Response Times

Continuing on from the last post about jobs and stuff, it reminded me about something that has affected me quite a bit while searching and applying for jobs.

How long do you expect to wait for a response to a job application?

Within a day? Week? Month? Ever?

How long should you wait for a response to a job application?

I have sent many many applications out over the past few years, some to "big" companies, some to small independent businesses. Who do you think is more likely to respond promptly? If you said the small independent businesses, you'd be in the right ball park.

It is an unfortunate side-effect of the jobs market that when one sends an application, either as a speculative inquiry or in answer to an advert, that one expects no answer.

Well, personally, I think this is extremely unprofessional, bordering on rude of the prospective employers.

You may send out, in one frenzy of applying, ten applications. In the current way of things, I'd expect perhaps two responses back.

It is drilled into us that we must respond to a correspondence (e-mail/snail mail/phone/etc.) as soon as possible. Preferably within 24 hours. Otherwise, we as potential employees could be seen as unreliable, someone who can't complete things on time, or any number of things if we do not.

So how is it acceptable that those potential employers do the very thing we are told not to do?
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Ten Steps to a Successful Life

  1. Learn the 3 "R"s - reading, writing and arithmetic
  2. Pass SATs/entrance exams and get into good secondary school
  3. Get five good (A*-C) GCSEs including English, maths and science
  4. Get at least three A-Levels in "good" subjects i.e. Sciences, humanities, not "Mickey Mouse studies"
  5. Get into (a good) university
  6. Get a decent degree in a "useful" subject
  7. Get a good/proper job
  8. Buy a house
  9. Get a husband/wife/partner
  10. Have some kids and start the cycle again 
N.B. Not all steps have to be completed in this order

Obviously, not everyone would fit this order of events for various reasons but it feels like there is a definite perception that these steps are the prescribed way to be considered successful. In life.

And I've stalled at Step 7.
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The Post-Olympic Slump

Party time at the Closing Ceremony
After seven years of planning, building, worrying, cynicism and Britishness, the London 2012 Olympic Games are over.

And there seems to be a nationwide feeling of emptiness.

For two weeks, the streets, parks and cities have been distinctly quieter as everyone has been glued to the television watching the exploits of Team GB.

And now me and a significant portion of the British population believe that London should have the Olympics every time!

Mainly because who else could have Voldemort, Mary Poppins and a parachuting Queen in their Opening Ceremony, or the Spice Girls alongside Eric Idle in the Closing Ceremony?

Well, anyway, the Olympics have been awesome. Team GB won 29 golds and 65 total medals, and we got to see some amazing sport happen in places we all recognise so well.

On the upside, the Paralympics are still to come before we really do have to wait four years til Rio 2016.

And all I can say is: Good Luck, Rio.

Book Review: The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

Synopsis: Alex and Conner Bailey's world is about to change. When the twins' grandmother gives them a fairy-tale book, they have no idea they're about to enter a land beyond all imagining: the Land of Stories, where fairy tales are real.
But as Alex and Conner soon discover, the stories they know so well haven't ended in this magical land - Goldilocks is now a wanted fugitive, Red Riding Hood has her own kingdom, and Queen Cinderella is about to become a mother!
The twins know they must get back home somehow. But with the legendary Evil Queen hot on their trail, will they ever find the way?

Number of pages: 438

Rating: 9/10

Overall Impression: So imaginative! I loved seeing what happened to all the classic fairy-tale characters after the "Happily Ever After". Some really did live happily ever after, while some really didn't. There were some giggles as I had expected and some gripping moments which I hoped for. I just really enjoyed it.

The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories, #1)

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Book Review: A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

Synopsis: Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.
As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.
The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

Number of Pages: 780

Rating: 8/10

Overall Impression: Long, detailed, complicated but a great read. Really interesting characters and great plot development. And the world building was extensive and immersive. I'm looking forward to reading on, and also to watching the series.

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire, #1)

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An Olympian Day Out

In a spontaneous turn of events, I came home from work on Sunday and found out we were going to the Olympics the next day! Specifically, we were going to see the Men's Team Gymnastics final. Team GB had a team in the final and we would see the medal ceremony too. Ahhh! Exciting!

We left Nuneaton at 10am on the train, and got in to London Euston just before midday. And yes, the train station was busy. Police dotted about and just people everywhere. Off to the Tube. As we had only bought the tickets the day before, we went straight to the venue (the North Greenwich Arena, AKA the O2 Arena, AKA the Millenium Dome) to pick up the tickets and make sure we had plenty of time before the 4.30pm session start.

Got there and got the tickets in loads of time to spare. Kudos to Transport of London and the London 2012 people, because everything was running smoothly and calmly with info and directions freely available.

After some food, we went and got some merchandise and then made our way into the arena. And we had amazing seats! We were right next to the high bar.

Only five rows back from the front! Also there's my mum photobombing...
There was a sort of energy buzzing around the arena, as everyone trickled in. Everyone was anticipating an exciting afternoon ahead.

Team GB over by the pommel horse
About half an hour before the gymnasts came in, we got treated to a sort of warm-up act: Pixie Lott! We had literally no idea that was going to happen, another bonus. She came out and sang Use Sombody by Kings of Leon and then one of her own songs.

The main event was the highlight. Obviously. The atmosphere was electric, and every Team GB performance was met with a roar of approval from the crowd.

Britain on the parallel bars
We couldn't really see Team GB too well from where we were sitting at the start but with all the other teams on the other apparatus, there was plenty to look at. In fact, too much! I didn't know where to look, and sometimes I was clapping for... well, I don't know what!

But in the end, not being able to see them at the start, worked to our advantage, because the end of the competition was so exciting. Going into the last event (for Team GB, the floor), Team GB was in contention for a medal: silver or bronze, the first time in, I think, 80 years of British gymnastics history.

Watching Team GB doing their floor routines, well, I couldn't have told you what even Team USA was doing on the high bar right in front of me! Max Whitlock and Daniel Purvis both had really good scores for their routines, but Kristian Thomas absolutely nailed his. And the noise as he finished was amazing, especially as he egged the crowd on.

After his score was released, the roof was blown off the arena, I swear. Team GB had won the silver medal! It was so exciting, I can't describe it.

But unfortunately, Japan appealed and won, getting an increased score for something (can't say I really know what was going on. Perhaps the only disadvantage from watching the telly coverage was the lack of commentary and therefore explanation) so Team GB was demoted to bronze. Massive boos erupted across the arena...

Anyway. We still won a medal, and we had got to see it happen live :D And the ceremony was pretty cool to witness in person.
Blurry pic of the medal cermony. Britain is on the left

Other than the main event, there were some other exciting happenings.

Photographic evidence of Chelsea Handler's presence.
1. Chelsea Handler off of American telly was sitting in the seat literally in front of me. Didn't really notice it was her until the end, but when Megan and I saw her face, we both turned to each other and mouthed "That's Chelsea Lately!!!" In the first photo above you can also see the back of her head between Megan and me.
Delta Goodrem on the Tube

2. Prince William and Prince Harry were there, in the crowd. Unfortunately we couldn't see them from where we were. Apparently they were on the opposite side of the stadium. Megan was beside herself when she found out.

3. We saw Delta Goodrem off of Neighbours (also went out with Nick Jonas, and sings a bit) on the Tube.

I have been to London many times and have never seen a celebrity randomly on the Tube, or out and about. And now I've seen two! You wait for one bus and three come at once...

Well, anyway. We had the most amazing day, one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that I'm glad I didn't let pass me by. Yay! For London 2012!