Category Archives: Jobs and Employment

Hello from Norway

View of Tromsø from Mount Stor­stei­nen (421m) – click for larger view.


This is the view from the top of the Cable Car on Mount Stor­stei­nen (421m/1381ft) near Tromsø, Norway. The island in the centre of the picture is Tromsøya which is where Tromsø is situated. At almost 70° north, Tromsø is 217 miles north of the Arctic Circle and the biggest European city in the extreme north.

I have been fascinated by Scandinavia and the extreme north for some time, but until now I had only visited Oslo (Norway), Stockholm and Arvika (Sweden). The opportunity came where I had some time between jobs and the flight prices were reasonable enough to consider it. It is a very very beautiful place and it fulfils my quest of being cold – It has not been above 10°C (50°F) the whole time I have been here, the average summer temperature is not much higher.

I suppose I should be proud of myself recently, for despite some issues, I managed to finish a contract job and hand over to someone who is taking the job on permanently. However, recently I have had a lot of pain my back and so I go to my GP to ask for help – is almost immediate reaction is “you are overweight”. Cheers for that, I couldn’t have seen it myself! 42% of men in the UK are overweight (BMI >25 <30) and 24% are obese (BMI >30 <40).

If this is the truth, then I have no idea how I am going to tackle this, I have enough on my plate to worry about as it is, without feeling anxious about every crumb that passes my lips. Yes the pain might be relieved if I lose weight and maybe I will have better diabetes control if I lose weight, but I do not consider myself to have a problem in the general scheme of things. My BMI is 29.7.

It is very easy for anyone sitting there to say “you can do this” and “don’t give up”, but they don’t understand what that is like for me. Being different is hard, end of story. You then add in having a disease that you have to treat multiple times per day which if you did not treat could leave you blind or seriously disabled then basically you are screwed. When I first realised I had diabetes, it wasn’t such a huge deal and I could cope with it fairly well. But back then, I needed far less insulin to reduce my sugar levels to what they should be. You should not confuse this as being a weight issue like Type 2 diabetes – the longer you have Type 1, the more likely it is you will more insulin, there is often a so-called “honeymoon period” when someone is first diagnosed, this may last from a few months to a few years. Also you must remember that the cause of my diabetes was damage to my pancreas by pancreatitis, the longer this has gone on, the more damage that has been done. I would be surprised if I had any beta cells now, these are the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.

Every day I become more depressed about life in the UK – whether it be from the way the poor and disabled are being treated by the government, the rise of UKIP and right-wing views, destruction of the NHS and the welfare state or the increase in hate crimes against people who dare to be different. I want to leave these islands and find somewhere that is better, but as fast as I am trying to do that – I hear that perhaps it’s not all as rosy as I thought it was elsewhere. It seems the march of the far right in Europe has stepped up a pace recently and I fear we may not be far from similar events to those of 75 years ago when WW2 started.

The reality is this: if my GP does think that there is nothing other to my back pain than weight, then it will be very hard to get a referral to a specialist who might have further insight or be able to use better imaging techniques to work out what is going on. A plain x-ray has been done but I will not know the result until next week. Also I think from a money-saving point of view (which the NHS has been trying to do for many years) then blaming and shaming the patient is a very easy way for them to save money. I pay taxes and in return I expect to have free healthcare, a welfare state to support people in times of need and to be treated equally and fairly by my government. THIS IS NOT HAPPENING.

I do not know what to do anymore, except that I will probably continue treading the boards until something strikes me down and takes me out. Please let it be soon.

Do recruiters actually read my CV?

So today I got an email from a recruiter, about a job they are trying to fill:

Dear Seth,

My client based in Kent are looking for a 2nd/3rd Line Engineer for an initial 6 month contract based within the public sector paying up to £180 per day.

The successful candidate will be responsible for analysing complex and inter-linked IT system / NPfIT issues (e.g. hardware, networking, system etc.) and ensuring that they are resolved effectively.

You will be required to analyse and assess GP Practice staff IT requirements and ensure that hardware and software are appropriately configured.

The post holder will need to demonstrate specialist theoretical and practical knowledge and experience in the following areas:

· Windows NT/2000/2003/2008/2008R2 server;

· Microsoft Server virtualization

· Microsoft Windows (95/98/2000/XP/Vista/7 etc.);

· Microsoft Office products including Outlook and Exchange;

· Anti-Virus software;

· LAN’s, WAN’s, networking protocols, routers, bridges and switches.

· VOIP LAN management

· VOIP Server virtualization

Please send me you CV ASAP if you are available to interview immediately and start within a week.

With regards,

Great, eh? Someone wants to pay me £180/day to do all that cool stuff? [£180/day equates to more than £46,000/year] Well hold on just a second there, because if you haven’t ever been paid that much or ever done that level of job in IT, you can hardly expect to jump straight into that level of salary. Even if you do have some experience in all of those areas.

So really its not fair, its a bit like dangling a lolly-pop in front of a kid and then taking it away saying “come back when you’re 21”. I would like a job, but I would like to keep that job, so trying too hard and promising things I can’t do is probably just going to get me right back to where I am now, feeling depressed and miserable because I have no money and no prospects. I am good at what I do, but I can’t seem to convince anyone else about that…

First week at a new job

So for the first time since January I am working again. This is a bit tricky since I had become quite accustomed to not doing a great deal and sleeping late! So far the job is going OK, although because I work for such a big organisation who have taken on an awful lot of people for a certain event later this year, there is a lot of time sitting around not doing very much stuff and often sharing computers because there are more people than computers. I have realised, as I have many times that I do not cope well with boredom. It is difficult for me to “look busy”, as I am often too distracted by what other people might be doing or very poor at finding things to do other than chatting to people on facebook.

I have had one slip up so far, I didn’t go to work on Thursday. I suppose it was an impulsive moment, not enough sleep and not enough productive things to do at work the day prior had caused me to think too much about those less fortunate than myself and the government, and as usual, get annoyed and frustrated on their behalf. However, I did not harm myself and I did not run off to another country. I managed to email one of my bosses and found out in the process that he has a son with Aspergers.

Today was easier, the day was dominated by boxing up hardware that was on test in order to transport it to a live location. It didn’t take long, but at least I have a fair idea of what should be in which box now and the best ways to pack it up. All the hardware must be locked down with K-Locks, the most annoying things are these little eyelets which fit into a special hole on the back of the monitor and the system unit, in order for a steel cable to be threaded through and then looped around something immovable. Being very small (less than an inch square), its easy for them to get lost…

Hopefully next week I will get to go to said live venue and box this kit, set it up, etc.. it will be good to get out of the office for a bit.

The other part of today was scenario training… what should we do when x or y happens. The biggest issue was many people over-thinking the situation. You have two choices in this deployment if things go wrong – re-image the machine (akin to re-installing windows, but a lot faster) or replace the machine. I guess it makes things easier, but there is a part of me that says “I want to know why that broke” – I believe that person is probably stuck in the 1990’s-early 2000’s!

So now a weekend, a small change to sleep later, but not much of a chance as I have work to do for Open University courses due towards the end of May. Right now I am really really tired, so I shall be off to bed soon!

What to do next?

As some of you might know I have recently been offered medication as treatment for my ADHD. This is kinda the answer to the requests for help that have often dominated this blog, sometimes in a rather graphic way, including this post, this post, this post and this post.

I was originally diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD aged 17, nearly every time I have asked for help from mental healthcare professionals the Asperger’s Syndrome has dominated the conversations with little attention paid to the ADHD. When I was at school this wasn’t picked up because (a) it was the early 1990’s and nothing much was known about Asperger’s other than classical Autism and (b) I was rowdy, but generally a good student. You could often describe me as “the class clown”, I had my good days and bad days, but in the subjects I was good at I did want to learn.

In the UK and especially within the NHS, the idea that ADHD can exist in adults is often considered as nonsense. ADHD is a childhood disorder and ends when children grow up, Ritalin the main drug used to treat it, isn’t even officially licensed for use in adults; so the idea that someone could go through their childhood without being diagnosed with ADHD and then expect treatment as an adult is preposterous! I have seen at least 5 psychiatrists, probably more who have told me this and therefore refused to even consider treating me or referring me to someone who could help – despite there being a specialist clinic at the Maudsley Hospital in South London.

So last week I was amazed when I went to see Dr Trevor Turner a psychiatrist with East London NHS Trust who within a 30 minute appointment confirmed the ADHD diagnosis and then agreed to write to my GP asking him to prescribe Ritalin to me. I had to pinch myself to make sure I wasn’t dreaming, I never thought it would be so easy. At present I am waiting for Dr Turner’s letter to get to my GP, so I haven’t taken the medication yet.

The question is, after 17 years of dropping out of courses, jobs and generally being depressed and thinking things would never get better, if the Ritalin works and I get my concentration back, what do I do? The worst times started when I realised I couldn’t finish the university course I started in 2005, and although I tried again twice after that it never quite worked out, mostly because I couldn’t concentrate to get the work done.

So, do I go back to University? I am thinking that if things have improved by September then I might enrol on an Access to HE course (which I did try once before, but gave up on) at a local college in East London. If that works out at least I will have completed something since I was 16!

Of course I could be completely wrong – even with the drugs I might be not able to do it. I dunno, the trouble is that I am 31 now and not getting any younger. Do I want to loose another 4 years of my life?! I wish I had a time machine…

So things are getting better and I hope they will continue to do so, even if no-one wants to give me a job at the moment!

Living in London

So I am now living in London with my old friend Ben A’Lee in a nice flat in Hackney, which isn’t the murders and rapist playground that people imagine. Hackney is a pretty up and coming place these days, just at the end of our road is the north-west corner of the Olympic Park and we can see the media/press centre being built from our window! I have gotten to know the area quite well and apart from free cash machines being a 20 minute walk away, all is good.

Last week I was quite shocked when someone actually offered me a job! Its been so long (15 months or so) since I have worked that I had really forgotten what it was like to be able to get work! I shall be working for a company called “Samvo” who provide online gambling services. They are very big in the Far East apparently, but most things are run from London. It will be a combination of Windows and Linux Systems Administration and I am quite looking forward to starting on 23/08/2010. My only issue is that my commute (the job is in West London) is about 1hr each way, although I guess that is London for you! Formerly prospective employers in the North West didn’t want to know if I told them I had no car or that it would take me an hour on the train to get to their office, so just shows you how things are different here.

I have just spent about 2hrs trying to migrate my lighttpd configuration back to apache, mostly because there are quite a few things you can’t do with lighttpd… If you are trying to get things working, make sure that your browsers cache isn’t caching your fails, otherwise things will take you twice as long – including firefox caching the fact that its being sent php before its been processed and therefore trying to download it!

Well I think I should try to sleep for a bit, got to get up in 2hrs to go to Royal London Hospital and hopefully have the rest of my tooth removed!

Tips and Stuff

I have recently moved to a new virtual server hosting provider, Linode have hosting centres in 4 locations in the US and allow you to pick which centre you would like your server in. They have a great web user interface and are cheaper than my previous provider, Slicehost. So now I am paying about half what I was for hosting. I have also got away with using a lot less memory for my virtual server, by implementing some different ways of getting around spam.

Realtime DNS Block Lists (DBL)

DBL’s store a list of known IP addresses which should not be trusted when receving mail, either they are IP’s assigned to home machines (DSL/Cable clients) or known spammers caught out by traps. There are a few DBL’s, but until now I have only been using one – Spamhaus, but sadly this doesn’t catch most spammers. I have now been through my configuration and included a few more DBL’s which are listed below. The advantage of this is that looking up an IP in a DBL is not processor or RAM intensive and does not require an external program – like Spamassasin. I have also implemented a few features in postfix which allow the looking up of hosts who try to exchange mail with my server, if the hostname they are giving doesn’t match their actual hostname or they have no A record or MX record for the domain they are using, postfix will end the connection.

smtpd_recipient_restrictions =

It is very important that “permit_mx_backup” goes at the end, because I am finding that spammers will take advantage of backup MX servers to get their spam accepted in some way, which then causes a lot of dead return to sender messages in your queue later.

With the “reject_rbl_client” lines I have in this config, I don’t have to use Spamassasin or other spam anaylsis programs at presnt, the few spams I am getting are minimal and may have been things I accidentially signed up to in the past! was blocking Google Mail last night, which is why I have blocked it. requires that you sign up to use their service first.

Moving MySQL

I have to admit that I am no programmer; Systems Administration, Network Administration and troubleshooting come fairly easily to me, but programming has always passed me by. I have often just blindly copied something someone else has done to get by and I remember when I was young spending hours typing in source code from magazines to see try out programs and stuff!

So when it comes to SQL people say “well its not that hard, its mostly english!” but you have to remember the order things go in and weather a line needs a ; at the end, etc… I have tried to get into PHP and stuff, but I just get really bored and give up. I have a load of programming books on C and PHP if anyone is interested!

I use some SQL on my server – WordPress, which makes this blog work uses MySQL… but to keep it going I had to move it from my old server to my new one.

I followed the usual instructions, to backup your databases use:

mysqldump -u root -p --all-databases > database_backup.sql

And then to restore:

mysql -u root -p < database_backup.sql

Then presto and everything is back, but is it working? Well it might be a good idea to try:

/etc/init.d/mysql restart

Because when you import your old databases, you overwrite the passwords for the users that are stored in them. In the file /etc/mysql/debian.cnf there are settings for a user called debian-sys-maint which is setup when you install MySQL. A password is generated for this user and then stored in the file, when you import all databases you overwrite the users database which then overwites this password, causing debian-sys-maint to be unable to access the database and a failure when you try to start MySQL, although the daemon is running.

phpMyAdmin is your friend here, because you need no knowledge of SQL commands to go in and change the password for a user, therefore fixing this nasty problem! Once you’ve done that you can then use this command to stop MySQL (as /etc/init.d/mysql stop won’t work):

kill | cat `/var/run/mysqld/`

Then go ahead and start MySQL as normal:

/etc/init.d/mysql start

Uninterruptible Power Supplies and their lack of Uninterruptible-ness

An Uninterruptible Power Supply or UPS is a big battery that will keep your computer running if the power goes off, it will also protect it from surges and incidents when the power dips to what it should be. They are very useful for when you need to move things around or if you have electricity that you have to pay for in advanced (and will therefore be switched off automatically if you have no credit).

I have had small UPS’s for a few years which are about enough to keep an average desktop PC going for about 10 mins if the power fails. However, I have recently had to start dealing with them at work, since we have moved away from Co-located hosting to hosting our servers at our office. When you are running UPS’s commerically, the need for power cannot be overstated – you need things to be as overkill as possible! Most UPS’s (anything designed for keeping more than just one PC going) will have overload detection and if the UPS detects an overload, it will start to shut itself down – because if the power were to be lost, the batteries could not take the load and the servers connected would not be able to shutdown gracefully.

However this means that mains power is lost to these connected servers and hence zap – no power… Well, in our case it means a 50% reduction in power as the servers have 2 PSU’s each which are redunant. However, it is not so easy to build redundancy into a network, and taking out the UPS that the network switches are connected to will take down the servers as they can’t talk to the outside world… resulting in my mobile phone ringing and someone giving me grief that they can’t do any work!

Teamed Network Cards are network cards that can run in pairs (or more) providing greater throughput or redundancy if they are connected to different switches (in different UPS’s!) however my employer apparently has little interest int he redundancy aspect of this and uses teaming only for throughput… why have 1Gb/s when you can have 2Gb/s?!

After this happening twice today, I had to bypass the UPS’s entirely as they were getting less reliable than the service from the electricity provider!

Whilst I like my job, I hate the fact that my employer prefers to buy his parts on eBay and expects great performance from a limited budget!

Well, I think that is all for tonight… until next time (in the imortal words of Sara Cox) – “rave safe kids, rave safe!”

Update – Summer 2008

So its been a while since I posted anything, but I thought I’d keep people updated as to what has happened in my life lately.

At the beginning of August I had to sell my car and declare myself bankrupt. I was at the point of owing £15,000 and at my current level of income that would have taken me about 10 years to pay back, plus I would have been fairly povety stricken for that duration. Given my record of finding and keeping jobs(!) I doubt that I will find myself in some great earning IT job anytime soon, despite the fact I could pretty easily do the work.

The bankruptcy is going well so far, thanks to the Co-operative Bank I have a current account with a Visa Electron debit card and a fair bit more money available to me from my benefits given that I am not having to pay back what I owed to the banks and credit card companies.

Interestingly enough the Halifax, whom I owed approximately £6,000 to, has recently been taken over by Lloyds TSB (whom I owed £1,500), apparently because the Halifax had itself become insolvent. I’d like to say that I brought down one of the biggest banking groups in Britian, but sadly I think my debt is just a drop in the ocean to them! This is just the latest in a series of banking failures here in the UK, mostly brought on by the US ‘sub prime’ loan problem and the general ‘credit crunch’. Notice that no-one will use the word recession, and according to Prime Minister Gordon Brown, “this is not boom and bust”; who is he kidding!

My personal feeling, although this is extremely controversial, is that now is the time to wipe out all debt – after all, it is really just numbers on computers. Once we have done this, we should quit lending money to people with the soul exception of mortgages. No more credit cards or unsecured loans, because I believe this is what has caused all the problems: Consumer greed, and I think we are all guilty to some extent. But who is more guilty, the people forced into borrowing money for a better lifestyle (or sometimes just an existance) or the banks who spend all their time convincing us that we should take out loans and credit cards, sometimes to the point where we can’t ignore them.

Also during August I helped with a number of Autism research studies at University College London, but missed out on a MRI scanning experiment because of a small piece of metal left in me after my Gall Bladder was removed in 2001. It seems that I will never be able to find out the full details of the clip (make, model, etc) for the paranoid radiographers who control these experiments, because the hospital where the surgery took place have ‘misplaced’ the notes relating to it.

I also took part in research for my friend Kalen at the University of Manchester, who tells me that even if she can’t use my data – my reaction times suck and I definately have ADHD! Most people who meet me for just a few minutes know that I just can’t keep still, unless I am unconcious!

Whilst I was in the North West I was asked by a friend of mine to help at his workplace with some IT stuff. This taught me a few things: that my Windows Server skills are out of date and that eToken is more complicated than you’d think! eToken is basically a authentication system similar to smart cards, but uses a device that looks very much like a USB pen drive. It can also work over networks and this was the purpose, to secure servers at a remote site.

I have decided that I am going to use some of my time over the next few months to study for the MCSA exams or Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator. This is, I know a bit of a diversion from my Linux work over the past few years, but I don’t think I have the nessecary programming experience to be a proper Linux sys-admin. I last studied for these Microsoft exams back in 2000 when I passed the “Network Essentials” exam, but the failed “Windows NT Workstation”, sadly there was no credit for Network Essentials, it was just something you had to pass at the same time. So given that, my skills on the server aspects at least of Microsoft’s operating systems is about 8 years out of date. Maybe if I can improve my skills (and I’ll have bits of paper to prove it), then I’ll have more chance of getting a job… but can I keep it?

Spending about a week working 9-5 really made me realise how little I use the time in the day, since I have been back it has been a struggle to find things to do and not to spend money fleetingly. The lack of structure has if anything made me more depressed.

Last weekend I went to the NAS International Conference in London, it was a fairly good conference and a good chance to catch up with friends that I hadn’t seen for some time. I also got to meet some fairly big names: Alex Thompson from Channel 4 News (who has an Autistic son), Jane Asher (President of the NAS and all round good cake maker) and some of the producers and writers of Holby City and the film Snow Cake. I managed to ask some good questions as well!

Next wek I will be trying to spend my time wisely by doing some work, helping with binding for a printing company in Saltash. Its a bit of a long way to go, but its only for 5 days. So hopefully I manage to work out those 5 days! I’m also signed up to help chase up and collect in the voter registration forms for Plymouth City Council, that kinda pays on a piecemeal basis apparently, £1.50 for each form collected of which I will have 300 to chase!

Until next time… rave safe kids, rave safe!


Well, it has been quite a while since I have blogged, there have been some good things and bad things happening, which I shall summarize here:

The Motherboard that broke on me has been repaired, although initially it came back with the part I wanted fixing unfixed, they later sent me a replacement part which I replaced myself.

I have recently acquired an automatic car (rare in the UK), with the intention of passing my driving test in an automatic. This will mean that I can only drive automatics alone, but I am willing to deal with that until I feel more confident out on the road. The car that I got was untaxed (unregistered) and had no MOT (inspection), so I had to do some work on it before I could get it legal; I replaced the front part of the exhaust and also the fuel pump, and finally got it legal and on the road last week. Now I just have to pass my drivers test!

I have been applying for a lot of jobs, mostly office admin and alike, however I haven’t got very far. So far I think I have been rejected by at least 10 of the jobs I applied for. I have had 1 interview and 2 more lined up. I suspect the problem is that my habit of not keeping jobs for very long is catching up with me, so my references are bad.

For a while I have been thinking about getting a pet, originally wanting a cat… but since I live in a shared house I thought it might be quite difficult to keep an animal that likes to roam, plus one of our friends who likes to visit has a cat allergy! So I compromised and decided to get some rats instead. I have never really had a problem with rodents, I had mice in a previous flat (as in an infestation rather than a pet!) and although I had to kill them, it didn’t make me afraid of being there. So I have ordered a cage and some stuff, once this arrives I am going to obtain 2 male rats and call them Steve McQueen and James Dean; two actors/racing car drivers who died before their time… and yes, I did get the idea from House.

My run in with the Police seems to be over, they have decided not to prosecute me and have returned all of the computer equipment that they confiscated.

Finally this week I am working for a local software house doing some testing of a new version of their software… I don’t think I am doing too well, it seems very abstract to me, I am sitting here not really sure what to do – the fact that a lot of what I am doing doesn’t work correctly doesn’t help!

I am starting to wonder if I am in love with the idea of having a job, rather than actually wanting to do a job. Every job I have tried recently has ended in failure because I get there and then I get bored and tired after a while. I can’t cope with boredom too well, unless that boredom is self-induced!

I think what I need in a job is for it to be well structured and have enough breaks for me not to get too tired; i.e. part time. Trouble is that not a lot of employers are so willing to help in that respect.

Oh well, I hope I can sustain this or Dan (who got me the job) will be very pissed…

Until next time, rave safe kids – rave safe!


First time tequila…

…the room won’t stop spinning! Someone help me.

That was 2am, now its nearly 6am I have slept for a couple of hours and can’t get back to sleep!

I was out for a quiet drink with my housemates and then bumped into a couple of people from my course at Uni (which was nearly 2 years ago now!). The upshot of it was that I got brought lots of beer and then a shot of tequila, complete with salt and lemons!

They suggested I go back to University and try to do the course I originally wanted to do – computer systems and networks. Whilst I know I have the brain to do the work, I have this alter ego, lets call him Mr ADHD, that likes to get in the way of doing that work. My original plan was to try and get treatment for that and THEN go back to University. Well, two years after being suicidal because I couldn’t get the work I knew I could do done, I’m STILL waiting for some kind of treatment for that, although I have seen 2 shrinks now!

So, what do you think? Continue the search for mindless annoying jobs or go back to Uni?

New Job Update – Week 1

So I completed week one of my new job. At least it didn’t go as badly as the last job I had when I didn’t show after the first day!

It started off with listening to some calls on Monday and then on Tuesday the training got underway, a lot of stuff I knew already from my technical experience and working in call centres in the past, today the training ended and I got to take calls for real.

Now they didn’t drop me in the deep end, I did have a buddy with me who was helping me, but what I didn’t realise is how stupid 80% of the people who call in are and how they use aggression to try and cover that.

When I worked my last call centre job I was doing fairly simple tasks, all I had to do was get information out of people about their cell phones, their name/address and their credit card details so that I could register their phone. Trying to talk someone who has no clue about computers how to troubleshoot problems is a whole ‘nother ballgame.

I really don’t know if I can keep doing it. I have come home every night this week physically exhausted, I have to get up at 7am and then ride the bus for 30-45mins to get to work for 8:50 and then take calls for 8hrs, although I get a 1hr lunch break. That’s a 40hr week, 9am-6pm 5 days per week. Most jobs in the UK are 37.5hrs per week. In France, you can’t be forced to work more than 35hrs per week!

I know what everyone is going to say, don’t make a mess of this, don’t run off… but I am finding it very difficult to suppress those feelings. I should probably put more into it, but I really don’t feel like being abused because someone isn’t smart enough to go to a book store or a library and get a simple book on Windows XP or Vista – there are enough titles out there!

So should I:
[A]   Stick it out next week and see what happens.
[B]   Call/Email in Monday, say I am sick or I can’t do it any more.
[C]   Wait for my replacement Visa card to arrive and take a spur-of-the moment trip to Denver.

Maybe you can decide for me, but I can’t guarantee I’ll take your advice! 😀

A Day of Success!!

Well today was a great day, first off I got up at a reasonable time – 9am, not like last week when I was lucky to be asleep by that time! Then I had to go to an interview, the job – which I saw advertised through an Agency is with InfoTeam who have the contract to repair and provide technical support to customers of Acer equipment, including PC’s, Laptops and other IT paraphernalia! The interview went well, I was able to answer their questions really easily and I felt comfortable.

The great news was that about 2hrs after the interview, I was told I got the job and start on Monday at 9am!

Later I went to take the first of the CompTIA A+ exams, which is a qualification to show that you can fix computer hardware and software and provide technical support.

I passed that as well, the required score was 675 and I got 750 out of 900! So now I have to take part 2, I have a choice of Phone Support, In Person Support or never talking to a customer back room stuff!

Tonight we (as in TermiSoc) shall be going out for a curry to celebrate the 21st birthday of our great comrade, Ben A’Lee. He was actually 21 two weeks ago, but everyone was busy back then!

It has been a great day and I am definitely feeling better about myself!

A Christmas gift from my Employer

As some of you might know, I work for the British arm of a well known European mobile phone network. All day (or evening) long for the past 3 months I have been answering calls relating to pre-paid mobile phones. I have put up with a lot of abuse and nasty customers and prank calls from Children. I also have to put up with the fallout from the company’s decision to save money and outsource some of the call centres to India.

Today I received this, as a gift for my work over the past 3 months…

Yes, that’s right, it’s a bag of chocolate coins… it probably cost them a few pence.

OK, I know I am a temp and temp’s don’t get good treatment, but they could have at least given us some kind of proper reward. I am getting no Christmas bonus and I was denied overtime on New Years Day because they already have enough staff for my call queue. I am going home to see my family between the 23rd-27th, so I can’t work over Christmas – I wouldn’t want to anyway!

So, I am looking for a job, but its slow going. Most people don’t want me because I didn’t manage to finish my degree and others think I live too far away. All the good jobs are in Exeter or Bristol which are 50 and 100miles away, respectively. I should move, but moving is stressful and I have people I know here. I have been told (unofficially) that I will get taken on by Orange, but it won’t be until January and then I could get put on an even more stressful call queue!

Anyway, I suspect that this will be my last blog before Christmas, so I hope everyone has a good time and gets everything they asked Santa for… that is assuming their Mom’s gave him good head!

Merry Christmas!