Another interview, more boxes and a traffic jam – first published 25 November 2013

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The end of November 2013 seemed to be all about job hunting, interviews, CV workshops and, of course, the marketing boxes that were causing quite a bit of consternation in our office. Along with all that there was also a curious traffic jam that lasted almost all day and brought the city of Southampton to a grinding halt.
Yesterday morning saw me all suited and booted for my evening interview with the housing association and the first job of the day was to work out how to get there. This turned out to be more difficult than I thought. From the city centre it isn’t so bad, a couple of busses go there from the back of West Quay but, from my house, not so good. If I get the job the walk to work and back will be a thing of the past unless I’m prepared to leave at silly o’clock and walk five miles each way! Even public transport will mean two busses and four pounds a day each way which is not a very welcome thought. As it’s only a part time job on part time money this could be a sticking point.

The new marketing manager called this morning to beg someone to tape up the boxes still sitting on the mezzanine floor. Apparently a courier, with a pallet, who will come upstairs and collect boxes, is coming today. What he won’t do is tape up boxes. In the end the person with the most experience of box management gave in and did it. Of course that was me. Much duct tape was used, edges and corners were taped. I hope the new marketing manger has a knife because she’s never going to get into them otherwise.

While I was at lunch the courier arrived. The boxes were packed on the pallet, none of them fell apart. It seems the new marketing manager has a bit of a problem with counting though. The eight boxes were actually nine, the courier wasn’t happy, it was almost more than his job’s worth, but he did take them all. The moral of the story, if you want a box packed ask someone who’s worked in marketing, unless they happen to be a marketing manager with a fondness for delegating and no idea what they’re doing.

In typical fashion I arrived way too early for my interview. This time though the busses were to blame, well mostly. They don’t run all that regularly so it was a choice of being really early or late. You know how I feel about being late. Then there was a very busy road to cross which took a while. There was a pedestrian crossing but the three carriageways were independent crossings so I had to wait at each one.

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The place was easier to find than I thought so I wandered around a nearby Hombase store to kill some time and use their loo, then I had a little look around the churchyard right next to the office. I even got to almost see the sunset, although all the buildings and the cranes of the docks got in the way a little. Looking at all the inscriptions on the headstones did at least put my troubles into perspective. It could be worse, one of those headstones could be mine.

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The interview was at least a fairly normal affair without any fancy new fangled tricks like inbox exercises although they did ask me to type a letter. Crikey, that brought back memories of my interview at Dream Factory, the worst letter I’ve ever written and then getting outside and realising I’d forgotten to spell check! Still, that one turned out well, even though I was sure I’d blown it at the time.

This letter was pretty good in the circumstances but I’m not so sure about the job. In my mind the upside of working part time was the thought of extra days off and lots more walking. Turns out they want someone to work for five hours five days a week and with the extra travelling I’d probably be away from home as much as I am now but on a lot less money. The minuses are mounting up. There would also be a week long training course which could be in London, Brighton or Basingstoke and I’d have to commute every day for that. Ok so it’s only a week but I can’t say I like the sound of it. Still they said there’d let me know tomorrow so at least I won’t be waiting too long. What I’ll say if they offer it to me remains to be seen.

This morning Southampton was gridlocked. Not just the normal, crawling at walking pace, type gridlock but real, nothing moving at all stuff. At first, seeing the queues on the Big Bridge, I thought there’d been an accident, maybe the sharp frost was to blame, but, when I got closer to the office, I could see the New Bridge and all the roads in the centre of town were blocked solid too. Good job my interview was yesterday really or I’d never have got there.

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The office was like a ghost town, none of the normal early birds had made it in. The CV Guru from the Frozen North was there but she’d come down last night and stayed at a nearby hotel. Alice turned up while I was still warming my frozen hands on a mug of coffee but she walks from the ferry so, like me, the traffic doesn’t really make much difference to her. We peered out of the window at a total snarl up and wondered what on earth was going on.

One by one people started phoning in from their cars to say they were stuck. Anika came in next, it had taken her two hours to get across the mile long New Bridge. Tino arrived, having left Howard in the car on the outskirts of the city and walked. It was a good hour before Howard himself arrived. Arabella was supposed to be at the warehouse but I had no idea if she’d made it or not. My guess was not.

The CV Guru was in the office to run a CV an interview workshop. I sat in on the session more out of interest than any hope of learning anything. The Right Management people Mad House brought in for us when they made us redundant stayed for three months and ran courses, helped us individually and were there to cast an eye over applications or give interview advice whenever we needed it. I still have the thick manual they gave us, although I didn’t think I’d be using it again quite so soon.

The workshop was very much something and nothing, much as we all expected. In my one to one session the only thing she could say about my CV was that I should have my address on it. When I explained that Right Management had told me to take it off to avoid identity theft or scams when I post it online it seemed like the idea had never occurred to her.

At one o’clock, when we came out of the meeting, the traffic was still gridlocked outside. In fact I’m sure some of the cars were the same ones that had been there when we looked first thing. Arabella arrived at about three, she’d made it to the warehouse but had been stuck in traffic between there and the office. Turns out the whole thing was down to one accident, road works along Town Quay, three cruise ships in port and extra security checks at dock gate 4. It certainly brought the city to a standstill.

All in all there wasn’t a lot of work going on today. There was time for one more look at a fabulous office sunset though. There won’t be many more of those so I’m making the most of them while I can.

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The call promised at the end of my interview yesterday never came and I wondered if they called when I was in the training session. When I got home and checked my email though, there was a thank you but no thank you from them. To be honest, this is not all that much of a disappointment. The more I thought about it the less I liked the idea of working there, especially after today’s traffic chaos.

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Marie

Writer, walker, coffee drinker, chocolate eater, lover of nature, history and the little things that make me smile

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