A Far Fetched Resolution

I’ll tell you what happens with impossible promises. You start with far-fetched resolutions. They are then pickled into a rigid dogma, a code, you go through the years sticking to that, out-dated, misplaced, irrelevant to the real needs, and you end up in the grotesque chaos of a Labour council, a Labour council hiring taxis to scuttle round the city handing out redundancy notices to its own workers. I’ll tell you.. You can’t play politics with people’s jobs and with people’s services.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Well folks,

I have "Got on my bike and looked for work". Having been a free agent now for a number of months I shall be changing things a little on this blog - I have the sensibilities of employers and so on to be concerned about. At the moment this blog doesn't really show up you google me, so I suspect they haven't seen it, though it's hardly the most excitingly revealing thing they'll ever have read.

But anyway, I shan't be revealing too many details of my job just yet as it's all conditional on references and so on and I haven't agreed a start date. But I'm very very much looking forward to it. It does mean moving back down to London and looking for places to live and the like, which is all good fun.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Small talk

Job interview yesterday. Went well. Lots of smiling and nodding from the assembled panel which I interpreted as a good sign. But then I think they probably smile and nod at everyone, since it's rude not to.

Hearing monday whether I got the job or not. Here's hoping. It would be a really exciting opportunity and the attractions of mooching round the house and filling in job applications are beginning to pale. I also got the feeling from the interview that a lot of the people I'd be working with would be really good fun too - some pretty on the ball people but none of this macho-competetiveness you get in stereotypical "high-flying" environments where everyone spends their time high-flying up their own backsides rather than working together to get stuff done.

Anyway, if I did get the job it would threaten some of the political content of afarfetchedresolution.com as it's a position where mouthing off about the issues of the day is frowned upon. So we'll see. Most of the people (person) who read afafetchedresolution moan that I spend far too much time sticking it to Cameron anyway.

A few observations on the interveiw:

1. The small talk with the other people who turn up to the job interview is hilarious. There are those who clearly know nothing about the job and are there on the basis of a whizzy CV but are blatantly going to be found out in the interview. There are those who know the ins and outs of everything and think that's going to clinch them it, and are very keen for you to know that. And then there's little old me who managed to spill water all over the table in the waiting room and was busily mopping it up with toilet paper when they came to get me for the interview.

2. The fact that they are supposed to ask all of the candidates several of the same questions and that I was second to last to be seen meant that there was a sort of production-line feel which I tried to break by cracking a few jokes. About bins. And the private finance initiative. Don't knock it - they laughed.

3. Aptitude tests and other "objective" skill tests could only be better on average at identifying the right "skill-sets" if the people who appoint are incapable of normal social interaction and reasoned thought. They are clearly designed for the kind of person who would phone in a radio show specifically to say they agreed with the previous caller.

Friday, August 18, 2006

"You're not very good"

A good friend of mine went to a football match (I believe it was Oxford United) and was so taken by one of the chants used ("You're not very good, You're not very good [repeat]") that he adopted it to sing at Liberal Democrats whenever he got the opportunity.

I thought of this when I heard about John Prescott's thoughtful and insightful analysis of the strengths and weakness of the US Presidents' character.

Once I'd though about that a bit, it got me thinking about something else. Can Prezza so eloquently sum up the virtues of every world leader?

If anyone isn't on holiday at the moment, suggest me some (tasteful) four-letter summings-up of the foreign and domestic policies of the leading lights of the international stage. We might submit them to Prezza for his forthcoming book on international relations; "Thinking about Peace and War".

I'll start you off with a very loyal New Labour one in a desperate attempt to provoke some reaction in the dog-days of August:

Tony Blair: "Firm"

Students at St Bodgerington Fotheringtons, Surrey, do well in exams (again)...in the face of insurmountable social & economic challenges I'm sure

I'm really stupid. Why is that whenever it's A level results day all the photos you see of celebrating young people feature attractive girls from minor private schools with good press officers?

When a group of us got a load of good results from my Comp in Liverpool my mum wrote to the papers.* She pointed out that whilst this had gone unreported, a series of identical results from the local private girls school was front page news. For something like the third year running.

It's just so blatant. It really shouldn't take much for a journalist to ring up the head of sixth form from one of the big comprehensives every other year and ask "you got any good news stories for us this year" or something. I sometimes get the impression journalists have some sort of code of conduct which forces them to sit their behinds on their wheelie office chair motionless, until some vested interest or other rings them up or faxes them a press release they can chirrup verbatim.

Of course people will simultaneously continue to harp on about how comprehensives are crap, and continue to think that kids from comps who do well only do so because of dumbing down, but should a state school actually appoint a press officer or some such then all hell would break loose about wasted government money.

* Anonymously I think. I certainly asked her to do it anonymously but I can't remember if I won that row or not.

UPDATE: I have absolutely no idea where the photo comes from (other than that it was on the BBC website - so sue me, one man and his dog read this site daily, you'll get thruppence. Just email danielamokachi12@yahoo.co.uk and say you want me to take it down) so I have absolutely no idea whether this young lady is from a minor public school.

Whether she is attractive or not is clearly a subjective judgment and my girlfriend has banned me from considering any other female of the species attractive. This was the only one left on the BBC site at this hour of the morning - there have been a succession of them up all day; all pretty young women. And that's the BBC for god's sake. I shudder to think what the Daily Mail will look like tomorrow.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

It's that time of year again...

Rejoining my old work Fantasy League for the new season. We do the version where everyone gets £75million and you have to bid against each other for players in increasingly frantic round of auctions (unlike others only one person can have each player in their team).

Last year I was rock bottom at the first transfer window and blew my entire mid-season tranfer budget on Michael Owen. It was enough to get me off bottom but then he got crocked. I know how Sven feels.

So this season I've gone hell for leather to get Jermain Defoe (since we may as well learn from Sven's mistakes) and also obtained me a John Terry, a Pepe Reina, a Geremi, a Fredrick Ljungberg and my favourite of all, wee Timmy Cahill. We'll not mention Lee Yung-pyo, or Carlton Cole.

I was pipped by a measly half a million to Shevchenko though. And last season my perceptive purchase of Gabriel Heinze for £4.5 million was looking good til he got crocked too. Sadly the world cup put paid to any cut-price repeat of that and I was outbid.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Presentation's what you need...

I can't remember which stand up I heard doing this routine but it was really funny. It was about how some students had decided to sue their university because they're degrees had overly stressed them out as they were "too hard".

The comedian in question suggested a few other circumstances where such a complaint might be appropriate "We will fight them on the beaches...Oh but it's toooo haaarrd!" "we choose to go to the moon...But it tooo harrdd" etc.

Well I choose to apply for a job. And they choose to ask me to do a presentation. I hate doing presentations. Ask me to stand up and argue loudly about something I feel strongly about then I love speaking in public. Ask me to generally make a case for something, I can.

But then say I need to plan it carefully, make it match some hand outs I've pre-prepared and more or less act like a management consultant I just fall apart. I've got to do this on Friday - and I've got two whole days at home to do it and, basically, it's a nightmare.

It's just tooo harrdd!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Anger management

When I was four years old and the miners' strike was in full swing my mum took me to Leo's Co-op supermarket on Park Road in Liverpool. I went past there today which reminded me. I used to stand outside with a bucket shaking it wildly and asking passers-by to drop coins in it to "Support the miners and their families".

When my mother opposed the 1st Gulf war I went with her on the demonstration, aged 10. I wrote a banner saying "I won't die in Saddam's war" and then I affixed a badge I'd bought from an anarchists stall at a hippy fair near Keswick which said "Stuff the Poll Tax up Thatcher's Arse".

When my government was happily letting my school buildings fall apart around mine and my friends ears, and when nearly half the people who left my school, and the school where my mum taught ended up unemployed...I joined a political party and I campaigned to change the government.

I know a lot of people who did the same. It is also pleasing to note that none of them has ever been "disappeared" or "interogated by police" or generally intimidated into not campaigning to change the government.

There has in fact in that time been at least one such change nationally, and one change of local government where I live too. Niether involved violence. In fact the power went to the people with the most votes. I campaigned in favour of one and against the other. ("campaign" here being a generic term for peaceful means of encouraging one's fellow citizens to take a view similar to yours, and to act on it)

It never occurred to me that the accepted and recommended response to things you disagreed with was to attempt to blow things up (including oneself). But now I know.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Preparing for stuff...


Tomorrow I'm going to London to see my Dad's exciting show (which I saw on film only five days ago and therefore know the ending of. Thanks Mum).

Emily is coming to see it too, as she is a glutton for punishment. I'm sure it will be fun.

Anyway, I've been turning my thoughts to jobs overnight, "sleeping on it" as it were and have come to the conclusion that I should just let the fates decide. If I've applied for a job it's because I want to do it. I've thought about things and the one for which I may or may not have an interview soon sounds really exciting, having spoken to people who've done similar jobs before. So I'm going to jump to it and get myself in tip-top shape for it, and see what happens.

Hopefully I'll get it - I can't moan one day that the process takes too long and then get myself all in a strop when one comes along rather more quickly than I'd thought and makes me make decisions I hadn't planned on making just yet.

So here goes.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Rumours abound...

Nothing is confirmed and until I have piece of paper in my hand there is nothing to say that it isn't an error...

But if the rumours are to be believed...it would seem...

...That I have my first ever job interview coming up soon!

I have nothing official but I believe I may be on the shortlist for a job. This is exciting. I have never had a full-on proper job interview before, though I went through university interviews twice and have had more or less formal interiviews for some short term jobs. I have nothing to add on this at this stage but I will keep you updated.

There are two other applications pending of which I have currently heard nothing, for only one of which is this cause for concern.

The question I would like to pose dear readers, should anyone wish to furnish me with advice...is what happens if you are given a job following an interview? Are you duty bound to accept it there and then? Do you have a period to think about it (i.e. if you've potentially got another job you've applied for?) or what? I don't really know the procedure and don't want to accidently get a job without thinking about it properly first. Do I need to be doing my serious thinking now?

I have never been in such a position before and am feeling my way in the dark a little bit.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Summertime, an' the livin' is easy...

Right, so I promised a post about what I have been up to other than filling in job applications. Here it is.

1. Emily and I have been spending time with each other. This is wonderful. I have been exploring Leeds. Actually, I've been exploring a pub in Leeds which I have now visited twice. And Pictionary which we have played with her friend and various siblings and boyfriends of siblings and so on. Twice. Emily tends to win, and as a loyal boyfriend I couldn't possibly accuse her of cheating ever. There was a particular surreptitious mime of a penguin when no-one was looking which I can categorically say that, as a loyal boyfriend, was not at all cheating.

2. I love Emily very much, even when she is miming penguins and miraculously winning at pictionary. To mark the fact that we have known each other for 6 months (the start of our "relationship" is a controversial matter so we have settled on the day we were introduced to each other as the best date to mark) I cooked dinner and purchased March of the Penguins, which we watched. There were many penguins. Emily was very happy and has apparently watched it again with every member of her family one by one.

3. Emily bought me a monkey. She really did. Made of chocolate. It goes with Chomsky, the monkey she bought me during my exams. The reason I called it Chomsky is to do with what I was reading about during the exams. When I manage to learn how to use my new digital camera I will post a picture of Chomsky and a full explanation.

4. I used to sit in the sun and watch the World Cup. Both have disappeared. Now I mooch around the house waiting for the sun to come back, occasionally watching the cricket.

5. My good friend Ellie Reeves and the wonderful Peter Wheeler were succesfully elected to the NEC which is a GOOD THING. For Ellie to get elected at the first attempt in her mid-twenties is a really really fantastic achievement and I'm really pleased for her - she'll do a fab job.

6. I have occasionally caught up with friends. But not as much as I'd like as many of them are not in Liverpool and I'm conserving energy and money for the transparently long time it is going to take for anyone to employ me by not going to London or Oxford or Abroad much.

7. I am going to London this weekend however to see my dad in a play "The Representative" which he is performing at the Finborough Theatre in Earls Court. I was watching a film called "Amen" on Sunday night with my mum who bought it ages ago on DVD but hadn't got round to watching it. The plot seemed eerily familiar to that outlined by my dad for the play he's in. It transpires it was the film of the play. So great. I get to go and watch a 3 and half hour translated German play set during the Holocaust. And I already know the ending.

That's about it for now.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Your problem? You need an excitable, over ambitious, half-arsed, ex student with little if any experience and a chronic lack of motivation?

But there is a solution. Me.

So time has drifted by and I haven't blogged. There are several reasons for this. But they key reason is the sheer lack of anything to blog about. I've been sort of hanging around waiting for someone to ring me up and give me a job. It's slowly dawned on me that in the real world this doesn't happen. Even when you have a degree (fluke).

So, two months having passed since I took my final exam it's time to start applying for things. And my oh my oh my is it boring. And what's more people are so slow. Most adverts come out and say "deadline in four weeks" (as if they'll ever give you a deadline that generous when they actually give you the job!). Then they say 'interviews will be, like, a few weeks afterwards or something, whenever we can be bothered'.

Presumably at this point they just hang about a bit scratching their heads wondering whether they should give you the job even though in the intervening period you've long since passed retirement age. Or rather, whatever retirement age was last time I checked. It's creeping up behind my back like the wolf in that playground favourite "What's the time mister Wolf?".

The only thing to do whilst the jobs you first spotted drag themselves out of their stupour and actually read your CV is apply for a whole load of other jobs that, frankly, you're not sure you'll ever accept in the first place. And every week the papers come out with more job adverts, some you want some you don't but feel you should apply for.

But the thing is you have to operate on a time-lag and imagine yourself somewhere in mid-December when reading it. For example, I applied for 5 jobs the first time I looked. None of them are even at the "letting you know if you've got an interview" stage. That was nearly ten days ago - and they were old adverts with looming deadlines that I hadn't looked at before due to being post-finals pissed for about 6 weeks longer than standard. If I'm offered any of these I'd be mad not to take them. That could be in about 3 weeks. By which point these other jobs coming out now won't even have hit deadline.

But if I don't get any of these jobs, what says I'll get any of the new ones? It could conceivably be 2011 before I get anywhere. So if I haven't got a job by December I should be setting my sights a bit lower and aiming for more entry level jobs that will get my foot in the door and a roof over my head. But here's the problem - if I need to make sure I've got a job, any job, by the winter and therefore need at some point to stop being picky the ridiculous time it takes people to sort this stuff out means I need to start applying for some of the more modest jobs like, now.

But I haven't even been turned down for a single job yet. It just seems like a momentous waste of time to be applying for hundreds of jobs willy nilly at all kinds of grades and so on when I could still get, and accept the first one I went for. And not a little defeatist.

This would be at least bearable if applying for jobs were a remotely interesting activity. It isn't. Each and every employer appears to believe that they, and they alone, have THE form, THE question, THE advert blurb, which will give them the upper hand in identifying that young, thrusting, ambitious candidate who will transform their murky little hobby horse into dynamic market leader in the NIMBY, bleeding heart fraternity. (I'm generally going for fluffy right-on lobbying jobs by the way - if you hadn't guessed).

Well, let me tell you, the next time I have to write "I am a dynamic...passionate... blurdy...blurdy...advocate...nonsense whatever" to someone who can't just say "bung us yer CV and pop in for a chat" and be happy with that I'll throttle someone. Probably a poor child, or an upset animal or some other worthy cause.

So. Tomorrow I will blog about the things that have filled my time in the intervening period.