Archive for September, 2010

Disappointment: A Dish Best Served Cold

So I guess some of you who know me know I have a complicated employment set up at the moment. Regardless, one of my jobs involves working with university students, some of whom I have written about before. I don’t work for one of the redbrick / Russell Group uni’s; I work for a London-based one with a lot of international students, and it’s a great place, IMO. There are a lot of hard working and dedicated students who have fought tooth and nail to get there and who will go far.

Now I’m not that old (though I concede I’m getting on a bit now), but I do sometimes feel that there is a huge dividing chasm looming between the students and myself when it comes to attitude. Maybe it’s because I didn’t go to university. Maybe it’s cos I’m Gen X (just!) and they’re Gen Y. Maybe it’s our backgrounds. Maybe it’s nothing as complex and it’s just the way we are.

I always try and offer more help than I am asked for when it comes to the students. If someone comes to me asking for help with their CV then they will get that and more. I can’t make them act on my LinkedIn, networking, work experience, whatever tips, but I can give them the chance to see that there’s more they can do to make themselves stand out and be as ready as they can when it comes to job hunting. Some work closely with me throughout the year and use me for all I’m worth. Others see me once and I never hear from them again (though I always follow up with emails).

This year was the first year any of my students had graduated though and, honestly, I was a little disappointed! Now it’s not true of all of them, by any stretch of the imagination, but the number who simply vanished off the face of the earth post-graduation was astonishing! Though the big employers may know roughly how many graduates they’ll be looking to recruit from year to year, SME’s often have no idea until maybe a few months before. The decision to hire anyone, graduate or not, is not taken lightly. Lots of people came to me looking for graduates – more than I had hoped or anticipated. And the biggest disappointment to me was that some of (what I’d thought were) the best, most inspired students, who I had worked with for most of the year, were too busy travelling/holidaying/chilling out to bother applying for these jobs! Jobs where, in some instances, I could genuinely put in a good word for them if it were appropriate!

The whole concept still astounds me! To go through three years of studies in order to get a good job and then, when jobs are perhaps at their ripest for picking on the graduate scene, to have a break… Well. I don’t get it, frankly! And it makes me a bit sad, because when did attitudes get so lax?!

But much respect to those who do still keep in touch with me and who are committed to their job hunt. Those who, day in and day out, apply for jobs, stay motivated, and do all they can to put themselves out there. It is those who will succeed, and it is those who make my job so very worthwhile! 🙂

Carry on Glamping

There’s already been a lot written about #SocRecCamp and I’m sure those of you who didn’t attend are probably bored to tears of it by now. What it is/represents doesn’t really matter, IMO, it was fundamentally a fun weekend with friends. Nonetheless, I felt the need to reignite my blogging with a post about it, so this is my version of events. I’m not big on concise summaries so I will tell you a story instead…

The weekend started for me on Thursday night when I drove down to my parents’ for an overnight stop. I’m not great at driving anything over 4hrs and, while The HRD had offered me a ride, I hadn’t met him previously and decided that 4+hrs in a car was perhaps a rather extreme way to meet. Not to mention (if I’m perfectly honest) he may have turned out to be an axe murderer… Or I may have, though that’s yet to be proven…

So after a night of carrying out various IT-related support tasks for my technologically challenged parents and having breakfast with my BFF, I headed off to Gary Franklin’s. Gary was to be my chauffer for the remainder of the journey, and a sterling job he did too! For the record, Gary also has a car the size of a small flat. The sheer volume of camping equipment, food and supplies that went into that car was awe inspiring! At one point, I thought I saw him putting one of those tabletop dishwashers in there, but I have no photographic evidence to back this up, and it never materialised from the car once we hit the camp site, so…

The journey down was uneventful. Gary was fantastic company (no surprise there) and, after a minor and very scenic detour, we found the Secret Spot camping site which, for those who care, was somewhere near Croyde. Hot on our heels were Andy Headworth, Sara Headworth and James Mayes, as chauffeured by Matt Jessop. James was to be my camping saviour for the weekend – his vast amounts of camping equipment and technology allowed me (a self-confessed [read as: wannabe] snob) to have as comfortable a camping weekend as one can have, and limited (but didn’t stop) my moaning. Mayes Mansions was a god send – I couldn’t even reach the ceiling with an outstretched hand in the Living Room, and I am almost 5ft 9ins sans shoes.

The HRD was next to arrive and I’m going to devote a whole paragraph to him now. His arrival was as every day as you could imagine – no helicopters, balaclavas, body guards or blacked out limos… Just him and a car. He seemed remarkably held together for someone who was under pressure (only from himself, of course) to maintain his man of mystery persona all weekend, not to mention he’d hardly met any of us before! We called him Theo, but his failure to answer to this name on multiple occasions leads me to believe it is not his real name (surprise, surprise)! All in all, he was a lovely chap and it was an honour to meet him in person. I have to say though that I struggled to talk to him a bit. Though the anonymity didn’t matter in many respects, every time I opened my mouth to start a conversation I ended up shutting it again because most everything I wanted to ask or chat about was personal and I realised he wouldn’t answer it. I didn’t really want to make him feel uncomfortable by my asking and his then having to lie or fob me off, so all in all, it seemed safer just to shut up really. Though, with hindsight, I hope that didn’t come across as stand-offish.

The rest of the Friday night crew (Stephen O’Donnell and Matt Alder) arrived shortly after and we then headed into town to kick off the drinking (what am I saying – the drinking started 5mins after we arrived!) and for our first curry of the weekend. The first night was great – chilled and personal. There were a few diva moments in the pub due to lack of mobile reception, but on the whole it was kind of nice to have a few less of us on the first day and to ramp up to the Big Event on Saturday.

My first night’s sleep in Mayes Mansions (I was in the East Wing) was sullied only by the fact I was underdressed (and, therefore, cold) and had parked James’ super-deluxe mattress the wrong way round on a slope so I spent the night falling off. Apart from the lack of sleep hours-wise, it was quite tolerable!

Saturday kicked off early with people arriving in dribs and drabs throughout the morning. Sarah Knight, Alex Hens, Lisa Scales and Peter Gold all pretty much arrived together, and Gareth Jones, Mervyn Dinnen and Charlie Duff rocked up a little later. Big credit goes to Sarah at this point as she was the only person on the weekend who had met absolutely no-one in person prior to the event! Though, of course, it felt like we’d all known her forever! 🙂

Drinking, for most people, started prior to the surfing, though I managed to abstain as I was already nursing a small hangover (and a bit of a sulk from lack of sleep). Getting the wet suits sorted has to be one of the funniest moments of the weekend for me though! Being the blonde that I am, I inadvertently started putting mine on back to front, only to have to strip it off again. It actually went on quite easily the first time, but by the second attempt I was tired and hot (fatal when it comes to putting a wet suit on!) and I ended up having to brace myself against a wall while being levered into it by Sarah and Charlie, who valiantly came to my rescue and manhandled parts of me that, well, should probably only be handled by men! 😉

Surfing was THE BEST THING IN THE WORLD EVER and I totally enjoyed it despite the various injuries sustained (or renewed) and my inability to stand up. I can’t wait to try it again! Well done to all those who managed to stand up and, to those who wimped out: Your loss!

Saturday night was a rowdier version of Friday with more curry and booze. I sat next to the lovely Charlie at curry and we talked the night away with Sara, putting the world to rights about various, incredibly meaningful matters. Charlie’s ability to speak more than me left me quite gobsmacked, but I love her dearly for it – she is a truly inspiring and dedicated young woman, even if she did pip me to the post as youngest attendee (b!tch… 😉 )

Saturday night ended with various campfire laughs and a revolting amount of farting (lead by James). Matt (Alder) wore a head lamp and did an impersonation of a lighthouse, The HRD’s sense of humour showed it’s true colours, Lisa somehow ended up on Gary’s knee, James revealed his scary stalker side, body piercings and tattoos were discussed in more detail than is healthy to re-live, Andy and Gary fell asleep in their chairs and, well… You had to be there to appreciate it. It was a fantastic night.

The morning after the night before was subdued and we all left for home pretty quickly. I think it’s safe to say that everyone had a fantastic weekend! The only thing I was a bit sorry about was that I got to spend a little time with everyone but not a lot of time with anyone! Next time…

There is no-one who does not deserve thanks, but my personal special mentions go:

  • To Lisa for organising the whole event
  • To Gary for a) driving me, b) cooking for us both mornings and c) buying all the breakfast food we could possibly require
  • To James for looking after me on the camping front and for putting up Mayes Mansions single handedly while I drank cider and sat on my lazy butt.
  • To The HRD and Alex for lending me their blankets when I failed to take trousers (Pah! I laugh in the face of trousers!) and was both cold and being eaten alive my mossies.
  • And finally to Sarah, without whom the weekend might never have happened. After all, this was meant to be a girlie weekend, once-upon-a-time! 🙂

N.B. For those who are interested: 1 attendee (6%) was a Nokia user, 2 (12.5%) were predominantly BlackBerry users, 2 (12.5%) were on Android and the rest (69%) were varying versions of the iPhone. Meaningful statistics indeed…! Hahahah!

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About Me

Over ten years’ recruitment, employability, HR and sales experience in both the private and public sectors. I've worked in construction recruitment, FMCG headhunting, and in higher education on the employability agenda.

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