Posted by: bluefoxy | December 1, 2017

Keep It In Neutral

So I’ve had a handful more interviews since my last post.

The first one was with an up and coming energy company that was looking to expand and make a name for itself.

The interviewer had a copy of my CV in front of him and mostly asked me questions to get more info about my employment history, I was able to answer him easy enough.

It just so happened they had ordered some pizzas for themselves when I came so I actually got to have a couple of slices of pizza with the team of people that already worked there.

We talked about football and video games and stuff. They all seemed quite cool and they semed to like me. I was definitely thinking I’d fit right in there.

A few days later I sent them an e-mail asking if they’d take me any further. The reply I got was something along the lines of “You were great, but someone else was better”.

Oh come on, you don’t just share pizza and get all buddy-buddy with a prospective employee and then turn them down, now, do ya? That’s just a big fat tease.

Welp. Good to have some positive feedback at least. Helps me know I’m on the right track.

The next one was with Co-operative insurance. And again, they had a copy of my CV and mostly asked me questions I had answers ready for. They also had me do a test where I navigated some of their in-house software to get answers to a quiz. I was the fastest one of the group of interviewees to finish that.

And again, I got positive feedback along the lines of “you were good, but someone else was better”

Now, the third interview I had was kind of set up in the meantime of those other two. Basically, my jobcenter advisor wanted to put me forward to a course to become a bus driver.

Now, the thing is, I have a full driving license, but I haven’t driven a car in over a decade. I wouldn’t mind a driving job, especially in public transportation, since

7zkig and trams and buses.

But all driving jobs require you to have been driving regularly for the last year or two, and this course was no different.

However, I figured it was worth a shot, on the basis of, there’s drving a car, and then there’s driving a bus…it’s a whole different beast.

My jobcenter advisor kind of had a similar idea…she got me in based on the fact that it’s a bit much to expect people on JSA to be driving because there’s no way they can afford a car on benefits.

Plus they were actually be training folks to drive a bus during the course, so there’s that.

The course providers conceded she had a good point, so I was in.

Turns out, before they can let you behind the wheel of a bus, they were first going to have you behind the wheel of a van to test your level of driving skill.

Oh, and they’re not looking to give you driving lessons all over again. It’s to apply your driving experience to a bus. Experience I did not have.

I ticked all the other boxes, but they simply couldn’t put me forward on the basis that I hadn’t driven anything in over a decade.

Darn. Well, it was worth a shot.

Then a couple of days ago I got a phone call out of the blue…from Jobwise in Stockport. They found my CV and want to put me forward to an opportunity.

So yesterday I got to visit Stockport after being away from there for almost a year.

They had me fill in a couple of forms so they can register me with them and put me forward to this opportunity they had and also let me know of any other opportunities they think I’m good for in the future.

Then I had a sort of interview with one of their agents. I wasn’t expecting an interview so I hadn’t dressed smartly and I guess I didn’t show myself as particularly confident because the interviewer said I still have some work to do on how I come across in an interview.

I explained how I’ve been getting positive reviews lately and how I’m using each interview to prepare me more for the next, and they said that’s good.

The interview turned into more of an explanation of what Jobwise does…they pre-interview candidates for employers and make sure they’re the best candidates for the role. Employers invest time and money into advertising a vacancy and you have to show you’re worth that time and money. Jobwise and other agencies are there to do that job for them, especially useful for busy employers who can’t spare the time.

Then they noticed I mentioned my computer literacy in my CV and wanted me to prove my capabilities. They had me do three tests. One was a typing speed test to see how many words per hour I could do and how accurately I could do it. I got over 5000. Close to 6000 even, I think.

The other two was some basic Microsoft Word and Excel tests to show I know how to operate those two…and aside from a couple of things I found I’d forgotten, like how to do double line spacing in word, and how to do a sum function…(Which the Excel itself later reminded me of how to do when doing another function question and I tried to select multiple boxes and it showed I had to open parenthesis after “=sum” )…I did perfectly alright.

So fingers crossed for something to come outta registering with Jobwise.

Alright, time to get really serious here.

You guys remember SOPA and PIPA, and all the outrage surrounding them that got them swept under the proverbial carpet?

Well, it seems the powers that be haven’t learned their lesson.

In just a couple of week’s time, the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC) will vote on a bill that, if passed, will basically allow internet providers across the states to control what we see and do online.

And by control, I mean slow to almost an absolute standstill unless you pay exorbatant fees.

You know the bull manure that EA gets up to with it’s games, all just to milk gamers of their money? Try to imagine EA not just as your internet provider, but EVERY INTERNET PROVIDER ON THE PLANET. That’s what this bill is going to allow to happen.

If you’re not from America, don’t think for a SECOND that it won’t affect you.

For one thing, that’s where a vast majority of internet servers are, and for another thing, IF this bill gets passed, the anti-net neutrality monster will very likely set it’s sights on England next. Heck, there’s already rumours that Meresa Tay is looking into it…but apparently there’s an EU legislation that prevents the removal of Net Neutrality. Guess what we’re losing thanks to Brexit? Urgh.

Then the rest of Europe will probably follow suit after that anyway…then Russia and Australia…and the rest of the world.

Websites will dissapear left and right. Only the sites of highly wealthy mega-corporations will remain, as they can afford the fee for normal speed internet.

It MUST be stopped in America NOW, or we might as well consider the Internet GONE.

Posts advertising this outrage have flooded Reddit…and I feel I must spread the word. And you must too. The more word spreads around the internet, the better, allowing more people to be aware of the issue and join their voice to the thousands upon thousands who protest this already.

We need that number to be in the millions if we can get it there.

There’s some online petitions going around for you to sign all asking to keep net neutrality alive…feel free to add your name to them, but I found one that not only asks to keep net neutrality, it ALSO calls for them to give the head of the FCC, Ajit Pai, the boot.

So you should definitely add yourself to this.

Let’s see…anything else?

Oh yeah…to help us with money, my GF and I have come up with the idea to sell the electronics I have here that I’m not using and not likely to be using anytime soon, starting with my stills camera and my digital camcorder with their bags, and then a TV screen I have but am not using coz at some point we got me a proper computer monitor that I’m now using instead, and finally my PS2 and PS3.

There’s a store called Cash Converters that buys stuff from folks and then sells that stuff on for a profit. We had a look on their website to see how much they sell the camera and digital camcorder I have for.

It seems they sell my stills camera with its bag for north of £100. Not too shabby. as for my camcorder, they don’t have my specific make and model, but similar models are being sold for north of £200.

So with any luck they’ll give me at least £75 for the stills camera and £175 for the camcorder. So that’s at least a good £250 off the bat.

Then I’ll see what make and model TV screen I have and see what prices they have for that or anything similar.

I doubt I’ll get much for my playstations, especially the PS2, now that the PS4 has long since been released, but every little helps.

We just gotta get around to doing it already…it’s just other things keep getting in the way, and then we get worn out from those other things and need to rest.

Being a responsible adult is not easy.

We’ll get the hang of it eventually.

Oh yeah, we also got me a cheap computer chair from Argos yesterday. The wooden chair I’ve been using is all but fallen apart…it’s not exactly been the most comfortable thing to sit on anyway. We just gotta get around to assembling the new chair at some point.

Okay I think that’s about everything for this blog update.

So until next time,

Ciao for now,

Cordially,
The Blue Fox.

 

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Posted by: bluefoxy | October 19, 2017

Job Hunting Jamboree

Halp wrote:
Where are you bluefox? We need our hero back

I’m…a hero?

Well they do say you’re the hero of your own story…so you should try to act like a hero you’d look up to.

I’m just having a bit of trouble figuring out how to go about doing that at the moment.

As for where I’ve been…I’ve been kinda busy working as hard as I can to try and find paid employment already since my work expereince placement at Poundland.

I’m THIS CLOSE

this-close-pinching-fingers

to getting a job…I can practically taste it. I plan to continue getting even closer as much as I can.

I just gotta be careful with the jobs I pick…on JSA and Housing benefit, we’re making somewhere between £800 and £900 a month and we’re barely able to scrape by with rent, bills and food…my GF and I worked out I’d have to be working AT LEAST 30 hours to roughly break even with that income…

…but then there’s also the fact that council tax will spike up to the full amount of over £200 so I gotta factor that into the equasion and bump it up to around at least 32 hours a week of work, I reckon.

That means no part-time work.

Which kind of sucks coz part-time work is a good entryway into employment.

But then so is temporary Xmas work, which CAN still be full-time.

Yesterday I went to an interview at Argos not too far from where I live for a temporary xmas role.

I made it clear I was looking for at least 30 hours a week.

The manager says the contract is for 10 to 15 hours, but he is looking to keep someone on for longer than that. Full day shifts where possible.

So that’s a big tick for me right there. Why hire two seperate people for two seperate 15 hour roles when you can hire one person to cover both and even more time, eh?

One thing I did fail with is he asked if I was available from 8am, and I thought at the time that 8 am sounded too early…but I agreed I can manage a 9am start.

When relaying this to my GF, she explained that actually, 8am is perfectly fine.

doh

When we both relayed the same story to my jobcenter advisor, who we happened to be seeing the same day, she said 8am is more than fine coz I’d miss the bulk of the rush hour traffic between 8:30 and 9 when everyone else is trying to get to work, so I should be proactive and contact the manager however I can.

Fortunately the invite to the interview was via e-mail and it has what appears to be the manager’s e-mail address on it, so I sent a message explaining I am available from 8am.

However, while writing this blog post, I checked my e-mails and just got one from the Argos recruitment team saying they’re not taking my application further. Bummer.

Well, in that case…my advisor told me to wait until a decision is made to ask for feedback…so I guess I can send another e-mail asking for feedback now.

At least I know about the 8am thing in case it comes up in future interviews.

I got a new advisor at Work Solutions…and in my first meeting with him it was clear there was not much else they could do other than try and help me get into work.

Apparently there’s a couple of employment referrers that my new advisor wants to put me forward for sometime soon…meanwhile, he had me do a quick course called “positive futures” to give me some more helpful tips.

The course gave me a bit of a window into the minds of the recruiters.

They’re NOT looking to hire you…they’re looking for any excuse to cast you aside form the application process. Only the best applicant gets to go through to an interview…only the best interviewee gets to go through to employment.

They also told us that european companies like Aldi and Lidl are all about profit and don’t necessarily care so much about customer satisfaction like most other retail stores do, so you should modify your application accordingly.

But when I relayed this to my jobcenter advisor, she said Aldi would not agree with that, it suggested to her that whoever was running the course was someone from Tesco or some other big supermarket company that wants Aldi out of the picture…Aldi looks after it’s employees and pays the best salary of anybody in the retail sector while also being the lowest priced large store around…so how does them being all about profit make any sense?

Goes to show you need to see all sides of a story before jumping to conclusions.

Now I know what you’re thinking…”Well, what about you and your GF both getting jobs? you’d only need 16 hours each, so part time’s still viable!”

Well, for one thing, there’s no guarantee we’ll both be able to get a 16 hour part time job at the same time, and for another thing, the jobcenter has identified some barriers she needs to work on first.

I won’t specify what those barriers are, just that if we don’t address them first, they’ll cause her to lose any job she gets vey quickly.

They’ve referred her to “Working Well”, which is actually under the same umbrella company as Work Solutions, just a different branch that can help with different issues such as some of the barriers she has.

The ones they can’t help with are ones we have the responsibility of dealing with ourselves. So we’re working on that.

In other news…prompted by her parents, my GF had to check her Romanian ID…it expires in January. She needs a fresh one. That means having to go back to Romania. By January.

And she kind of needs a valid, non-expired ID in order to get a job.

Her parents don’t know about her barriers to work…and she doesn’t want to tell them… it’ll only make them worry…they’re kind of overbearing asking her about if she got a job yet or not as it is. The news about these barriers will just open up the floodgates for even more questions…and she doesn’t want that.

So yeah, there’s that as well.

Let’s see…what else?

7 Days to die has kind of lost it’s sparkle…once your base is set up, you’re basically doing the same things over and over again to maintasin and defend it and look after your character’s needs and it gets tedius after a while.

We might get back into it if they add more features to play with.

I found a new game I want to play. It’s called Transport Fever.

I don’t know if I ever directly mentioned on my blog before how much I LOVE games that let you build stuff and be creative. Especially when there’s a set goal to it.

Anyway, Transport Fever is all about building a functioning and profitable transport empire. Planes, trains, trucks, boats…all are at your disposal to transport passengers and goods from A to B to C to all the other letters of the alphabet.

And you really have to think about how to lay out your lines to make the most profit.

You have to get a product to a production facility and then distribute the result to the towns.

For example, you have to get crude oil to a refinery, and then distribute the resulting fuel to the towns.

But it’s not profitable to have one vehicle bringing crude oil and then seperate vehicles distributing the fuel…you got to try and do both with the same vehicle/s…have them bring the crude, then distribute the fuel to towns on the way back to grabbing the crude again.

And there’s no free sandbox mode to it…EVERYTHING costs in-game money, so you have to make sure you’re making enough money to afford building a new rail track or road and then for buying the vehicles to run on that track or road.

Not only that, you also have to think about whether or not whatever you want to build is going to make you more money. It has to be cost effective.

I’ve been watching a big bunch of youtube vidoes of people playing it and it looks amazing when they got a whole load of different distribution lines set up getting a whole load of different products to a whole load of different places.

Ooooh I want to play it so bad…but right now I don’t have the money spare to buy it…I’d need to earn the money from a job first.

So yeah…to boil all of that information down to one simple statement, I need a job, A.S.A.NOW!

I’m trying. By god, I’m trying.
But I’m going wrong somewhere…I just need to identify where, and fast.

I’ll get there. I just gotta keep riding this wave of momentum towards getting a job.

Keep sending me waves of good luck, everyone!

Ciao for now,

Cordially,
The Blue Fox Thom.

Posted by: bluefoxy | July 5, 2017

9 Weeks To Post

It’s been over 2 months since my last post. High time to get y’all up to speed on what’s going on.

So if you remember in my last post I talked about how Work Solutions were having me do a skills health check to help me know what jobs I can go for…originally it was scheduled to be finished the Thursday after that post but my advisor phoned me saying he couldn’t see me then, so he re-scheduled for the end of May.

The end of May came, I finished my assessment, and we printed off the results. I have a copy with me right here. I haven’t read it in detail yet though I did get a glimpse at one or two of the results when I first got it.

What it says will be in black text, my responses and other comments will be in my signature blue text.

Alright, let’s see here…


Your results – Skill Areas

The Skill areas questionnaire measures nine ‘skill areas’ or types of activities you feel that you are able to do. Each area is related to the world of work.

Your results are listed from the skill areas you feel you are most able to do, through to the skill areas you feel you do less well. This means you may find a skill area towards the end of the list that you feel you are fairly able to do, because there are many other areas you feel you are more able to do.

There are some suggestions for those skill areas that you feel most able to do to help you when applying for jobs.

To help you develop the skills you feel are less strong, there are some activity suggestions if you want to improve them.

Sometimes no extra information will appear. This means that your view of your abilities seems to be evenly balanced.

1 Convincing and communicating
Convinces others and deals well with conflict.
Expresses self-clarity when speaking and writing.
2 Creative Thinking
Comes up with new ideas and different ways for approaching issues.
3 Handling Change and Pressure
Adapts to changed, remains calm and reacts positively to challenges.
4 Learning and Technology
Easily learns new information and quickly learns how to use new technologies.
5 Working with Others
Works well with people by listening, understanding and helping others.
6 Planning and Focusing on Detail
Plans own tasks and uses time effectively to produce high quality work.
7 Solving Problems
Spots problems and gathers information, making judgements based on facts.
8 Showing Energy and Drive
Shows Energy and enthusiasm for meeting difficult goals and taking on new tasks.
9 Taking Responsibility
Takes responsibility for own actions and for leading others.

Oh, so is that list in order from what I’m best at to what I’m worst at? Coz if so, I really feel “Showing Energy and Drive” should be dead last. I often feel I have no Energy and Drive to show.


Your strengths

Convincing and Communicating.

Convincing and Communicating is a skill area that you feel you are most able to do. This is about being able to convince others, deal with conflict between people and express yourself clearly when speaking and writing,


And then it talks about thinking about times I’ve had to persuade other people, communicate clearly or resolve arguments.

That’s not at all surprising. I already knew I’m good at communicating with others. What’s next?


Your areas for development

Taking Responsibility

Taking Responsibility is a skill area that you feel you can do less well. This is about being able to take responsibility for your own actions, take control of situations and lead others.

If you would like to improve this skill, the following development suggestions might be useful;

Think of a time when you took responsibility for getting something done.
Look at what went well and make a point of taking responsibility more often

Next time you are in a situation which is unclear, be open about what you think. Clearly explain what you think should be done and why. Explain what you would like other people to do


Mmmm. That doesn’t surprise me either. I have a fair few life experiences that show I’m not too good at taking responsibility for my actions…specifically the negative ones…the mistakes…and, in one case, my blindness to something I was doing wrong for a very long time.

This is something I’m already trying to work on to improve, at least mentally. I’m now definitely more aware of my actions and their consequences.

What next?


Your results – Interest

Doing what you are interested in can be very important to job satisfaction.

The interest questionnaire measures eleven interest areas to help you find out which types of work activity appeal to you most.

The profile below shows how appealing you find each of the eleven interest areas. You will also see ‘related job families’ which you can explore to find jobs that appeal to you.

Remember that interests can and do change with time.

Strength Of Interest Interest Area Interest Area Definition Related Job Families
Moderately Interested in: Creative Using art skills, having new ideas and producing imaginative and original work. Arts, Crafts and Design.
Performing Arts.
Broadcast and Media.

Definitely no surprises there. I am pretty good at drawing stuff, after all.

Broadcast and media…well, I would say I’m more than moderately interested in that.

I mean…my dream job is to be a TV presenter for a nature program like Springwatch or something.

I want to be the next Chris Packham. I’d love that.

And then there’s my second choice of Radio presenter…and I’ve done quite a bit to pursue that.
I got a certificate from Radio Regen…I did that stint in Pure 107.8 that didn’t really work out…

Maybe I should try looking into ways to pursue that career path again.


A little interested in: Influencing Working with people and helping change their views and choices Marketing, Selling and Advertising.
Retail Sales and Customer service.

Huh. “Working with people and helping change their views and choices” sounds a lot more like Psychiatry or something like that to me, not so much Marketing, Selling, Advertising and Customer service…I mean…I guess you want to make people want to buy stuff, but…changing their views and choices? That’s a bit deeper than I think retail really has any business going.


A little interested in: Number-Focused Working with figures, numbers and data. Financial services, Information Technology and Information Management.

Information Technology? Isn’t that more like “Working with computers-focused” rather than “Number-Focused”?
At any rate, I’m not really that interested in working with numbers too much…sure, I’m pretty good at it on a fairly basic level…but nothing too advanced, really.


A little interested in: Reading and writing focused Researching information, editing and writing Performing Arts.
Broadcast and Media.
Publishing and Journalism.

There’s Broadcast and Media again. And hey, Publishing and Journalism. Sure, I wouldn’t mind working for a newspaper if given the opportunity. Though I’ve learned Newspapers tend to use political bias to sell more papers…so I’ll probably have to agree with a certain paper’s bias to work for them. So maybe not so much. I’m more into pursuing the real truth of the matter rather than spinning a story to make money.


Not at all interested in: Scientific Doing Scientific activities to find out facts about the world. Animals, Plants and Land.
Environmental Sciences.
Medical Technology.
Science and Research.

Okay, I’m going to have to call pure cow manure on this result. Especially the animals, plant and environment part. I love nature. And I guess I’m pretty into science-y stuff in general. Not enough to be some kind of chemical professor or something but…certain aspects of science do interest me.


Not at all interested in: Storage and Transport Being involved with the movement of goods and people. Storage, Dispatching and Delivery transport.

Ehhhh, I’m a bit iffy on this result too. I wouldn’t mind being, like, a driver moving stuff around for a company. Especially a public transportation driver moving people around.

Did I mention…

7zkig

Trams, too.

I recently discovered I’m actually fonder of buses than I realised, too.


Not at all interested in: Engineering Working step by step to design, build, maintain or repair structures or equipment. Construction.
Maintenance.
Service and Repair.
Manufacturing and Engineering.

Ehhhh…I wouldn’t say I’m not AT ALL interested in this stuff…I can say I’m a little interested, I guess. Depends on what’s being engineered/built/whatever.


Not at all interested in: Leisure Providing a service to people in restaurants, bars, hotels, when they are learning new sports or when on holiday. Catering Services.
Sport.
Leisure And Tourism.

Eeeeeeehhhhhhhhhh…again, I wouldn’t say I’m not AT ALL interested in this stuff…again, it depends on the specifics.
DEFINITELY not interested in sporty stuff. I am not athletic at all.
But providing a service at a bar or a hotel? Or helping people book a holiday? That’s technically customer service right there.


Not at all interested in: Organising Planning activities, keeping records, checking detail and following set ways of doing things. Administrative and Clerical.
Legal Services.
Management And Planning.

Okay, I’m definitely calling cow manure on this one.
I absolutely AM interested in having things planned out and having a set ways of doing things…
…though I can still go with the flow because…you know…procrastination tendencies…it’s less effort.


Not at all interested in: Taking Charge Working in difficult situations or tough environments, giving clear orders and following commands. Security and Uniformed Services.

Okay, yeah, I’ll give it this one. I’d say I’m a tiny bit interested in being a security guard or a cop, but I’m too scared of being killed by some random thug somehow and leaving Lav alone and very upset.


Not at all interested in: Caring Using social skills to teach, support, care for and help others. Alternative Therapies.
Education and Training.
Medicine and Nursing Services.

Yeah, alright, I’ll give it this one, too.
I absolutely don’t want to work in medicine or nursing. Especially not in a care home.
Education and training? I don’t feel there’s much I can really teach anybody…
Alternative therapies? Mmmm…there’s some specific stuff I’m interested in there…but…well…like I said, specific stuff. You’ll have to ask about specific jobs here to see if I’m interested or not.

Alright, that was a bit hit and miss. What’s next?


Your results – Personal Style and your approach to looking for a job

Your personal style may affect the way you look for work and how you explore your job options

Some aspects of looking for a job may be well matched to your personal style.

Other aspects of looking for a job may not be such a good match, and you may tend to avoid or put them off.

What comes naturally to you when looking for a job

You are more likely to do the things that come most naturally. Make the most of this and focus on using these qualities when you are looking for a job.

  • You are likely to feel calm under pressure. This may help you to appear confident in interviews or selection events.
  • You are likely to take a well organised approach looking for work. This can be especially helpful when filling in application forms or keeping track of applications
  • You are likely to enjoy spending time with other people. This may help you come across as friendly and sociable in assessment situations.
  • You may sometimes try to understand other people’s behaviour. This could help you relate well to others in interviews.

What comes less naturally to you when looking for a job

Some of these things may not come so naturally to you. However, you can work around these and make sure they do not hold you back when you are looking for a job. Some ideas for how to do this are shown below.

  • You are less likely to enjoy looking at facts and figures. You may need to challenge yourself to look at data, as such information can be helpful when researching jobs.

TIP: List the three job options you are most interested in. For each of these find as much information based on facts as you can – for example, from employer websites.

  • You may not enjoy persuading others. This means you may have to make an effort to convince potential employers that you have the skills needed to do the job.

TIP: Practice talking about your key strengths to a person you know. Ask them to question what you are saying and try to answer their questions.

  • You are likely to prefer taking things steady and not being very busy. This means you may need to make an effort to take a more energetic, enthusiastic approach to looking for work.

TIP: Set yourself specific goals for each day followed by a reward (for example “today I will search three websites for jobs and make 5 applications before 5 ‘o’ clock and then I can relax this evening). This should help you keep going and allow you to achieve more in a shorter space of time.

  • You are likely to be less open to new ways of doing things. This means you may need to make an effort to try different approaches when looking for work.

Tip: Try to use different ways of looking for work. You could use newspapers, magazines and a range of job websites, as well as people you know or your local jobcentre.


This whole bit is very accurate. Though maybe saying “I can relax” as a reward isn’t going to work very well because my procrastination makes me like “I can relax” all the time.


Your results – Motivations

This section looks at seven areas of ‘motivation’. These describe the kinds of work environment that are most important to you. The more you are motivated by your work environment the more job satisfaction you are likely to have.

Your motivations are listed in the chart below. Number one in the chart is the most important to you, then number two and so on. A satisfying environment for you might require a combination of characteristics rather than just one.

Remember that motivations do sometimes change over time.


There’s some bar charts displaying a representation of how much of each motivation I have. I think I’ll just do marks out of 10 instead because they have 10 sectors on the bar charts.

So 1 is not motivated at all and 10 is, like, the most motivated a person possibly be about something.

I’ve rounded the scores to the nearest .5 for simplicity’s sake. The bars didn’t actually adhere to full sectors or half sectors.


  1. Ordered Environment – 6.5 / 10
    This type of environment is structured, predictable and with very clear requirements. It can be found in areas like administration and book-keeping where the emphasis is on order and high standards.
  2. People Focused Environment – 5.5 / 10
    This is a social and caring environment, where people can get on well together. They co-operate and help each other. It is found in caring professions, charities and public services. It can also be present in companies, for example customer service departments.
  3. Creative Environment – 5.0/10
    This type of environment is creative and open to new ways of doing things. People who value this type of environment are likely to enjoy roles which are free of much of the conventions to do with work, e.g. how you look, how you behave, etc.
  4. Productive Environment – 4.5 / 10
    This environment values “doers”: people who work hard and who enjoy having something to show for their efforts. These values tend to be reflected in work that is practical.
  5. Money Focused Environment – 4.0 / 10
    This is an environment where the focus is on making money. Money is also given as a reward for doing well. It is typically found in commercial businesses rather than public sector or charity work.
  6. Lively Environment – 4.0 / 10
    This type of environment is competitive and lively, with an element of risk taking. People are valued for their ability to press for results and to achieve. It can often be found in sales roles.
  7. Specialist Environment – 3.5 / 10
    This environment is focused on specialist expertise. It suggests a role in a technical environment where people gain respect and reward based on their expertise.

Hmmm…I would have expected Creative Environment to be top of the list with a much higher score, since I’m such a creative person.
I also expected People Focused Environment would be second with a higher score than it has.
And then an Ordered Environment…possibly with roughly the same score it has…
I’m not so fussed about the rest of the results after that.

Alright, up next is a bunch of pages showing my results on some tests on working with numbers, written information, information checking, solving mechanical problems solving, shapes and abstract problems. There’s way too much stuff to copy down here, so I’ll just give a brief overview.

I got a perfect score or one point short of a perfect score on all except the abstract problems, where I got it mostly right but not as close to perfect as the rest.

Okay, we’re onto the last three pages of this thing now…and…here we have a page of job family suggestions…now I’m not sure if this is based purely on the test results I just mentioned, or on the Skills Health Check as a whole, but here’s what it says…


Job suggestions – best match for your skills.

Based on how you answered the skills areas questionnaire, these job families may be a good match for you.

Sport, Leisure and Tourism.
These jobs typically involve showing energy and drive, gathering information and spotting problems, and planning tasks effectively.

One activity that is sometimes part of this kind of job is checking information. Refer to the activity skills area of this report to remind yourself how you found this.

Legal Services.
These jobs typically involve coming up with new ideas, taking responsibility and leading others, and working well with others.

One activity that is often part of this kind of job is reasoning and using verbal information. Refer to the working with written information activity skills area of this report to remind yourself how you found this.

Other job families you may be interested in

Performing Arts, Broadcast and Media.

These jobs typically involve planning tasks effectively, working well with others, and learning new information and using technology.

One activity that is sometimes part of this kind of job is reasoning and using verbal information. Refer to the working with written information activity skills area of this report to remind yourself how you found this.


Okay…I’m guessing this is based purely on those tests because why the heck is it suddenly having sports, leisure and tourism and legal services as the top two suggestions?

But hey there’s Broadcast and Media again, so that’s good.


Your next steps

The job families listed above are just a starting point.

To explore the jobs you would find within the job families, looking them up online is a good place to start for more information.

You can also find out more from;

  • Reference materials in libraries or your carers service
  • Talking to someone who works in the area that interests you
  • Professional bodies and associations
  • Job shadowing to see how the job is done in a real workplace.

After seeing which jobs interest you the most, think about specific issues which could make a job more or less suitable for you (e.g. any health issues you may have, the hours you would be required to work, the location of work.)

Next, look at possible employers, possibilities for further training and job opportunities in your area.

We hope you are finding the skills health check useful!


And then there’s just a brief overview that repeats all that stuff about finding what interests me and what matches my skills.

So do I think this has helped me get a better idea of what jobs I can go for? Hmmm…maybe.

I don’t know if my Work Solutions Advisor is going to do anything with the info in this Skills Health Check in future appointments. Maybe they can hook me up with a radio station or two so I can capitalise on my certificate and my interest in becoming a radio DJ? I don’t know.

At the latest appointment they had a look at my CV and pointed out a couple of flaws I didn’t notice until they were pointed out. Those flaws have been ironed out. I’ll definitely take the changes they made into account but I’d like to make a few changes of my own to get my CV just right.

I told them I’d like some help with preparing for job interviews.
I hardly ever had any feedback on applications, let alone interviews, so I have no idea what I’m doing right and what I’m doing wrong. Some help with that would be brilliant.
So that’s what we’ll be doing in the future.

Right, so how about my work experience placement at Poundland?

Well, turns out it was 8 weeks long rather than 6 weeks like my previous ones.

Oh, and they couldn’t include any till work because their insurance doesn’t cover it…which is fair enough, you never know when some new guy might try pocketing some loose change here and there.

So it was pure putting stock out, making it look neat and helping customers find stuff.

Nothing too exciting, but hey, it was something other than being stuck in front of a computer screen all day.

There were a few co-workers I liked. I tried to make friends with them but I don’t think giving some contact details on a piece of paper works too well. Dang. I guess I’m not too good at this “making new friends” thing.

So Lav and I have found this new game we like.

It’s called 7 Days to Die.

It’s literally Minecraft, only it’s not blocky, it has way more stuff, and is quite a bit more challenging.

Like, hostile mobs can still detect and try to attack you even if you’re in your house. So there’s reason to put up some defences around it.

It’s funny, really, I’d been seeing YouTube let’s play videos of 7 Days to die popping up but I never watched them…I thought I wouldn’t like it coz it looked like a straight up horror game.

But then Lav suggested I give the vids a watch and hey, we liked what we saw.

The game is still in development but it’s pretty great so far.

We’re having a go with it now…we were kind of n008s at first but we soon got the hang of things.

It’ll be cool to check out all the things we can do with it. There’s electricity stuff to play with…I really want to make auto-turrets and watch them shoot enemies for us!

I think that about covers everything so far.

So until next time,

Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox Thom.

Posted by: bluefoxy | May 7, 2017

In For A Penny, In For A Poundland

Alright, time for an update methinks.

So we’re still getting JSA…they decided to let us off for now. Phew. Dodged a heck of a bullet there.
Jobcentre’s now booked Lav into some course that’s supposed to help her with her job search…that’ll be coming up on the 22nd of this month. Hope it helps.

I had another interview on 9th April at a PC world in the Trafford Centre. I think it went quite well, but there was a whole group of other people for them to interview and, while I was talking with this group of people, one guy there said he has actually worked for PC World before, so he already knows what’s what…I’d bet anything they hired him.

Work Solutions transferred me to their Salford Branch and I’ve already been to a few appointments there.

We went over what they’d done with me at Stockport and where I was up to, and I also explained about the interviews I’d been getting lately.

It’s quite clear I’m very work-ready, and it was agreed all I need is some nice, recent work experience under my belt, plus some help figuring out what kinds of jobs I can look for beyond just retail and customer service.

With regard to expanding my job search parameters, they’re having me do an online test devised by the National Careers Service called the Skills Health Check…it’s testing me on a number of parameters to see what I’m interested in and what I’m good at…it has a lot of sections and usually takes a few hours to complete so we agreed for me to break it up into a few bits at a time at Work Solutions.

I did about one-third of it at one appointment and another third of it at another appointment, so I reckon I’ll be able to finish up the last third at my next appointment this coming Thursday.

As for work experience, they had me meet with their work experience officer.

He said that they’re well aware that, unfortunately, a lot of places only offer work experience just so they can get some free labour.

However, he already had something great waiting in the pipeline. Salford’s Poundland was looking for some staff. He assured me that the manager there was amazing…he was someone that genuinely wanted to help struggling jobseekers like me and is genuinely excited for them to find paid work.

Like, apparently there was this one girl that was gonna do a placement there, but then ended up getting a offer for some paid work somewhere else, and this Poundland manager was thrilled about it when he heard.

Sounded great to me, so they arranged an interview…which I then went to…turned out to be more of a meet-and-greet…didn’t really talk about much. Manager said then and there they can start me as soon as the following day, though knew that the work experience officer needed to set it up so Work Solutions has some paperwork to show to the government for their funding.

I rang my new Work Solutions advisor to tell him what’s going on, he rang the work experience officer, and the work experience officer set me up to start the following day.

Wasn’t really expecting a next day start, but oh well.

I started my first day on Thursday the 27th of April, then did the following Saturday and Sunday coz they need me to do three days a week, then I started my actual schedule, which is every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 12 noon to 6 PM.

I don’t know for sure how long this placement is for…previous work experience placements I’ve been on all lasted 6 weeks, though there’s this other guy who’s there on a placement at the same time as me, also through Work Solutions, and he told me he thinks it’s gonna be for 8 weeks. I really need to remember to ask at some point.

At any rate I believe I’m 3 weeks in now.

All they’ve been having me do so far is take stock from the stock room and put it out, and then tidy up around the store. Though they don’t want me to just randomly wander round and tidy up whatever I find, they want me to do it meticulously aisle by aisle with another, more experienced worker.

I hope they’re gonna show me how to use the tills soon so I can help with that and add a bit of recent till work to my CV.
I really need to ask one of the managers if they plan to do that at some point.

At any rate, it’s something to do with my time other than sitting staring at a computer screen all day.

A rather unusual thing that happened the other day is the bus I was taking to work suddenly broke down quite close to Salford Shopping Centre, so I had to walk the rest of the way to Poundland…which wasn’t far at all at that point, just more or less on the other end of said shopping centre.

And then yesterday I had an interesting conversation with one of my co-workers as we were working together tidying the store…I mentioned I was worried about how Brexit was gonna affect my girlfriend, Lav, and he said he believed Brexit was actually a good thing, he wanted to see more British people get employed in Britain, and that was what Brexit was mainly gonna do.
I made the argument that we’re still going to get immigrants and that a lot of them weren’t even from the EU, it was mostly places like India and refugees from those terrorist countries that everybody’s trying to blow up, but he kind of just brushed that argument off and changed the subject to how Donald Trump is basically an idiot who has no idea what he’s doing.
I can agree with that…I told him I heard all the companies that Donald Trump started had gone bankrupt…the co-worker went one further and said Trump himself was bankrupt.
And not only that, but Trump’s a total hypocrite. He says he wants to get all the immigrants out of the US, but apparently he has an immigrant wife who used to, or still does, pose for nude photoshoots for porn sites and the like.

Well, then.

Oh, and Theresa May announced a snap general election out of the blue. It’s an obvious strategy to bolster the Tories’ position, as right now there’s no real opposition.
Labour’s in disarray coz they have no real leader,
The Lib Dems are generally keeping quiet as far as I can tell,
UKIP’s a total joke since Farage’s “No idea where that 350 mil came from” line,
And all signs point to a total Brexit disaster with Theresa at the helm because she’s being stubborn and unco-operative with negotiations.

We’re up the political creek with no paddle, here, people.

Lav and I would get the heck out of dodge and go somewhere safer if we could, but there’s no way we have enough money to sustain us for long wherever we go, plus there’s no guarantee we could find a way to make more money wherever we end up.
Also there’s the whole question of how long they’ll let us stay since she or I or both of us aren’t citizens of whatever country we go to.

Our only hope is to get married at the registrar’s office and get her British citizenship A.S.A.P, but it would mean quite a bit of paperwork and financial cost with having to tell everyone she has my last name now.

I suppose doing it now would save way more paperwork and financial cost in the long run with having to do it all after having a proper wedding when we have the money later in life.

I guess that about covers everything.

Ciao for now,

Cordially,
The Blue Fox

Posted by: bluefoxy | March 24, 2017

Discomfort, Distration And General Dissatisfaction

Alright, let’s get right into this train wreck.

So in an attempt to help Lav find work, the jobcentre asked her about what she might be interested in doing…now, since Lav did a one-day thing where she worked in a warehouse, and tried to get a job in another warehouse, she made that her first choice. She felt warehouse work was something she could do.

She had Office Assistant / Admin / IT as her second choice but that’s not important right now.

The advisor then revealed there was a warehouse course being set up…though warned Lav that warehouse tends to be a very male dominated industry, as it tends to involve lots of heavy lifting.

Lav said she’d be okay with that, so got put into a slot for the open day at Manchester Town Hall, where they’re supposed to interview her.

She goes to Manchester Town Hall, she meets the guy running it, and pretty much all he does is ask “are you able to come to the course?” Lav tells him yes, and he just signs her up then and there, no further questions asked!

Once the jobcentre learned of this, it was now mandatory for Lav to attend… “Failure to attend could result in a loss of benefit” was their wording. Standard stuff.

Lav goes to the first day of the course, she gets to the room, and sees nothing but men there…around 20 of them. And they all seemed to be giving her weird looks.

She felt very uncomfortable about this, and decided she wanted to cancel the course and leave.

We went straight to the jobcentre and told them of this…and were informed that it will be put down as a failure to attend, and will have to go to an independent decision maker…and if they decide this affects our claim, we will get sanctioned, and our claim will, at the very least, be suspended…for a month.

Now, here’s the thing…before the course started we both VERY CLEARLY remember being told on a number of occasions that we could cancel the course at any point, for any good reason…just tell the jobcentre right away if we do.

At no point did anybody specify that cancelling the course after she had been signed up for it would mean our claim would be affected by that decision.

We both assumed failure to attend meant simply, you’re on the course, but you didn’t physically attend it, and you didn’t inform anyone you weren’t attending, and then the people running the course ring the jobcentre and say “so-and-so wasn’t here” and you get in trouble for that.

The advisor that saw us gave us a chance to put forward our case to the independent decision makers, we did our best to try and explain Lav’s decision as best we could, although, at the time, we didn’t really have a chance to think of how to put it as articulately as I described above.

The messages that were sent simply explained that Lav felt uncomfortable, we feel we were told by jobcentre staff that we could cancel without any issues, oh and this is the first time Lav has had something brought to the attention of a decision maker.

We’re hoping that feeling uncomfortable is a good enough reason to not want to attend…after all, at an actual job, when you feel uncomfortable, there’s measures in place that you can take so your employers have to help you feel more comfortable. At least, that’s what I’ve heard.

I’ll get back to that whole situation in a minute, as there’s another aspect of our current situation I need to address.

So you remember in my last post how I was talking about how we were trying to move internet providers from Sky to Virgin Media so we could get good internet for a decent price?

Virgin Media kept delaying our installation date due to a “construction issue”…week after week for almost a MONTH we waited for them to come get us set up, and they kept rescheduling.

In the meantime, we were puttering along on a mobile Wi-Fi device we got from Vodafone just so we could have some semblance of internet.

We finally decided Virgin Media sucked…their customer service is completely rubbish…oh, and we found Vodafone has an even better broadband internet speed for an even cheaper price…so we cancelled Virgin Media and went ahead with Vodafone.

Vodafone’s customer service is so much better. Like, after we ordered the Vodafone router, the agent we spoke to asked us how much internet we had left on our mobile Wi-Fi…at this point we’d used all but around 2 gigabytes.

So…he sent us a 50 gig sim card for our Wi-fi device for free…he said they don’t normally do that, but since we’re getting broadband he decided to be generous and give us something to keep us going till our router arrives.

The 50 gig sim card arrives in the mail a couple of days later…guess what? There’s nothing on it.
No credit, no data, nothing!

Well, crap. I had to pay for some extra data on the mobile Wi-Fi sim card we already had just to keep us going while we waited for the router to arrive.

Soon as the router arrived, we put in the request for the two mobile Wi-Fi sim cards to have their service discontinued.

However, the other day we looked at our Vodafone bill…and it came to ONE HUNDRED AND FOURTY FIVE POUNDS!!

With the threat of no JSA looming, I called my mom to loan me the money to cover the bill.

She agreed, so long as I can pay it back afterwards.

Then we called Vodafone to see if anything can be done…from the way the guy was talking, it sounds like nothing CAN be done until both mobile Wi-Fi contracts officially end on April 10th.

Then he was saying stuff that sounded to me like, since we didn’t use the mobile Wi-Fi in all the time since we called for it to be cancelled, we will automatically be reimbursed the money we paid for something we didn’t use.

He then started talking about us needing to send back the mobile Wi-Fi device or we’ll be charged a fee for keeping it. He was talking about trying to get us through to the returns department when the call got dropped for some reason…signal got lost I think.

So yeah I gotta call them again at some point and ask for the returns department and ask them if it’s okay if I use a returns envelope I happen to already have…it came with the router, and is obviously too big length and width wise for the Wi-Fi device, even with the device in its box, but…

…hmmm, actually, now that I think about it, I can probably just cut off the address label and the prepaid stamp and stick them on the box.

It’s best I ask them first, though. Maybe they have a specific procedure, or need to send me the correct size returns envelope, or it needs to be sent to a different returns centre than the router, or something.

I should also mention another thing I like about Vodafone’s customer service…when they put you on hold, their hold music is not the usual classical music you get with most companies, it’s like pretty groovy pop songs. I dunno what the songs are called, but it’s a nice change from hearing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons or something for the umpteenth time.

Anyway, it seems like I still have to pay that £145 bill…fortunately it’s just this one time.

Also fortunately, it turns out the Jobcentre’s decision maker hadn’t made a decision by the time Lav had to come in for her sign-on, which means we’re at least getting one more payment of JSA, more than enough to cover the Vodafone bill, and still leave us with a bit of money for other things.

Also rather fortunately, we found that we don’t have to pay council tax until the end of April…
Apparently the first payment we made covered from when we started the tenancy agreement through March…according to the letters about it, anyway.

I was just about to e-mail my mom and say I didn’t need her loan after all but she had already paid it in. So I gotta send it back to her. I’ll go do that right after posting this.

With any luck, the jobcentre’s decision maker will be lenient and let Lav off with a warning to not let it happen again…which we won’t, now that we’ve learned from our mistake here to be careful what we sign up for.

But there’s still the genuine prospect for work thing to worry about…my advisor warned me that Lav is not very likely to pass that unless she pretty much had a job already lined up by the time it comes about. The course was supposed to help her do that…now she’s turned it down, which doesn’t look good.

She’s gonna keep poking a couple of agencies she’s signed up with, see if anything crops up, and of course generally search for herself.

But even if Lav is considered no longer eligible for JSA, we’re pretty sure I can still claim for myself…we’d only get around half of what we’re getting now, but as long as there’s no more unexpected gigantic bills, we should be able to manage what little money we’ll have until at least one of us gets a job and a nice tasty salary starts coming in.

Speaking of jobs…I managed to get another interview since my last blog post…nothing came of it, but the fact that I’ve had 3 interviews in around 2 months means I’m taking steps in the right direction.
With a little bit more help, and more perseverance, and a bit of luck, MAYBE I’ll snag something.

Hey, I almost did with that RSJ Global job, but like I said before, I need something with a guaranteed income now that I’m responsible for rent and bills.

Work Solutions called me up and said they’re transferring me to their Salford branch. Brill, I’d been meaning to pay that branch a visit anyway. There’s also another Jobs fair at the Salford Civic centre.
I wanted to go to that anyway, but my advisor needed to officially book me in.
She couldn’t get a hold of the organisers while I was at my last sign on but she said she’ll keep trying and will call me and send me a letter when she’s booked me in. She said to have some printed CVs ready and come in my interview clothes.
I saw a computer room at the local community centre. They should have a printer I can use there.
I’ll need to wash my smart clothes, though. I’ve already worn all of them at least once at this point.

So what else have I been up to?

Well, there’s this I suppose;

kingdom20hearts20furry_zpsme8mg9nh

Just a little something I’d been working on these past few months amidst all the chaos of having to move out of my parent’s place and into a place of our own.

Lav and I have also gotten back into playing Second Life…we need SOMETHING to pass the time while we’re at home with not much else to do…then again, we’re not finding much to do on SL either.

There’s also Minecraft if we don’t feel like SL, or we just each do our own thing if we don’t feel like SL or Minecraft.

Although we are very much letting ourselves get too distracted by our computers to do important things in real life like cleaning the filth off the kitchen counters, cleaning the outside of the washing machine, cleaning the fridge, cleaning the floors, doing the laundry and generally keeping this place neat and tidy.

Yeah…we’re gonna be sitting around in our own filth if we don’t start getting our act together.

Wish us luck!

Ciao for now,

Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | February 10, 2017

Fix Everything

So on Monday 30th we had a different engineer come in than the guy that visited us before, and he just straight up replaced our heater’s timer with a brand new one…that got everything working as it should be!
He ran a few tests to make sure there wasn’t anything else wrong with the boiler and was on his merry way.
That first engineer must not have known what he was doing.

We rang the letting agency to let them know the heating problem was fixed and then explained our money woes, and just like the housing advisor I spoke to said, they were fine with us paying what we can until the housing benefit came in.

Then on Tuesday 31st we remembered that we still had to pay one more exam fee to that dental nurse course Lav had to leave…with our funds drained as they are, we decided to ring and ask them if we can spread out the payment and lessen the blow while we build up our funds again.
Turns out she wasn’t supposed to pay all those exam fees in the first place! It was just the course fee that was non-refundable, the exam fees were a completely separate matter!
So she’s due a refund of what she already paid, and they said they were going to cancel the third payment.

Of course, a couple of days later we check our bank accounts and find they took the third exam fee anyway, taking Lav’s account into overdraft. Fortunately it seemed to happen on the day we checked so I just gave her some money to put her back into the black and hopefully the bank shouldn’t charge her for being overdraft for, like, a couple of hours.

We called the nurse course again to complain and they said they’d chase it up for us.

It’s all good now. She got an e-mail yesterday saying they were processing the refund and she should get her money back sometime on the day I type this.

In the meantime, we got some letters in the mail…from Salford City Council!
Our Housing Benefit and Council Tax Reduction claim went through! YES!!!
Now we only have to pay 10% what we would’ve paid for council tax, and the housing benefit covers most of our rent…we barely have to scratch our jobseeker’s allowance to cover the rest. Pretty sweet. We don’t have to worry about money as much now, but it would still be good to watch what we spend from now on.
We still got gas, electric, water and internet bills to pay, our mouths to feed, cleaning products to keep our place clean and bathroom toiletries to keep ourselves clean.

Anything other than all that can wait until we’re more financially comfortable for it.

On Friday 3rd, I went out to go get something from the local corner shop…only to realise after I closed the door behind me that I failed to bring my keys with me, and our door had a deadlock that locks itself when you close the door, so I was locked out!
No big deal, Lav was still inside, she can let me back in, so I knock on the window.
But when she went to rescue me, she let our flat door close behind her and she didn’t grab the keys either!
Oh, bugger, now we were both stuck outside our flat…our phones were inside, too, so we couldn’t ring for help.
The landlords weren’t in their office…they’re off on Fridays for some reason…
I asked around the corner shops if they knew of any locksmiths in the area I could ring to unlock our door for us…first place I asked didn’t know any, the second place came up with a couple of numbers, though.
So then I went to a payphone to ring the numbers…but then the payphone ate my coins and didn’t give me any credit to call with!
I was out of options…so I called the police.
I thought the police had some kind of skeleton key they could use to unlock any door.
Turns out that’s not the case…not in England, anyway.
The operator said all the police could do was break in for us, or we could break in ourselves…either way we’d be liable for the damages.
We were our of ideas…fortunately a guy from one of the other flats came along, and I asked him if he had any ideas. He went and grabbed a crowbar and levered the door open with that…and it worked!
So yeah, the deadlock’s broken off…which is fine, because obviously we were bound to accidentally lock ourselves out with that thing sooner or later.
We’ll keep it off and use the normal door lock and lock ourselves both from the outside when leaving the flat and on the inside when we’re in for security reasons…can’t have someone just barging in at any time.
That way, we’d HAVE to bring our keys to let ourselves out, and even if we do manage to go out the door without our keys, it’d be impossible to lock the door from the outside and we’d have to go back in and get them then.
We’ll have a guy come fix the deadlock when we wanna leave our flat for someplace better.
Oh, and from now on, no more frigging deadlocks for us!
If a place has one, we’re removing that straight away!
We’re NOT making the same mistake twice!

On Monday 6th, we realised Lav was lagging like crazy whenever we tried to play together on the same Minecraft world. We reckon the cheap internet from Sky is to blame.

The next level up on internet speed with Sky is quite a bit more expensive.

Virgin Media has a much better internet speed than Sky’s next level up for a much cheaper price than what Sky’s next level up would cost us.

So, it was agreed we should upgrade to Virgin Media.

The engineer will even put a new line in our front room for free, which is brill coz the existing lines are in the bedroom and our computers are in the front room…we can still connect via wi-fi but it’s not as reliable or as strong as being connected via ethernet.

Don’t get us wrong, getting Sky first wasn’t a waste of money…it was good for when we were starting our here and sorting out our finances, but now that we got Housing Benefit coming in we can definitely afford something much better.

So Virgin Media will be coming on the 21st…coincidentally the same day Sky will be cancelling our subscription to them, so there should be no signal conflicts.

On Wednesday 8th, my new jobcentre advisor was reviewing the changes to my CV she suggested I make, and she asked me why I’ve been out of paid work for over 10 years.
I explained I’ve applied to countless vacancies, but been getting little to no reply, and the few replies I do get are either the auto-replies from bigger companies thanking me for my application, or replies telling me they won’t be taking my application any further.

Then she asked me what happened with my last paid job, why did I leave?
I told her I was fired, and the reason the manager gave me was “I was too loud to the customers”
She asked me if I agreed with that, and I said no, that I felt my voice was normal.
She then revealed that actually she felt I had a very loud kind of voice and that I naturally project my voice very well. Not ideal in a close, one-on-one situation like our interview, but it wouldn’t be out of place in, like, a theater or something.
Nobody’s ever told me that before!
I mean, Lav’s sometimes pointed out I need to use a more whispery voice sometimes when we’re cuddling in the evening and we don’t want to disturb anybody, but other than that…

She then suggested I make a cover letter explaining both my reason for being out of work so long and my tendency to have a loud voice and send it to her to review.
I tought that sounded like a good idea…no more awkward explanations at interviews about my lack of paid work history, employers will know up front what they’re dealing with, and they have a fair warning of my loud voice!

My advisor then asked me how the job’s fair went, and I told her about how I lost that leaflet for that Asda product promotion job I was interested in. She made a phone call, and got the e-mail for me. Sweet!

She then asked me to take screenshots of some of the applications I make to show her what I do to apply to jobs. No problemo, I’ll save up a folder of a few to send to her before my next sign-on with her.

In all the years I’ve been at the jobcentre, I’ve never encountered anyone helping me as much as this new advisor is trying to!
That really brings up questions about what a lot of advisors are even doing to help jobseekers…

That’s their job, they’re supposed to help us…but while at Stockport the most they’ve done to help me is lump me off to some skills course agency or a work experience placement…that’s SOMETHING but…I mean…why did nobody tell me until now I had a loud kind of voice? I coulda probably used knowing something like that a LOT sooner.
Jobs that required you to have a loud voice coulda used a natural like me.

With the dental nurse course exam fee refund around the corner and another JSA payment looming, too, Lav and I agreed to order a nice coffee table we found from Argos…we needed one to put in front of the couch so Lav had somewhere to put her cups of tea and plates of food while on her laptop and somewhere to put her laptop away when she was done with it.

So we’re in a lot more comfortable position now than we were before, and things are definitely looking more promising for my employment prospects.

Fingers crossed!

Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | January 27, 2017

Time To Face The Strange…

…Ch-ch-changes!

Oh, boy…where to begin. Where. To. Be. Gin.

So as I’m getting dressed for work at RSJ Global on Monday the 9th I get a phone call.

You guys remember in my last post how I mentioned a property in Salford that Lav and I viewed?

They accepted us. They were ready for us to move in as soon as the next morning.

I was stood there just stunned for a moment, while my mom was jumping up and down next to me going “yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!” enthusiatically and I looked at Lav and she was like “Yes!” in a we-need-to-take-this kind of voice.

So I accepted and arranged to meet the agent at 10 o clock the next morning to sign the tenancy agreement.

Unfortunately Lav was doing her induction at that picker and packer job that Temps hooked her up with, so I had to go it alone.

The agent was quite understanding and said to just have her come sign her half either before 5pm when the agency closed or, failing that, the next morning.

Lav wasn’t able to make it to the rental before 5pm but when she did make it she immediately wanted to clean everything because the place was in an absolute STATE.

So we had to go on a shopping spree for cleaning products around the local Asda and Tesco.

Clearly the previous tenants either didn’t know how to clean up after themselves or just couldn’t be bothered. Just about every surface in the place was covered in some sort of dirt or dust.
In fact, we think the previous tenant might’ve been a bear because we kept finding hairs EVERYWHERE and they seemed to be magic hairs or something coz they seemed to appear on surfaces we’d already cleaned.

It took pretty much our whole first week but eventually we got pretty much everything we could cleaned up.

Lav did most of it, though, because she’s OCD about cleaning and wanted to do it a certain way, and I’m pretty confident my cleaning skills aren’t up to good standards.

In the meantime, we quickly discovered our central heating was non-operational.
We had hot water, but for some reason the radiators weren’t being activated.

We had to have the agency call in the engineers as they have a contract and it was still under warrenty. While we waited, the agency gave us some electric heaters, but those things ate through the credit on our electricity meter like crazy!

The engineer came a first time…I dunno what he did but he got the heating working…somewhat…it worked sproadically, off one day, on the next, and at seemingly random times. So we had him called in again and, so far as we know, all he did was press the reset button on the timer, and it worked perfectly…but we already tried pressing the reset button, and agents from the rental agency already tried it too…I think he must’ve done something else…or used some kind of secret engineer magic we don’t know about.

Whatever he did, it didn’t stick…soon as we switched off the boiler to conserve gas, and then switched it back on again later, boom, the heating wouldn’t work again. At all.
This time the agency had us ring the manufacturer directly to see if they can have us fix it over the phone…nope, no dice. So we got the engineer coming again this coming Monday. So we gotta use electric heaters again over the weekend. Urgh.

We also checked the brand of the boiler online for help…turns out a lot of other people with the same brand report having the same or similar problems…and it all seems to boil down to this particular brand being a cheap, poorly made hunk of junk with a complicated and temperamental timer system.

I had to can my job at RSJ Global…during the course of thier induction, I learned their pay was commission based rather than a regular salery.

My advisor from Work Solutions contacted me to ask about how the job is going, and when I mentioned the pay situation to her, she immediately raised concerns that it’s not a guaranteed income…and she’s had plenty of other people who’ve done the same kind of job working their butts off and having nothing to show for it.

She recommended I bow out right then and there as I technically hadn’t done any work yet.

I agreed. I need a job with a guaranteed income given my current situation.

She had a contact from Salford that had something that may help.

It led to an interview to be a ticket checker at Manchester Piccadilly Train Station!

7zkig

It ended up being another fill in a form and then see the interviewer deal.

When it asked for my work history, I had no choice but to be honest and say I’d been on JSA for over a decade…this, again, raised a concern from the interviewer. I used my whole “Work placements, voluntary work and courses” shpeil Caroline advised me on but I don’t think it worked. The interviewer explained he had to answer to his boss and then said he would let Work Solutions know of the outcome.
I haven’t heard anything since. I don’t think they did either. I’m gonna have to poke my advisor again.

Oh yeah and Lav wasn’t shortlisted to work at that Picker and Packer job.

So we had to do something called a “live switch” with the jobcenter to be able to sign on at the Salford one rather than have to go all the way to Stockport each time, and also let them know of our new address.

My new advisor was actually pretty helpful…first she gave me some tips on how to alter my CV…said I had to seperate unpaid work expereince from paid employment history so employers can see I’m willing to give my time and work for free…makes sense…she also said to include the months I worked rather than just the years…hmmm…well, originally I thought the short work placements might put employers off…but seen as we’re making the distinction between paid and unpaid work it might work alright.

Then she signed me up to a skills course at the Trafford Centre which she said included two week’s experience working in a placement and a guaranteed interview at the end.  She also told me of a jobsfair happening in the Salford Civic Centre for me to check out.

Guess what? The Skills course? Working towards a qualification I already had, only worded a different way…oh and there was no work experience or guaranteed interview.

There were a couple of promising stalls at the jobsfair…but I managed to lose the leaflet for one of them while just getting off the bus back home…it had an e-mail I was gonna e-mail my CV to for a decent job opportunity I think I woulda liked.
The other one was a couple of representatives from Reed. They’re gonna e-mail me with some opportunities they felt I might be interested in. We’ll see what they come up with.

We had a bit of bother with getting some internet into our new humble abode…

So we decided to get Sky since they’re the cheapest while still seeming to provide a decent service for our needs.
First, on the 18th, we missed the postman delivering our Sky Hub because our doorbell doesn’t work.
So I had to walk all the way to the post office, only to be told it won’t arrive there until the next day, which just so happened to be the day the Sky Engineer was supposed to come in.

So I had to go a second time early in the morning to arrive just as the post office opened.
So then the engineer came and tested our phone line…and said it cut off somewhere at the telephone pole…so he went to the telephone pole, and when he came back he said there was some 6-foot-tall brambles at the bottom and he needed to “make it safe” so he was gonna call landscaping or something to cut down the brambles and then call us back.
He didn’t call us back.

So we booked another appointment with Sky, and they didn’t have a slot until the 25th…the 25th eventually came, this time we got a different engineer and, after we told him our expereince with the first engineer, he assured us he would not leave until he got us sorted. He got one of his buddies to hold the ladder while he went up the pole and fixed the issue with the phone line, then helped us set up our Sky Hub…and hey, presto, our internet was working! Yay!

So…our rental doesn’t have a freezer. It has a fridge. So we can only buy fridge foods…which only stay fresh a few days…so we can only buy a little bit of food at a time.

So between all the cleaning products we had to buy, all the food we had to buy, having to pay for gas and electricity about every week at £10 a pop, having to pay for bus tickets, buying some stuff to help improve our home like a bedside stack of shelves from a furniture British Heart Foundation, a laundry basket of sorts, double bed matress covers before discovering our bed was king size and having to get THAT size matress cover, cutlery, plates, bowls, as well as having to top up our phones once in a while so we’d at least have some semblance of internet connection because we needed it for certain things like looking stuff up….yeah…all that money adds up…and it added up a little too quickly.

As I type this now…we actually don’t have enough money to pay for the next rent instalment…especially with having to pay for the gas, electricity, water, council tax and internet seperately.

What happened to claiming housing benefit?

Oh, we put a claim in for housing benefit and a council tax reduction…but after not hearing anything about our claim I phoned them up…turns out it can take anything between 8 and 10 weeks for a claim to go through because there tends to be so many to process.

Crud.

I went to a housing advice centre and asked for…well, some advice, and they said landlords and agencies that accept housing benefit should be well aware of how long it takes and should be very understanding and helpful and patient.

An idea I’ve had is to maybe ask the agency if we can pay a little bit of our due rent around the due date for now and pay the rest later when we’ve got a couple of jobseeker’s allowances lining our pockets.

And then from now on we watch our spending a bit better. Having internet now will help. It was difficult to keep an eye on our available funds without it.

Although I should really have warned Lav sooner about watching what we spend. Like…right from the beginning.

Oh we needed the food, for sure…but perhaps not all those sweets we bought…oh and maybe some of the cleaning stuff could’ve waited a bit…oh and why is it when you buy something you almost ALWAYS find it cheaper somewhere else later?!?

Man, I used to be so careful with my money for the most part…but moving to our own place has been such a big and sudden change that we’d eaten all our savings before we realised what was happening.

We’ll see if we can get some help from wherever we can.

Lav’s mom sez she’s gonna give Lav some money for her birthday after her grandfather’s funeral…don’t know if that’s gonna be much, but every little bit helps.

We read something in a leaflet with our water bill that we can have our water bill paid for us if we’re having money troubles. That should also help a little bit.

My parents plan to sell most of the stuff I don’t want or need at a tabletop sale…but they don’t have any official plans for that yet…I hope they do it soon…the money from that unwanted stuff can really help out, too.

We’ll figure something out.

Hopefully I don’t freeze to death or anything before my next update.

Until next time,

Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | January 8, 2017

RKO (Really Kickass Opportunity) From Outta Nowhere!

Wow…what a week. What. A. Week.

We had to buy a dayrider on the bus pretty much for every day this past week…mind you we didn’t know when the week began that we’d be going out on the bus pretty much every day, and I didn’t realise what was happening until the week was almost over and there wasn’t much point to buying megariders for the rest of the week, so we ended up spending around £50 – £60 on bus tickets.

Mostly it was because each evening, Lav would find a rental and book a veiwing for the very next day.

So the first rental we viewed was the one in Rusholme we were viewing on New Year’s Day I mentioned in my last blog post…we met with the two current tenants…a couple of black dudes.
Turns out they’re renting from an agency which wasn’t gonna be open until the 4th.
They seemed to like us, though…we made them laugh a bit.
They said if they want us to live with them they’ll ring us back and then we can arrange to pay the deposit and a month’s rent.
They didn’t ring us back.

We were then going to view a place in Moss Side but then we realised it may not be a good idea to go for non-DSS rentals before she starts work in this picker packer job she got lined up in Clayton thanks to that Temps agency. She’s starting that this coming Tuesday.

So then, on the 3rd, on the advice of Shelter, we went to Stockport Homes to officially declare ourselves homeless because our living situation was so bad.
They asked us if my parents had said we need to leave and I said yes and went on to say they’re gonna kick us out on August.
That immediately had the Stockport Homes agent tell us we’re not an emergency as we’re not gonna be kicked out in 28 days.
Furthermore, WHY DID I SAY AUGUST?!? That’s not 6 months away, it’s 8 months away!
I know why…because my mind still thinks August is the middle of the year because I had school summer holidays in August when I was younger. Goddammit.

A lot of private landlords and agencies are asking for a reference and a history of having rented from a landlord in the last 12 months…
See, if we had known all this stuff about how Housing Benefit works and how some rentals require a recent renting history when we left Dave’s place we most likely would have had our own place for a long time by now.

Our problem is we just assume we know what’s what and not ask any questions about anything and just give up and make incorrect assumptions that we have no chance for anything and get punished by karma for it. So we gotta stop doing that.

So on the 4th we went to view a property in Salford…turns out they just want the deposit and 1 month’s rent…after that we can just apply for housing benefit from Salford Council.

Then we went to Manchester Council about our situation but they forced us to reveal we had until May to find something, which meant to them that we didn’t have emergency need for a place, just like Stockport Homes.

Then, when we had arrived home, from out of nowhere I got a couple of phone calls.

Both of them from companies inviting me for a job interview.

One was a company called Prestige Promotions,
The other was a company called RSJ Global.

Both liked my CV.

Yeah, this is the result of me applying to a bunch of places like crazy, as suggested by Lav, via CV library the previous evening.

So on the 5th I went to my interviews…though both were not quite what I was expecting.

I was expecting a one-on-one thing where I’m asked all the usual questions…I had even prepared a script of some questions to expect and answers to give to those questions and practised it like crazy to make sure I remember what to say.

When I arrived at my first interview with Prestige Promotions, what ended up happening was first they had a group of us sitting in a reception filling in some form, then they invited us into a seperate room for the actual interview two at a time.

The interviewer asked us questions based off what we put on the form to get more details, and also asked about our work history and experiences and who we are as a person.

All was going quite well…the interviewer even said both I and the girl she invited into the room with me were “blank canvasses” who would be easy to train and wouldn’t likely fall back into the usual routines of retail and sales, as that’s not what they want in their line of work.

They promoted a fun workspace…the receptionist had music playing and was singing along to some of the songs. This lines up quite well with my belief that people of any age work well when the work is made fun.

But then the interviewer asked me when my last paid job was…I wasn’t ready for this and answered with the truth…that I’d wasted over 10 years of my life as far as paid employment is concerned.

She immediately told me that this was a huge concern…and at the end, because of this exact concern, she trold me I wouldn’t be invited back for the second round of interviews…

Bummer.

So I went home for lunch and relayed this information to Lav face-to-face and to Caroline from Work Solutions via e-mail.
Lav suggested I pretend I had some personal problems I’d rather not talk about if I have to specifically say I’d been out of paid work for 10 years, but I still worked to keep my skills as fresh as possible. I felt that sounded believeable.
Caroline suggested that when asked about my work history to talk about the voluntary work I’d done for over a year of my life as well as the skills courses I’d been on.

Armed with these suggestions, I headed to my second interview with RSJ Global.

Again, I had to sit in a room with a group of other people and fill in a form…then, pretty much once  was done I was invited to speak with the interviewer.

One of the things he asked about was indeed my work history, but he didn’t specifically ask about when I last had a paid job, so I was able to use Caroline’s advice to talk about my voluntary work and courses to improve my skills. That seemed to impress him.

So much so that later in the afternoon I got a phone call inviting me back for the second round of interviews the next day!

The second round of interviews was quite fun and interesting. first they started out with an icebreaker where they asked our names, an interesting fact about ourselves and if we could be any animal in the world, what would we be?

Well, for an interesting fact I went with my birthday being on rememberence day…as for animal…well we all already know what I picked, don’t we?

They then explained about what the company does. Sales and Marketing. Helping other companies sell their product to new customers either via going to events, going company to company or by going door-to-door and speaking to people directly.

Afterwards, the interviewers saw people from the group two at a time like Prestige did.

This time I got paired with a rather timid and quiet female applicant, who, I’ll be honest, only served to make me seem even more confident than I already was.

Yeah, I pretty much knew I got the job even before I got the call later that afternoon.

Lav and I went to view a place in Bramhall.

The place itself was amazing. The room was quite big, there was an awesome glass desk just waiting for my computer to sit on it, the home owners were quite pleasent, and there were a couple of kitty-cats there! they also had a big ol’ fish tank and informed us they had three dogs in the back somewhere…we didn’t see the dogs but were told they can be quite…boisterous.

Unfortunately it was a bit further away from the main road to Manchester than I thought, and the buses there proved quite unreliable as the bus back to Stockport was 20 minutes late. Good thing my weirdness had kicked in and stopped us from saying yes right at the place and gave us time to think and see these issues, or we’d have been stuck with the inconvinient location and unrelaible buses and liable to arrive to work late.

My mom had gone to Primark to get me some smart shirts to try because I didn’t have any proper smart shirts for work…with her help, we discovered I was a collar 17…but just 1 smart shirt is not enough, obviously. Luckily Primark has them at only a fiver each, which is pretty cheap.

So yesterday Lav and I went to the Primark in Manchester to get more cheap smart shirts for my work.
We also got a couple of pairs of smart pants and some new belts to go with them.

We chose the Manchester Primark for two reasons…one, they were likely to have more of a choice of clothes than the one in Stockport…and two, we had yet another rental to view close to Manchester in an area called Moston.

But then the en suite room we were interested in was poached right from under our noses literally minutes before the lady showed up to show us the place. Like, she had JUST got the phone call from the landlord before she turned up on the street as we were waiting.

Bummer. That place would’ve been so perfect, not just because the room was quite spacious, had a table I can use for a computer desk and everything else we needed, but also because it was just an amazingly convinient location…just a short walk from Clayton where Lav is working, and frequent buses that could get me to Manchester quickly.

Oh well, there’s always more properties to view…and now that I have a sales and marketing job after some training starting Monday and Lavander could well have a packer job after an induction that’s starting on Tuesday, we can pretty much just go for any rental we like and not worry about Housing Benefit anymore!

Yep, we’re off to one heck of a start to 2017!

Yay!

Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | January 1, 2017

Happy 2017

Ok, wow…what a year 2016 was. What. A. Year. Holy frijoles, it was a long one.
Feels more like two years, at least!

Eh…screw the list of things I’d like to do over the year I made last New Year’s Day. I failed all but one of them and that was to switch to Barclays bank.

I think the whole set myself up for a YouTube career thing needs to be put on indefinite hold until we’re nicely set up with our own place and our own lives and everything is settled down again.

I suppose I can work on it a little here and there if I have time to kill and don’t feel like doing anything else, but other than that…yeah, there’s more important things to take care of first.

So what actually did happen this past year?

Well, among other things, as I mentioned, I’m with Barclays now. Couldn’t be happier with that.

We went to Romania for a week back in June. That was quite the trip.

And then the UK had that big ol’ referendum vote. Oh my sweet omnipotent deity, if I could go back in time and undo something, it would be to go back and warn everybody I could that Brexit was and is not such a good idea.
I’m holding on to hope that this supposed UK supreme court ruling that the referendum was done illegally converts into a ruling that Theresa May can’t go ahead with it.

We found Lav a job for half a year but she was struggling to cope with it so we got her out.

We then found a course to have her become a dental nurse but we realised right now is not the best time for her to take it. She needs an actual, proper, full time job, not a traineeship.
Even though she told them she wants out, they’re not doing refunds and they still want her to pay the extra fees for the exams she’s not going to take. Urgh.

A Jobs Fair at Stockport Town Hall got me in touch with Work Solutions to work me towards getting a paid job. I need all the help I can get, I suppose. They’ve already helped me with some fresh retail course certificates from Job Gym and some improvements to my CV.
They’ve now set me up with some work at a charity shop in Stockport starting with an interview on the 6th of January. They’re gonna have me do an interview prep on the 5th so I’m ready for it.

I don’t know if I should go through with that arrangement, though…

You see, Lav and I realise we really, REALLY need to find our own place to live A.S.A.NOW!!!

We just can’t continue living in my parent’s house any longer than we have to.

It’s just way too inconvenient, especially for Lav.

EVERY time she tries to use the bathroom for anything, my dad needs to use it and complains that she’s hogging it. And he doesn’t seem to need it ANY other time. I swear it’s deliberate.
Even when he’s out of the house, if she pops in the bathroom, he suddenly arrives home and immediately needs the toilet.
We’ve even tried asking him beforehand if he needs to use the toilet at all before Lav uses it, and he’s said no, he’s fine, but then 5 minutes later when she’s in there, he’s pacing outside sighing angrily and cussing to himself that it’s occupied.
It’s fricking ridiculous!
It seems to be only affecting her, though.
Other than that, there hasn’t really been any toilet-related clashes.
Also, my dad gets so drunk every night that when he uses the bathroom he leaves his …well… ”leavings” all over the place…on the toilet seat, on the sink…sometimes even on the floor and walls. He should be classified as a toxic hazard and we should have men in hazmat suits coming to decontaminate everything.
Lav is very upset by it. She’s even saying we’re gonna have to go out on the streets just to get out of this situation because of the problems with my dad. But then, what’s she supposed to do for a bathroom and a place to change for work?
Yeah, she has another job lined up in January thanks to one of the job agencies she signed up to.
We don’t have all the details yet, but regardless, she needs the bathroom so she can get cleaned up and ready for work each day when that job starts, which she can’t do when we’re stuck with my parents like this.
Originally we were hoping she’d just have to wake up early in the morning just to have some time free in the bathroom, but nope, just this morning my dad had to wake up for the bathroom early in the morning too, so we can’t even rely on that anymore!
Also, my dad seems to get angry quite easily, especially when drunk, and his anger scares poor Lav.
We’ve raised these concerns about my dad with my mum, but she just laughed and said to just ignore him…um…exactly how does she propose we do that?

Places that accept housing benefit near Stockport are just very hard to find, it seems.
However, there appears to be a whole bunch up in Oldham! At first, I was a bit unwilling to go all the way to Oldham for a place to live, but…well…when you’re desperate as we are…I guess I may have to step out of my comfort zone of living in the Stockport area all my life…and besides, it may only be for a little while until Lav’s been at her job for a bit and maybe I find some work too and then we can grab whatever rental we damn well please.

We asked on Reddit for some advice about our situation as well, and they suggested we contact Shelter for some advice too.

We did that, and they told us we can speak directly to the council for help with our situation.
They said our situation can be classified as straight up homeless since it’s so bad.

Regardless, we gotta wait at least a few more days yet. Everywhere that can help us with housing is shut for the Christmas and New Year Period and won’t be open until the 3rd.

Yeah, it doesn’t help that we only found out off Luna about getting Housing Benefit to pay the whole rent for a fairly decent place in the run-up to Christmas. Not a good period of time to be trying to deal with this sort of thing.

If only either of us had thought of asking her how she got her place sooner. Granted, she got it because she happened to be friends with the landlord (HOW?!?!?) but maybe she would’ve given us some tips on how we can find our own place sooner, and we may have had something by now!

Eh…no matter…we just didn’t know. Learn from your mistakes.

We just gotta survive until the 3rd…then hopefully we can quickly find a solution to our housing problem.

…so yeah…we may end up living in Oldham…which doesn’t make it too convenient for that Work Solutions work experience placement in a charity shop in Stockport, now, does it? Hopefully we can find something in or near Stockport first.

In the meantime, later today as I type this, we’re gonna go view a place in Rusholme. It doesn’t accept DSS but Lav is hoping we could pay the deposit and one month’s rent for it and then pay subsequent months with the salary she’ll be getting at this job she has lined up in January.

It looks quite the bargain actually. Very modern and nice looking for only £410 a month for couples.
We’re getting a little over £450 a month from Jobseeker’s so we should be able to afford it long enough for Lav’s salary to take over at least. We just gotta not tell them we’re technically on Jobseeker’s now and will be getting the job later. I don’t think the landlord would like that.

So yeah. That’s our plan for 2017.

  1. Get our own place as soon as we possibly can.
  2. Since Lav already has a job lined up, get me into paid work somehow.

Anything we can do beyond that is a bonus.

Ciao For Now,

Cordially, The Blue Fox.

Posted by: bluefoxy | December 11, 2016

Dream Ultimatum Solution

Sunday 13th November 2016

Lav and I had a walk around Etherow Country Park with my parents. Just a nice jaunt for some exercise and fresh air.

Tuesday 15th November 2016

Finally got some warm-ish clothes for Lav plus some new slippers for us both coz she didn’t have any and my old ones were wasted. Our feet will be much more comfortable indoors now.

Wednesday 16th November 2016

So I had a dream last night.

In the dream there were these anthropomorphic pigs…they were kind of cartoony, I guess.

Anyway, these pigs were at this fun fair / carnival kind of deal.

Now, at first the dream was about this one pig trying to ask a girl pig, who works at one of the booths, out on a date…I don’t remember if I dreamt any outcome of that.

Then the dream changes to about how all the stalls or booths have signs on them. Well, they were not really signs, they more like sheets of A4 paper stuck to the window with words printed on them.

And it was always two sheets of paper, one stuck above another, and the paper that was below told you what the ride or booth was, for example, the ticket booth, or the shooting gallery, the ghost train, the hall of mirrors, the rollercoaster, etc…

…then the piece of paper above it would instruct the pigs what to do there…only it wasn’t something like “get your tickets at” above the sign saying “the ticket booth” or “shoot the ducks at” above the sign saying “the shooting gallery”…

…it was weird instructions like “whisper at” or “shout at” or “both at”…

…and the pigs would actually be obeying these instructions, too!

The really weird part is the instruction signs kept getting swapped around the different booths somehow.

I remember the ticket booth starting out with one sign, I don’t remember what it said, and then it switched to “Whisper at” so this pig was there whispering at the pig in the ticket booth that he would like some tickets or something…

…then the sign changed to “both at” and I remember this because I remember there suddenly being two pigs side by side at the ticket booth, and then it switched to “shout at”, at which point the two pigs were screaming for the attention of the pig in the ticket booth because he wasn’t hearing them up until now or something. I think he was reading a newspaper on the job.

That’s about all I remember of the dream.

Friday 18th November 2016

Work Solutions has started doing these coffee mornings and they invited me to join.

Looks like this was actually the first one at Stockport…one of the advisors running it had done them at another Work Solutions elsewhere and had decided to bring them here.

Anyway, me and a small group of other people that’re getting help from Work Solutions just had a talk about random stuff.

Stuff like hospitals reducing in number and size cause of lack of funding in the health industry.

We also discussed the idea of going on group walks out to various places and we all suggested a few places the group could go, like parks and museums and other attractions…something to do in the New Year and when they wrangle in more people to the coffee morning.

The coffee morning is gonna be happening every Friday morning. I guess it’ll be one way to get out more and hopefully even make some new friends.

Friday 25th November 2016

2nd coffee morning…we just came up with a few more places the group could go in the New Year.

Sunday 27th November 2016

I had another dream last night.

I dreamt I was looking out what I believe to be my bedroom window, only the world outside the bedroom window in my dream is a whole lot different to how it looks in the real world. I’ll get to how it looked different in a minute.

Anyway, I get this sort of bird’s eye view of this guy…he had, like, a grey goatee, and I think he was wearing some kinda baseball hat and a green, tatty trench coat…I think he might’ve been a dream-hobo or something, come to think of it.

Anyway, this guy has this toy with him…this toy looked like a penguin centaur…seriously, from the front it probably would look like a normal penguin toy, but from the side you could see it’s body extended back to an extra pair of foot flippers.

And it was like a wind-up walking toy, and this guy was winding it up and had it walking along the top of the brick wall at the back of the garden.

Side note: My garden in real life has fences, not walls…also, the back of it is a lot further away in real life than it seemed in my dream. There, that’s my explanation as to how the world outside was different.

Now, the thing is, along the top of the brick wall was like this long stone brick that was carved into a triangle shape pointing up…so, as you might imagine, this caused the toy to fall off the wall with every attempt to make it walk along it.

I remember each time the toy fell off, the guy would vault over the wall to retrieve it, wind it up and set it walking again, only for it to fall again, so he’d have to vault over the wall again to retrieve it…rinse and repeat.

That’s about all I can remember.

Tuesday 29th November 2016

So it turns out Work Solutions had changed their rules to be able to help people that’ve been out of work for 3 months instead of 6, so now they can help Lav with finding a dental practice! We could use all the help we can get!

She’s got her first appointment with them this Friday.

Wednesday 30th November 2016

Had the hep B blood test at Stepping Hill today.

Hopefully the Hep B vaccines worked. We’ll see what they say in 10 days.

The jobcentre has booked me into an initial assessment with Working Well.

Looks like Working Well are pretty much doing everything Work solutions is doing with me.

After this initial assessment, I don’t have to go to Working Well anymore if I don’t want to.

The appointment is on the 23rd of December. I didn’t think they’d do one so close to Christmas.

Thursday 1st December 2016

I got some new pillows and pillowcases from Asda, since they were very cheap. Only 3 quid for the pillows and 2 pound for each pack of cases. Got a couple of packs of cases so we have plenty to change to when we change our sheets.

Friday 2nd December 2016

Lav’s now signed up to Work Solutions.

Hopefully they can help her find a Dental Nurse Trainee vacancy.

Saturday 3rd December 2016

So this happened;

Wednesday 7th December 2016

So my mum has given us an ultimatum.

Either we both find ourselves a job…be it voluntary, paid or whatever…or she’s kicking us out of the house in 6 months’ time.

She doesn’t even care if we end up in a homeless shelter…she wants us gone.

To be honest, we needed this kick up the backside to get into gear and do the things we’ve been meaning to do.

Things like me signing up to CV Library and Linked In.

That’s good for a start.

I got some CVs to hand into stores down Stockport, too.

I also gotta go to Jobwise and Adecco and see how they can help.

And there’s still Work Solutions doing what they can to help as well.

Thursday 8th December 2016

O…M…G

So Lav had been telling me to try texting Luna so see what’s going on…and I managed to strike up a conversation with Luna in texts…and I wound up telling Luna about our situation…and SHE revealed that Housing Benefit should be able to cover the ENTIRE cost of a rental, not just a small portion of it like we were told before.

Had we asked in STOCKPORT for help rather than in MANCHESTER, we probably would’ve already had our own place by now.

Heck, had we asked LUNA how she got her place sooner, again, we would’ve probably had our own place by now.

She told us to ask Fred Perry House behind the town hall for some advice.

Well, we’re going down Stockport for the Work solutions Coffee Morning tomorrow anyway.
Might as well head up to Fred Perry House afterwards.

Friday 9th December 2016

Fred Perry House said get a place that accepts benefits first, then show them the rent agreement, and sent us to Stockport Homes office back down the hill a bit.

Stockport Homes told us to sign up on their website.

So that’s what we did once we got home. We should hear from them within 10 days if our application was successful, then we can bid for some places.

Sunday 11th December

After much discussion on the subject, Lav and I have agreed that she should leave her dental nurse course. She needs to get a proper job right away…a traineeship doesn’t really count as a proper job.

She needs to be able to apply for anything she wants, rather than be restricted to struggling with finding a dental nurse trainee vacancy.

There’s no point in remaining stuck in this course for a year when we can just go apply for any job and be paid pretty much the same salary.

It’s only money, anyway…we’ll make up what we spent on the course in just one month!

That’s about all I have to update you on so far.

My next post will be the New Year’s Day post I do every year. That’s coming up thick and fast!

So, until then,

Ciao for now,
Cordially, The Blue Fox.

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