Unemployed Watercooler Fridge Buzz Commiseration, Alienation and Mental Anti-Stagnation Society (DNRIYHM)

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Taking Sides: the Sea or the Woods?

The sea, easily. But even better - losing oneself in the woods only to stumble out atop windswept cliffs overlooking the sea. (NB: this has never happened to me, but would undoubtedly be pretty rad.)

emil.y, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 17:20 (2 years ago) Permalink

This has totally happened to me. In Cornwall of course - place called Kemmel Crease. Wandering through this beautiful wood and then - the sea through a tree break! It was amazing, but granted, not very unexpected.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 17:49 (2 years ago) Permalink

Hello Cooler.

Picking between woods and sea feels too much like picking between grandparents, with my mum's parents often taking me for picnics in the woods and my granny on the other side living on the south coast.

I guess I'll just say that I miss them both. (Although I probably could walk and could definitely bus to some woods from here if I got my act together, which isn't true for the sea, sadly.)

Schleimpilz im Labyrinth (a passing spacecadet), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 18:35 (2 years ago) Permalink

i used to live one street from the beach

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 18:46 (2 years ago) Permalink

Passing Bass Spuddette! I always get happy when I see you on t'Cooler! It is a bit of a "daddy or chips?" dilemma but that's why I asked it. The boundless possibilities expressed by both (the size of the sea, the age of trees.)

And I am jealous that you used to live one street from the beach, Pfunk, it does not make me less jealous to imagine it a very cold and windswept Scottish beach.

I am just back from dinner with a friend of mine who is the final stages of crazy in completing a PhD, and she makes me feel more like a human being again because we can say things like "problematising the indexicality of the Yorkeian craniofacial follicular register" and then piss ourselves laughing going "LOL Judith Butler speak."

I also started reading the most wonderful book, which I thought would be WCC-bait when I saw it in the library but a chapter and a half in, and I'm just o_0 in love with it. It's called Beechcombing (LOL, see why I was asking about sea vs woods?) and it's a natural history of the Beech Tree as a metaphor for human conceptions of Nature and conversation and also lots of botany and art history and just LOVE LOVE LOVE did you ever just pick up a book and think "this is so tailor made for me?"

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 21:31 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yes. It was called Gender Trouble.

emil.y, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 21:39 (2 years ago) Permalink

Oh, but I'm sorry, I forgot that my experiences and interests are completely invalid because I like something you don't. You can carry on laughing at me now. Cheers.

emil.y, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 21:40 (2 years ago) Permalink


White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 21:50 (2 years ago) Permalink

Like, where did that come from?

Because my friend and I were laughing about Butler's prose at dinner? She's an academic (a linguist with a heavy interest in gender) so she's familiar enough with Butler to laugh about it.

You can like whatever you want, your experiences and interests are as valid as you experience them to be - I think you'll find I'm the person constantly arguing for the right of people to have their own experiences and interests accepted as valid. What I don't like is people expressing random opinions as scientific facts without the citations or studies to back them up. If you want to continue that whole argument here, which I really don't.

You're allowed to love Butler. I'm allowed to dislike her and find her impenetrable. Both options are allowed to coexist, and it makes me really quite upset when you get so defensive as to paint me as a tyrant for not liking her.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 21:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm just bummed that the thread stopped being about trees and sea.

Not that I should be in here, being employed and all...

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 21:56 (2 years ago) Permalink

Oh, you're welcome to post in here if you're employed, Z! I only called it the unemployed watercooler because the previous ones were office watercoolers.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 21:59 (2 years ago) Permalink

The conversation was just bizarre because I was explaining how flummoxed I was by the difference in cultures between different internet messageboards. (the sort of thing bored linguists talk about at dinner.) That in the past week, I have had, simultaneously at the same time, open in two different windows on the same computer:

1) a thread on ILX where I am painted as an uncultured rube because I said that I find Judith Butler's prose style obfuscating

2) a thread on atease where I am being where I am mercilessly derided as an intellectual (as if this is an insult?) and accused of being a troll or possibly insane because I used a word like "salient" in conversation

It's just the irony, that both these things are possibly at once, that I am an anti-intellectual in one context for disliking Butler, and an impenetrable and possibly dangerous intellectual - that I am tarred as being *like* Judith Butler in one context while tarred for disliking her in another. It was just funny. But I guess only to me (us.)

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:07 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm staying out of the obfuscation thread and I have no opinion on Judith Butler; I am uncultured in most contexts I suspect.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:09 (2 years ago) Permalink

You are so completely not uncultured. I think it's just the specific thing of being a philosophy scholar which some people have an intuitive feeling for and others just don't - the same way that I can easily wrap my head around maths or code or whatever, but I realise that other people just don't.

I have not set foot in the obfuscating thread, either. I'm glad they started a thread about it, and I'm sure it was an interesting debate, but I'm quite happy to just stay out of that one.

I am resolutely middlebrow and proud of it LOL I'm going to listen to Julianna Barwick and read my book about Beechcombing (complete with Nash paintings.)

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

fwiw I think the sea/woods combination emil.y mentioned is perfect. Trees and lakes are also awesome.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:16 (2 years ago) Permalink

Oh god I want to go on a painting holiday in the Lake District, I think that is one of those old lady occupations that I was just born for. Mountains! Woods! Lakes! Sea! Is it that bit of Cumbria where the forest covered mountains just go right up to the edge of the wild North sea and just STOP. I was reading about it in another natural history (the under the field guide to British landscape) and it made it sound so spectacular.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

And I am jealous that you used to live one street from the beach, Pfunk, it does not make me less jealous to imagine it a very cold and windswept Scottish beach.

full of sewage and it stunk at times. No locals went in it apart from those from the sailing club. On a hot summers day it got mobbed by glaswegians and the like.
Winters were amazing though, watching the huge waves on a windy day hitting the promenade wall and flying over the grass where my mates and i played football or cricket. My friend lived on a house on the seafront (mentioned him before his big sister is a writer).

The other thing I miss there is the sunset. used to love getting on my bike and cycling all the way along to where the sailing club was and sitting on the wooden benchseat to watch the sunset. Was a great place to think. Sometimes even did my history homework there if i was home from school early.
Good place to be young in and great to settle down in not so great if you're 18-35 imo.
Also Prestwick was quite snobby.
I was glad to move to Hamilton (being a season ticket holder at accies) but I'd gladly move back there in a shot. Our old house had a huge loft and it seems its been converted. Shame we could never afford to move there really.

ours is the one at the end on the left(next to the railway track). It has a fence there now and I can see windows on the roof where it obviously has been renovated.

I have another pic somewhere of the front of the house but cant find it.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:25 (2 years ago) Permalink

What a lovely looking house! I like beaches so much more in winter - that really sounds great, that whole thing of waves! smashing! on a windy day against a promenade, that's like everything I love about Cornwall. Aw, your whole post makes it sound lovely, despite the smell and the Glaswegians. Watching the sunset and thinking, these are some of the greatest pleasures of life.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

We went up to Cockermouth for Christmas the year after my ma died. It was incredible - we had really clear weather. Sun on the water, clean air. The greatest surprise was the night skies! You could really see *depth*. I love London (when I'm not trying to negotiate buses, lolz) but I love to get out to where places where you can feel properly small.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:29 (2 years ago) Permalink

Feeling small in the country (in the face of SEA! MOUNTAINS! FORESTS!!!) is a much different and much nicer way of feeling small than feeling small in the city, which is the smallness of feeling overwhelmed by the sheer number of people flooding into your way like lemmings.

And don't get me pining for the night skies outside of London. I've just got used to the fact that the night sky is purple-orange when in Cornwall it is velvety blue and COVERED in so so many stars, like that Kusama exhibit that Lex and I spent an hour gawping at last week.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

Looks so different now. The loft conversion, the sheds, the carport, windows,fences. so so different.
My bedroom was on the left.
I remember the estate agents calling it a cottage rather than a bungalow.

If anyone here ever wins the lottery will you buy it back for me please?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:36 (2 years ago) Permalink

Yeah, I will totally buy it back for you. When I win the lottery. Right after I buy an entire Cornish village for myself!

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

The other side of the street had proper posh houses

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

in scottish terms that is. Quite different to where we lived before and after!

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:41 (2 years ago) Permalink

a thread on atease

good lord, what are you thinking? (well, i guess i know the answer to that, but still!) i used to be semi-regular there and still occasionally visit for what i guess is masochism's sake, and what a horrible bunch of children they are.

shart practice (Merdeyeux), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:42 (2 years ago) Permalink

Are those stained glass designs in the windows? I really like those.

x-post to Merd I know, I know, I'm stupid but I want to talk about Radiohead far more than ILX will really put up with, so stupidly, I thought it might be OK to talk about Radiohead in the Radiohead section of a Radiohead messageboard? But clearly it was unacceptable.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:43 (2 years ago) Permalink

yeah it's 'hoppers' above the window pane and the design is engrained in them.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:45 (2 years ago) Permalink

Walk up my smallish street (we lived at the bottom) and walk up the next street (Ailsa Street) and this is the view

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

Lovely. So bleak. It makes me want to post up all the beach pictures I've taken, ever, but that would be silly.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

Thread is making me want to move to remote villages with funny names on the Antrim coast, or at least make bleak dubby techno tracks named after them.

Have spent all evening going "I caaaaan't do my German homework" instead of actually doing it, have now done really lousy half-assed job which is way too short, will soon go to bed. Exciting!

Schleimpilz im Labyrinth (a passing spacecadet), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 22:58 (2 years ago) Permalink

prestwick sailing club

would cycle past that all the way along to that seat to watch the sunset. There was rocks n stuff there too. Will see if i can get a photo of that

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 23:00 (2 years ago) Permalink

The bleakness is just so inspiring and lovely. It's like a Boards of Canada record played at the wrong speed.

LOL, spacecadet, that's me with my Cornish homework. Except I actually forgot to go to class last week. As in, genuinely forgot, I didn't realise it was Friday until I was eating dinner and realised I was supposed to be in Holborn (an hour away) in fifteen minutes.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 23:02 (2 years ago) Permalink

here we go. The seat was just around where the lamp post is iirc.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 23:05 (2 years ago) Permalink

I kinda wish I were there. Well, except for the smell and the neds.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 23:08 (2 years ago) Permalink

I am quite excited that Cornish classes are a thing which exists outside Cornwall!

Last time my parents were in Cornwall they brought me back a book (more of a pamphlet really, probably only 10 or so pages) of Cornish words which I spent a while excitedly crosschecking against the Welsh and Breton dictionaries we stopped mr spacecadet's father putting in a skip when his linguist mother died. The Breton part was a bit tricky as it was Breton-French.

Actually I don't think we got very far on that quest, but I liked that the Breton for rain is "glao", which is like the Welsh but spelt better.

Schleimpilz im Labyrinth (a passing spacecadet), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 23:10 (2 years ago) Permalink

Cornish is a lot like the Welsh but spelled phonetically! It's great that way. It's funny, all Celtic minority language speakers are kind of obsessed with checking how their words translate in the corresponding cognates.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 23:11 (2 years ago) Permalink

I want to say raining is ow kul glow (pronounced to rhyme with cow) in Cornish but I'm probably misspelling it.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 23:12 (2 years ago) Permalink

Nope, it's spelled Glaw.

Snow is "ergh" which I'm convinced is onomatopoeic for what ppl sailors say when they open their doors and think "I have to go out in that?"

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Tuesday, 21 February 2012 23:14 (2 years ago) Permalink

i would like to find a pic of the council flat we lived in EK until i was 2 1/2 as i dont recall it at all. I do remember the council house in greenhills, EK, but cant find it either, it goes to a totally different address. Stupid google.
Doubt the house in Blackwood will be on google maps

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 23:33 (2 years ago) Permalink

Did you have a browse along the seafront?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 23:37 (2 years ago) Permalink

A picture of the seafront at sunset. That's Arran in the distance

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 23:53 (2 years ago) Permalink

Tides out as you can see. Used to go out quite far in summer. In winter it came up over the wall when it was stormy just in front of my friends house. Along past the sailing club and up where i posted the pic from, you got it the most. Further you went to the right it didn't go anywhere near the wall.

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Tuesday, 21 February 2012 23:55 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'd promise to buy your house back, but I've never bought a lottery ticket.

Also unknown as Zora (Surfing At Work), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 00:04 (2 years ago) Permalink

Sorry, I fell asleep reading my beeches book.

That photo with the crepuscular rays on the clouds is incredible, Arran looks so pretty. Can't ever get streetview to work on my interweb connection, which is just as well as I'd be spending hours strolling down country lanes in like, Lamorna, if I could.

On a completely unrelated note, I have just realised that I've spent the past ages mistaking "codex" for "concordance" and I only just found out while trying to look up on wikipedia what "indexicality" actually means (approximately what I thought it meant, but it was still nice to know.)

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 08:27 (2 years ago) Permalink

while looking for info on the cats on iron maiden covers thing i came across this
There's no thread on witchcraft in music so i thought hows about discussing it here? It's not really something I know about so not starting a thread on it.

Anyway i just kinda wondered what your mum thought of stuff like this?

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 08:38 (2 years ago) Permalink

and i mean properly, not laughable articles like that

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 08:40 (2 years ago) Permalink

haha it links to this http://cannonfire.blogspot.com/2006/04/george-w-bush-barbara-bush-and.html not heard that one before

pfunkboy (Algerian Goalkeeper), Wednesday, 22 February 2012 08:51 (2 years ago) Permalink

I'm not sure why my mum would be bothered? I suspect, knowing her personality, she'd think it was rather laughable.

I don't know. It seems like a lot of people in rock n roll muck about with ~the occult~ just to be shocking and a bit weird, and some paranoid people within christianity take it all rather too seriously, but they strike me as the same kind of thinking level as conspiracy theorists. Hedonism and rock n roll are all intimately tied up together, hedonism and satanism are all tied up, ergo they are one and the same. But these are people who think that the Devil is an actual gentleman who walks around with red horns and a tail, rather than a metaphorical personification of evil, which is a much more complex topic.

It's strange, I have to admit I've always had a vague fascination with the occult - but the devil worshipping aspect of it (usually christian projection onto older nature cults) always just seemed silly.

White Chocolate Cheesecake, Wednesday, 22 February 2012 08:57 (2 years ago) Permalink

And just when I'm ready to start throwing darts at their pictures, there's this:

Smirking bastard. Why are you so cute.

Branwell Bell, Thursday, 10 April 2014 07:33 (1 week ago) Permalink

Bit late, sorry, but HB BB!

the ghosts of dead pom-bears (a passing spacecadet), Thursday, 10 April 2014 21:53 (1 week ago) Permalink

Aw, thank you Spacecadet! x

Branwell Bell, Friday, 11 April 2014 07:40 (1 week ago) Permalink

I don't know if I'm just being ~over-emotional~ right now, but...

Although I had an excellent birthday yesterday (chocolate biscuits, TSM, seaside, crazy Victorian architecture, Doom Bar) I kinda ruined it by checking my work-related email last night. I wish I had left that until this morning to get ... I don't even know what the word is for the emotions I'm experiencing.

It isn't disappointment, because my gut feeling through the whole process has been "I do not want that job". I should have just listened to that gut feeling, and said no flat out, and not let myself be coerced or sweet-talked into a negotiation process. But it isn't relief, either, because either the employer or the headhunter decided to just do a passing "kick you in the teeth" neg in the last email, telling me that my negotiation "left a bad impression."

(All along, I think this headhunter has acted particularly unprofessionally. For example, asking me the wrong set of questions in the initial interview (they asked me the developer questions, not the report writer questions!) Then, before the first phone interview with the employer, he said "oh, don't mention that I asked you the wrong questions, also, here are the actual questions you will be asked, look up the answers so you do well in the test - oh, but don't mention I gave you these, either!" Um. Now, obviously, I do not need any help acing a SQL query writing test, but still, that was weird.) ((I am semi-tempted to just forward that email to the guy who interviewed me at the employer and say "by the way, you were complaining about candidates who did well on the phone interview, then couldn't pass the sit-down computer test? Here's why."))

This whole world is just not something that makes any sense to me. I know, from experience, if you say to an initial offer "I think that salary looks a little low, I'd like another £2k or £3k" then headhunters will go back and negotiate. But the idea that I might say "I'm willing to negotiate for less salary in order to get more reasonable hours" is basically viewed like I just did a shit on the board of directors' table.

Oh fuck it. I am just going to consider this whole thing a bullet I have dodged. I will give myself today to feel kinda bummed and weird about it, and then throw myself back into the job search on Monday.

Branwell Bell, Friday, 11 April 2014 08:08 (1 week ago) Permalink

Omg. You did nothing unreasonable! You dodged a bullet imo. I would not have wanted to work those hours either.

kinder, Friday, 11 April 2014 08:24 (1 week ago) Permalink

Thank you!

It really will be something that I pay more attention to in the future, is how many ~women my age~ there are in an office. (In that one: none.)

Because I have started thinking, like, it's impossible for me to work those kinds of hours because of my long-term health issues. But what if I had children? I don't in any way mean to equate "parenting" with "middle aged women" but still! It does make me wonder, when women my age disappear from a workplace, what the issues are. I don't know why men put up with overwork culture. But from those guys in the interview, going "I work 9 hour days, no problem" "well, I work 10 hour days!" I suspect it is that whole "macho" competitive overwork bullshit.

(Oddly, the employer that I worked for 2 jobs ago, like, 75% - 80% of their staff were women. And they were having appalling problems with their staff retention rate. The whole reason that they dropped the standard contract hours from 40 to 37.5, and also instituted flexi-time and part time, was in a deliberate effort to hold onto their staff, most of whom were women. But the reason they were even willing to consider it, was that they had 3 women on the board of directors! 2 of whom had children, and all of whom said "you know, the working hours might be a problem.")

Blah blah blah etc.

Branwell Bell, Friday, 11 April 2014 08:39 (1 week ago) Permalink

I don't know why men put up with overwork culture.

Don't blame the victim!

mohel hell (Bob Six), Friday, 11 April 2014 12:48 (1 week ago) Permalink

You know, on ILX, I sometimes spend a great deal of time composing posts, and then just hitting the back button, thinking "I don't really have the energy or the emotional equilibrium to argue through the inevitable backlash right now."

And then I see the posts that other ILX0rs actually just go ahead and blithely post, and I just think "really?"

Branwell Bell, Friday, 11 April 2014 12:53 (1 week ago) Permalink

Instead, I am going to go and pitch some illustrations to a website that a friend of mine told to me pitch to over a year ago, but I never got around to doing because... well, because I was afraid. Because I think that would be a better use of my time and energy.

Branwell Bell, Friday, 11 April 2014 12:55 (1 week ago) Permalink

happy bday for y'day k8!

lex pretend, Friday, 11 April 2014 14:35 (1 week ago) Permalink

tbf i was listening to some of the women in my office having a "who's ill the least" brag-off y/day so i've got to say that workplace tuffness feels like an equal opps disease in some ways. but otoh we work reasonably flexibly and have reasonable holidays

waterflow ductile laser beam (Noodle Vague), Friday, 11 April 2014 14:40 (1 week ago) Permalink

I am not going to have this argument, and especially not here, but when I hear men who do not go home and do The Second Shift bragging about the ~long hours~ they work it does ring a little hollow.

I mean, basically fuck long hours culture for a billion other reasons, but for men to even pretend this is some place where men and women are equivalents, just... come on. No.

Branwell Bell, Friday, 11 April 2014 14:53 (1 week ago) Permalink

no i know there's a real difference at home, and i was gonna mention it. but i have observed women acknowledge this too with a kind of competitive stoicism. my stance on the horror of long hours culture is pretty well-documented too.

waterflow ductile laser beam (Noodle Vague), Friday, 11 April 2014 14:59 (1 week ago) Permalink

the macho overwork thing seems to be a symptom of 'get as successful as you can as fast as you can QUICK QUICK before some bastard beats you to it' corporate bullshit whereas women often through necessity have to ascertain more of a balance throughout.
I am lucky, my workplace is mainly female and treats flexible working seriously, and some of the men are taking advantage of it too (not in a bad way! I mean doing their own flex working to look after the kids etc).

kinder, Friday, 11 April 2014 16:43 (1 week ago) Permalink

Wonder if it's even worth applying for anything during Easter week, but trying to at least log onto the website and apply for things so at least it looks like I'm active.

I've only officially been doing this a month, but I'm already so sick of ~job search~. Need pictures of cute boys in suits.

Also, today is my estranged brother's birthday and my subconscious decided to bless me with creepy freaking dreams. Thanks for that.

Branwell Bell, Monday, 14 April 2014 09:06 (1 week ago) Permalink

Oh god, how does one stay focused and ~enthusiastic~ and "oh yes, I would love to interview for this job which requires weekend cover... (oh do fuck off)" in the face of endless, relentless disappointment and being asked to jump through hoops for impossible things. I'm getting to the point where I don't want to even call anyone back. But I know that I have to. Would like to just take a week off and go on holiday from looking for a job.

Anyway, here is Kessler demonstrating his fingerbanging technique:

Branwell Bell, Tuesday, 15 April 2014 09:46 (1 week ago) Permalink

Ugh, unemployment sucks. Working from home sucks too. I'm currently working on some research for an industry body and I am going a little stir crazy, even when I change it up by going to the library or coffee shop.

I'm struggling with headhunters as well, my resume doesn't clearly identifiable box so most headhunters ignore me. That or they try and cell me 'career coaching' or CV rewriting services. I went to a meeting with one for shits and giggles and they quoted me $5000 for their services, maybe I should get into that racket. Having done this from the other side I wish more hiring managers hired like I used to, cut out the HR CV screener and the head hunter and go straight to the resume pile and LinkedIn. I hired two or three great people who never would have got in through the traditional route and turned out to be amazing. (especially the vegan punk tech writer I had to fight really hard to hire, she ended up winning the MVP award at the christmas party the year I hired her)

Also fuck a 9 hour work day. I think my peak productivity is somewhere around 35 hrs a week. i would love to be in a position to ask for a 4 day week or a 9 day fortnight but right now no-one is interested in talking to me.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Wednesday, 16 April 2014 00:36 (1 week ago) Permalink

Oh god thank fuck I haven't been offered "career coaching" or "CV rewriting" because fuck that racket. I'm not convinced that any of them know more about the recruitment process than anyone who has actually... y'know, hired a body. I suppose the sheer volume of the CV pile (and how much people lie on their CVs) is the reason that managers don't do this. But when the headhunter is adding another layer of mendaciousness, rather than taking it away... I dunno. Half the ones I speak to don't understand technology, and the other half don't seem to understand that "office culture" is just as important (if not more) than tech skills, which can usually be taught.

I am well aware that I'm a tricky case, because with the right manager and the right environment I will work like a dog, and have certainly proved myself capable of it, but with the wrong manager and environment, I'm a complete fucking HR nightmare. And I have no desire to go into an HR nightmare any more than they do.

I think everyone's peak productivity is between 30 and 35 hours a week. I cannot think of a single instance where longer hours resulted in more work getting done. Work always expands to fill the available time, so you gain nothing by working longer.

I spoke to 3 different headhunters yesterday, and I'm at the point where I'm mixing up them and their jobs and which other jobs they're connected to, and I've started writing down some of it in a little notebook, but then as soon as you write it all down, you never hear from them again.

Anyway, here is a picture of Kessler, because this seems to be becoming a tradition:

Oh, and just as I was complaining about headhunters, there was another one on the phone. I guess I have a phoner interview tomorrow so I need to go and do some research.

Branwell Bell, Wednesday, 16 April 2014 08:36 (1 week ago) Permalink

One of the best things I ever heard about productivity was during my scrum training; that their are only 22 productive hours in a week, less if you have any kind of management responsibilities.

The thing is about CVs is I reckon that I can do pattern recognition faster than an HR wonk. I'd always pass back my shortlist to HR for initial contact and phone screening but go through the pile myself.

Top tip, I use Asana as a sort of CRM to keep my recruiters and conversations with them straight.

American Fear of Pranksterism (Ed), Wednesday, 16 April 2014 08:43 (1 week ago) Permalink

If there truly are only 22 productive hours in a week (and honestly, it depends on the week, it depends on the task, it depends on the environment) what the FUCK were we expected to be doing those other 23 hours, at that awful "9 hours a day" place?

Laptop is so old (argh! I just remembered I had a dream I had to update its operating system, which I haven't done in... ooh about 4 years, ugh) that I can't install any new software on it. Probably first thing I do when I get a job is buy a new laptop and smartphone but ugh. I don't even like apple products any more.

I've got "please POH-lice me, I want you to POLL-ice" me stuck in my head and I'm laughing trying to remember if it's all Americans who pronounce "police" funny or just that particular one.

Branwell Bell, Wednesday, 16 April 2014 08:48 (1 week ago) Permalink

Who is this Kessler fellow anyway?

Eats like Elvis, shits like De Niro (Tom D.), Wednesday, 16 April 2014 09:06 (1 week ago) Permalink

some bloke

conrad, Wednesday, 16 April 2014 09:10 (1 week ago) Permalink

I gathered that

Eats like Elvis, shits like De Niro (Tom D.), Wednesday, 16 April 2014 09:10 (1 week ago) Permalink

a bloke is a bloke is a bloke

conrad, Wednesday, 16 April 2014 09:12 (1 week ago) Permalink

And while I am complaining, I would also like to air my irritation with the "No-Yes".

This is that horrible phenomenon whereby people manage to turn down something, without ever using the word "no" and in fact, while maintaining a cheerful air that they plan on doing something they never actually intend to do. I don't know what people get out of this. The idea that they are letting you down easy? The idea that they are not-negative, and positive, and Do Things, while all the time keeping you in this kind of suspense whereby you never actually get a "no" so that you can move on and make other plans, you just exist in this quasi-space of slowly decaying hope.

If I suggest to you, that I do A Thing for you, and you don't want to do the Thing, just say "thanks, but no thank you". Do not display enthusiasm and say "yes, let's do the thing, let me have a think and get back to you" and then... slowly ghost and then not get back to me. This is the second time this has happened in a month, with different people in different situations, and in this case, I should probably send another, more firm suggestion of instead of "I would like to do A Thing for you" I should say "I would like to do Thing X for you, I expect it will take this long" but good god I am sick of chasing people to no avail.

Also, Tumblr is failing in its appointed task of providing me with more pictures of Kessler being adorable this morning, and this is irritating.

Branwell Bell, Wednesday, 16 April 2014 09:17 (1 week ago) Permalink

This is a Kessler:

Branwell Bell, Wednesday, 16 April 2014 09:19 (1 week ago) Permalink

...and another email from someone wanting to use my drawings in a local publication, with no mention of payment, but lots of mention of "exposure" and "promotion" and I am trying to get up the nerve to just write back and say "My rates for print publication are £30 for an original image, and £50 for a colour image" (which is probably actually incredibly low, because I've no idea what the market rates are, because everybody just expects you to work for free) and take it from there.

Because quite frankly, I've already had, this year, two rounds of people using my artwork for free because "it's great exposure" and quite frankly, at this point, I don't want more exposure. I want cold hard cash.

(Yes, ironic, considering that I was willing to work for the "no-yes" people for free but I'm running out of patience, not to mention cash.)

Branwell Bell, Wednesday, 16 April 2014 11:59 (1 week ago) Permalink

Went to Epping Forest yesterday, which was lovely (in the mist and the rain) but at the same time: disappointed by total lack of bluebells. Well, maybe one tiny small patch of bluebells the size of a bathtub, hiding under a bush.

Why no bluebells? Biggin Wood, locally, is a mass of bluebells!

Is this because London is always 5 degrees warmer than the surrounding countryside, so London bluebells are earlier than Essex? Or, because Epping Forest is mostly beech wood, there is so little ground cover, so no bluebells? (Though bluebells usually come out before the full leaf canopy has sprung in spring, so surely this wouldn't matter?)

Walk: lovely, but still somewhat dismayed by lack of bluebells. Where can I go (within reach of London) that has good bluebells?

Branwell Bell, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 07:42 (5 hours ago) Permalink

if you think about something very sad and then look in the mirror you might see a blue Bell.

estela, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 08:42 (4 hours ago) Permalink

Only if I hold my breath.

Branwell Bell, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 08:58 (3 hours ago) Permalink

that's a more efficient and less gloomy method than mine.

estela, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 09:05 (3 hours ago) Permalink

Hampstead Heath or Highgate Woods for bluebells? Might also find the last of the season's wild garlic into the bargain.

baked beings on toast (suzy), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 09:07 (3 hours ago) Permalink

Hampstead Heath in abundance, and there's an impressive display in a tiny park/reclaimed pavement beside the Royal Free along from Belsize Park tube

mohel hell (Bob Six), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 09:51 (3 hours ago) Permalink

I really wanted to go somewhere more exotic than Hampstead. Not that Essex is exotic but... well, ~not London~.

Branwell Bell, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 10:09 (2 hours ago) Permalink

Wikipedia says that "The thicker the summer canopy, the more the competitive ground-cover is suppressed, encouraging a dense carpet of bluebells, whose leaves mature and die down by early summer."

One place that springs to mind is Coneybank Wood, nr. Great Missenden. There's a footpath running through the wood (it's a pleasant walk from Great Missenden to Wendover) and I remember the woods being awash with bluebells in early May 2009.



dubmill, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 12:15 (41 minutes ago) Permalink

Early May? maybe I am simply too early.

I shall have to investigate woods and walks and train times and things.

Branwell Bell, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 12:36 (20 minutes ago) Permalink

I am trying to get up the nerve to just write back and say "My rates for print publication are £30 for an original image, and £50 for a colour image" (which is probably actually incredibly low, because I've no idea what the market rates are, because everybody just expects you to work for free) and take it from there.

do this! exposure is worthless!! make the buggers pay! [and your rates are very reasonable]

it definitely wasn't designed to be a pants pocket player (stevie), Wednesday, 23 April 2014 12:38 (18 minutes ago) Permalink

maybe I am simply too early.

I shouldn't think so, it's nearly May already. They'll be out now.

dubmill, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 12:41 (15 minutes ago) Permalink

Maybe I just picked a bad forest! Except there were actual posters up, on the carpark billboard of "Epping Bluebells" so there surely must be bluebells in Epping forest; just not the bit I was in. I shall try another woods.

Stevie, I did do. They declined to pay, claiming they were new and just getting started and apparently the whole point of the magazine is... advertising for local businesses? I declined to do them any illustrations.

Weirdly, I got another local "community" magazine, also mainly advertising for local businesses, and it had this weird rant in the back of it, about how they were supposed to be a charity, and the printing press they run is to train and employ disabled people and apparently some people they got in to organise advertisers for them "realised how lucrative this was" and ran off with their advertisers to start their own magazine, and this is "stealing from a charity, which is just not done!" and it was all very outraged and weird and ~local politics~ and it makes me wonder if they were talking about the people that approached me? Whatever it is, it's very strange, and all quite ~local~ and kind of amusing and kind of sad in "two bald men arguing over a comb" territory.

Branwell Bell, Wednesday, 23 April 2014 12:53 (2 minutes ago) Permalink

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