which may prove interesting - but before you start thinking, in horror: "synchronisation!", at least three of the women are, by my estimation, post-menopausal, and there are only 7 people in all. I am the tallest, but that's hardly relevant unless you're currently writing a dissertation on "Relative height in the workplace" which is, let's face it, unlikely to be the case.

The company is a matriarchal one - I met the daughter yesterday who seemed very pleasant and must be okay as she shares my first name and all my initials - including the middle one! Which could prove confusing... However, throughout the morning I spent there, I kept receiving subtle yet consistent veiled warnings about the mother (who was absent), from both the daughter herself and the two other women who were in the office. It appears that the mother boss does have a tendency to get stressed, and can "take it out" on people. Furthermore, they "get through" quite a number of temps... though the daughter explained this away by saying that the agency often sent classic PA/Secs and the role is not what you'd be looking for if you were dead set on that kind of work... Well, I'm not dead set on anything other than getting out of the flat, earning some pocket money and killing some time before we leave, so *that* wouldn't be a reason for my leaving...

So, what does my job entail?
Like many offices, they have their own, uniquely elaborate way of making paper travel around an office, which I shall now describe for your delectation:

I take a pile of printed cvs which have been emailed in response to job ads on the internet.
Each cv has previously had a "data capture form" stapled to the front.
For each cv I must ascertain if the person is already registered on the recruitment database.
If so, I must circle "update" on the "data capture form" and write down their registration number.
I must then check that their name, address and telephone details are correct on the database - if not, I must update the details and indicate that these were updated on the "data capture form".
I must also fill in today's date, and the "cv updated" date shown on the database, as well as their "engineering discipline" which is stored with their details.
I must then change the "cv updated" date on the database to today's date (hence, writing it down first before overwriting it - clever eh? Bet that's caught a few people out over the years...)
I then write the person's name on the "data capture form" at the top.
I press F9 (to "tag" the database record) and F10 (to save the changes), and then deal with the next one.

If their details do not exist on the database yet, I simply circle "add" on the "data capture" form, fill in their name and the date on the front and put them in a separate pile. These, dear readers, are the cvs which *might* be thrown straight into the bin (or the recycling basket - not sure which yet) so there's no point me spending too much of my time on them...

Then I must find the paper files associated with each previously registered cv - ah yes, the "mother" is also a technophobe, had I not mentioned that? Not trusting the technology to do what it does best, each person has a little bundle of paper filed firstly by engineering/IT discipline (IT people in the filing drawers to the left, engineering on the right) then by surname.

Once their file(s) has/have been found (yes, some people have more than one discipline, so they have more than one paper file - good innit?), I then have to print out all of the "tagged" records from the database, cut up the printout so that each person has a little slip of paper (some people spill over the end of the paper, so I have to staple their bits together), and clip this to the bundle of cv and paper file. Don't forget to remove all the "tags" from the database now, Witho!

I then go through *all* the cvs (including the new ones), and if the person has mentioned the job reference in their email, I must write this on the data capture sheet.

I then sort these bundles into folders for the "recruiters" (i.e. the mother and daughter) - mother has all IT, mechanical, document controllers and daughter has everything else. The folders for mother are placed on her chair (I wonder what happens if she's sitting on it at the time, do I put them on her head?) and those for the daughter are placed on the windowsill behind her. I love these little "foibles" people have, bless...

So, that seems to be my job. There are other factors too - answering phones to people, telling them that mother boss is not available if applicable ("don't tell them she's not here, always say she's not available" says my colleague, mysteriously...), telling them to send their cvs in if they're not registered, all fascinating stuff.

I couldn't help slipping into "IT developer" mode whilst using their crusty old recruitment system - imagine, a system which doesn't even allow you to use the tab key to move between input fields! Cuh! And, as I spacebarred over the characters in the field which needed to be deleted, I couldn't help thinking: "Where's the field exit key? This thing is just crying out for one!" (Tilesey, Stevan and Swiss, if no-one else, will know what I'm talking about...).

It's a job, that's all. It'll keep me going...


Watched "Bands reunited" on VHsomethingorother the other night - what a concept! As the subtitle suggests, this one was about reuniting Kajagoogoo for a one-off show, and it was way cool. I really admired the way Limahl was so up for it, despite the fact that the others basically kicked him out of the band for being too "teenie-boppish" (funnily enough, it didn't take long after he left for people to forget they ever existed...). Nick Beggs - the bassist and main songwriter - was clearly trying desperately to cling on to his youth, but at least he'd done away with the poodle-based hairstyle of the eighties. Limahl looked kind of haggard. The poor old drummer hadn't played for 20 years, but he had a go, and they really performed quite well. I'd forgotten how much I liked the bassline to "Too shy" - always a sucker for an interesting bassline, our Witho...

Well, I think I've blathered on quite long enough. Just enough time to say, I'm currently deciding if I like Franz Ferdinand or not... I think I do, they're kind of Talking Heads-y which, to my mind at least, is a good thing...

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