July 20th, 2004

Photo - leaves

Well, I doubt my day could get any more random...

To quote Pink, "My life is like a fairy tale that nobody believes in."  And after today, I'm even more inclined to go with that particular lyric as a metaphor for my entire existence...

First off, the doctor's.  I swear, one of these days they might hire a receptionist who can deal with people.  And also sort out the registering process so it's more logical.  Other than the filling-in of forms, the bus almost not getting me there in time to do so, and the person I phoned when I made the appointment not actually telling me which doctor I was seeing, it was relatively painless.  And at least now I have some medication, which I didn't have to pay for because of the Jobseeker's Allowance...

Straight after that, having not had any breakfast, I headed into town to investigate Scary Agencies.  So I wandered into the main Pertemps office on New Street (opposite Superdrug and near Barclays), where a man at a desk informed me there were two branches, one commercial/office-based and one catering/industrial-based.  So I headed off to the commercial one on a whim to see what they could do for me.

And this is the precise moment, I'm sure, that I stepped into the Twilight Zone.  I explained my situation to the girl at the desk, handed her a copy of my CV, and fully expected her to tell me to make an appointment to see someone and come back at a later date.  She asked me what experience I'd had, so I told her - very little actual experience, but, well, I know how to file and answer a telephone, and I can type about 70 WPM.

Her eyes lit up.  "70 words per minute?  Well, take a seat at a computer, please, and we'll test you."

Oh.  Okay.

So I sat down, and did the typing and Word 2000 test.  Turns out I can do 81 WPM with 93.5% accuracy, and I got 34 out of the 40 Word tasks correct (the ones I failed are things I've used about once in my entire life like mail merging; oddly, I managed to figure out how to do things I've never done before, like create a macro, but completely forgot how to do mail merging...)  Considering it was a horrible keyboard and a semi-unresponsive mouse I was using - that meant I was making mistakes even when I knew what I was meant to do - I was even more impressed.

So was she.  She said in jest, "Wow, you are good.  I think we've got a job for you!" and handed me the forms to fill in so I could register.

Fifteen minutes later, she phoned upstairs to get me a case worker.  Five minutes after that, I met her, expecting some snooty woman who would see I'd only done bar work, sniff, and send me away.  Instead, I got a lovely lady who was impressed by my typing skills, and who then proceeded to tell me there was a job she could give me.

Wait a second.  A job?  Now?  No interview?  What's the catch?

Yup.  A job.  Now.  No interview.  No catch.

She went to get the details, while I nodded and smiled and pretended like this was all normal, while my brain was reeling from the shock at the fact that this was happening far too fast to be remotely believable.  She returned with the paperwork, gave me the spiel on it, asked if it sounded okay, established that in her opinion she thought I could do it, and proceeded to phone the place up.

I heard her talking on the phone.  "I've got a girl in at the moment...  She's a lovely girl, this one...  yes, 81 words per minute."  She came back.  "Have you used Outlook?"

"Uh, yes."

"Good."  Went away.  More discussion.  Came back.  "Can you start tomorrow?"

I gawped.  "Um.  I... I suppose so, um..."

"Right, I'll tell her."  Went away.  Finished conversation.  Came back.  "Right, that's sorted, you can start tomorrow."

The job, incidentally, is at City Hospital (on Dudley Road), with some work at Sandwell, and it's a temporary vacancy to cover someone's maternity leave.  From what I can gather it's very basic secretarial - typing memoes and agendas, etc - but I'm still a little daunted, having never really worked properly at secretarial before.  At least I'm already used to the medical setting, so that's a bonus.  It's apparently in the area of learning and development, or some such.  I don't know how long it's for, but it's 9.00 til 5.00 Monday-Friday, at £8.50 (yes, you read that right) per hour.  At that rate, assuming it works out, I'll be back in credit within four weeks.

£340 a week, dudes.  Excluding unpaid lunch time and the £50/week I'm meant to pay to live at home. ;)  But that's still £290/week, and almost ten times more than I was earning per week at the Vine.  Which isn't exactly difficult to achieve given I only did 7 hours a week when I was there. ;)

And if this wasn't bizarre enough, my mother happens to work right opposite the City Hospital, even though she starts work an hour earlier.  So that means that four days out of five I can get a lift to and from work, except for Fridays when I'll have to make my own way back.

So I thanked the nice lady and left, went to WHSmith's to get some more printer paper, came home, ate some breakfast, and let it all sink in.

My initial reaction is this:


Do you mean to tell me that I've been applying to pubs for the past month with no joy whatsoever, when I could've gone to Pertemps and gotten a job straight away with no hassle at all?  I mean, I know I can be a jammy bugger sometimes, but this really takes the cake.  I swear, this type of thing only happens to me.  I have bouts of bad luck and constant failure, and then one insanely decent thing happens to turn my entire worldview upside down.  I think this is Fate's way of apologising.  Oy.

Also, it proves my point: people who get to meet me face to face will usually give me a job.  People who read application forms I've filled in don't.  Obviously, my handwriting has a terrible personality.  But who is the person they see when they meet me?  I'm pretty sure I don't exude confidence, I think I might look older than I am, and the fact that I'm still relatively well-spoken probably counts for some things, but... dude.  I swear the person I think I am and the person people see are completely different entities...

So it's all very random and incredibly weird, and if it had happened to anyone else, I wouldn't believe them.  We've been to Matalan to buy me Proper Clothing (Christ, I hate wearing skirts...) and went for a carvery meal to celebrate.  And to make my night complete, there was Derek/Yvvy shippiness in MH, too. ;)

Jesus.  Will update tomorrow or whenever.