03 December 2009 @ 11:56 pm
What a pathetic way to make a living.  
... to borrow a title from Private Eye. Still, it fits.

I'm job hunting in my dreams now. Yesterday I was in a bit of a slump about my continuing lack of paid employment, and went trawling (again!) through the listings at in an attempt to make myself feel that I was at least doing something toward finding work. My particular personal circumstances mean that there aren't a lot of vacancies I can even think about applying for, and that I'm not too picky about the ones I do apply for just as long as they're vaguely in the right field as regards my long-term career goals (and believe it or not, I do actually have those). I just can't afford to be.

Tonight's little experience, though, has suggested to me that maybe in future it would pay to be just a little bit more discriminating about who I send my personal details off to. Yesterday's slump left me feeling incredibly desperate, and desperate people make themselves incredibly vulnerable.

Luckily for me, I still have one powerful weapon in my arsenal: my natural skepticism.

I only applied for the job at London Marketing Services (hereafter LMS) because it was there. Even as I was sending off the application I thought that the listing seemed rather vaguer than usual about what the position actually involved: all I knew was that it didn't really appear to be what I was looking for, and I wasn't really sure how come it had turned up in a jobsearch for administrative jobs. So straight away I was skeptical - but, as I mentioned, I was also feeling far more desperate than I normally am. I was striking out way more than usual yesterday and I figured I was in no position to turn my nose up at something just because it didn't really sound like my thing:

We are currently working with an established client list that includes some of the biggest names worldwide. Our customer base is continuously growing and we need energetic and goal-oriented candidates to fill EVENT BASED roles in our London office!

Areas we focus in:
  • Sales
  • Event Marketing
  • Customers Service
  • Promotional campaigns
  • Recruitment
Candidates should possess:
  • Great people skills
  • Strong communications skills
  • Positive attitude
  • Creativity
  • Ability to work in fun, vibrant environment!
If you fit the criteria, BRING your energetic, hard-working, professional attitude and the willingness to learn to LMS. Experience with client/customer relations and ability to manage multiple tasks and to work under deadlines will be a definite plus.

For immediate consideration, please forward your CV to the attention of [NAME REDACTED].

We specialize in EVENT marketing (~This is NOT a door to door, business to business, telemarketing or graphic design position)

All formatting is retained. Please note the bold text at the bottom of the listing. This will be important later.

I know, it looks hokey... but to be fair, it doesn't look much more hokey than an awful lot of other totally legitimate listings posted by companies trying far too hard to seem 'modern' and 'fun'. (Hairdressers are especially prone to this.) If I didn't apply for jobs on the grounds that the listings sounded cheesy, I'd never apply for anything. Figuring that maybe the listing was just rather poorly-written, I applied anyway. Might as well, right? A lot of job listings aren't written anywhere near as well as they could be, which always leaves me thinking that if I was working there, I'd never have approved something that was that badly-written. Still, if there were as many scammers out there as there are people who just plain aren't very good at English, we'd all be in trouble.

Long story short, I figured that I had nothing to lose by giving it a go. It wasn't like they wanted me to sell Amway or Cutco kitchen knives after all - and if the company got back to me maybe they’d be a bit more specific about what they actually wanted me to do.

Of course, they got back to me. (Most likely this was because they get back to everyone who applies: once again, I'll be coming back to this in a bit.) My skepticism, though, was aroused by how worryingly quick this response was. I submitted my CV last night, at least an hour after a normal office would have closed. The response came this morning, at 9:48 am. How much thought can really have gone into the 'selection process' that any employer could be getting back to me that quickly?

The answer, of course, is none at all. )

In the case of LMS and the interview I don't intend on scheduling now or ever, it seems that a lot of these employment scams work the same way. They'll interview anyone who approaches them simply because the more people they call for interview, the more people are likely to actually show up.

The interview process itself is, of course, sketchy. I'd go along in person for the laughs if I didn't think that staying in bed would be a better use of my time, but from the accounts I've read the initial interview involves candidates walking in to find loud music playing and twenty or so other would-be dupes in formal clothes filling out application forms, never mind that they already sent in a CV. From there they will be interviewed in pairs. The interviewer will usually talk quickly, discourage applicants from asking questions of their own, and come on more like a salesman than an interviewer. After that, they will be sent away and told to wait to hear back - if they pass the 'initial assessment', they'll be contacted about a second interview, a training day.

All of this - the form-filling, the loud music, the interviewing in pairs - is common to employment scams (Cutco do they exact same thing) and is designed to stop the candidates from talking to one another... and, perhaps, talking about their suspicions of how strange this all is.

As for the 'training day', here's where the scam hits head-on.

Remember that line in the job listing about how this wouldn't involve door to door sales? It's a lie. Even if the candidate is not going directly from house to house, they'll be required to stand there in the street, trying to persuade people to fork out for a cheap, nasty product they didn't want in the first place.

The only criteria to make it to the training day is that the candidate attended the interview and speaks English. Provided they can do that, they'll receive an email telling them to come to the second stage interview, a training day where they follow an adviser around. Wear comfortable shoes, the email warns - what they'll be doing all day is not an interview and is only in the loosest sense of the word training. They will be taken somewhere with an adviser - often to an area they don't know, often by the company so that they can't just up and leave - and will spend the day following them around, watching them try and sell these little boxes of cosmetics in stores and on street corners, telling would-be customers this is a market trial before the same product is available in the shops, where it will cost eight times as much... except it never does, because there's no plans to sell this stuff anywhere but on street corners, and it's not worth the £30 it's going for now. If they last out the day, they'll be offered a job - working on commission alone, with no rights and no benefits.

In short, there is no selection process. The candidates select themselves.

People are constantly dropping out on the way as they find out more about their would-be employers and decide the whole process is sketchy as hell. Candidates drop out before booking an interview; they drop out after initial interviews and never come back for the 'training day'; yet more candidates drop out during the training day after deciding this wasn't the job they thought they were applying for at all; candidates who complete the training day can balk when offered the job if it means more of the same; finally, there are the people who'll take the job, then quit after a few days. That's a lot of attrition, and it leaves behind only those who' for whatever reason, really want to believe this could be for real. Kool-aid, anyone?

Personally, I can't feel upset. I'm too damn glad I spotted this for what it was before I got in any deeper, and too damn sorry for the ones who got burned.

Any further emails from LMS are going straight to the trash. Any calls on the matter will not be answered. To be fair, though, I'm not even expecting they'll bother. They won't miss me; why would they? There'll be another desperate job hunter along in five minutes. I'm just another part of the inevitable attrition, another one who signed up but never showed their face for the course. Plenty more where that came from.
Current Music: la isla bonita - madonna
Current Mood: ahahahahahaha-- NO.
25 February 2008 @ 01:29 pm
... that's stupid.  
I knew I shouldn't have signed up for [ profile] weissday. I might as well have hung a sign round my neck saying HI THERE REAL LIFE, BUST MY ASS PLEASE. Yes, now I have a cold. God damn.

I slept ridiculously poorly last night. In between lying in the dark feeling so achy I might have gone ten rounds with a tiger, waking up every couple of hours because I needed to blow my nose, and my throat politely informing me (repeatedly) that it felt like sandpaper oh and also your lips are dry, any chance of a drink? I did not get much in the way of actual rest.

I only came downstairs at all because my job hunt demanded it. Of course, I might as well not have bothered. Nothing new that I could apply for, a couple of emails about some new job site I had inadvertantly sent my details to.

(Of course, I'm still not hearing anything back from any of these people. I'm not only not getting interviews, I'm not getting anything. How hard is it to send a candidate a form email saying 'Dear Ms. Jones, You suck, please fuck off'? Quite honestly, I'd take that kind of response as a welcome courtesy considering the damn-all I'm habitually getting.)

Anyway, I applied for a job on Saturday and got told to go sign up at some website to update my CV. Got an email telling me I needed to Click Here To Activate My Profile And Check My Details. So I did that and got directed to a page saying something to the effect of OUR SHINY NEW WEBSITE REQUIRES YOU TO CHANGE YOUR DETAILS. Now, I don't have details to change, so I just try the password they sent me.

Unfortunately, the password they sent me isn't working. Okay, fine, I'll request a new one.

That password isn't working either.

Nor is the third password they sent me.

Okay, back to the site. Click the same link... okay, I'm directed to a totally different page this time. Again it asks me for my login details. I type those in. Nope, they don't work. So I close that page down and go back to the email they sent me. Try the link again. Once again, I'm redirected to the wrong page.

A bit of experimental clicking around gets me back to the right page. I try the third passowrd again and it still doesn't work. So, I request a fourth temporary password.

After another couple of attempts, I finally manage to change my temporary password and gain access to the site itself. First impressions: this doesn't look terribly user-friendly. (Damn, what was the old design like?) Second impression: this looks like it was designed for people with far more awesome and impressive CVs than I have.

Ok, CV proforma thing. It's full of sections that don't apply to me. I'm going to look like a total underachiever if anyone sees this. Still, showing willing, I enter the information about my schooling. It wouldn't save it. I try several times to get it to see things my way, but nothing happened. It just stubbornly sits there on the 'enter your details' screen. In fact, it won't even load the page I came from. The only way out of that jam short of closing the browser is to go back to my site profile and hope that somehow it had realized I clicked the 'save' button five times and actually did want to keep the details I had entered.

Needless to say, it doesn't.

Okay. Not wanting to get stuck on that again, I go and look at the 'enter your skills' section. Now, I have a skills section on my CV so okay, no problem, I'll just copy/paste the skills I have into the box thing. Wait, there's not a box thing. Instead there's something telling me I need to type in a keyword and search their 'skills directory'. I don't get on with the serach engine. Is there perhaps a drop-down menu of what the 'skills directory' contains? Of course there isn't. There's just the search engine. Which doesn't really work very well, requires very specific keywords, and doesn't really allow you to try and make your skills look at all distinctive.

Unfortunately, my work history is terrible and my two attempts at tertiary education have ended in ignominious failure. I have, therefore, created what is known as a 'skills CV', in which what I can do is treated as far more important than what I have done, because I haven't done anything very much. If I can't make my skills sound impressive, I quite honestly don't have a hope in Hell of getting anyone to look at my CV. Selecting them from a 'search engine' so they look just like every other jobbing secretary's, therefore, is not going to work for me.

Is it any wonder I have decided that actually, I won't be using that website?
Current Music: the tap is still dripping
19 February 2008 @ 10:39 am
It's One of Those Lifetimes.  
So, February is turning into the kind of month that, in the immortal words of one [ profile] cards_slash, smacks you in the ass and just smiles.

I won't go into detail about precisely what the deal here is because in spite of what appearances may suggest I am not actually trying to pity-whore here, but suffice to say it is not at all pleasant, it is aging me overnight, and it has forciably brought home to me the fact that I need a job yesterday.

So I've been spamming job applications to anyone who looks like they might be even remotely interested - the people at Office Angels must be utterly sick of the sight of my CV - and went back to that temp agency I signed up with about a fortnight before getting owned by Depression Gone Physical to let them know that yes, I do want work, here's my CV, please call me. So far they haven't, but I can but hope. How hard can it be to get a job as a receptionist? (No, don't answer that.) I may have bad hair and curves in all the wrong places but I can enunciate precisely and I'm not that difficult on the eye.

If job hunting was all I had to think about, it wouldn't be so bad, but of course I am Fate's Bitch and am trying to juggle this and about ten thousand tonnes of other administrative crapola related to the Very Unenviable Position I currently find myself in. To say I am utterly sick of being on welfare would be an understatement.

Of course, life being what it is, this coupled with difficulty sleeping coupled with the fact that (though I may be doing a lot better) I'm still not exactly Miss Mental Health 2008, has had that stupid herpes simplex virus I inherited off my mother in childhood flare up again. I've got my father's eyes and bone structure; all I got from my mother was herpes simplex. Which is a pity, because it means my mother is far prettier and feminine than me and always will be.

Yes, as if I didn't have enough to think about as it was, I've got a very nasty and ugly cold sore. And it hurts. And it, combined with make-up, makes me look like something from a nineteenth-century textbook about Fallen Women.

And then I'm still trying to work on [ profile] weissday.

As usual, of course, what started out as a relatively simple kind of idea has necessitated the usual thousand tons of research - I won't say what on, as it would give the game away rather - and quite a lot in the way of Aya Fujimiya. God knows if, what with all the sundry crap I'm dealing with all of a sudden, I'll actually get it done on time. I suppose I can but give it my best.
Current Music: the tap is dripping
Current Mood: stressed
09 August 2007 @ 08:42 pm
Job Hunting/Fan Girling  
I had a preliminary interview with a recruitment consultant today, after taking my CV in a couple weeks back. They checked my copy-typing speeds (54 wpm, 97% accuracy: not bad for a two-finger typist) and my basic knowledge of Word and Excel. I did pretty well on both of them, know I could have done much better on the Word assessment but the computer program was odd and buggy and refused to behave half the time, so it led to me flunking questions I knew I could have correctly answered just because the damn program wasn't reacting properly.

The woman I spoke to seemed to think I'd make the grade, I guess. I said I'd be willing to take clerical work more or less anywhere - really, I just need a job. Here's hoping that something comes of it.

An interview would at least be nice.

Also, I bought another Snow Patrol CD. I appear to really like this band for some reason, though they're not at all like most of the things I choose to listen to.

Anyway, this week I have been mostly in withdrawal due to a sudden and severe lack of [ profile] kay_cricketed, and fangirling at [ profile] pichi.

See, she's written this fic with some devious and heinous cliffhangers and I made the big mistake of starting to read a chapter that broke off just before a certain character I have as slight fondness for was about to get horribly tortured. (God damn you, Ken, and your tendency to get in about twice as much trouble as the rest of your team in about half the time, too.) Then carried on like that for a good few days. I spent a few days denying that I was horribly hooked in a hopeless fangirl squee sense before finally caving and posting an adoring comment.

See, I try to be this dead sussed, hyper-concritical, smart fanficcer, then somone comes along with good characterization, Omi kicking ass and not bothering to take names, and some neat Ken torture, and I turn into an adoring, wide-eyed fanthing.

I'm not sure what re-reading it will be like sans horrible cliffhangers - I doubt I'll ever be able to replicate this intense aaargh must know what happens how can I last another 24 hours? thing again - but it's been a while since I enjoyed a fanfic this much. There's something about this one that's just clicked with me, hence my hopeless fangirling of its author.

It makes me want to write Seuche again.


Oddly, reading other people's Ken torture provokes two conflicting impulses in me. It makes me want to write my own Ken torture fics, which isn't a problem for me given that I usually have several of those on the go at any given moment and can pick and choose between them - but it also awakens my protective, adoring 'Ken needs ice cream and hugs and lots of both' side and me want to write, yes, fluff. Shameless, unapologetic, shippy nonsense fluff with no real plot which exists solely because Youji and Ken need to kiss more.

So - thanks to [ profile] caseyvalhalla, who jump-started my fluff muse - I've started yet another fic, because I need shippy fluff. I have no idea what it's going to be called and it's a bit experimental, but it involves Youji and Ken driving around and irritating the fuck out of one another, because they both do it so well.

Hopefully I'll be done with this fluff soon, but I need it to keep me sane in between cliffhangers. Also, it's just cute. I am short on cute right now.

Now I must go and babble at [ profile] pichi again. YAY CHAPTER NINE.
Current Mood: quietly optimistic?
Current Music: you're all i have - snow patrol
02 July 2007 @ 02:11 pm
In Praise of Laziness  
I was intending to walk home today.

I was also intending to take my CV in to a temp agency, in the hope that they would be able to give me money in exchange for my labor.

As it turns out I did not do either of those things. And I am extremely glad, because it is raining. Really, really heavily raining. 'The heavens opened' kind of rain. I was so damp I had to change my pants when I got in, when all I had tried to do was stand at a bus stop and then, after disposing of the bus, walk a few hundred yards to my front door.

It's not like the temp agency won't still be there on Wednesday.

(At least I have a CV now. It isn't a brilliant CV, but at least it exists.)

I have to go to another 'so, you're still unemployed, then' meeting at the welfare agency on the 27th. (I think. I can't be bothered to look it up, since I know I have at least a fortnight's grace and it doesn't seem worth committing to memory just yet.) I'm not particularly worried about this, this time, as I have been turning in applications now and I am actually being Miss Good Job Hunter. I still don't have a job, though, because simply wanting to work doesn't seem to be good enough.

My adviser wants me to go apply for a job in Wimbledon. Three problems with this: 1. I don't want to have to go to fucking Wimbledon every day and if you'd ever been to Wimbledon you'd know why this prospect fills me with horror, 2. I have no idea what the firm actually sells and any company whose recruitment procedure involves nothing more than going along and saying 'you got any vacancies?', no application or CV required, sounds distinctly dodgy and 3. The job description involves assembling furniture.

Is a clerical job in a hospital really so much to ask for? I've seen clerical workers in the NHS. I'M BETTER THAN (a fair number of) THEM. I have computer skills to burn, I'm pleasant on the phone and in person, and while I might not be stunningly gorgeous I'm always decently turned out and I look competent. Plus, I can spell and speak English with a middle-class accent.

It's stopped raining now, but I'd still have been very wet if I'd stayed out and tried to walk home. I am so glad I was lazy.
Current Mood: wet
Current Music: my landlady's son bitching on the phone
23 May 2007 @ 03:19 pm
O... kay...  
... chalk that down as One Of Those Things That Does Not Make Laila Want To Come And Work For These People.

See, there's this one job site I go for for all my failed application needs, right? It's usually pretty good for all I can't seem to make a shortlist to save my life. Nice easy interface, nice email alerts, nice application form... thingy... that you can just use online, which believe me is a godsend right now because as bad as I look on that application form, my CV is even worse.

(I mean, how the Hell am I supposed to convince an employer to take a chance on me when my CV contains little more than two failed college courses and a job on a freakin' checkout, WHO DO I HAVE TO FUCK TO GET A BREAK IN THIS TOWN--but I digress.)

But still I keep turning these forms in because hey, you gotta keep trying.

Anyway. I found a job I wanted to apply for on Monday night, clicked on the application link and - wrong form.

Painfully obviously the wrong form at that. I've filled out seven of these things now (to, I admit, little discernable effect) and I like to think I have some kind of idea of what they should look like. They all ask more or less the same stuff, and contain more or less the same fields. Not this time, though.

See, the vacancy was for a ward clerk. That's general clerical. Main responsibilities include being nice to people, answering the phones, typing up stuff and making sure case notes and x-rays are ordered in time and put back in the right place, so people can find them. But you wouldn't know this to look at the application form, which is asking for three references (standard for medical posts), evidence of professional registration status, experience of clinical audit, relevant clinical skills related to the position that's being applied for, experience of teaching, and - I love this one - any articles that the candidate may have submitted to peer-reviewed medical journals.

This is for a secretarial job.

So, doing my bit for the environment, I contacted the website on Monday night and then the trust to let them know (in the politest terms possible) that their application form was fucked.

This afternoon, I got a response from the trust. The woman who wrote it claimed that actually the vacancy was advertised correctly (which to be fair it was: it was the application form that I was asking about) and that I should feel free to apply for the post anyway. I should just put 'not applicable' in all the stuff asking me about my Hawt Leet Doctor-Type Skillz - that would be ABOUT HALF THE GODDAMN FIELDS - and try and condense my supporting statement to fit in a character-limited box intended to add the final flourish to your person statement, not contain the whole of it.

This despite the fact that it is painfully obviously the wrong form and most of the questions it asks don't match up in any way, shape or form with the job description.

Uh, okay.

I guess I won't be applying to that trust, then.

(How come these idiots have jobs when I don't is utterly beyond me.)
Current Mood: bzuh?
Current Music: a dripping tap.
09 May 2007 @ 09:02 pm
*cancels order for fallout shelter*  
... well, I do have a tendency to fret over not much at all.

Meeting went fine, actually, though I did arrive what must have been monstrously early. Perhaps it was a good thing when the receptionist had a queue of people to work through, one of whom spoke very little English, the second of whom didn't seem to understand that she could not give him an earlier appointment as regards a crisis loan, and she wasn't the person to talk to, she was just the receptionist. All I wanted to do was tell her I was here for my appointment, could she tell me where to wait please.

(My first thought on witnessing these massive acts of miscommunication: Remind me again why I'm applying for all these positions in medical reception. My second thought: Because you need a job, you dumbass.)

Still, I guess arriving early is a good habit to get into - something else my nursing training was good for, as it's made me an absolute freak about punctuality.

Anyway, I leveled with my adviser - who, needless to say, was not the adviser the meeting had been booked with, ho hum - about the problems I'd had working out what kind of jobs I might be able to apply for, but that I was now looking for admin/clerical work in the NHS. She was, of course, very nice about it and did not give me the in-depth grilling I had feared - yet which I will, if I keep up the momentum I have been maintaining over the past week or so, be quite prepared to face next time. Of course, I am hoping there won't be a next time, because by then I'll have a freaking job.

So that appears to be over, my claim appears to still be active, the woman at the welfare agency thinks that I have the right positive attitude as regards my job hunt(!) - now all I need is an interview.

And a shower.

Applied for two more vacancies today. Someone shortlist me, please.
Current Mood: cold (at least my feet are)
Current Music: aegean - malice mizer
09 May 2007 @ 01:57 pm
Impending Doom?  

Horrible meeting at the welfare office in just under one and a half hours, to discuss my progress as regards my job hunt.

I only started making progress about a week ago.

What the Hell am I supposed to say about this? I've been looking for jobs in the fields I wanted to go into for months. I couldn't even find listings for vacancies in bookstores (where the Hell do they advertise? I've looked in the papers, I've looked online on the job sites and on the web pages of chain bookstores, I've looked in shop windows... I DON'T KNOW) and all the rest of it was asking for experience I don't have or qualifications I haven't got - read: college degree - or, in a number of cases, for both. Dispiriting? Just a bit.

I'm so used to thinking of nursing college as three wasted years that I only realized it also meant I had three years' experience of the NHS and working in a medical setting to call upon LAST MONDAY.

I'm scared. I really want to work, but how the Hell can I prove it?

I wish I had the money to go back to college.
Current Mood: intimidated
Current Music: the tv on next door
02 May 2007 @ 05:07 pm
My plan is to spam the NHS with job applications for administrative posts.

That way, I'm guessing the inevitable rejections won't sting so bad, because there'll be other things in the works that might come through later even if that particular one didn't stick for whatever reason. I can just keep telling myself that and hope like Hell I get an interview for something sometime soon. Someone's got to want me. I really really really want to work, that has to count for something, doesn't it?

Come on, NHS. I was nearly a qualified nurse, and here I am offering to deal with your paperwork from a position of experience and knowing what the shit you guys are talking about and all this stuff is actually USEFUL for. Let me deal with it, please. I want to help. I want to come and work for you! Please shortlist me, please. I'm a nice person. I want a job!

I went to the bookstore today and all I could think (apart from 'I feel really sick, oh the yay') was damn, I want a proper job. Yesterday.

(And boy, the atmosphere at that shop sucks when Monika isn't there.)

At least I'm doing something with my time, but I want to be doing more. I'm tired of feeling like a freak of nature in the world of the Gainfully Employed every time I go out in public.

Also, with any luck the Norse Saga that is my attempt to claim Housing Benefit is coming to some kind of a conclusion. And about time too, since the claim was started in January and it's now FUCKING MAY.

Now I'm going to take a nap and try and write gay porn.
Current Mood: restless
Current Music: cooling fans again.
30 April 2007 @ 03:08 pm
The Stupid is Strong With This One.  
Just got back from the welfare office.

I have just this minute - well, just about an hour ago, seeing as I broke with tradition and decided to walk home for once, which I will have to do more often as it is a nice walk and I need to stop being so damn' lazy - realized that having done three years of nursing school would count as 'medical experience'.

Or 'experience of the NHS'.

Or 'knowledge of medical terminology'.

Or 'experience of a medical setting'.

Meaning I could actually put that knowledge to use and apply for jobs in medical records or medical reception. I have decent computer skills, I clean up pretty well, I have a good telephone manner - and I have a medical background.

This in turn would mean - especially if I got a job as a ward clerk - that my hard-won medical knowledge wouldn't just be sitting there and fuckin' atrophying while I perform CPR on my flatlining bank balance while waiting for someone to give me some noradrenaline money to get it back on its feet again, prior to trying to get onto a course in Operating Department Practice. And damn, I love working in healthcare.

In fact, I love it to the extent I wouldn't much care if I wasn't a member of the clinical staff. It would be enough to me just to work in healthcare.

God damn, am I ever stupid?

Current Music: be your girl - cheiko kawabe
Current Mood: hopeful