bookzombie: (Default)
So, like many of my friends, I'm now moving my base of operations over to Dreamwidth. I'll cross-post to LJ for the next few weeks (not that I post a massive amount anyway!), but after that I'll probably close it down.

So I'm also bookzombie on DW, so feel free to friend me there.
bookzombie: (chris)
So the weeks since I last wrote have been horrible at a national and international level. I'm still pretty angry about Brexit, but at the same time I have to get on with normal life.

So on that note, I've now completed my first month at Oxfam. On the whole it's going pretty well. I'm deeply involved in two of my three current projects (and the third is in a brief hiatus while a new PeopleSoft programmer is recruited.), though I've been having to learn more about integration methodologies than I'd previously needed to!

Most of the people are very nice, and I've now met the one person several people warned me would be difficult and yeah, I can see why. The person concerned heads up the development team and is incredibly protective of the PeopleSoft development team. But as a Technical Design Authority I have to sign off any designs for the projects I'm assigned to, which she ain't particularly happy about. But I've met people like her before and I've usually found a way to make the relationship work, so I'll just have to give it time and patience.

The whole company was pretty much in mourning for a couple of weeks after the murder of Jo Cox, who was a liked and respected Oxfam employee before becoming an MP. And as an international aid organisation, Oxfam is very concerned about the ongoing effects of Brexit. The CEO sent out a lovely note part way through the first day after the vote to reassure non-Brit employees that they are valued and loved. I was genuinely moved.

So, yeah, going okay so far! I am having to get used to the fact that things in Oxfam move rather slower than I'm used to, and my role is a bit more constrained than my old one; I particularly have to be careful I don't do the Business Analysts job for them - I'm so used to having to do everything!

In other news, we managed to win the annual Andover Musical Theatre Company quiz on Friday (no-one was more surprised than we were!) The downside is that we have to write the next one...

And next Saturday we are going to the Farnborough Airshow after P. won VIP tickets in a company draw. Free food at her company marqui and everything :-)
bookzombie: (chris)
So I've just finished the first week at Oxfam and on the whole it went fairly well, I think.

It's a small team: me, my manager (Jason) and two others (John and Bob). I'm taking over three 'in progress' projects, so I spent a big chunk of the week reading documentation to catch up with where they are. In some ways it was a very weird week: for various reasons I actually spent a big chunk of the time by myself - which luckily I don't mind too much, though it wasn't what I was expecting!

The upside of the fairly quiet week was that I didn't get inundated with introductions. Jason is working with his manager (Nick) on a list of people to get to meet individually, but I really only got introduced to a small handful this week. About 4 people in the first couple of days did stop by my desk to introduce themselves, which was nice.

In some ways it was unfortunate that it was Bob I spent the most time with as he was the person most likely to do the 'welcome to Oxfam, here's all the things that are going to suck' remarks. I mentioned this to Nick when we met at the end of the week and he wasn't surprised: apparently Bob has form for this sort of thing. Apparently he upset a new starter at one time by telling her that her predecessor hated the job and quit after a few months. Oh well, there was bound to be someone who's awkward...

I've met two of the three project managers - the other was on holiday last week - and had good conversations with both. What's good is two of the three projects are in areas I've worked before and the third is related to one of the others. I've also already been warned about the one person who is going to be awkward, so forewarned is forearmed!

I had a catch-up with Nick at the end of the week and he professed himself happy with how things had gone. I was also very pleased with myself for reviewing one of Bob's documents that was going out to a supplier and spotting a couple of mistakes that I then fixed!

So what do I think about Oxfam as a company after a week? Well, it's not a bells-and-whistles company that's for sure: everything is fairly basic. For example they don't give out mobile phones to employees unless they can prove that they really need it and while there are several kitchens on each floor, they don't supply tea, coffee or milk. I completely understand why: they have to justify to their donors how they spend their money.

On the other hand, they do try to live up to their values and they are very strong on the 'work/life balance' thing. They are especially good about working hours: you are expected to leave after you've finished your hours. My manager works the 8am - 4pm shift (we have core hours of 10-4, but it's up to you how you schedule the rest of your hours) and, sure enough, he is out of the office by 4:15 - and his manager is the same (they both have their work calendars blocked out after 4pm.) You are also encouraged to work from home one day a week; I'll settle on a day once I've got my first couple of weeks out of the way, but Tuesday is looking good (especially with rehearsals.) Oh yes, and I've had no problem with booking some holiday!

So, yeah, I'm fairly happy with the start. We'll see how things go next week!
bookzombie: (chris)
So tomorrow I start the new job. It's going to be a weird first day: both my line manager and my task manager will be out tomorrow, so I'm meeting another member of the team who will do all the induction stuff and then I'll probably finish early and start the job proper on Tuesday.

One thing I wanted to do was think about what I learned from the process and what I'd do differently next time. As you've all sat through and supported me through this process I thought I'd share my thoughts.

1. The most important thing I've learned: don't stay in a job too long unless you are getting something good out of it.

Looking back there were several times when I probably should have decided to leave, or the times that I said I had decided to leave I should have stuck with the decision. When I joined Yell in 2001, it was to support the HR System. Within 6 months it became abundantly clear that it wasn't a full time job and so I ended up being transferred into the main IT department. This should have been an exit point if I wanted to maintain my career as an HR technical expert. Plus the fact that my introduction to IT was basically 'Here's your desk.' I wasn't introduced to anyone or given a clear role. Talking to people I became closer colleagues with years later, it turns out that there were quite a few people who had no idea who I was or what I was doing there.

I should also have left when it became clear that the technological world was moving on and my employer wasn't. One of the tough things about job hunting has been the fact that much of my technological knowledge is 10 years behind now.

And I definitely should have left at several points when I was just miserably unhappy.

So this time I plan to set myself some milestones and see how I feel about the job in 6 months, a year, 2 years, 5 years, etc. If I'm really lucky and love the job then it may be the last job I have before retirement (I was at Yell for 14 years. In another 14 years I'll be 63.) But don't hang around just for the sake of having a job.

2. Be less self-deprecating. Sometimes I'm just too hard on myself. The problem is that I am all too aware of my limitations and I often advertise them too much - you may recall that one of the elements of feedback I got from the OUP interview was that I was actually too honest about the things I didn't know how to do, when I could have sold my capacity to learn more. This was something that I did do better at the Oxfam interview: although they did ask me about some of the things that I wasn't terribly knowledgeable about, I did make of point of saying 'Yes, I know I'm not going to tick all the boxes, but can learn fast and I have all these other skills that you're looking for.'

I'll admit this is something I need to look at in my life generally: I'm often too quick to tell stories about times I've been a complete idiot about something, or been really clumsy, or whatever. I know it's a defence mechanism, but it doesn't really do me any favours.

3. If a company treats you poorly as an interviewee, they're likely to treat you poorly as an employee. So if weeks go by without a word, write the opportunity off and move on. Both OUP and bluewolf badly let me down over this (to this day, I've still never had a peep of feedback from the latter) and I expended a lot of energy on chasing and worrying about them.

4. Try not to despair. It took me around six months from when I started looking to getting the job, and I was starting to worry that nobody would want to employee me, but you only need one good opportunity at a time. In the end the right thing came along (as far as I can tell so far anyway!)

I'm sure there are other things I'll think of later, but that's the things I can think of right now.

Tomorrow, a new era starts!
bookzombie: (chris)
So who has two thumbs and a new job? That would be me!

I've had an offer from Oxfam, which I've decided to accept. The salary is a bit of a compromise: not as good as I was pushing for, but there is good mitigation for that.

The feedback was that they really liked me: they thought I would be a good personality fit for the team, they liked my attitude and approach and my interest in non-profit organisations. They were also impressed by my presentation.

The downside - and why the compromise over salary - is that they had other candidates who had better technical knowledge. This is totally fair. I always knew that my rather aging technical knowledge - due to working at one company for a long time where they have a fairly stagnant technical stack - would be my weakest part. But it seems that it was more important to find someone who fits the team than to tick all the boxes technically.

I'm quite ridiculously pleased with this result. I'm not telling everyone yet (so I'm talking about it here on LJ, but not on Facebook) until I've got the official offer and sorted out the admin. We're also working out a start date - as next week is a bank holiday week, I've put in a bid for earliest starting date of 6th June.

So there will probably be an epilogue at some point, but in the meantime I am a very happy bunny!

Job news

May. 23rd, 2016 08:52 pm
bookzombie: (chris) there none. Still waiting. I had a quick email exchange with the agent and she's been told that I should find out tomorrow or first thing Wednesday.

I hate this bit.

(I am keen on the role, I liked the people and most days the journey will be better than my old commute. But I'll admit that one of the things I'm really looking forward to is not having to go through all those flippin' JobServe lists every day...)
bookzombie: (chris)
I'm trying not to read too much into it, but I've just had a call from my agent for the Oxfam job. One of the people who interviewed my has called her to check on what my salary expectations are.

So it sounds possible that they may be making me an offer, but I'm trying not to get too excited about it, as it may be just a generic query, or something they meant to ask at the interview and forgot.

But at the very least it means that they haven't yet written me off!

Trying not to freak out...
bookzombie: (chris)
So I had my Oxfam interview today. My style was somewhat cramped by the fact that I am still suffering from the Cough from Hell (15 days since a full night's sleep and counting) and had almost completely lost my voice. I managed to croak my way through the interview and the presentation this morning, but by late afternoon I'd lost my voice completely. I'm definitely planning to have a complete rest the next couple of days!

Anyway, the interview itself seemed to go fairly well. Most of the two hours was taken up with the usual competency-based questions. I don't think my answers to a couple of them were terribly exciting, but had the advantage of actually being true. The presentation also seemed to go down okay as well - I was supposed to have 30 minutes, but we were running short of time so I had to skip through it in 15. That wasn't too bad as we had actually covered a lot of the material in the previous questions.

So it's just waiting now. They will be interviewing into next week, so I don't expect to hear anything until towards the end of next week. I was given to understand from my agent that they were only having face-to-face interview with me and one other person, but what they said either indicated that they were interviewing more, or that the other person isn't being interviewed until next week and they didn't want me to know that there was only one other person.

If I don't get an offer, I'm pretty happy that it's because I just don't quite fit the role, rather than because I didn't sell myself well at the interview. I will still be disappointed, because I'm really quite keen on this one,but I've done what I can.
bookzombie: (chris)
Yep, so the cough has settled in for a protracted stay. I've been getting to sleep at around 4am and getting 3-4 hours sleep for the last 4/5 days. I think that must be the point at which my body says 'I don't care how much you want to keep coughing, I've got to get at least a bit of sleep.'

Normally, of course, this would just be a 'bugger' and you get on with it. The problem is that I'm playing a part in a show in which I am supposed to be singing falsetto (in a 'Bee Gees' sort of style) and, well, I just don't have any falsetto right now. It's not a disaster, most of my stuff is with other people - I only have about 3 lines that are just me singing (well, only 3 where it is supposed to be just me singing anyway!) and it sounds fine if I sing an octave down, but it's just really disappointing as I've worked very hard to get the singing style right.

My biggest worry right now, though, is that if my throat doesn't get a rest from the coughing then I might lose my voice completely before the end of the show. Trying not to stress about it (I'm pretty sure I've had this problem once before and got through it), but it's niggling at the back of my mind.

(No remedy suggestions, please! My throat is getting all the TLC that it can, but there's nothing in the world that actually stops you coughing - not even the so-called cough suppresents...)
bookzombie: (chris)
I've just had a call from the agent and while they still haven't actually had any feedback, he is advising 'putting a red line through this one in the spreadsheet.' Basically the agency have placed 3 people with bluewolf this year: one has since resigned and another has been let go. bluewolf are also not paying their agency bills properly. So it does not sound good. Frankly, I'd pretty much got to the conclusion myself: it's nearly seven weeks since the interview and they haven't even had the courtesy to give the agency a quick call to say 'yay', 'nay' or 'still thinking' - is this the sort of organisation I really want to work for?

So a red line it is. Onwards!

In other news, we had both the band call and tech rehearsal for Sister Act yesterday and they went pretty well - despite me and P. still having coughs and not much voice. I didn't get to sleep until 4am-ish again last night due to coughing so I've now been to the chemist and Got All the Drugs, so hopefully I should get more sleep tonight...


May. 6th, 2016 04:44 pm
bookzombie: (chris)
I have a confirmed face-to-face interview date for Oxfam: 19th May. It will include a presentation (gulp!), but I will get the scenario in advance so I can prepare (slightly less gulp!) Apparently they have only invited two people in for face-to-face interviews, so the odds are good at least!

I've started refering to the bluewolf job as 'Schrodinger's Job' on the grounds that until someone feeds back to me about the interview, I both have and haven't got a job offer. Honestly, I've actually given up on this one, but it would still be nice to get some sort of feedback...

In other news, P. and I are celebrating the last few days before our next show by getting colds. Sigh. We are both recovering, but this is just sucky timing. We've got the band call and tech rehearsal on Sunday so while it would be nice to be able to sing, it's not the end of the world if we can't, but lots of people from P.'s work are attending opening night on Tuesday, so hopefully we'll be back to full voice by then!

Cat watch: Snowy is remaining fit-free still at the moment...
bookzombie: (chris)
1. I took Snowy in to the vets again yesterday and the verdict was that as it was still only two fits and she has recovered quickly they don't want to put her on the epilepsy treatment this time. Advice is to carry on monitoring the situation and if she does have another fit in the near future then bring her in the next day and they'll put her on the treatment (we also have anal diazapan to give her if she has another fit as well, so that's fun...)

2. I am sometimes an idiot. I've been hanging around this morning expecting a delivery of a present for my niece that I ordered yesterday. I'd remembered the delivery as being booked for between 7am and 10am today. Turns out when I checked that I had entirely screwed up the order and instead of getting 'free next day' delivery I'd managed to pay for a delivery Saturday morning between 7am and 12am. Doh! Not a disaster but I don't think I was firing on all cylinders yesterday. I've been having some sleeping issues this week and was very washed out yesterday, so I'm happy to blame it on that!

More stuff

Apr. 27th, 2016 08:05 pm
bookzombie: (chris)
I had a telephone interview this afternoon for the Technical Design Authority role at Oxfam. I thought it went well as far as I could judge, but the interviewer cautioned that they are continuing with telephone interviews into next week so don't expect to hear whether I've got a face-to-face interview until the end of next week.

However, less than an hour later I had a call from the agent to tell me that they were very keen (his words) to get me in for a face-to-face interview. So, yay me! It sounds like an interesting role with a lot of variety so I'm definitely interested. The next stage interview is not likely to be until the third week in May, which is not a bad thing as it allows me to get Sister Act out of the way.

Talking of which, although the rehearsals are going well, there was a bit of a blow up on the society's private FB group at the weekend.One of the comittee members was (as is his wont) being rather an arrogant arsehole. He upset a number of people and other people leapt in to defend him and generally it was a complete shitstorm. It didn't affect yesterday's rehearsal as far as I could tell, but there's bound to be repurcussions further down the line . I may talk about this a bit more at some point, but right now I'm really in 'I don't need this shit' mode!

I need to chase the vet about Snowy's fits. They were supposed to call me back but I haven't yet had anything.

I was rather embarrased to realise at the weekend that although I'd put an update here about Snowy, I'd completely neglected to mention that my mum had an 'episode' last week which her doctor suspected was a 'mini-stroke'. So yesterday I went with her to the local cottage hospital to have a chat with a stroke specialist. The good news is that he was pretty confident from her description that it wasn't actually a mini-stroke, but was instead a particular type of migraine attack. However, going over her health generally he did pick up a couple of things:
1. Mum has been medicated for high blood pressure for a number of years, but he was concerned that she wasn't on the most effective treatment
2. She was also recently diagnosed with a type of ventricular fibulation which explains the occasional shortness of breath and headaches. She is seeing a cardiologist next month, but in the meantime the stroke specialist was extremely concerned that she hadn't already been put on any sort of blood thinners. Basically as she has high blood pressure, VF, is a woman and over 65, this gives her a '4' on some sort of stroke risk chart, which translates as a 1 in 20 chance per year of getting a stroke. Putting her on blood thinners will immediately reduce that to 1 in a 100.

So the stroke specialist has both changes her blood pressure treatment and started her on the blood thinners, so hopefully this will improve her overall health.

It's my mum, so don't expect it to reduce the amount of worrying she does about it, of course...

It struck P. and I that all four of our parents have had some potentially serious medical condition or other in the last couple of years or so and hospital trips with them are going to be an increasing part of our lives in the next few years, sadly.
bookzombie: (chris)
Turns out that my optimisim on Snowy was a bit premature: alas she had another fit last night. Again, there doesn't seem to be any immediate danger: the fit lasted maybe 1 and a half minutes, she was dazed for another couple of minutes and then by five minutes she was eating as normal and trying to scrounge catnip treats.

However, it is only three weeks since the last time, which is a concern so I'll be giving the vet a call again on Monday...
bookzombie: (chris)
Job hunting is continuing. I got a call from an agency that specialises in non-profit organisations last week about a job for Oxfam. A bit different profile from some of the other jobs I've applied for but looks varied, interesting and fairly challenging. Agent tells me that my profile is the strongest they've seen so far and they will almost certainly want to see me. I'll take that with the normal pinch of salt, but encouraging none-the-less.

Still no news on the bluewolf job. Sigh.

On Sunday we had our first full run through of Sister Act, our latest production with the musical theatre group. It was a bit scrappy (and several people were still not 'off book'), but overall it was okay. I can't remember whether I've said it here, but I'm playing Pablo, one of the sidekicks of the villain, and most of my dialogue is in Spanish! So that's been a challenge. To help I've been playing with the Spanish lessons on the Duolingo app and really rather enjoying it. We've also got three people in the society who speak Spanish and have been helping me with the pronunciation. It's not going to be perfect, but it will do. It also means that I have to temporarily colour my hair for the run of the show. We're going for a medium brown - anything darker than that will look ridiculous with my pale skin tone - not a problem usually as I'd be wearing some stage makeup, but I don't want to look too ridiculous if I have any job interviews that week!

I've also been helping out with building the set more than I usually do, given that I've got more free time at the moment.

Snowy update: she's been absolutely fine since our scare a couple of weeks ago; you wouldn't know there was any sort of problem. Honestly, I'm actually more worried about Bob most of the time. He doesn't have any particular problems, by the way, just starting to look old and tired now. He still the one most likely to chase off invading cats!

I've just done a full rebuild of my PC as it was starting to take 15 minutes or more to boot up. I thought it might take a day or two, but it took all week (it took more than a day just to safely back up my current files!) The biggest issue I had is that I use MS Money for accounting and it is no longer supported. So the version I had the disk for needed a patch to be compatible with the saved files, but the automatic update server is now closed down. Eventually, I found the patch but it took a while. I also ended up finally upgrading to Windows 10 - there were a couple of things that just weren't stable after the upgrade - and it's working pretty smoothly, even with the couple of programs (including MS Money and bookcat) which officially aren't supposed to be compatible.

Mood-wise, I've had a few bad days. I had one of those telephone conversations with mum a couple of weeks ago, where she was panicking about maybe needing to get to hospital, but didn't just straight-out ask me if I could give her a lift. We had words...(and she didn't need the lift in the end after all.) But with everything together, I've frequently been on the edge of my emotions a lot of the time; while I'm fine generally it takes very little to make me cross or irritable. I had a go at our director for the show last week about how little rehearsal time we've had for the two big production numbers I have to do (we lost a rehearsal due to a mixup at the venue, which threw everything out) and it wasn't helped by her setting the finale and, saying dismissively that 'you all know that bit', forgetting that the men had never done it! Anyway, my complaints were not unfair - and she admitted that she'd dropped the ball on some of this - but I did overreact and it's not the first or last time in the last few weeks. So I'm trying to be better at the relaxing thing - as I've said before we'd planned for me taking a while to get another job so I really shouldn't be getting het up about it.
bookzombie: (chris)
Good news on the cat front. Snowy had her blood tests yesterday and they came back completely normally: so no diabetes, liver disease or kidney problems. So that's really good.

So basically all we can do is to keep monitoring her for further fits. Basically if she does have further fits and they are more than 3 months apart and they don't start getting closer together then it's probably idiopathic (in other words Snowy was effectively born with the possibility of having siezures and it has just finally manifested) and there really is nothing to worry about.

So good news over all; Snowy is 14 in a couple of months and is already the cat we've had who has lived longest (poor Benji died when he was 13, but he had a dicky ticker) and she has always been robustly healthy, but she is of course no longer a young cat so we expect things to start going awry.
bookzombie: (chris)
Sometimes trouble really does come in threes. In order:

1. I spoke to the agent about the London-based job first thing this morning. He still hasn't been able to get hold of them to get feedback, but we might now know why: it turns out that it was announced late yesterday that the company concerned (bluewolf) has just been bought up by IBM. Now this doesn't necessarily mean that the job isn't going to happen - and, as I mentioned, the agent hasn't spoken to the person recruiting directly - but I suspect that all recruitment is being put on hold until the implications of the buy-out have been worked through.

2. At about 1pm this afternoon our cat Snowy had a siezure. She was laying on the floor in front of me when she suddenly jumped up and sprinted into the kitchen faster than I've ever seen her move. I followed her into the kitchen and found her lying on her side by the patio door 'paddling' her legs as though she was still running. She had also wet herself and was dribbling slightly. Honestly, at that point I thought we were going to lose her - it didn't look dissimilar to what one of other cats looked like when he died.

Anyway, after a couple of minutes she calmed down and a minute or so later started to sit up. For the next couple of minutes she just kept looking from side-to-side and wouldn't look at me, but after another few minutes she seemed to be pretty much back to normal; she was purring and eating and scrounging for catnip treats.

Of course I took her to the local vet as soon as they were open. It's possible that she has epilepsy - it's not common in cats but does happen - but rather than putting her on the appropriate treatment they like to eliminate other options first. So tomorrow morning I'm taking her to the larger branch in Andover where they will run some tests. In the meantime, I was assured that as long as the attacks don't go on for more than five minutes then there  is probably nothing to worry about. It may even be that this is a one-off event and she never has another one... it was really scary while it was happening though.

3. I finally got a result back about the OUP job: they are not going to make me an offer, although it's for reasons that mainly have nothing to do with me. You know I said before that after all this time I think that something else is going on? Well, it turns out that I was correct. The team currently has (or had) two Solutions Architects (one of which was a contractor) and had recruited a senior architect. However the contractor is no longer with them (he was in a car accident - the tone of the agent didn't seem to imply that he was killed, but I don't know for sure) and for some reason the senior architect recruit fell through. So while I was the best of the external candidates (they also had a good internal candidate apparently), they felt that I would need a senior to help me get up to speed, so they have put the job on hold while they replace the senior architect.

When asked whether they would consider making me an offer once this has happened they said that they would have to think about it. The only 'strike' against me was that I (apparently, I don't really remember) made some comment about finding it frustrating when communications aren't clear and where there are lots of last minute changes from the business. Apparently this is something that happens a lot there and they would be concerned that I would find it too frustrating. Honestly, I don't really remember saying anything quite that direct - frankly yes it is frustrating but pretty much comes with the territory - but it would give them pause.

Anyway, after that "triple whammy", when P. came home from work I just broke down in tears. Obviously the Snowy situation was upsetting, but I was also really downhearted after having two jobs that sounded really promising evaporating for reasons that are mainly nothing to do with me. Of course, as I say, it may be the London job is still 'on', but I just don't know anything yet.

I'll be honest: I'm fairly depressed and discouraged right now. There are so many jobs I can't apply for that losing the opportunities I do have for reasons that are not my fault is just so disheartening (though I suppose the upside is that I didn't lose these opportunities because of something that was my fault!)

Also, I did get one other piece of feedback from the OUP interview, although it wasn't something that would affect their decision: apparently they said I was very honest, but that meant that I sounded pessimistic (I think that was the word he used) about whether I could do certain parts of the job even though they felt totally confident that I could. This is not the first time this has come up: I really need to get better at selling myself and - specifically - not belittling my ability to learn the parts of a job I don't know at the start. It's just trying to find that fine line between being upbeat about what I can do and not outright lying about what I can't do, which isn't my way at all.

Oh well, tomorrow is another day, and all that. But right now I'm just feeling really tired of it all...
bookzombie: (chris)
We'll shortly be heading up to Edinburgh for the weekend, so I thought a quick update on the job front before I go was appropriate.

1. Basingstoke-based Systems Analyst Team Leader telephone interview on Tuesday: had an interesting chat with the client, but she did emphasise that the job was 30% team management and 70% support (there was a job spec, apparently, that I didn't receive.) I haven't heard any feedback since, but while the client thought my CV was very strong the impression I got was that I'm probably not the right person for the job. And that's fine, because now I know more I don't think it's the right job for me either. Would be nice to hear something back from the client though...

2. London-based interview with Salesforce consultancy on Wednesday. This felt like it went very well, although interestingly the client suggested (and I don't disagree) that I would be a better fit for their Technical Architect team, rather than their Solutions Architect team. This is mainly a definition-based issue - I've had five SA interviews so far and every one has had a slightly different view of what an SA actually does! In this case, the SAs are the people who have a really in-depth knowledge of the Salesforce product, but anything outside that (like if anything needs to be built or interfaced to another system, etc.) falls into the Technical Architect team. Anyway, it all seemed fairly positive, although they might want me to come in for a second interview with one of the existing TAs. If I do get an offer, it will be very good experience but I will have a longer commute (although there might be an opportunity for homeworking one or two days a week.) Of course, I haven't had any feedback from the agent yet! Hopefully I should hear on Tuesday or Wednesday next week. But I really liked these guys.

3. Still waiting on OUP. I chased my agent yesterday and he tells me that he's catching up with client on Wednesday next week to find out what the hell is happening...

I'll admit that by yesterday evening I was feeling rather grumpy; I do wish clients would feedback promptly!

bookzombie: (chris)
So today I had two calls leading to:

1. A telephone interview tomorrow morning for the Systems Analyst Team Lead. This is the one based in Basingstoke which is very convenient for me.
2. A face-to-face interview on Wednesday for the Salesforce Solutions Architect. This is based in London, but pays better and would be a very good opportunity for me (according to the agent, these guys seem particularly keen - even though I haven't spoken to them in person at all yet, they want to know when I could start if all went well!)

Very exciting!
bookzombie: (chris)
I'm still waiting on the results of the OUP interview. I've chased the agent but they've not heard anything either. I'm kinda over it now? Does that make sense? What I mean is that I'm starting to not really care whether I get it or not, which is not a great place to be I think.

Also, I've got a few more possibilities out there now, including a System Analyst Team Lead role based in Basingstoke which pays slightly better than OUP, but is maybe 30 minutes away, not up to a hour and a half. Also a London-based Salesforce Solutions Architect role, which pays considerably better and will also teach me very useful new skills (not that I've got high expectations of that one.) Some other bits and pieces as well. Honestly, as long as I've got something bubbling under then I'm not getting too stressed.

In the meantime I'm still enjoying my break most of the time. Most of the windows in the house have had a good clean for the first time in ... some time. I've also started doing some tidying up of the BookCat catalogue - concentrating on making sure that everything has the right version of the cover. This is a surprisingly large task! I'm in the process of taking photos of batches of books from the shelves and then checking against what bookcat has automatically updated. But this is one of the sorts of things where my geeky side really comes out!

I am also playing through Bloodborne, by the people who brought you the Dark Souls games. And where I really struggled to remain engaged in Dark Souls  - the difficultly level broke me - I'm enjoying my playthrough of Bloodborne. It doesn't mean that I don't want to throw the handset at the PS4 sometimes...! (I'm been watching a very entertaining 'Let's Play' of Dark Souls from the Extra Credits folks. It's really entertaining and the main player, Dan, is very laid back and there's no laddish swearing. In the first few episodes James, the team's Game Designer was sitting in to talk about the design choices. Recommended, if that's your sort of thing. Link to first episode here:


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April 2017



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