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!

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