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Monday, 26 November 2018

It's Black Monday so here's a very special offer; another podcast.

You've done everything you can do get a job, explored every channel, there's nothing more left to try and job. What to do?

Well you can try Action Learning Sets (ALS) - a powerful methodology for problem solving. I was of the mindset you've read about above. Yet I discovered there was much more I could do after an ALS.

This is a part 1, an awesome 8 minute introduction. Part 2 will cover the actions I took and the positive outcomes so far. What are you waiting for? Play the podcast. Usual places; SoundCloud, Sticher, iTunes, Tune In Radio

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Mind the Gap.

Can you have a gap year when you are 60+?

I ask as I'm just about to celebrate, if that's the right word (and it isn't), one.

This has been an unasked for and unwanted gap.

At the end of November I'll have been unemployed for 12 months. Now, I'm nothing if not a realist and I knew that finding a new job would take time, a whole lot of precious time, but not this amount of time. 

Still it's not been exactly an annus horribilus. We've had a great summer, I've painted pretty much all of the house, even stuff that didn't need painting, and the bills are paid. Sure there isn't a lot of money left for replacement stuff. That, of course, sits on the WIGAJ list. 'When I Get A Job'. A new WIGAJ list is created every time my role is made redundant and then we work slowly through them. Until the next time. Must be on version WIGAJ 32.0 by now. Or it feels like it anyway.

Mrs EoTP struggles valiantly on. Each time she approaches the 'I think I'd like to leave my job now and do something different after a short rest...' time, my role gets the axe. 

I've been reflecting at having an unexpected career in the bagging area and why I've failed to get a job. I am, of course, awesome just that prospective employers seem not to share my modest opinion. I'm too qualified, wrongly qualified, too old, too male, too tall, not tall enough, too thin, too fat. All of those simultaneously.  Oh I don't know what it is. I've always found a new role before so the only thing that has changed is that I'm a tad older and I can't help thinking that must be having some effect. Like when someone said to me 'You're too old' which was at least their honest opinion if not illegal, against my human rights and downright prejudiced. I just wish I'd had my voice recorder on my IPhone switched on at that point. Sadly it would be my word against theirs. Random tasering might be an answer to dealing with recruiters' prejudices. Just a thought.

I'm enjoying the course I'm on. I'm enjoying actually being able to leave the town for a purpose. Yesterday I even crossed two county borders to get to my destination. I felt delirious. I also got to speak with people who have good jobs, though I did feel a little envious. A lot envious. It's part of my investment in my continuous professional development, should anyone ask. Someone did and I proudly told them that I'm paying a not insignificant amount to be on this course which covers all this relevant stuff you are interviewing my about. She, the interviewer, just sniffed, ignored the answer and moved on (read my last blog to find out how I felt about that whole process). So that worked well then.

Where do I go from here? I've been urged to do something with my LinkedIn account and make it work much, much harder. It was a little unworked in the way marshy lowland fields are unusable and, in fairness, I did get two contacts from recruitment agencies after I'd had a serious fettle (if you want to know what to do there is plenty of very good advice on the web). I have decided to stop applying for any job where I stand a turkey's chance at Christmas and I'm not going to commute vast distances. I am also not going to anymore interviews where you have to put on a dog and pony show such as a submit written paper, do a presentation, write a sonnet in the style of Shakespeare, juggle with flaming brands, spin 30 plates on sticks and so on unless it is an essential part of the role. I'm not looking to become the CEO of Consolidated WhoHaa so just give me a fair, competency based interview.

Then offer me the job. 

Because I do mind the gap; all gap years need to end.

Tuesday, 13 November 2018

When it's not been your week, month or even year

 I have several lists.

  • Holiday destinations, places I want to go to.
  • WIGAJ ('when I get a job') - things that need replacing but I can manage without buying them until they actually fall apart.
  • DIY - repairs I should really be doing and will get around to eventually. This is measured in years and decades not days. Seriously, it took me 27 years to replace a toilet. 
These lists are all of varying length but are no longer than a page of A4. 

I have one list though whose length surpasses all my lists added together and then some and that is 'The very stupid things I have done during my far' list. This list continues to grow with a new addition from just last week. With age does not always come with wisdom, certainly not in my case. This list is so long it's basically a book. There could be a prequel and a sequel.

There are so many things on there;

Not telling Mrs EoTP that I'd taken a job in the north of the country and wondering why she was so irked with me. Irked being a euphemism for spitting nails.

Taking a job in a textile group of companies - I thought I could learn to be interested in jacquard weaving. I was wrong. So very, very wrong.

Telling an important franchise holder they were considered a 'joke' by their peer group. He had wound me up badly so I feel only slightly guilty in retrospect but it did end up almost being being career limiting. I thank the intervention of my ever happy line manager Bryan for diffusing the situation.

Taking a job with ****. No names but I loathed the role and the people but I needed the money.

And so on. 
Anyway you get the picture.

I've been unemployed for far longer than I'd like to have been. In many ways I've enjoyed my time. Travel, podcasting, getting much fitter, learning to cook, re-learning French, trying to master IOS coding (Hello World) and so on. All very creative stuff. But I'd like to go back now, back to earning money and back the social aspect to work. To a job.  I've learned a lot over the months about ageism and the impact on job seeking, have rationalised it and yet continue to look. I'm not prideful. I understand I will likely not get anywhere near the salary I was earning but that's OK. I am looking for something meaningful that I'll enjoy. 

So...last week I had an interview. Other observers might call it a train wreck.

For a job I didn't want.
That I would have turned down if offered.
Would have involved a 70 mile round trip daily commute.
Would have cost me part of my soul.

I didn't go into the interview with the correct frame of mind and that's an understatement. I didn't go into win. Frankly I had an attitude problem from the get go.

Why the hell did I go to it then? You're asking and I'm asking. 
And I was there. 

Before we go into all of that let me give you one piece of advice. 
If you are faced with similar circumstances then it's easy. 
Don't Go.

I went because I failed to recognise sunk costs.
When I applied for the role it was the only for job for some time that looked as if I could successfully apply. I've given up applying for tangential positions. This role was a junior one with a salary 50% less than I'd been earning. But, as I say I'm not prideful and I thought (well I knew) I could do it with my eyes closed. However it was never going to be the correct fit for me.

There were hurdles and barriers. You had to prepare a 1500 word paper on a given subject then send it in at least a week beforehand.
You had to give a 10 minute presentation with 30 minutes preparation time. Then answer questions about the presentation then a further 8 questions in a competency based interview. And this for a fairly low level role. I admit I'm profoundly tired of this stuff, of having to be on show for junior roles. Some organisations cling to the notion that this process identifies the correct candidate. I'm not one of them. But...if you want the job then balance on the ball, clap your flippers and catch the fish thrown to you.

Furthermore I had another interview for another role 7 days later for a job I did want and that paid only 25% less than I'd been earning; much better.

I therefore arrived with at the interview the attitude of a bear with a sore head. 'Why am I having to do this, why am I have to go on show all over again?' 

The problem, for me, was having committed almost three hours to write the initial paper, which was written as a polemic, I felt I had to go through with the entire process. Of course I didn't at all and so did not leave with honour intact. In fact I felt rather foolish by the time I got to the car and thought about driving back.

I should have known better which is why I am writing this down. So that, in a few weeks time, when I get around to reading it again it will pointedly remind me never to do that again. 

I expect my list will have added several more lines by then though.

Friday, 9 November 2018

Great gig in the sky (or in my case, Cloud)

OK, I'm not ashamed, I confess, I was (am) a Pink Floyd fan. There, it's out there now.

So I couldn't fail to use the title of their track to announce the latest of my podcasts 'The upsides and downsides of the gig economy for older workers.'

If you are struggling to get a full time job but your age is getting in the way or you are considering a more gradual transition to retirement the gig economy might be for you. It's not for everyone...what are the upsides and what do you need to consider?

In my research I used a number of sources; if you want to read more then here is the list - you'll have to cut and paste some links.

Insure-as-you-go for gig workers

Zurich UK’s ‘Restless Worklife’ report