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Wednesday, 25 April 2018

CVs for older job workers. Or are you more likely to find a unicorn?

Definitely unicorns.

The second episode of The redundancy podcast is now available on iTunes, Tunein radio, Sound Cloud and Sticher.

This time I consider the issue of CVs for older workers. 

  • Is there a silver bullet? 
  • Is there a way to reduce the chances of being sifted out before an interview?
  • Can you beat city hall?

You'll have to listen and find out. 

Friday, 13 April 2018

The Redundancy Podcast

I said I'd do it.

I did it.

And it's here. An actual Podcast. Available on iTunes and Sound Cloud. Search for;
The Redundancy Podcast.

Note the matching branding - I'm so versatile that's why I got a job so quickly after redundancy. Oh wait...

Contact via email or @redunancypcast on Twitter.

The focus is on the difficulties of finding a job when you are older. It's hard enough when you are young let's face it.

I don't want this to be a monologue but to share successes, setbacks, tips, pictures of kittens (maybe not that) and have a conversation about the issue. We can talk by Skype, FaceTime, the phone, Twitter, email, actual mail (I think I still recall how to use it).

Tuesday, 10 April 2018

It's time for a Podcast

I'm all for embracing new media.

Only the other day I discovered some new technology. 

OK, I rediscovered my ink pen given to me many years ago when a) I had a job and b) I met some challenging sales targets. Heady days indeed.

However it's time to up the embracing of technology.

I'm going to create a podcast on the difficulties of finding a job when you are older.

If you'd like to participate and be interviewed about your experiences, successes or failures, or you are an employer that has some views you'd also like to share please make contact by emailing

An old Latin proverb states Destitutus ventis, remos adhibere - If there is no wind, row.

Thursday, 5 April 2018

Separated by a common language.

During my last (unsuccessful) job interview a few weeks ago I was asked the question 'What would daunt you about joining this organisation?'

(Apart from the pitifully low salary that this job is paying plus the 76 mile daily round trip, then not much really.)

'Nothing' I answered, truthfully. Having worked for 14 other organisations I strongly doubted this one could add anything to the heady mix of trying to make sense of a whole new bureaucracy and the multiple daft ways of going about things. All organisations are like this, it's just that you stop noticing them once you become acclimatised and existing employees are rather bemused when you point it out to them. 

Feeling that 'nothing' was rather a short answer (but then don't ask me closed questions) I expanded on my answer. Note that this is often a way to talk yourself out of a successful interview by volunteering unnecessary information that can terminate your chance in a nano -second. Less is more.

'You will have a different and secret language. You understand it but I won't. You won't be able to explain it to me either because you don't know you are speaking it.This will confuse me for months.'
Blank looks, this interview panel really knows how to pull the best out of a candidate and sell the dream, so I gave them an example.

In my last job I might ask another manager/team member to make a decision on behalf of their department. 'I'll need top cover for that' they'd reply.
Now I vaguely thought that top cover was a military term meaning to have someone with a bloody big gun with their head poking out of the top of the vehicle they are travelling in providing cover when on mobile patrol. Even though we were working for a police force and they have bloody big guns, they don't normally poke them through the roof of a police car in, for example, Bishops Castle, so it took me many months to decipher this term. It means 'I'm not going to make a decision unless I know that whatever decision I make my manager will make the same one.' You might imagine how this slows the process of decision making to a crawl particularly as this was ingrained with most decisions being passed up to the highest possible level  - thus the senior management team were inundated with requests to make decisions about trivial things.

Another example.
I might ask have you made sure that XYZ knows about this issue?
'I've sighted them on it' would be the reply. Sometimes they'd reply 'I've cited them on it' but that's just grammatical silliness.
What this means is;
'I've not been able to talk to them specifically about the issue or when I did they didn't show any interest but I've sent them an email, which they may or may not read or remember, but if it all goes terribly wrong I can say you had the email and my sorry arse is safe.'

The penultimate example.
Weekly communication via email. For many years, and with a degree of logic admittedly, every Friday a weekly email was sent to all staff with a round up of interesting news. No it wasn't actually interesting at all it was largely management propaganda and pointy finger stuff along the lines of you haven't been doing this, never mind we never told you to do it in the first place, do it now, we will get round to telling you how to do it over the next three years...probably. As I say it was sent to all staff and police officers and it had the friendly, encouraging title of 'Force Orders.' Not an engaging 'Stuff you need to know, will help you in your job no end and we really like to assist you in finding out to make your life immeasurably better' or 'Stuff to make the management team look vaguely less incompetent than most of you already think they are' but Orders. Orders - You Will Do This. In the background the Comms team (hah) worked feverishly to get this out on time on a Friday. I can tell you what happened several seconds after it arrived in thousands of email in-boxes as you could hear hundreds of 'Delete' keys being hit. Civilian staff were not included the Orders - for officers only. And a good proportion of them had built in trash filters to delete the email straight away. Still this failure of communications persisted in spite of all the evidence that it was really quite ineffective. Which isn't like the police at all is it?

And my last one.
Holiday, or is it?
When I started work for an American company it was called vacation. Working for the French it was Vacances. Several British companies just referred to it as holiday and the police referred to it as annual leave. To be perverse, whilst there, I called it vacation or holiday just to note the confusion in the eyes of staff  staff who'd only ever worked for the one organisation and could only process the term annual leave. There's more in heaven and earth Horatio, then dreamt of in your philosophy.

So. Multiply all these phrases and add in acronyms and abbreviations, throw in the nuances of expression that only those in the know understand and you can effectively keep me discombobulated for months.

Other than that I'm not daunted.

Oh, and one other thing, it takes you months to work out how to use the photocopier.