It comprised a ten-minute recording of a team to take notes/minutes of, plus 30 minutes to type them up. I asked if I could record my draft directly onto the laptop and the manager facilitating the test seemed really surprised / impressed. I ended up explaining that this was much easier because that's how I took minutes every day, and in fact we had quite a nice conversation whilst waiting for the clock to hit a point he could time from, about my degree and stuff.
The recording wasn't too bad; there were a couple of names I didn't quite catch along with some that I recognised already. I managed to get most of it down, although the keyboard was awful on the laptop and there was no mouse plugged in, so that was a bit weird to work with.
I managed to tidy the notes up into something resembling a minutes format (which would have been much quicker with a proper mouse), with headings and suchlike, and managed to fudge a few bits where I didn't quite catch what was said.
After I'd saved them, he gave me immediate feedback (based on a cursory glance) that they were "excellent"! Which honestly makes me wonder about the quality of the other applicants and is in itself a reflection on most of what is wrong with the Council as an organisation...
That reminds me, actually, that Yvette told us all about a meeting she attended in her union capacity recently, namely a final case hearing about someone's sickness absence. There was a minute-taker there and she was taking notes by hand and kept interrupting so that people could repeat what they'd said. These are really important meetings that could potentially impact on someone's ACTUAL JOB, and then some numpty turns up with a notepad and a pen. I would not want my ACTUAL JOB to hinge on some half-arsed minutes that don't reflect anything of what was said!
Anyway, he also confirmed that interviews would be Monday-Wednesday of the week after next (20th, 21st and 22nd November) and told me off the record that the reason it's a 12-month temporary contract is because they don't know what the implications of the Trust will be for the Safeguarding Board - which was something I was going to ask at interview anyway.
It also transpires the Board have moved to Lancaster Circus and are no longer based at Margaret Street - a bit of a pain but it's still only one bus rather than two, or the option of getting the train and halving my journey time. I am hoping to get a train pass through work when the next application date rolls around, as that would include Metro travel and I'm spending £12 a month currently just on one journey a week back from choir, in addition to occasional train tickets. (The tram is more expensive than the train in this city - somehow that doesn't quite work out...)
If I do get an interview (which seems likely) and am successful in getting the job, I will need to have a long, hard think about whether to accept it. Part of me is still in the mindset that I need to get out of this awful place, but it's being offset by the fact that most of the time I do actually like the job, and indeed the people I work with directly. Being out of PSS will be a vast improvement on staying. Whilst I'm hopeful that after 12 months it won't be necessary to match my salary, if the post doesn't get extended, given the recent fuckwittery by my bank I don't want to put all my eggs into that particular basket. But then, if Paul is earning lots more money, it might give me an opportunity to just... not work for a few months and regather my sanity and energy.
The thing with working full-time is that you get blinkered and lose sight of all the things you could possibly be doing with your life. All the more so because I've been working in a place which has slowly tried to deskill me over the past four years. Successfully getting to interview and/or being offered the post would in itself be a reminder that I am good at what I do, that I'm not as shit as they've made me feel, that I do, in fact, have skills. Even if I don't accept the post, that's a big positive to take from the experience.
So maybe if it does work out and I can quit after 12 months, even if only for a moment, it might open up all sorts of other opportunities. I could do a business course and start a card- and cake-making business, or maybe my turn my big idea into a reality, of refurbishing old bingo halls into conferencing and theatre facilities for local businesses and drama groups. (I've spoken to an amdram friend who thinks this would be a great idea as there is a dearth of places to rehearse and perform with proper facilities.) God forbid, maybe I might actually write a novel after all this time - or at least finish one of my many fanfic WIP's. The point is, I won't be doing the same old grind every single day, getting wound up and stressed and angry about stupid bureaucratic bullshit and questioning my own self-worth.
I could even - imagine! - keep on top of housework for a change not live in a constant state of dust and clutter.
So yeah. There are decisions to be made both in the short- and long-term, but the main thing is that I've now reached a point where my mental and physical health have to be my priority.
I'm trying to update semi-regularly because I have so much going on in the run-up to Christmas, and I don't want the Sunset write-up in particular to fall by the wayside due to lack of energy/motivation. :P Also it saves me having to do massive word-dumps every four months.