Friday, April 22, 2011

Mummy, Mummy, Mummy

A man whose name is TalkativeImage via WikipediaOh my!  We'd forgotten.  What is it about being a parent that makes you forgetful? Or is it just age? Don't answer, I don't need to know.

There's a gap between our boys; almost 5 years. That's just beyond long enough to forget the torturous effect a new baby can have, in fact it's almost long enough for a rosy picture postcard to replace real accurate memory.

We forgot something else too.  It became apparent the other night as we drove to a restaurant.  Our youngest talked at us from the moment he entered the car, all through the journey and he didn't stop until he was eating dinner.  Lynn & I laughed hysterically as we suddenly remembered that our oldest boy had done the far as we can remember he talked non-stop for about 4 years!   Even now, don't ask him about Pokemon or Bakugan unless you're sitting comfortably.

We laughed hysterically, in that way, you know when something isn't really funny.  Like that inappropriate laughter that sometimes appears at points of great fear or distress.  It was good to laugh then, but now a week has passed and we're not laughing anymore.  At times I wipe next to my ears to see if they're bleeding or slowly oozing my mojo.

Now he has stopped continuously talking, he only talks whenever we are trying to concentrate or discuss something ourselves.  If you haven't experienced this yourself, then it's difficult to describe but I'll try...

I'm cooking dinner for my boys.  Lynn doesn't get home for another hour or so.  Nothing too elaborate, just some pasta.  The water is just coming to a boil and I'm grating some cheese.  The persistent one runs into the kitchen, almost knocking me over by grabbing onto my legs.  Luckily he's never been one for the pitter patter of tiny feet, more like there's a baby rhino charging at me.  So I'd braced myself for the impact and had let go of the pot of boiling water.  "MUMMY, MUMMY, MUMMY, I'M HUNGRY!"  I mention that he has mistaken my identity.  "DADDY, DADDY, DADDY, I'M HUNGRY!"  I mention that I'm making pasta.  "I DON'T WANT PASTA!  I WANT SOMETHING FROM THERE." He gestures towards to the cupboard, the one where we keep the treats, the one where we thought he couldn't reach till he ran and bounded up onto the counter top.  He starts to climb next to the boiling pot of water...

Even as I write the description, I get tense.  However, by writing it I've realized what is going on.  He doesn't continually talk at all.  He continually shouts at us, like some sort of drunken sergeant major in a bar room squabble.  So far I'm winning the war, but not all of the battles.  He has found that his toys tell Daddy that they don't like his behavior, and then Daddy helps them to take temporary 'leave.'  He didn't believe that Buzz would leave, till he heard our burglar alarm chime that a door had opened...  I know, I'm cruel, but Buzz will soon have to face up to his obligations and return, no matter what his feelings are. ;-)
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, April 15, 2011

Couldn't see for looking.

Right that's it, you're in my shoes now.  Erm, sorry about all the medicated talc but it's the only way to, er... too much information.  Look here's the thing.  You never really liked work much.  There were these odd little bits where you got to do something a little cool, something that made you a little proud, but usually it wasn't something you could tell anyone about.  Not that it was secret, all cloak and dagger, intelligence, special ops, etc.  Just that it was so difficult to explain, or had no relevance outside of the UK defense / government community.  It wasn't worth the effort.

Then you get your big break, a career break.  You get to look after your kids while your other half brings home the bacon.  And you love it.  It's tough, but it's rewarding.  You discover that you have more self resolve and strength of will than you ever realized.  Ever argued a 3 year old into submission?  Ever explained to a 6 year old why you need to go to the grocery store and not to the Game Stop?

Now in order for good things to remain good, they need to change.  You thought you needed to get a job.  You know, like the last one.  One where you wear a suit and use obscure, unfathomable language at endless meetings.  However the corporate job descriptions leave you cold and you find the help wanted ads on Craigslist far more enticing.

All you want really, is to work in a small business where your contribution is truly essential.  A business that uses technology, unites people, is able to grow and has a great team of interesting people.

Imagine that before you even started you job search properly, a good friend offered to give you work; a few days a week in his production company.  His company does web streaming and video production and lights and sound... So why did you ignore his offer and waste time looking at corporate America?

I have no answer.  I start on Monday.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Job Search

Ministry of Defence, Whitehall, London; viewed...Image via Wikipedia I've got a little more serious in my job search.  Before I was more tentative, not wishing to lose my position as primary parent, but now I feel I need to work.  Money would be nice, motorcycles and fancy living would be lovely, but actually I think the need comes from wanting to contribute to a team effort and, if I'm honest, wanting to have something else to talk about other than toilet training, schools and stroppy behavior.  [Stroppy is apparently a British word according to the spell checker. If I tell you that in the UK, the phrase it's most used with is "stroppy teenager," I doubt you'll need to look it up...]

I've modified my CV into a resume and it's spelt correctly for its target audience - though I struggle with the UK Ministry of Defence as I don't feel I can change its name to defense, but I know it must still irk an American eye or two.

I signed up with a recruitment website and even paid them money for their pro service.  As you may expect, I hate spending money on this type of thing.  Well, actually I hate spending money on anything that doesn't have wheels and /or burn petrochemicals, but that's another story. What I've discovered is that there is an acute level of specialization in job specifications over here.  I guess the market and the organizations are bigger and so the jobs can be narrower.

So far I have more luck / interest through my Craigslist applications and have even had my first interview.  The jobs on Craigslist seem to be much more fluid and some are even outcome based, e.g. I need help to achieve better web presence, greater efficiency, etc.

Then finally on the paid for service, I saw a project manager job with a list of competences and skills I felt I could easily and effectively demonstrate.  Hmm, am I beginning to change my language already? Anyway, I click on the 'apply on the company website" button.  The company website has an additional requirement not mentioned on my paid for website... "Candidate must have built at least 3 jails."  I still can't help but laugh at that phrase.  I've seen news reports and read articles about how many Americans are incarcerated, but really how many people can say that they've built 3 jails?  Surely only a handful of project managers are eligible.

It gets better when I find another job advert with similar competences... click.... "Candidate must have built at least 2 hospitals."  Must be trickier to find good project managers who've built hospitals so they've dropped their normal requirement by a third.  Though I guess no matter what kind of economy we're experiencing, there's always a need for jails and hospitals.

Overall I'm quite liking looking for work, as it's quickly become a voyage of discovery into American culture and, let's face it, that's why I'm here.
Enhanced by Zemanta

Friday, April 1, 2011


Do note [Closed]Image by Paul Watson via FlickrI don't like to take notes, but now I think I should.

Once upon a time I used to take copious notes; whilst I endured High School, whilst I studied for my electronics degree and when I started my first proper job.  Then I discovered I did better without them.

It was during my MBA that I met an interesting chap called Harry Humble and he didn't take notes during lectures.  He said that writing notes stopped him listening properly and meant he'd miss out on understanding.  He was right.  Though it turned out his real name was Mark, he just prefered to be called Harry for the double 'H'.  As I said, he's an interesting chap.

When I don't take notes, I learn more.  When I don't take notes, I have more time to interact and explore more.  However, there's two minor issues.  First, all of those years taking notes and the consensus that it's the normal and right thing to do, means that it's a difficult habit to kick.  So to help wean yourself of the habit, you have to come prepared not to take notes; which is a more positive way of saying you have neither pen nor paper.  So what if you have to remember a non-relevant fact, like an address or a phone number?  Well, that's what smart phones are for.

But now I have a new foible to the no notes policy.  When you tell your wife about a minor detail of the American, stay-home Dad experience and she laughs.  And she doesn't just laugh a little bit.  She really laughs, hard. Then she says, "There's a blog in that."  And you agree, it's a great idea.  And the next night you find yourself writing about how you don't like to take notes, because you've no idea what that blog was to be about.
Enhanced by Zemanta