Friday, December 11, 2009

Job No. 83 - Adult Day Center Specialist

Finding a way into the harsh and competitive world of business management can be a tough task; usually you have to take some kind of lowly paid junior position in which your prime responsibilities include coffee making and being abused and shouted at - and then hope that you can stick in there long enough for someone higher in the company tree to fall out (or be pushed), thus freeing up some space for you to clamber upwards and direct all your pent-up ire and aggression at the new junior...

Which is why, I feel, Primecare really deserve to be congratulated for attempting to break the mold and introduce an entirely new concept, in the shape of Practice Business Manager. Now you can experience all the excitement, all the adventure and all the exhilaration without actually putting anyone's business in danger with your, frankly amateurish, management skills.

But, in truth, I felt that a practice position was probably a little too suitable for my needs. I needed something more daring, something in which I could make a real difference in the lives of people to stimulate my interest. Which is why my attention was, quite literally, aroused at the sight of a vacancy as Adult Day Center Specialist.

The adult industry has, since the latter stages of the 20th century, exploded in commercial potential; once upon a time, adult entertainment was the province of the dirty old man but now there is a more widespread social acceptance - typified by NewCourtland of Philadelphia whose Adult Day Centers are obviously intended as a means of achieving one's adult goals.

They are clearly seeking someone who can set a suitable example in this area as an ideal candidate will be one who "enables participants to maintain independence and control to the greatest extent possible." I will be happy to assist in any way I can; discussing both methodology and medical aids in this area; with a bit of expert guidance I'm certain I can provide what NewCourtland's clients are looking for "enabling them to attain/maintain their highest possible level of functioning."

This was a challenge I was prepared to take in hand - and one which had the potential for considerable public exposure...

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing in order to apply for the position of Adult Day Center Specialist.

While I am not, by any means, a specialist in the area of Adult Day Centers, I believe that I have the necessary skillset and motivation, not to mention considerable experience on a voluntary basis.

I am fully committed to the ideal of enabling
participants to maintain independence and control to the greatest extent possible; and believe this can be achieved through a well structured programme of physical training, video tuition and - in the most needy of cases - medical intervention.

I think the area of Adult Day Centers is very much under explored and that this is a position in which I would be prepared to stand proudly, in which I would be able to focus on and expose my assets in a way that could benefit the lives of others. If you give me a chance to prove myself, I will endeavour to deliver the finest Adult Day Center experience yet; I think that there is much to learn from Continental Europe (particularly systems in place in the Netherlands) and I would hope to import some of these, very attractive, models to form a basis for increased performance on my own behalf.



Now I just have to wait and see whether they recognise my potential; nonetheless, I am ready for action at just a moment of their notice...

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Job No. 82 - Director of the National Museum of Australia

Today's job hunting presented me with a particularly difficult dilemma; representing that age-old battle between the material and the immaterial, between physical prowess and intellect; as I wrestled with the difficult decision of either applying to be a Russian Audience Champion with the BBC, or the Director of the National Museum of Australia...

I must admit, the idea of being a Russian Audience Champion stirred within me images of Spartacus and Gladiator, and I could easily envisage myself (likely clad in some sort of strange and ornate body armour) striding forth in packed arenas to defend the honour of Russian Audiences worldwide in a series of life or death battles.

And I suppose, it was at that point, that my imagination rang a little alarm bell somewhere. Life or death? I mean, I have a sincere and deep love for the honour and happiness of the Russian audience - but did I really want to be lying on the floor, giant spear sticking out my side, drifting slowly out of consciousness as the Luxembourg Audience Champion did some kind of strange Luxemborgian victory jig?

Which, turned me immediately to a far easier position, in the shape of Director of the National Museum of Australia...

Why easier, you might ask? Well, I did some checking on Australia and I found out that, apparently, it wasn't discovered until 1606 and it wasn't actually claimed until 1770. Which means, Australia has only 229 years of history - surely making it one of the easiest museums in the world to run! In fact, if anything, I suppose the most difficult thing about being Director of the National Museum of Australia is finding stuff to put in there...

The museum obviously already knows this is a problem as, in the advert, they were quite clear that the new Director would need to "enhance knowledge of Australia's cultural identity."

So, I had a quick trawl through my limited knowledge of Australian cultural identity and immediately thought of Neighbours, Vegemite, Mel Gibson, Kangeroos, Ugg Boots and Elle Macpherson. The trouble was, once my mind got to Elle Macpherson it kind of stuck there and - as hard as I tried to shift in onto other potential Australasian museum fillers - it didn't want to move on.

Nevertheless, armed with the conviction that I possessed enough antipodean knowledge to at least scrape through to the interview stage, I wrote out an application letter that would hopefully let them see my potential:

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing in order to apply for the position of Director of the National Museum of Australia, as advertised within the Guardian newspaper.

While not possessing a background in the museum industry, as such, I do possess considerable expertise in providing entertainment to a specified target demographic and feel that my skillset would translate extremely well.

I have many ideas on how I would act to enhance knowledge of Australian cultural identity; through dissemination of Australian entertainment, Australian cuisine, Australian exports, Australian wildlife, Australian fashion and Elle Macpherson.

I am keen to enter the museum industry, and I see the National Museum of Australia as being a perfect fit where I can hone my skills in a challenging, yet relatively historically exiguous, environment.

I look forward to hearing from you soon.



I was very proud of the, almost subliminal, way in which I had broached the topic of Ms. Macpherson and was feeling confidently smug about my chances until I suddenly realised that I had made no mention, whatsoever, in my application of one of the principal aspects of Australian cultural identity; Dame Edna Everage. I am now a little concerned that they will not take my application seriously...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Chapter Two is done...

This weekend, as well as writing Job No. 80 (Strong Accountant), I've been trying to find some time to continue working on my - as yet untitled - second novel.

So far, I'm really pleased with how's it going - I completed the second chapter over the weekend and I really feel like it's going to turn out to be one of the best things I've ever written. I know that there's a long, long path ahead of me but, when I'm able to find the time to write, it's just such an enjoyable process...

I'll keep you updated with it's progress as I work my way through it!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Job No. 81 - WASH Specialist

Have you ever arrived at the train station a little on the late side, dashed relentlessly through the concourse with a motley collection of baggage in tow, barged up (or down) an escalator full of people and emerged, breathless, onto the platform just in time to witness the doors of the train sliding - agonisingly slowly - shut? You stand there, breathless and sweating, and the train still stands there as well (you can't get on, but the conductor perhaps wants to enjoy the moment). Forlornly, you look through the window at the people who are all happily sat and ready for the journey that you're now going to miss. Sometimes they give vague sympathetic smiles.

Well, that was how I feel today having missed out, by the narrowest of margins, on a job that seemed just the sort of thing I should be doing with my life - Director of the NATO Undersea Research Centre. How could I not be perfect for this job? After all, I've played Battleships, I've read The Hunt for Red October - I've even watched all 39 episodes of Stingray. But, sadly, the closing date was the 4th December and so my dreams of a life aquatic must, for the moment, remain just that...

However, feeling only slightly discouraged, I decided to browse through the latest vacancies on offer at the United Nations (having almost been hired as the UN's Chief Procurement Officer back in 2006) and realised that today's aquatic theme was not yet finished as they were looking for a WASH Specialist.

Now, I'm not sure I would consider myself a wash specialist as such but I have been doing it for thirty five years - which, is surely a body of experience that deserves to be taken account of - and so would consider myself extremely suitable for the job.

Of course, being the United Nations, it's never as simple as it sounds - they were looking for someone who could "facilitate the processes that will ensure a well coordinated, coherent, strategic and effective WASH response at State level."

I think this is understandable; there is sufficient seating for 1,800 people at the General Assembly of the United Nations and all it takes is a couple of members with dubious hygiene and they end up honking the whole place out. In such situations, the UN clearly needs someone to get in there and deal with the problem swiftly and decisively (and diplomatically) - a casual spray of deodorant for a mild case; an 'accidental' hose down and delousing for more problematic individuals...

The position requires that the applicant be able to identify "urgent and potentially difficult decisions and acts on them promptly".

Imagine the scenario; Gordon Brown about to head on stage to the podium. Unfortunate trouser stain. Maybe it's just water, but maybe he hasn't given Mr Winky a good enough shake. Either way, a wash specialist needs to get in there and sort the problems out. Well, not literally in there. Probably just a high pressure disinfectant misting of some sorts followed by a hairdryer on full power for a minute or two...

I also wondered whether the UN had considered the idea of sponsorship; for example, The UN Conference on Disarmament (sponsored by Palmolive). Which promotes the wash ideals, and brings in some extra cash for the UN - a win/win situation, surely!

Certain that I had what it takes, I crafted a suitable letter of application:

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing in order to apply for the position of WASH specialist, as advertised on the UN Jobs website.

I possess considerable WASH experience and also have a number of ideas on how the service could be developed, and improved, in future. I think there is a great potential for relationships with commercial bodies, in the way of sponsorship, and would be keen to investigate this area.

I am capable of responding to all manner of emergency situations and have given considerable thought as to how I would deal with a number of possible problems; with the upholding of the WASH programme values at the very heart of my solutions.



I am sure that, this time, the United Nations will want to come back to me and at least take this to the interview stage - perhaps where I will be able to demonstrate my wash strategies in the flesh, so to speak...

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Myspace blocking blogspot...

It is rare that I get riled enough to write a rant, but today MySpace has managed to poke a sharpened stick into the lion's cage...or, at the very least, a bic pen into the furry side of the sleeping hamster...

You see, whenever I post a new entry to my blog, I like to post a link to it on the various places that I frequent - so I'll post a link on facebook, a link on twitter, a link on a couple of forums I frequent, etc.

But, it turns out that I can't post a link on MySpace. Or rather, I can but MySpace won't let anyone actually follow it - as soon as they click on my link they get directed to a page like this:

Which rather suggests that my link is trying to misdirect unwary visitors to some kind of nefarious spamming, phishing or generally harmful website...

But if you read on, the text below the warning states:

"The specific link may be OK, but the webhost may be the issue. For example, if you are trying to visit a blog or page on some webhost, the specific site or blog may be benign, but because the host/company won't work with MySpace security to block other malicious sites on their domain, we are sometimes forced to block the entire domain."

You see, MySpace in their near infinite wisdom/stupidity (delete as you feel appopriate) have decided that - since there have (allegedly) been some sites hosted on the blogspot domain that have been involved in the above practices - the safest course of action is to block all links heading to blogspot. Yes, that's right - all links to blogspot. Even a link to the official Google blog (which is the 4th biggest technology blog in the world according to technorati, and 16th overall) results in the same - you shall not pass!!!

Now, maybe it's just me, but this seems rather a huge overreaction on the part of MySpace - especially since it's quite happy to allow visitors to link to some very morally dubious sites with nothing more than 'you're leaving MySpace' warning page. Surely it would be possible to have a similar warning page for links to blogspot, allowing individuals to make their own decision on the matter?

Of course, I'm sure the blanket ban has got nothing to do with MySpace wanting to encourage users to publish on the MySpace blogs and not link somewhere else. Oh no, not at all...

Job No. 80 - Strong Accountant

I began the day in fine fettle, spirits buoyed by my recent return to my old unsuitable job hunting ways, and decided to dig out my employment seeking net and trawl the jobs section of the New York Times for something that thoroughly perked my interest...

And it wasn't long before I stumbled across the deeply attractive role of Pet Stylist; a job that offered the vague promise of securing a foot on a rung of the style guru ladder (some may argue as to the relative positioning of dressing dogs and dressing celebrities on said ladder) while, at the same time, representing an almost entirely unexplored fashion realm. Canine fashion, you see, is very much in its infancy and has, thus far, largely been limited to tartan fleeces and painfully unfashionable rainwear. And, please, don't even get me started on the abominable state of dog footwear.

And this, in the end, was the reason that I didn't apply to be a Pet Stylist today - I'm just not sure that the industry is yet ready for my ground-breaking ideas and my subtle combination of vintage, retro and bleeding-edge styling. I feel it is too much (at this moment in time) for me to take on the role of canine fashion revolutionary - I need, instead, to wait until the world is ready for me.

So, with a slightly heavy heart, I turned instead to a most curious vacancy being offered by the Robert Half company, who were looking for a Strong Accountant. Now I'm not much of an accountant but I figured that, since I'm pretty strong, if I spent the time between application and interview really working out, I could definitely nail the strong part (which would, hopefully, sway them towards the acceptance of my slightly less pronounced accountancy skills).

However, it seems that physical strength was not the only thing on their mind at Robert Half - oh no - as their job description clearly stated that they were looking for "a strong individual with nerves of steel."

Nerves of steel? And then it dawned on me. My God - they were looking for a cyborg! Robert Half wanted to find themselves a bionic accountant...

It all made sense. A bionic accountant would probably have all kinds of computational advantages over a normal human and be far stronger than a purely biological specimen. The odds, it appeared, were firmly stacked against me; but I wasn't about to give up on this vacancy over the little matter of being human:

Dear Sir/Madam

I am writing with regard to the position of Strong Accountant, as advertised within the New York Times.

I believe that I am good condition and am willing to take any tests that you may wish to set in order to gauge this for yourself, although I sincerely hope the fact that I possess peripheral axons does not, in any way, stand against me in the my desire to succeed within this position.

I appreciate that I am likely to be up against some stern (some may even suggest unfair) competition for this vacancy but I hope that you are able to see the advantages gained in utilising an applicant who doesn't have a mechanical approach and who is still fully in touch with his humanity.



Well, all I can do now is wait. If I don't receive an invitation for an interview, I think we all know the real reason - and the hidden cyborg agenda that lies, flimsily diguised, behind it...

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Job No. 79 - Fraud Consultant

I held out as long as I could; tried desperately to leave this whole unsuitable jobs malarkey at number 78 and be done with it. But, in the end, it appears that I just can't keep away...

It started when I saw an advert in the Guardian for a 'Midweight Web Designer', which immediately brought back warm and fuzzy memories of my time struggling to make the grade as a Heavyweight Creative back in 2006 (and my subsequent conversation with the, very helpful, Steve). It made me realise that the job market may have moved on in my absence and that my weight may no longer be such a barrier in securing gainful employment.

However, while I was thoroughly tempted to apply for a job better suited to my slightly more than svelte figure, I stumbled across an altogether more intriguing post being advertised on the very same site that appealed to me on an altogether different level.

Times, it seems, have indeed changed. Back when I was applying for jobs in 2006 and 2007, I was of the feeling that criminal employment was to be looked down upon (with the possible exception of being a pirate). Now, perhaps it is because of the global economic meltdown but it appears that less salubrious agencies have moved into the job market and, keen to move with the times, I must admit they piqued my interest...

Fraud Recruitment Services are looking for a Fraud Consultant, mentioning that "this is a rare opportunity to take the lead fraud consultant role in a vibrant technology company".

They were looking for someone with "extensive and relevant fraud expertise". I am not certain whether failing to mention that you have been given 15 pence too much change when at the till in Sainsburys qualifies as extensive and relevant fraud experience so - to be on the safe side - I listened to Scott Joplin's 'The Entertainer' and watched several episodes of Hustle.

Thus, armed with an up-tempo swing in my step and a desire to put my new found criminal knowledge to active use, I crafted an expert letter that would be certain to convince them that they had, indeed, found the man for their job:

Dear Chris

I am writing with regard to the position of Fraud Consultant, as advertised on the Guardian Jobs website.

I have an extensive knowledge of fraud (whether it be bunko, flim flam or simple grifting) and am fully prepared to put this into service on behalf of your company. I believe that the current economic crisis marks a time when such services are needed more than ever.

I am fully versed in both traditional methodology - for example, the glim-dropper - and more modern electronic methods such as 419 and believe my creative talents could be put to good use in thinking of updates to old standards.

I own a pet Aardvark called Gerald.



The aardvark line was particularly clever (if I say so myself); after all, they say one of the most important things in executing a con is to ensure that you distract your mark - and I think Chris will be so distracted by that last line that he will totally fail to notice that my CV contains no fraud experience whatsoever...