Monday, 28 March 2011

It's a good job God made us so resilient.

Five interviews, one working arrangement, one appointment, one cancellation, one staying put and one in waiting.

If I have been a little quiet lately it is because our household has been under some stress with The Curate, myself, younger son and his girlfriend all having experienced different types of interviews within the last week. There have been various blogs about selecting the right person for the job and it seems there is no set formula for carrying out an interview. Maybe people have lost confidence to back their intuition, or perhaps our culture demands that all decisions are evidence based so there is no room for gut feeling.
The Curate had over nineteen interviews with individual people before he started his training.When I first started teaching you could apply to be in a 'pool' of teachers for a particular education authority. Once in that 'pool' you were first in line for any short term contracts and supply work. That way you became known and were assessed actually doing the job. Head teachers would come round and visit you in your classroom. You still had to be interviewed for any permanent job but they had a much fairer idea of what they were getting. There was no demonstration lesson with children who had no idea who you were or why you were there. That doesn't even happen in inspections.
Myself and younger son's girlfriend were both applying for teaching posts - she is at the beginning of her teaching career and I am at the end. My job was part time and hers was full time. Meeting one person after another is a very exhausting way for a candidate to be interviewed - I met five people and had to perform in an unknown classroom. It took all morning (I gather there were other candidates on other days) and no one was appointed to the job.Which is probably fortunate as I am very happy where I am. Learner Teacher had two interview days, one after another and had to jump the hoops in the classroom. I am happy to say she was successful on the second day and can now focus on getting started.
During all of this time, younger son watches and waits. The type of job he is applying for seems to take three months to get to the interview stage. In some cases, I wonder if he can remember what it is he has applied for, as it all takes so long. The various stages from applying, to psychometric testing, to telephone interview, to face to face interviews are so spread out it is very easy to lose heart. But he too, was off to an interview last week and is still awaiting an outcome. He has several applications moving into the next stages so what he will finally end up doing is not predictable at the moment. The elongated time factor is very unsettling.
And The Curate, not to be outdone, has had the prearranged meeting with his New Boss to discuss working arrangements. This should have also been with New Bishop but that was cancelled so some of the pressure was taken off. Arrangements for final service in present parish, welcome service in the new parish and the house move are in full flow. All these events happen in the space of seven days. 
It's a good job God made us so resilient ( except that I have a horrible cold now!).

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

A wave out of all imaginable proportion.

Last week I wrote about the relentless waves that were exhausting The Curate and myself. Now I feel totally put in my place.  I wrote about our discomfort with life at that moment but I could not imagine the devastation that was about to unfold in Japan as a result of a wave of destruction, far greater than anything I could comprehend. As more and more stories of separated families, lost relations and children are retold in the press - I can only count my blessings and pray for all those affected by the earthquake.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Resilience = hardiness, toughness, resoluteness, robustness, sturdiness, durability, strength.

On Sunday the Curate and I walked beside the muddy brown waves that tumbled up the two-mile beach, one after another. Nothing could stop them as they lapped up the beach, immersing everything in muddy water. This was not the crashing, rolling surf that inspires awe and wonder. These were not the sparkling ripples that invite you to dip in your toes. This was a relentless grey flood that surged on up the beach. If you stood on the firm sand too long, it would surround you and then cover you. 
The waves seem to reflect where the Curate and I are in life at the moment. We are both feeling tired from travelling, meetings and the other demands of our individual lives. Just like the waves, all these roll in one after another and we never seem to have time to stand still together. But things are going to change. The plans for our move to the new parish are complete  and we are just waiting for confirmation of a move date. The prospect of change is both daunting and exciting. Until then, the Curate and I need to try wave jumping together.

Friday, 4 March 2011

A lost generation?

It's Friday and our day off so we should be putting our feet up. The sun is shining and I am with the Curate on the North Coast. Unfortunately I have spent most of this morning indoors writing an application for a job. It has reminded me of the thankless task so many of our young people are experiencing day after day as they search for work. It has taken me most of my evenings this week to compose the letter of application and today I am filling in the forms that accompany the letter. This is a part time job yet I have nine pages to fill in, including equal opportunities monitoring, safe guarding and health declarations. Fortunately I can do most of this on the computer so that if I make a mistake it is easily corrected. Gone are the days when a single mistake made on a handwritten application meant reprinting the form and starting again. A little bit of me still wonders if I am supposed to hand write the forms to show that I actually can write - but perhaps that shows my age and is old fashioned.
Our young people are experiencing a challenging time trying to find work. The completing of the forms is just part of a depressing process of researching and applying to get a foothold in the work place. If they are fortunate to get through  the  psychometric testing, maths test, English test rounds, they can then be faced with a telephone interview followed by face to face interview and then....success or failure as there is only one job at the end of all this. This can all be going on alongside full time study.
Of course, there seems to be little point in applying for a lot of these jobs unless you can list weeks of unpaid work experience. For those who live in rural areas the opportunities to get this type of experience are few and far apart. It usually means living at home or with a relative and surviving on savings or subs from parents. Our son has managed two placements like this and enjoyed them but it can be depressing doing the same work alongside people who are being paid to do it. Neither do we have the family connections to trade work experience opportunities  between our family and friends. So I do speak from a personal angle of a mother who sees her bright, literate son having to show far more resilience, determination and persistence than she has ever been challenged to find. I know that he is not alone but it breaks my heart.

When some people give up wearing ties for dog collars - they obviously have to find other ways of expressing their individuality. In the Curate's case - socks seem to allow him an outlet for his self expression! Should I be worried?