New Blogging Home

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Anyone visiting here probably can't fail to notice the lack of recent posts.

Suffice to say, I've practically moved.  I have a new blog to focus more specifically on my dental nursing career aspirations.

You can now find me over at Nothing But The Tooth

I may return to do the odd post here if it doesn't fit in with my new blog, but I'd rather build up my 'career' blog.  So far I haven't been able to find a dedicated dental nurse blog - the closest I can find are blogs on dental practice websites.  Not quite the same thing as a personal/career blog.  Perhaps I just haven't come across any yet.

If you know of one, do send me a link via Nothing But The Tooth - I'd love to read one!


Friday, 4 May 2012

I have a new toothbrush.  :'(

Am feeling quite gutted.

Almost there

Monday, 30 April 2012

When the phone rang early in the morning and I could see by the number that it was the dental practice, I was braced for the news.

The tone wasn't entirely upbeat so my heart sank, certain that I'd missed out and that someone else had secured the job.

Turns out - not quite.

It's down to me and one other woman.  Seems that an agreement couldn't be made on which of us should get the job, since we 'both have good qualities, but different qualities'.

So we've both been invited back again.

It was hinted that I ought to get my head into the textbook and absorb some knowledge, perhaps to prove that I am reading it.  This is a relief in a sense because my mind did go horribly blank when asked what I'd covered from the textbook.  Truth be told, I hadn't read it as studiously as I should have.

It's difficult to know what to focus on - do I try to learn a little from several subject areas or concentrate on one or two main topics?   Prevention of cross-infection is pretty much the main focus but there's a lot more.  Today I've learnt something about oral cancer, sterilisation, and fungus (really, it's interesting!).

I'm trying not to panic, just to try and absorb a little bit of information that I can recite when asked.  I'd rather get a little bit firmly in my brain than try to read the whole book and just get flummoxed.

There's also something of a consolation prize for whoever doesn't the job.  A brand new electric toothbrush.  Quite a pricey one.  I only have a manual toothbrush so it would be nice.

But I don't want the toothbrush.  I want the job.

Round Three commences on Friday morning.

Interview Part Two

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Guess my eagerness outweighed the nerves - I was phoned up on Tuesday morning and invited to spend a morning at the practice, observing and getting a feel for the work I'd get to do (if offered the job).

Needless to say, I was chuffed to bits and we made arrangements for me to come in Thursday morning.

Initial joy wears down a smidge and I go to bed willing myself to wake up dead on time.  I'm not known as an early riser by any stretch of the imagination.  I'm mentally setting an alarm for 7am ... I proceed to snap awake at 6am.  That's not so good when you're on the late shift at work that evening.  After an hour of dozing I get out of bed, get dressed, and head off allowing about 50 minutes to get there - whilst I'm very familiar with the route I've never taken it early in the morning so I'm uncertain as to the traffic conditions - better to be early than risk being late.

Thankfully, in spite of a bit of slow moving traffic, I make it in good time and head inside at 9am.  The arranged time was 9.15am but that can show that I'm more than punctual and considerate of their time.

I'm shown into the staff area, get a nurses shirt to wear and get the tour.

It's much larger than my own dentist's practice (which is a small converted house) with several surgery rooms, a big waiting area, own car park (free - bonus!) and a reasonable sized kitchen/staffroom.

I spend the morning with the head dentist, observing a new patient getting a checkup, someone enquiring about tooth-whitening, another with a broken tooth getting repaired, an elderly lady with an abscess beneath her tooth needing advice having come from another practice feeling dissatisfied with her treatment.  It was quite varied with several x-rays taken, I watched the computerised charting system (my own dental practice still uses the paper version) and some of the terminology was familiar from the textbook, and I got to try out using the suction tool on the dentist himself.

I think it was clear to him that I was a lot less nervous than during my interview.

However I didn't do very well when he threw some mental arithmetic questions at me.  I'm terrible at mental maths - give me paper and a pen and I'll work it out before too long, but in my head I find it very difficult to visualise numbers and solve an equation.  I don't know how much of a stumbling block that is but I made it clear that I really wanted to improve my maths.

He also mentioned that whilst some older more experienced nurses had applied (whether he meant for this position or in the past generally I'm unsure) because the practice is so modern and computerised, a lot of them just didn't have the computer skills necessary to do the job; a few apparently had hardly touched a computer.  Not ideal for a modern practice.  But then I suppose there's little to stop them going on computer courses to learn; certainly in my area there's plenty of introduction courses for adults wanting to learn.

My view is that regardless of whether you tick all the boxes, you can still have a good chance if you can prove that you're keen and willing to learn.  My CV includes my attempts at learning a foreign language, various university level courses, plus obtaining the textbook and the Hepatitis B vaccinations - it all works in my favour, showing the effort I put in to learning and wanting to get into the profession.

All in all, I have mixed feelings about the day.  It was insightful but I just wish I'd come up with some intelligent questions or at least been able to get the maths right.

I was told that there were a few other candidates to see and that I should find out one way or the other by the end of the week or else early next week.

Granted, this is the closest I've come so far to securing the job I want yet I'm trying not to get my hopes up too high because I know how upsetting it'll be if they chose someone else.

My next post will obviously let you know the result one way or the other.


Monday, 23 April 2012

I've had an interview this morning!

I received a voice mail on Saturday whilst at work asking me to come in Monday afternoon.  I was at work so didn't pick up the message until after my shift was over, by which point the dental practice was closed for the day.

I phoned up this morning to discuss other possible days and times for an interview and essentially asked if I could come straight over.

About half an hour later I'm dressed and prepped and on my way!

The practice itself looks lovely and spacious - my own dentist has a small converted house which is rather cramped but this is custom built building.

I met the practice manager, the lead dentist and the trainee practice manager.  All were lovely and did their best to make me feel comfortable but I was extremely nervous.

Overall I think they were pleased with my Hepatitis B vaccinations and that I'd got the most up to date textbook, so I genuinely think that's going to go a long way to helping me get the job.

However, there are a few other people they'll be interviewing this week so I probably won't hear anything until maybe Friday.

Very excited but trying not to get my hopes too high.  They may prefer someone qualified already and I've no idea how many other people are to be interviewed.

At the very least, it's very encouraging to have been offered an interview in the first place.  It's not the first offer and if I'm unsuccessful this time, I'm sure it won't be the last.

I'm heading in the right direction.  Just a matter to time to reach my desired destination.

Huh, ok

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Last Saturday (the 14th) was the cut off date for a job at a good dental practise I applied to.  I really wanted to at least get an interview so for the past two weeks or so I've been waiting as patiently as I can for Saturday to roll by and await a response.

Thus far I've not heard anything.  Granted it's only been a few days, who knows how many applications they received and whether they went through them as they arrived or waited until the cut off date.

I went on a job site not twenty minutes ago just to have a look at what was about and I saw an advert for the same dental practise.

It's pretty much the same advert.

Is it the same job or a second vacancy?  It went up on the site on Monday.

Were none of the applications for the previous advert good enough?  Why advertise twice if you've got a good selection of applicants from such a recent advert?

My heart sank a little.  Surely I've got the basic skills required?  I've got two of my three Hep B jabs now, I've worked as a receptionist before (which is part of the role), I'm obviously keen and willing to learn ... how am I not good enough to asked to interview at least?

I'm applying again.  It's requested that applications go to someone else this time so perhaps he'll think I'm worth seeing.  I've also brushed up my covering letter (or e-letter I guess as they want applications via email) so it might present me in a better light.

Closing date is next week which seems a little short compared to the last advert.  But as ever it's a case of wait and see what happens next.

2nd Jab

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Had my second Hepatitis B vaccination today - yay!

I now have to wait until September to get my final jab, but hopefully this ought to be enough to help me with my job applications.

Got my eye on a few places so I'm now going to brush up on writing a good covering letter to enquire about vacancies.  I wonder sometimes if maybe my previous covering letters (or emails as the case often is) aren't quite up to scratch.

Shall get right on that tomorrow after work.

One step closer ... one small step closer ...


Sunday, 15 April 2012

Been a little quiet on the blogging front, I know.

I seem to be going through a somewhat despondent phase.  I should be grateful for having work, but the monotony is getting to me.

It's also become apparent that I'm not the only one.  Quite a few people I've spoken to are contemplating leaving; one has an interview on Monday (good for him!), another looking at going back to college, and a few are job hunting generally.

It would seem that most of us are bored stupid.  There's just nothing stimulating about the job, no incentives, no training opportunities, lack of opportunities to progress.  The only progression available is to go from cashier to assistant till supervisor, then to till supervisor.  From there it's up to management but those opportunities are even more scarce!

See, this is why I'm frustrated.  I hate getting stuck in these 'deadend' jobs that don't lead anywhere!

Over the past few months a handful of people have left for new jobs, and one on maternity leave.  None of these people have been replaced.  So whilst the remaining people are grateful for the extra or extended shifts, it's got to the point where 'weekend staff' are non-existent and quite a few people are stuck doing the same weekend shifts every single week, getting a day off after nine or ten days on the trot - typically during the week ... which sucks if, like me, most of your friends work weekdays so you struggle to see them.

The home/work balance is totally off-kilter for so many of us.  I don't understand why we don't get more weekend staff - get more people in employment, and the rest of us wouldn't be so down about never seeming to have any time for friends and family.

All in all, there's a lot of people feeling down at work right now.  Morale is practically on the floor and I hate to say it, but I don't think the manager has even noticed ...

Rambling thoughts

Monday, 2 April 2012

It's been just over a year since I found work the Shop of Snob (it's the politest name I could come up with, given the moo who runs it).

I can remember the letter I received regarding the Job Seekers Allowance I was claiming at the time.  I hadn't planned to claim long, it was simply a means of having something to pay my parents to keep a roof over my head while I applied for job after job.  Essentially, it informed me that the JSA wasn't going to be paid to me beyond June.  That was quite gut wrenching at the time.  I already had the leaflet delivery job but that wasn't paying anywhere near enough.  Without the JSA I would have to dig into my hard-earned savings which I didn't want to have to touch.

That same day, I went onto a job website and saw the advert for the Shop of Snob vacancy.  I applied in a hurry.  I was desperate for anything.

So desperate in fact, that I forced myself to ignore the rather unpleasant snooty attitude of Nora.  I turned a blind eye to the dirty glass of water she offered me as I'd politely turned down tea having spied the filthy teaspoons.  I tried not to look too closely at the generally lack of cleanliness off the shop floor (which was kept clean and tidy at all times).

Had I actually seen the state of the toilet ... well, perhaps I would have turned the job down, but as I said, I was desperate.

So many people are grabbing the first opportunity to come along because it means having a job and having an income.  People are applying for just about every job going, hoping to get an interview.

Even if the job isn't what they want.

It's a means to an end.  We need money.  Without it, we can't keep a roof over our head or those of our families.  We can't put food on the table or pay the bills without money.

Given the mess of the economy, it's no wonder that people who do find work aren't happy.  I took that job because I needed one, not because I had some calling to work with expensive jewellery.  I wasn't happy there and during my interview my gut feeling was screaming at me that it wasn't a good choice - but it was a choice I didn't have.

A year on, I'm now over four months in a new job.  It's not one I intend to stay in for too long.  I feel very lucky that I have a job that pays just enough to pay my bills and leave me with some that I can have the occasional night out or buy something without panicking over what's left in my account.

But my frantic job searching has calmed down a great deal.  I'm no longer searching for 'anything' that'll do.  It's much more refined and focused.  I know the ideal area I'd like to work but am prepared to look at a wider area that is a reasonable driving distance away.  (Done the long commute before -never again!)  And my chosen field of work is more narrow.  Before I was applying for any kind of office job and some shop work.  Now, it's restricted.

I'm no longer as stressed out.  Sure it is still a worry trying to find full time employment but at least I know what I'm looking for.  I can be more precise and methodical.

I can target potential employers with more direction and purpose.  I've stocked up on envelopes and stamps to write to some directly should my latest application fail.

I have some hopes but not letting them get too high.  The job is in a perfect location, but they naturally would prefer someone with experience.  Yet a trainee would be considered, so I'm hoping that even if I don't get an interview, that they may consider me should another position arise.

Here's to positive thinking.  If nothing else, it keeps your spirits up!

Occam's Razor

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

There are times when I question the level of intelligence of the people in my local area.

Picture the scene:  you are approaching a large shop.  You can see the following things.
  • To one side of the building, all of the staff are assembled a fair distance away, a few in fluorescent jackets, one of whom is calling names and ticking them off a list.
  • To the other side of the building, a group of 'normal' people, all waiting a fair distance away too. 
  • Looking through the massive ground to ceiling windows, you can see that the building is deserted; trolleys and goods are lying abandoned at the tills and in the aisles. Essentially, it looks as if everyone just walked out suddenly, leaving everything behind. 
  • The air is filled with a VERY LOUD NOISE.  A noise which is bloody hard to miss or even ignore.

Anyone with an IQ in double figures should be able to hazard a guess as to what this might mean.

Yet, more than a few gormless individuals still managed to walk, apparently blinkered and with cotton wool stuffed in their ears, to the front doors and pull up short, faces screwed up in confusion at the failure of the front doors to slide open for them. 

One or two even retreat and try again.

They turn.  They stare about the immediate vicinity, puzzling over everything they have just walked towards and straight past.

They approach the members of staff and proceed to question why they can't get inside.  Why aren't the staff inside??

Now, I can forgive someone who is deaf or extremely hard of hearing not to have heard the alarm, but even then, unless you're registered blind as well, then how exactly can you look upon this scene and not come to the most obvious answer.  It's Occam's Razor.  Seriously, you don't need to over think this.

So if you are genuinely unable to grasp this very simple premise by what you see before and actually need to ask someone to clarify what the problem is, then you shouldn't be allowed out on your own.  You are a danger to yourself.

I doubt even seeing this would have helped some people!

It turned out to be a false alarm, thankfully.  Though I was appalled to hear that a few customers refused to leave, demanding that the staff remain inside the building to serve them when the fire alarm went off!!  How absurd!!  Senior staff had to waste time actually explaining to them that it was the fire alarm, there was potentially a fire in the building and we HAD to leave the building immediately - such idiots!


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Just had my first vaccination for Hep B - one done, two to go!  Next one is in a months time, the last six months after that.

The things you have to do to get a job these days, eh?

Watching their weight

Sunday, 18 March 2012

It's lunch time.  Two women come to my till.

I think it would be fair to say that both these women are quite firmly on the large size of overweight.  They waddle over (not exaggerating, it was a slow laborious waddle for the pair of them) and dump on the counter what is indisputably their lunch:

Multiple chocolate bars.  Six packet of crisps.  Four assorted bottles of fizzy drinks.  Sausage rolls, pork pies and two or three other prepacked meats and cheese snacks ....

And a Weight Watchers sandwich.

I don't mean to be rude, but one healthy sandwich amongst the crap isn't going help you!


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

In order to get one up on other applicants, I've just made an appointment to start on my course of vaccinations for Hepatitis B.

It's a requirement of the job considering that it is an environment where you are going to come into contact with blood.

Whilst some employers will pay for you to get it, I personally feel that already having the jabs will make me appear more committed to the career path and make me a more preferable employee against someone who doesn't already have it.

Plus I've started to see adverts pretty much stating that they'd prefer applicants to already have it.

So I get the first jab next Tuesday, then two follow up appointments.  Not certain how long the course takes (I shall check with the nurse when I go next week) but if I can start to include this information in my applications I'm surely going to have a better chance of at least getting to the interview stage.

Not fond of needles - I'd rather be on the other end of them!

Kids = expensive?

Monday, 12 March 2012

A woman came to my till with two children in tow.  Amongst her shopping there were two toys.  Not little trinket toys but large ones. Not cheap to buy on a whim.

I hardly had time to scan the barcodes before the little darlings snatch them both off the counter, rush away and start tearing in the boxes.

The woman heaves a dramatic sigh.

"Oh, children are so expensive!  They want so much!"

Forgive me, but surely they recieved toys in the not too distant past?  It has been maybe two months since Christmas?  What happened to those toys?

Perhaps if some parents learnt to say no then raising their offspring wouldn't be quite as expensive as they make it out to be.

We all know what happened to this spoilt little brat because her parents never said 'no'!


Two Steps Forward ... One Step Back

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Lack of posting tends to indicate 'busy' and this has certainly been a busy period.

My main news is that I applied to two trainee dental nurse roles and got a phone call back from one of them.  Thus commenced a telephone interview which I subsequently passed.

The woman I spoke to was very informative.  She clued me into the availability of a text book that DN's study which I promptly ordered from Amazon.  And she also told me about the vaccinations I would require; Hep B being one of them, makes complete sense.

Anyway, the phone interview went well and I was then assigned an essay.  Kind of a new thing for me, being asked to write an essay for a job.  I don't know if this is standard practise for potential DN's.  If I wrote it to their satisfaction I would then be invited to a face-to-face interview and a visit to a surgery.

Lot of hoops to jump through.

Now, the possible offer a job - fantastic.

Taking a second look at the location however - not so good.

I think I was a tad hasty in my application.  At first glance, I didn't think that the location was too bad.  Not in a great area, I'll admit, but it would get my foot in the door. Then I did the maths - distance to travel every day there and back, petrol and parking.  Time and money wise, I was not getting a good result.

Accepting the job, would also tie me down to a two year contract.

Truthfully, I had doubts about the commute.  I've been down that road (literally) before and it proved quite stressful.  A stressful DN is a careless DN - that would do me no favours.

I did take some time to seriously consider the options in front of me.  And I've chosen to be optimistic.  In the past I've always taken the first job opportunity I've been offered.  I've never stopped and thought 'is it worth waiting?'   Yes, the economy is crap, but I'm starting to think that I shouldn't compromise on this.  I've picked a career path, I want to get the job that's right for me, and it should be in the right place.  I overshot a reasonable commute by applying to this particular position, but if it's not right then it's not right.  It's two years to complete my training - I want to stay put in one place if at all possible.

I went with my gut feeling and wrote back to withdraw my application.  I'm disappointed I didn't get a reply to at least acknowledge it.

So I'm now taking a little time to read the textbook - I think that in itself will help with future applications, to say that I've been studying the required book in my own time.  How does that not look good?

Ah damn it!

Monday, 13 February 2012

Oh the joys of an unexpected purchase.

My mobile phone has just about given up the ghost.  It's quite old for a mobile, at least 7 years old - I know people who change theirs more often, but I'm on a pay-and-go phone rather than a contract.

It's been a bit off for a while.  The sudoku game feature's clock stopped working a few weeks again - my 'best time' is constantly "0.00".  And the other day it decided to stop sending and receiving text messages until I'd re-charged it and turn it off and on again.

Can't deny that it's dying.  A dead mobile is of no use to someone trying to job hunt - it's my main contact number and if my mobile stops receiving phone calls at inopportune times that's not going to do me any favours.

Whilst it has been revived somewhat, I can not rely on it now.  So I shall be off into town early (before my afternoon shift starts) in order to pick up a new one.  I have had my eye on a phone for a little while for £50 which is cheaper than my existing one and the only one I've liked the look of for ages.

So £50 plus credit - that's a large bill I wasn't expecting to have this week but it's a necessary purchase, not a 'well, I just feel like a new phone' purchase.

The sooner I get it, the sooner I can send my CV out again.  Seen two job adverts this morning I'd like to apply for so I shall do that this evening as I'm not sure I want to keep my old number - would be easier though.  Shall see what I can do at the phone shop.

What's easier to spend with?

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Bit of a conundrum here.

As part of my role as a cashier, I offer cashback to the customers.  Essentically, I'm a cash machine with a human face.

What puzzles me is that at least once a day after posing this question I am given this typical answer: "Oh no, I'd better not, I'll only spend it!!"

Firstly, I have to question their self control.  Is it literally a case of putting a £20 note in their hand and they'll simply rush to the nearest shop because they have an uncontrollable urge to spend it?

I had some cash on me!  So I spent it!!
How is it easier to spend using cash than it is a credit or debit card?

Surely, with a card it's easier to spend and (by default) lose track of what you're spending?

I recently went to a museum exhibition and purchased a book.  It was an impulse purchase but it is on a subject I'm very keen on, so I felt it worth the money.  Not having any cash in my wallet, I used my card.

Then I went into a shop that was due to close down in a few days time.  Again, I made a purchase using my card, this time on a dvd that I had had my eye on for a while.  I know I may have been able to get it online cheaper but it was there in front of me and I had my debit card.

That was £20 spent in one afternoon without meaning to.

I like having cash in my wallet.  It actually works to curb my spending because I can see how much money I have.

If I go out with £50 in my wallet, I will look at it and be reminded that this is how much I have to see me through the month, I can not waste it.  Having it physically there helps restrict unnessecary purchases.  Had I had cash in my wallet when I went to the museum I may have hesitated on buying the book.  If I'd had enough I probably still would have got it, but then I most likely would not have got the dvd as well.  I would have looked online to get it cheaper. (Annoyingly so, I could have got it for just under £7 on Amazon with free delivery - yes, I kicked myself.)

Having made one unexpected purchase, I would have looked at the reduced amount in my wallet and put up a mental block on any more purchases.  I do not aim to spend everything that is in my wallet, I aim to keep it in there for as long as I can.

So why do some people feel that by having cash in their hands they ought to get rid of it?   Don't they feel anything when all the money is gone?   How is it easier for them to spend hard cash than with a card that is constantly there in your wallet, with no clear indicater as to how much money is available on the card?

Do you know how much is in your account before you hand your card over?

Is the mentality "Oh I have some money!  I can buy this nice thing!  Oh, I've wanted that for a while, I have the money on me so I can get it!" ?

Amongst the replies I get to my enquiry are comments such as "Oh I'll only spend it on rubbish", "It'll be gone before I leave town!", "Better not, I can't afford to buy anything else today!"

Honestly, where is the self control?   Whenever I've mentioned that I am the complete opposite, I get a mix of admiring looks and mild sceptism.  "Really? Wow, you're really good, aren't you?" , "Oh I don't know how you can do that."

It's really quite easy.  I know I have very limited funds. I prefer to use cash whenever possible because it's too easy for me to lose track of what I've spent if I just hand my card over all the time.  I use my card when I fill my car up (typically paying at the pump so I don't go inside and get tempted with anything they sell inside) or when purchasing something online.

I have an envelope of cash on my bedside table containing nearly £150 pounds, acumalated from Christmas and birthday gifts, all of which is earmarked for my new glasses.  It has been there, untouched, for a month and a half whilst I have been looking for frames I like (and getting quotes on lenses).  I did not recieve the cash and sprint to the shops to spend it all in a day, which is something I've overheard a lady say she'd done:

"I got, like, £200 for Christmas?  Now I'm, like, broke?  Dunno what I spent it on!!"

I'm busy scanning her overpriced shampoo and mentally shaking my head as it was only the first week of January.  How can you not know where a few hundred pounds has gone?  The odd fiver perhaps but that much money surely doesn't vanish without trace.

Does this look familar to you?
I am genuinely concerned that I'm in a very tiny minority.  In spite of the economy there are still a lot of people who have not got to grips with looking after their money.

Which tribe are you in, I wonder?

*jaw drops*

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

I've mentioned a few times about my lousy short-sight and glasses.  Given my prescription, I've taken it as read that when my prescription changes and I require brand new lenses that the cost is going to run into the hundreds.

The frames I've never spent over a hundred pounds on.  The lenses however always seemed to take up two hundred as a minimum, just on their own.

My latest quotations for lenses are high two-hundred to three hundred pounds.

That's a hell of a lot.   Plus the price of the frames, so I'm essentially looking at spending the best part of £400.  It's even more of stomach twist when it takes me nearly a month to earn enough to cover it. (And that's ignoring other bills that need paying.)

My dad told me about a place that did their business on line - you pick your frames from their website catalogue, send them your prescription and they post the finished product to you, all for extremely reasonable prices.

I had a look on their website - my current frames are so grubby and tatty now (impossible to clean them fully and I can't get them re-coated) so they are in dire need of replacement.  None of the frames caught my eye however.

So I emailed them yesterday to ask about my purchasing frames elsewhere since I had seen some I really liked in a local opticians, and to get a quote for the price of the lenses based on a rough estimate of my prescription.

Remember I said a moment ago what my current quote for lenses was?  Roughly £300.

This company quoted me ... £95

Yes, I just spent a few minutes staring mutely at my screen ... £95!?!?   I thought he'd mis-typed and missed out a 1 between the £ and the 9 ... but apparently not.

I was hoping to get a price of maybe a third less than what I'd been quoted already - not a third of that.  That's just amazing.

On the one hand, that is so much more affordable - with the frames I'd spend a grand total of £165.  On the other hand I'm feeling pretty miffed that opticians have been charging me an arm and an leg for so many years!  They lead you on, claiming you'll get the same kind of pricing at every optician ... jeez, it pays (and saves) to ignore them and look around yourself!!!

I'm just waiting to hear whether they'll fit lenses to the frames I want - I don't see why they wouldn't fit lenses to frames bought elsewhere but some companies have policies about not touching anything that isn't supplied by them, so it won't hurt to make certain before I book my eye test and buy the frames I want.

Renewed efforts

Monday, 6 February 2012

Right, had enough.

I am very grateful to my current employer - taking me on as a Christmas temp, then offering me an extended contract ... but the vague promises of being made permanent and no indication as to how many extra hours I might get as a result ... well, I can't hang around.

Don't get me wrong, it's a nice job.  Much nicer than some of my previous jobs.  But 'nice' doesn't pay the bills.  Location is very convenient, but what good is that if I'm not able to progress?  The hourly rate isn't particularly high and without working Sundays (which is time and a half pay) I'm really not earning much at all.

A permanent offer of employment would be nice.  But ultimately I intend to move on regardless.  I don't want the spend the rest of my working life sat at a till.

I still want to get into dental nursing.  This morning I decided to try an alternative route into the profession.  I come from an administration background, so why not start applying for receptionist roles in dental surgeries?  Gets me into the right working environment for a start!  And it's something I'm already very well qualified to do.

My many applications for trainee dental nurse roles have not so much as yielded a single interview.  Time to change tactics.

Vision Aid Overseas

Sunday, 5 February 2012

I donated an old pair of glasses to Vision Aid Overseas yesterday.

My eyesight is very poor, about minus-9 with a slight difference in both eyes with astigmatism.  I am very lucky to have access to an opticians, where I can have a choice of frames and lenses created strong enough to correct my sight so that I can do day-to-day tasks that people with 20-20 vision take for granted.

I'm fully aware how lucky I am.

People in third world countries - not so lucky.  Some people have no access to a basic eye test, let alone able to get glasses to help them see.  Children struggle at school, unable to read or see the board.  Adults struggle to work, unable to see clearly.

Every opticians in the UK is able to send your old glasses to Vision Aid Overseas who will match your old prescription with someone who greatly needs it.  Regardless of the frame or prescription you have, there'll be someone that will be thrilled to receive them.

Vision Aid Overseas help people in Burkino Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Malawi, Sierra Leone, Uganda and Zambia.

It doesn't cost you a penny.  Don't throw your old glasses away - donate them at your opticians and give someone the gift of sight.

Thank you.


Forgive me my evil snigger

Friday, 3 February 2012

Out of curiosity, I had a look at Nora's website this afternoon.

During my time there I was responsible for sorting it out and putting new stock up.  This was very time consuming, and considering I only worked 2 or 3 days a week, I think I did a pretty good job of it.

But Nora (she-who-is-never-satisfied) would say to me almost every day that she expected several products to be uploaded every single week.  Given that I didn't always have the images to work with, this wasn't always possible.  Yet the images I did have, I'd get them the right size, on the right colour background and updated in a timely fashion, putting up several every week.

It's been just shy of 3 months since I escaped and I wondered just how much had been done with the website in my absence.


I can only assume that she has failed to find anyone to replace me as the site is a shambles!  Aside from the fact that barely ten new items have been put up (in 3 months!?  She'd go mental if I didn't do that in a day!!) most of the images are the wrong size (all far too small) and some are on the wrong colour background so it all looks mismatched and totally unprofessional.

The homepage still has a greeting relating to the approaching autumn season - we are not far off spring.  The terms and conditions page: still blank.  The birthstone feature still returns no results for a random stone which it is impossible for you specify before clicking the link.  And there is still no information what-so-ever about a returns policy the importance of which I did impress upon her (I never order anything on line without checking what the returns policy is) but, according to her, is not important.

And she wonders why the site only gets one order a month, if that.
Nice to see Nora's on top of things!  Mwhahaha.


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

It amazes me that some people can be rude yet blissfully unaware of it, only to then take offence and accuse you of rudeness.


Woman with a pram comes to my till - she's talking loudly on her mobile phone, dumps half her stuff on my till and then, tells me that she's going to get something.   Off she goes, leaving all her shopping on the till, strolling down the aisle as if she has all the time in the world.   I have no idea what she's gone to fetch, whether she's going to be a minute or ten.

I lug the rest of her shopping out of the basket, put the basket in the stack, sit and scan everything through.  She's still not back.  So I start packing her stuff up.  I fill four bags and she's still not back.  Nothing more I can do but sit and wait.

Other shoppers come up to the till - I politely inform them that someone has gone to fetch something and should be back in a minute (I hope!).  A queue forms.

Finally, the woman comes back.  She sees the queue and just stands at the end of the aisle.  I catch her eye and gesture for her to come down.  She just looks at the queue and says 'Can't,' shrugging and stays put.

How about a simple 'Excuse me, please' to the people in front of you?  They have no objection to moving aside for you and standing at the end of the queue isn't exactly helping anyone.  You're the one holding up everybody else.

So I raise my voice a little to make sure everyone hears and asks them all if they could step aside to let her through with the pram.  Naturally, everyone does so.

Woman reaches the till, dumps her stuff and snaps at me, 'You didn't have to roll your eyes!!'


I most certainly did not roll my eyes.  Granted I may have looked a little exasperated at her inconsiderate (lack of) action, but I would not be so rude as to roll my eyes at someone.

She continues to mutter darkly about me rolling my eyes, not a word of thanks for having got the rest of her shopping sorted out ready to go for her - nope, not a peep.  I did say to her that she could have said 'excuse me' to the people in line and they would have let her through, but no, that's apparently out of line too.

I scan the new items she's been fetching (she must have wandered around the whole shop for them, none of them were displayed anywhere near each other), she throws them into the bags, snatches her change out of my hand (scratching me with her nails) and stomps off, moaning 'I'm going to talk to your manager!!!'

Fine, you do that.

It's just plain rude to leave half your stuff at the till and wander off to get the rest.  Get all your shopping BEFORE you come to the till, or else pay for what you've got, then go back.  That way you are not going to hold up a queue and effectively block a till.   Further more, the words 'excuse me please' are very simply and easy to pronounce.  They do wonders for allowing you to move to where you need to be.  Most people are not offended by good manners.

Neither the manager or any of the supervisors said anything to me about.  It's water off a ducks back when you complain about imagined rudeness to be frank.  They've known me for a few months now, they know very well how polite I am and would never roll my eyes at someone in the manner you made out - yes, I overheard you embellishing your complaint, I was within earshot.  I also know by the managers face that he doesn't believe you.

Oh, and she left one her bags behind.  With any luck it'll be really inconvenient for her to come back to get it.

Still no real answer

Thursday, 26 January 2012

I finally managed to collar the manager today and ask outright whether or not I was being kept on.  Considering, as previously mentioned, I do have shifts throughout February, surely I should have been informed of what the situation is?

Alas, I still have not been offered a permanent position.  It's an extension but with no clear end.  They still need me around, thus I'm still here, but there is no security as yet.  I can't allow myself to get complacent of course and I am continuing to look for other work - it just would be such a relief not to have the nagging worry in the back of my mind that I'm still not in permanent employment.

I had been hopeful of a more positive answer but that's the situation as it stands.

The Little Things #12

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Life is short.

Dye your hair purple.

Not me: I'm not that gorgeous. And my purple came out quite dark ...


Thursday, 19 January 2012

Sometimes I despair at the lack of intelligence in some people.

A group of women come to my till and as I'm scanning one lot through, the next woman in line is whinging about a bottle of conditioner she's picked up.  She's at the end of my till and complaining that it won't stand upright.

"Look!  It don't stand up!" she screeches to her friends (not to me).  "Look!!"

She sets it on the counter, lets go of it and it falls over - thud.  She snatches it up, sets it up, lets go, thud.  She repeats this several times quite rapidly. Thud - thud - thud - thud.  All the time bemoaning "It's no good ain't it!?  What goods dat?  It'd fall over in me shower!  No good is it?  No good!"

I finish with the woman ahead of her and reach for her shopping.

I pick up the bottle of conditioner, scan it and set it back down on the counter.

It stands upright and stays there.

May have something to do with my putting it the right way up i.e. the flat end and not the rounded top end.

The woman snatches it off the counter and throws it into her shopping bag without even noticing the difference.

Am I missing something?

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

For someone who doesn't know whether she has a job after the end of January, I sure do have a number of shifts for February down on the rota ...

Either the manager hasn't had a chance to say anything (possible given he's just got back from holiday) or someone has made a mistake and just included me in the rota, unaware that I've not been informed of anything official.

I guess as long as I'm down on the rota and no one says otherwise I can just keep turning up!!  ^_^

Seriously though, if I see the manager in the next few days I'll have to try and ask about it.  I'd much rather know for certain than just assume it's all fine and dandy.  For all I know it could just be another extension, instead of a permanent contract.


Monday, 16 January 2012

I heard some good news today.  Well, it's sad in one respect.

A member of staff is leaving.  She's moving to be with family and transferring to another branch.  So it's wonderful news for her although I'm sorry to see her leave as we seemed to get on quite well.  I know we've not worked together very long but she was always there in a flash if I needed to know something or fetch me something I was missing from my till.

She's happy to be going but no doubt will be sad to leave us as she's been here ever since this branch opened!   Naturally I wish her all the best and hope she enjoys her last two weeks with us.

Now, my ears didn't half prick up when she told me she was leaving, especially when she's leaving before the end of the month.

I'm still only contracted until the end of January.  So this is welcome news for me as it might lead to me staying on, or at least another extension.   She's leaving, someone retired just as I arrived, and I've noticed a young lady who is undeniably pregnant who will no doubt be leaving shortly.

Of course, I was told a while ago about two women coming back from maternity leave but I've heard no more about them.

I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that when the manager returns from holiday that he'll be able to have a look at things and let me know one way or the other.

Will be quite upset if I don't get offered a longer contract, I've come to quite like it here.  As always, fingers crossed.

Discount Card

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Hooray!  I finally have my staff discount card!  ^_^

I was meant to have received one about two weeks prior to Christmas so I was a bit concerned when it didn't materialise.  Since I'd been told I was being kept on for January I didn't push the issue and was assured it would get sorted.  Admittedly I did have to chase it up several times but never mind, I have it now.

It's 13% off which isn't bad at all.

At the dreaded Shop with Nora, I was granted a very generous 30% staff discount.  Seriously though, what good is a discount on jewellery?  It's a luxury item, not an essential.  My income was meagre enough without splashing out on pretty baubles when they're not even needed!

Thus my first purchase with my discount card consisted of:
  1. Toothbrushes - pack of 2, my current brush needs replacing
  2. Shampoo - just ran out
  3. Cleanser - ran out a week ago and wanted one for under a pound
  4. Pick n Mix cherries - little present for my boyfriend who adores these (so one non-essentials)
Total spend - just under a fiver.  Thank you very much.

Now need a new umbrella - my current one is becoming pretty manky!  And a new hairbrush as mine is starting to fall to bits.

I only replace once something is used up, broken or else no longer in a suitable condition for its use.

Are things improving?

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

It's been a few years since the "Crunch" began.  I was still employed full time in an office - hating it and had been looking to leave for a while.  I'd always peruse the local newspaper for jobs just to keep an eye on what was around.  Typically there would be around four pages worth, including the same adverts for cleaners week in week out.

The Crunch hit and all those adverts pretty much vanished.  Whether they were simply withdrawn or people suddenly losing their jobs snapped up whatever was available, it's hard to know for sure.  But for the first year at least there were practically no jobs advertised in my local paper, maybe an eighth of a page with three or four offerings.

In the past year, I have noticed a distinct increase.  Not necessarily every week, but most weeks there is at least a page of job adverts, often two.

Same with job websites.  The one I frequent most used to maybe only have a dozen at the very most each day (and that was within a 15 mile radius of my home) yet more recently there are in the region of 150 job adverts going up every weekday.

Lets face it, the recession / crunch / bad economic situation we're in is not going to last forever. I think this is a sign that things are gradually getting better.  Some companies are doing really well and expanding, and as always there will be retirements, people moving away (and even the sad event of deaths) and it's not feasible not to replace them.  We keep hearing in the news about companies closing and the number of job loses but there are jobs springing up more and more, certainly in my area.

Granted, there are still many individuals applying for these jobs, making it hard to even reach the interview stage, but as more jobs become available and get filled, the number of applicants per job should in theory decrease over time.

Even just looking at the jobs that have been advertised today - a number of apprentice positions (ideal for teenagers no doubt), receptionist, bar staff, bookkeeper, childcare assistant, bricklayer, drivers, electrician, car sales, kitchen assistant, market research, project manager, registered nurse, shop assistant, chef, security guard, warehouse assistant, telemarketing - and that's just a quick browse of titles!  There's all sorts of work becoming available in my region so I'm taking this a positive sign that things are improving.

I know we'd all like our dream job but anyone looking to take whatever is available in order to keep a roof over their head and food on the table, then I'm seeing a lot more options out there for them.

I'm still no wiser as to whether my current job is going to continue beyond the next three weeks, but if it doesn't, then I too am finding cause for optimism at the increase in opportunities.

Do you take plastic?

Monday, 9 January 2012

I had the most adorable little boy come to my till on Saturday.

His parents came up with their shopping, I scanned it all through and just as I told them the total amount to pay their little boy (maybe about five or six years old) comes up to me and holds out his clenched fist.

I hold my own hand out, and into my palm he drops a few plastic toy coins.

"I pay," he chirps. 

With a little smile, he then walks off to sit by the windows.

So adorable!!  My mouth dropped open in a huge smile.  Most children I see are just poised like vipers about to strike and snatch their sweets out of my hand almost before I've finished scanning them!

The parents looked pleasantly surprised and I sneeked the plastic coins back to them without their son noticing.  It's such a pleasure when I see the beautifully behaved children helping with the shopping but this is the first one to pay for the shopping with his own money.

He can come by my till any day of the week.

New Year

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

2012 is officially under way.  Once more I'm in a position of not knowing whether my employment will continue beyond the end of the month.

Luckily the manager is pretty on the ball and I do trust that he'll give an answer as soon as he is able to provide me with one.  Doesn't make it any less of a concern however.

Whilst I don't have any plans to stay at this shop forever more, just having the security of permanent employment would be a weight off my mind.  I knew this was a risk but it was a calculated one nonetheless.  Part of my continued employment does depend on how busy the business is - I overheard one of the supervisors say that on Monday we took about 18k when we'd usually take 10k on a bank holiday - that's great news, people are obviously out the bargains.  Today, in comparison, was pretty quiet.  The weather is awful which no doubt has kept some people away, but that doesn't stop that nagging feeling of 'what if the manager can't justify keeping another cashier when it's not very busy?'

I can't assume I'll still have job at the end of January, so I'm still looking for other work - focusing on my chosen career.  I don't want to keep going from job to job with the intention of leaving for something else.  I'm getting ever closer to thirty (and it's scary how fast time seems to go by) and I feel annoyed with myself that I'm not in a good career with prospects.  Or at least have a job that I love and pays enough to support myself.

What a way to start the year - full of job worries once more.  Still, I know there's plenty of others in the same boat - I'm lucky to at least have some guaranteed work for the month.

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