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.

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