Today, I enjoyed afternoon tea in the Silver Birches Hotel in Omagh. It was our prize for having the winning presentation at work. If anyone is interested in our storming performance, you can check it out on twitter @BSO_ssar. You have to download Periscope first as it's a closed site, or something like that, I'm not too sure of the technicalities. By the way, I'm now available for presentations and after dinner speaking, if anyone is interested in offering me some work!!
Speaking of work, I was job hunting again this week as my contract is up at the end of December and I saw there was a (public sector) job going in my local area. Now this is not a government ministerial position, it's just a basic office admin job so I thought I'd download the application form and give it a go. The application form is 18 pages long, and along with having to fill that in, you may also have to undertake a test as part of the selection process and they outline a list of 22 duties and responsibilities that you may be required to do.
Looking at the application form, I feel that I should be entitled to be given, at the very least, a diploma in administration just for managing to fill it in. One of the first criteria for the job is 5 GCSE's or equivalent, and there is a space for you to outline your qualifications and you are advised that 375 words are available for this. Now, how much can you say about having 5 GCSE's, other than what they are and what grade and maybe the year they were achieved. I suppose you could go into more detail, maybe talk about how nervous you were when you did them, what the weather was like, did the results match your expectations, things like that maybe??
Then, you have another 375 words to outline your typing or word-processing qualification, another of the criteria. Again, how much can you say about learning to type and passing a test in it? I got on ok with the keyboard but the Q gave me a lot of trouble, D was much easier but on the whole, I would have to say T was my favourite.
But then you get to the biggie. You must have 2 years admin experience and you have 350 words for that and it asks you to outline your experience for 5 employers. That's 5 x 350!
Then you have another 250 words each, to outline your experience in 6 other areas:
Dealing with members of the public and responding to enquiries from a range of stakeholders -One day a man stopped me and asked for directions and I was able to draw him a map on the back of the envelope. He was very grateful and said I was a 'great help' and a group of people who were standing at a nearby bus stop agreed and asked me where I was from and who I was, one woman knew my mother and said I looked just like her.
Maintenance of administrative and information systems - I put the files in the filing cabinet in alphabetical order and made sure they stayed that way so if anyone came in looking for some information, I was able to go and get it.
Arranging meetings, preparing agendas and taking minutes - I told my friend I would meet her outside the cinema, and told her which film we would watch and what we were going to eat while watching it; popcorn and Maltesers with a large coke. During the film I checked my watch against the time on my phone to make sure they were both on the same time but then my phone fell in my coke...
Data input and retrieval - I typed a list of important stuff on to my computer, I saved it and went in and found it again later on.
Experience receiving cheques and monies in respect of payments - One time on my birthday, I got a cheque for £25 from my aunt Mary because I told her I didn't want any presents as I wanted the money to put towards buying a new phone.
Use of Microsoft Office applications - I often type things using Word, I can put numbers on a spreadsheet and add them up using the button at the top. I used to use outlook to send an email to my friend but now we use snapchat and Instagram instead. We sometimes still use Facebook but I get fed up with all the angry people and don't use it as much anymore. One time I did a database at school. We had a list of people and their addresses. it wasn't real people it was just made up and we pretended they were all in this club or something. Powerpoint is fun but I don't really use it much..is there anything else, I don't know...
Then just to round it all off, they have another section: Desirable Criteria Experience and you have 400 words to 'outline your experience in the maintenance and development of specialised computer software systems including preparing and generating reports from relevant data'. Pullllease nooooooo!!!
When you count up the word quota, it comes to 3650 words. Is it me, I mean, is it? 3650 words and you still have to list all your past employers, all your qualifications and all your personal details, so you're easily talking about over 4000 words for an application form for an admin job.
I had another job interview recently. Well, actually it wasn't an interview for an actual job, it was an interview to go on a list for a job that may come up at some point in the next year. Then if it doesn't, you have to apply again and go through the interview process again to go on a list for a job that might come up but if it doesn't you have to apply again and go for an interview, to go on a list...yes, I know! I know!
When will the insanity end??? It's a fecking admin job, not president of the fecking world!!
I think, I'm going to go back to waiting tables, my first job, back in the day, Vacarro's café, much simpler and less stressful. Maybe a bit of painting on the side...
And it's not as if these jobs are paying big wages, they're a bit better than minimum but not enough to justify an 18 page application form, or a merry go round of applying and interviewing. I almost forgot! Before you got the interview, you had to do an online literacy and numeracy test too and the online application form listing all your experience, your employers, your qualifications, yadda, yadda, ya!
I've a headache now, just thinking about it. Roll on retirement...