Tag Archives: jobs

2011 Project365 (days 150-151)

31st May:

31st May 2011

This is the bonsai which HD was given as a thank you for being best man at the wedding last month. I am recording it here as evidence that, over a month later, not only is it still alive but it still has pretty much all its leaves and we haven’t killed it immediately (our past form with bonsai is, er, not very impressive).

30th May:

30th May 2011

More job applications. Wish me luck!

Non-photographic things happening in my world

One of the things about posting daily photos is that I can be lazier in blogging – yes the photography is a discipline (which I am really really enjoying) but I want to make sure I keep myself up with what’s going on, as I do occasionally like to look back at my archives and see where I was at, and how far I’ve come (or not, as the case may be).

My PhD viva is coming up very soon. I don’t want to say when till it’s over, as I don’t want to make an enormous fuss prior to the event, but in the meantime, eeeek. From the end of this week I will be going offline for a while till it’s over (will keep taking pictures, but need to get away from non-thesis-related internet for a while).

HD has a job interview soon, which if he’s successful will require some changes to our life. More on that once he’s had it and we know the results. In the meantime, I have a job to apply for too, the closing date is this coming week. I have also applied for some more OU courses to tutor, if I’m not successful with anything else but can get more OU work then I am seriously thinking of stopping health visiting (permanent health visiting, at any rate) and doing OU and supplementing it with bank nursing.

We have a holiday coming up soon too (thank goodness) – HD’s brother is getting married, HD is the best man, so we will be taking a few days before the wedding for a holiday prior to the big celebrations. I can’t wait.

I am meant to be finishing the first draft of a book chapter by the end of this month. Quite when I’ll have time I’m not entirely sure, but hopefully I’ll get something not too scrappy to them. Apart from all the other things going on, I can feel a journal article brewing on a subject which is more interesting to me right now (have spent much of this evening trawling the Moldovan online news), but I’m going to have to put that to one side.

I am doing my first telephone conference tutorial for some of my OU students this week – that’s going to be interesting (she says, not really sure about it, but hey). Before then I have 5 or 6 essays still to mark, and a tutorial to prepare for Saturday. There really is no rest for the wicked. No wonder all I want to do on my Friday day off is sleep and veg out!

Never before has the tagline for this blog felt so elusive …. I think my number 1 priority for April is to rest and enjoy myself, in fact I think I ought to spontaneously schedule it into my diary.

Online applications and other minor irritants

I do apologise that this blog is a bit whingey – I guess I’m just going through a phase where there’s quite a lot to whinge about!

Today I completed another online job application form. I did one a few weeks ago (for the job I didn’t get shortlisted for) which I found very frustrating, especially the education section where every last O’level ended up having to be picked from a drop-down menu, and it felt like it would have been quicker to sit all of the exams again. Maybe that’s why I was so peeved at not being shortlisted, having spent what felt like hours of my life ploughing through the form. Anyway. Today’s is for a temp job, 6 months full-time but with the potential to be part-time possibly, for a place that’s sort of part of the uni and sort of separate (without giving too much away). It’s a job that I’d really enjoy – doing research, in my broad area of interest, but mainly doing the fun bits of research without the hassle of applying for funding and all that, so it would be a good thing to do whilst finishing my writing up, and would be good experience of working in a field that is related to what I do but isn’t area studies (which I’m finding is a bit restricting when I’m looking for non-area studies work) which will be good for future more senior/serious applications. But the FORM! Argh! Again it was the education bit that particularly wound me up. Rather than have a page for each educational establishment, it was a page for each qualification. Which is fine for a place where I got a degree, but for my school, where I got 3 A’levels and 9 O’levels it would have been so much better to have only had to put the name of the school, place, and dates of starting and leaving once, and then just added each individual exam result. Instead I had to fill out all of those details 12 times, I was getting a bit sweary by the end of it I can tell you. And then as if that wasn’t bad enough, the degrees were part of a drop-down menu, and although they had “undergraduate degree” as a category, they didn’t have “masters degree”, but did have MA and MBA. So, my Masters is an MSc, and I ended up putting it under “other” (which looks really great, not) – if I’d been applying in England I might have put MA, but here in Scotland where undergraduate degrees are 4 years not 3, you get awarded an MA as an undergraduate degree so if I’d put MA they might think I meant an undergraduate rather than a postgraduate qualification. And having whinged about the O’levels, they didn’t have O’level as a category so I had to put “GCSE” and I made sure that I wrote “O’level” in the description because I was being pedantic. This is so not good for my blood pressure!

Yesterday I encountered further frustrations, first in the form of the Benefits Office, who wrote to me randomly over the weekend (having told HD already that he probably wasn’t entitled to this particular benefit) to ask me for a load of information I’d already given them over a month ago. The guy I was talking to agreed that the letter wasn’t clear and asked me to clarify the income stuff. I started talking about my PhD stipend, he asked for more detail and I started saying “Well, it’s £X per month” and he said “No, I mean, what actually is a stipend?” Argh! And especially as we’ve been told we’re probably not entitled anyway, why don’t they just go away and be numpties to someone else?!

As well as that, I also had to deal with the university payroll office, who had got a decimal point in the wrong place and paid me for 15 hours of tutoring instead of the 1.5 hours I had claimed, meaning that I now owe them nearly £200. Argh!

It’s not all bad though. HD has an interview down south at the end of the week, and another one at the beginning of next week, and in between we are going to see friends for the weekend and have a walk around some nice countryside. So maybe the end of all the numptiness will be round the next corner (how many times have I thought that this year?!).


A group of us in my department, at a similar stage of our PhDs (so, all writing-up, post-fieldwork, in-the-middle-of-panicking) have decided to start up a writing group. We met today to decide what to do – it will involve producing 2 or 3 pages for each meeting (to be taken away and read by the others, and receiving feedback at the next meeting), and also having a defined topic on the day that we write for 10-15 minutes on there and then. The idea is to get us into a bit more of a writing groove, and also get some feedback from people other than our supervisors to get another take on what we’re doing. We’re also hoping that it will give a bit of clarity and focus to what we’re writing, as sometimes you can be so caught up in the panic that you forget what exactly it is you’re doing! We’re going to meet properly for the first time next week, bringing something that we’ve been writing (as an example, it could be a section of a thesis chapter, or a bit of an article or conference paper, or a reflection on why we don’t know what we’re doing, or thoughts about an issue that we haven’t quite got our heads round, or something like that), and we’ve decided that for our 10 minute writing task we are going to write a summary of what our theses are about. This is the bit that, for me, I think is going to be most useful. I have been so caught up in job applications and whathaveyou that my thesis feels totally neglected, to the point that I panic that I can’t remember what it’s about.

Talking of jobs, I didn’t get shortlisted for the job at my university, which to be honest was a bit of a surprise. Not that I think I’m God’s Gift, but I did feel I met all the criteria and some. I guess I didn’t. I did though have an email from a friend who got her PhD a couple of years ago, and has just started her first lecturing job after a series of random jobs here and there and about a million applications for various teaching posts. She was quite blunt, but that’s what I needed – she said that the chances are the people who have been shortlisted have already got their PhDs, and that I am entitled to ask for feedback as to why I wasn’t shortlisted. Which I think I will do, as maybe it will help with future applications. In the meantime though I have found a 6 month research assistant post here which looks like a lot of fun, something I’d enjoy doing if we haven’t got anything else in the pipeline, and HD hopefully has an interview down south soon (he needs to hear again from the agency, who I must say are being a bit unimpressive). I’m trying really hard not to get anxious (as is my wont) but it’s not very easy.

On that note, I appear to have run out of clothes, so had better do some ironing. I have been putting it off for weeks (hence the lack of wearable clothes), which is silly as ironing is the one household chore that I do actually like.

Back – briefly

We went to the WOMAD festival at the weekend and had a lovely time. I only got to see 3 out of my 7 “must sees” (see last entry), didn’t think there was as much music I wanted to see or really grabbed me, compared to last year, and the weather wasn’t great (Saturday was gloriously sunny most of the day, but it started raining on Saturday evening and basically didn’t stop till we were packing up on Monday morning, so it ended up being a bit of a mudbath by the end of the festival). But, it was still a lovely weekend, we had fun with the family and the kids, and it was good to be away. I’ve put photos on facebook, but won’t have time to put them on flickr (and from there to here) till the weekend probably.

Must sees whom I did see were Eliades Ochoa (wonderful, though he had awful problems with one of his guitar strings which kept going out of tune, he had to keep tuning it which must have been really frustrating for him). If you’ve seen the Buena Vista Social Club film, he’s the singer who wears the stetson with the beautiful voice. I also saw Jim Moray (I liked him, HD wasn’t so keen. I think I preferred Seth Lakeman though), and Hypnotic Brass Ensemble (I don’t think it would ever have occurred to me that the sousaphone could be funky!) who were amazing, and definitely not Grimethorpe Colliery Band, that’s for sure!

I missed the Skatalites (who were playing on the Thursday night, the day before we got there), Besh o droM (who were playing quite late on Friday night and we were too tired after 2 long days – though actually I could hear quite a bit of their set even from inside the tent, they sounded good so I shall check them out some other time), and Youssou N’Dour and Johnny Kalsi were playing at the same time. I had decided that I’d see Youssou N’Dour (as I’d seen Johnny Kalsi before), but he was on the Open Air stage on Sunday and it was absolutely chucking it down with rain, and in the end even though I did really want to see him I just couldn’t face another drenching.

I also saw a set by a band called 17 Hippies that I really liked, the end of a workshop by Andy Young (who is the A in ALT for those of you who know that band – Andy Young, Liam from Hothouse Flowers and Tim Finn from Crowded House), and a brilliant Scottish band called Deaf Shepherd who play traditional Scottish music. Unfortunately HD wasn’t feeling at all well so we didn’t stay for the whole of their set, but I’ll definitely be looking out for them again.

Despite the rain I managed to get sunburnt – I have a very attractive red nose now! We were talking about sunburn as our little step-niece (who is 5) also got red shoulders, and I told her that HD had called me Rudolph because of my nose. She started telling us about a book she’s got about Father Christmas, and doors you open and behind one of them is Rudolph. HD asked her if Rudolph looked like me. She looked at me, smiled, and said “Well, Rudolph doesn’t have glasses”.


Tomorrow I’m away again for a job interview somewhere exotic (will tell you about it when I get back at the end of the week). I’m getting rather anxious about it, not the job so much but the location as it would be a big big and rather scary move (and did I mention it would be big?). I’m also getting anxious about my thesis, which due to job applications and interviews and things isn’t getting written, and in the meantime HD also has an interview soon, somewhere totally different to where mine is. Having spent one night at Womad not sleeping because of worrying about the interview and the scariness of it all, I spent last night having very vivid interview-and-thesis-anxiety dreams (though they weren’t as psychedelic as rosamundi’s Tamiflu-inspired dreams seem to be!). I was talking to my brother-in-law at the weekend at Womad, and telling him about how we have spent pretty much the entire year thinking that maybe a job for HD and/or me is just round the corner, then it doesn’t work out but there’s something else to apply for and give us hope, and then that doesn’t work out, but something else tantalises us, and on and on and on it goes, so that we seem to be always in this sense of heightened anticipation that never quite works out. No wonder we’re both so stressed. I’m finding it really difficult to pray, so if anyone would like to pray for us I’d appreciate that very much. I’ll be back on Friday so will be able to tell you how it all went then.

Everything is crossed for a bit longer

I’m meant to be working, but have a few things to get out of my system first!

HD thought his interview went OK, but they are also interviewing someone else next week so we won’t know till then whether he was successful or not. So the usual scriptural prayers that the other person is rubbish (yes of course that’s how it works!) are now ongoing.

I finished the online tests, they are being looked at today by the staff tutors and providing they’re acceptable the interview next week will be confirmed. I can’t think that they wouldn’t be acceptable, but still it would be nice to know. They should get back to me later today, hopefully.

Am currently very cross with the housing benefit people. It is looking likely that, because 7 years ago I did something financially sensible HD may not be eligible for council tax benefit. But if we do what technically we could (cash in a savings plan early, which is the issue – because it’s technically possible to do this that might affect his eligibility) instead of being financially sensible that would be financially very very stupid indeed, and the only way we could recoup from the financial stupidity of it all would be for HD to be unemployed and claim benefit for at least a year and a half. Which is really daft, but I’m discovering that the housing benefit office specialises in daft (with an impressive sideline in muppetry), so I don’t know why I’m surprised. Grrrr.

Found out yesterday that my request for a PhD extension is a bit complicated, so there is no definite “yes”. There is a provisional “yes”, but nothing more can be clarified until the next relevant committee meeting, which is 2 weeks before submission date! My supervisors are saying that I shouldn’t rush to complete by then but stick to my proposed writing-up schedule (which, if I get a full-time job and have to do my thesis revisions in my spare time, would see me aiming to submit just after Easter next year. If I get part-time work (only realistic really if HD gets work) then I’d shave a few months off that. So it’s not like I’m going over the deadline by miles, particularly in comparison with other students who sometimes go years over). I’m feeling reasonably calm about it (believe it or not) but we are having to come up with some more reasons why an extension is justified (basically as far as I can tell they’re not against the extension per se, just not happy with the reasons my department has given so far for me to need one).

That’s it for now. I’d better get back to work (sigh).

Thanks to Auntie Doris, who has just been on the receiving end of an enormous whingeing screed of streams of consciousness from me, the rest of you don’t need to read me whining and moaning. She does have her uses, you know!

What else to tell you? The temperature in my office got up to 30° today, so I gave up and went to the gym instead – I thought if I’m getting sweaty and bad-tempered I may as well be sweaty and bad-tempered whilst actually achieving something, as I’m not convinced my brain ever got out of 1st gear. While I was there I watched the final set of the Williams-Dementieva Wimbledon semi-final (hooray for machines with TV), what a fantastic match that was. I’m glad I’d finished by the second semi though (Williams-Safina) which sounded from the scoreline like it was so one-sided as to be utterly uncompetitive. I predict a Williams winner 😉

I’m having another thesis-related existential crisis (it seems to happen every chapter), though having managed to draw a couple of spider diagrams today I have (for now) decided I know what my thesis is about. This is today though, tomorrow is an entirely different day and I may well have forgotten the point of it by then. I’m getting quite frustrated with it – the stuff I’m writing for journals etc feels like it’s so much better than the stuff I’m writing for the thesis. It’ll be good when it’s all over! By the way, if anyone is in a praying/good vibes/candle-lighting/etc mood, next week a decision will be made about whether or not I can have an extension. I’m working on the assumption that it shouldn’t be a problem (according to my department) but until I hear for sure I will remain a bit anxious about it. If I don’t get it I am, to put it mildly, screwed. If I do get it, then I will feel much less stressed about taking time out to apply for jobs (I’ve got a few applications which need to be in in the next week or so).

Ooh, good (ish) news – I have an interview in a couple of weeks for one of the Open Uni courses I applied to tutor on. As I understand it it’s pretty competitive, but it would be good experience if I could get it. I’ve also (at last) completed my nursing study hours (did I tell you that already, I can’t remember. Actually I think I probably did) so am just waiting for my friend to send the reference back and then I can see about getting some nursing work. Unfortunately I discovered the other day that the nurse bank for Greater Glasgow isn’t recruiting for community nurses at all, but just for certain acute specialities (that I don’t have any experience in, or any desire to work in), which got me a bit despondent, but I’m thinking instead about applying to NHS24 (the Scotland equivalent of NHS Direct south of the border – it’s a nurse-led phone service). Not that I’m desperate to do that either, but it could be something to keep me going for a while till something more suitable turns up.

Tomorrow we are treating ourselves, as what with poorly cars and writers’ block and no jobs etc we could do with a treat, and are going to the Dr Who exhibition at the Kelvingrove Museum. Can’t wait! (will take photos, unsurprisingly).

Missing a bit

The power pack to my laptop isn’t very happy – the last few days, despite being plugged in, it has seemed to decide whether or not to charge the battery based on minute positional changes which meant that I had to keep checking the bottom right hand corner to see if I needed to hit the power pack or not to stop the battery suddenly cutting out. Today, however much I waved it around it was just not going to work, so I’ve ordered another one and in the meantime I am on HD’s big PC. Which is great, as I never have a screen this big so that’s cool, but his funny pen-mouse-thingy (can’t remember what it’s called) is really hard work! I’m so used to a mouse or a touch pad on the laptop – getting used to this new gadget actually reminds me of the first time, way back when, that I started to use a mouse. The same frustration with the cursor seeming to jump all over the screen and not go where I want it to – I’m sure I’ll get used to it, but I’m looking forward to getting my laptop back! His @ and ” are round the other way from my laptop too, just to add to the general feeling of incompetence!

In other news, I’m meant to be finishing a book for my book group, which meets tomorrow evening. I started it a couple of weeks ago, but just 4 (very short) chapters in I already knew I didn’t like it, didn’t read it since and eventually thought I’d read at least some of it this afternoon so that I had something other than “I read the first few pages and hated it” to say. Unfortunately (;)) I appear to have left it at work, and I won’t be able to read it tomorrow because I’m at work (obviously!). That’s so sad (not). So, my half-baked book review based on about the first 10 pages – Carlos Ruiz Zafon “Shadow of the Wind” – don’t bother. It was a runaway bestseller a couple of years ago, apparently, and had great reviews, but it read like Dan Brown to me – cliched, hammy, obvious characters, clunky writing – sorry, life’s too short. So instead I picked up another book (which I’ll review when I get the laptop back!) which was much better, I’m nearly half-way through already and enjoying it much more. That’s more like it! I’ll see what the book group have to say about “Shadow of the Wind”, maybe if they all love it and rave about it I’ll give it another try. But I’m not going to hold my breath.

I’ve also been planning some nursing-related studying. I’m aiming to get myself back on the register in the next couple of months, hopefully, so need to do 35 hours of related study. I can use some PhD-related stuff – it’s a bit tenuous but close enough for my purposes that it will count. I’ve also identified a (free!) conference to go to, maybe (most of the good conferences that could count cost #200-300 (that’s pounds by the way, can’t figure out this keyboard) so that’s not going to happen any time soon!), and had a brainwave about shadowing someone so that it’s not all book-based. Will email around tomorrow to see if anyone’s willing to take me on for just a few hours to do that. This is getting serious. I’m starting to look at what jobs are around too – not that I’m ready to start applying yet, but it’s good to see what’s out there. It’s a bit scary!

So long, Newport

I have been away the last few days helping HD to pack up his stuff in readiness for moving it all into the Stately Pile. Well, I say moving it all – some is now in the Stately Pile, and much of the rest (along with some of my stuff too) is now in storage. HD is a man of very many talents, but it transpires that timely packing isn’t one of them. Fortunately his brother-in-law was also on hand to help, and he drove us up to Scotland yesterday in a very big truck (and sang Flower of Scotland (or at least the first phrase as that’s the only bit he knew) very loudly as we crossed the border).

Anyway – no more trips to Newport for me! It felt a bit weird leaving the old house for the last time. I won’t miss Newport on a Saturday night though (although Glasgow is more than capable of providing all the white stiletto drunkenness you can imagine, Newport certainly doesn’t have the monopoly).

I have alluded to some not very good news this week – basically the new job that HD was due to start tomorrow in Scotland has fallen through. He did say that a number of interesting jobs in his field are being advertised (over the summer when he was looking there were virtually none), so this coming week is going to see lots of CV-sending and agency-contacting activity. It’s really stressful, not to mention very crap indeed [some details edited – probably all Too Much Information].

What isn’t crap though is that in 5 weeks and 6 days’ time we will be in the middle of our wedding 😀