I am currently working part-time for a large Third Sector organisation as a Project Assistant (Youth), basically, I am an Outreach Youth Worker. That means that I spend 3 evenings a week walking around specific locations with another Youth Worker looking for Young People. When we see them, we talk to them, see if there is anything that they need and offer support/advice as appropriate.
This is the South of England in the winter. It is dark, wet and cold. Young People are largely in hibernation.
I recall my first summer in the South when I skipped to the market in a vest top, linen skirt and strappy high-heels on a warm but drizzly summer’s day; only to find the town deserted. I was chatting to a stall-holder about how quiet it was and asked if he knew why. His response was that it was raining. I almost choked to death on laughter, retorting that if we didn’t do anything Up North because it was raining, we’d never do anything!
As a result, I usually come home feeling exhausted from trekking around for several hours in the mud, rain and cold with a heavy “outreach bag” searching for the elusive creature, the Teenager.
The “outreach bag” is stocked up with my woolly hat and gloves, a torch, a first aid kit, playing cards, a frisbee, spikeys (nifty little gadgets that prevent your drinks being spiked, pictured below), information on stopping smoking and condoms in every size, flavour and colour imaginable. There is also a plastic phallus which is to be used to demonstrate how to put a condom on. I hadn’t expected to find it in my bag so it was something of a shock when I discovered it!
My contract was to run from January until March (with the potential of further employment dependent on funding) but started late due to my last employer not providing a reference in time.
That was also disappointing. I realise that the HR Department was likely to be stretched with the redundancy process that was going on and were included in those redundancies but surely, when the Company asks you to leave, they then have a duty of care and should at least have the decency to provide references promptly? The delay to my start date meant a loss of earnings and unnecessary anxiety over not knowing when my start date would be.
Now, the part-time salary won’t stretch very far, despite my financial wizardry, so I have also been applying for part-time work during the day and last week, applied for the perfect role. An administrator position on a job-share basis, working for another charity, a mere 5 minute cycle from home. Imagine, two roles in my new field that would still give me the flexibility to study, do the DIY and gardening etc – what joy!
Interviews were to be held this week and the closing date was 12:00 noon on Friday 12th Feb. I was only made aware of the advertisement on Thursday afternoon so on Friday morning, knowing that I had a kitten to take to see the vet for a follow-up appointment part-way through the morning, I got up early and cracked on with my application. It was completed before I had to leave with Snowdrop in her sexy little sports bag:
When I returned, I printed the documents that needed to be signed and then scanned them in ready to send. I was a little disheartened that I hadn’t been called to interview but assumed that I had been sifted out when I discovered that interviews were underway today and that my application had not even been seen by the Manager conducting the sift! I forwarded my original email to the aforementioned Manager at her request which she promptly forwarded to the relevant HR bod.
Then came the biggest disappointment.
As the error was not mine, I would have expected no less than an apology with an offer of a short-notice interview but I got a drippy little email apologising for the admin error with the suggestion that my application be retained for a possible future role.