Tuesday, 5 July 2011

An Interesting Few Weeks...

So, I've been applying for jobs, including my manager's old job. It would have been managing the GIS team at Hackney, and would actually be quite a techie job. My colleague got it instead, and, to be honest, he really should have, as he's much more technically minded than I am. The process applying was the most difficult for any job to which I've applied so far. We had the usual interview, plus a 10 minute presentation, for which we were given our topic and given an hour to prepare. There was a technical test, and, more unusually, a half-day personalitiy and management styles assessment by an outside company. Turns out I'm a really good people manager, but I have suckass timekeeping (knew that) and I'm disorganized (knew that as well). Apparently, I am very analytical, but I do not have the type of mind to become a software developer. We all had to take this sort of test and I bombed the big one. So, the head of the department has pulled me aside and told me I really (really really) should apply for one of the business analyst/project manager jobs they have going. Say what? She (a former GIS person) told me that, essentially, my technical skills are not good enough, and will likely never be good enough to compete with people 10 years my junior (ah, feeling old - how nice), and that she really thinks I would be very good at this (basically studying processes within the organization) and that she has recommended to the head of IT that I apply. Uh, OK - I guess there is some similarity between processes of the world and processes of a governmental organization, and yes, I can see how it could be quite interesting. But, eh? Total career change! I guess, or not. I don't know, actually. Somehow I've gone from geology to geography to business processes. How utterly bizarre. Now I'd be the first to say that I don't really give a ratcrap about business processes, and my boss was gracious enough to point out to me that no, I don't really care about the business (I don't), but she thinks I would be good at it and that, for no other reason than experience and for major resume points, give it a try. OK - I suppose... It would mean going through another major application process (this being local government, nothing is ever just given away), but I'm willing to try something different. I very much like the other business analysts, so that's something - I think they are intelligent, interesting people. But me, a business analyst? I suppose though that when the head of your department, who used to do the same thing as you, pulls you aside and says stop doing what you are doing, it's a waste of time - try this - it's worth paying some attention. Anyway, will see where that goes - I'm applying for another management job as well, at another council - definitely time to move somewhere, though it would actually be nice to keep working at the same organization, as I generally like the people, and I've been there for three years!

What else...

We just passed the longest day of the year, which I always find slightly depressing. Back on the relentless march towards sunset at 3:45. Still though, June and July evenings are absolutely the best - the sunset lasts for a good hour and a half. Sunset itself is about 915, with the last remnants of light dying out of the northern sky around 11pm. It's back up just after 4. There is also a sort of blue quality to the late evening light that I've never seen further south. Robin just says that it's "twilight" and that I'm being silly, but I'm sure that I've never seen it in the US. Generally speaking, the quality of light in northern places (or, I suppose, to be fair, very southern places) is pretty amazing - much more interesting than the harsh light of, say, Florida. I particularly like the midwinter light - it's sort of perpetual evening, with long, dark shadows, and usually with low scudding clouds and hints of impending weather. I like England.

Speaking of, I applied for and got my passport, which will be delivered to me on Thursday. I had to go in for an interview, where they peppered me, at a very rapid clip, with question after question of things that only I should know - bank transactions, details about parents, my particular citizenship ceremony, etc. It was actually really stressful - I was afraid I'd get a wrong answer - get my name wrong or something. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, you caught me - I am a complete fraud and shouldn't get this passport!". I'm very much looking forward to getting to go through European customs in the cool line, rather than the goats and chickens line, behind the flight from Mali. Membership has its privileges.

Fourth of July. Not a big holiday here. I worked. But I felt patriotic. Or something. We had a few friends over on Sunday evening for a bbq in the back yard. It was actually nice and didn't rain, which is good, as we've had more than a few bbqs sitting under umbrellas. We have quite a number of fireworks left over from Guy Fawkes day, last November, but decided against setting them off in our very small back yard, as we thought it might be a little awkward explaining to the neighbs why we set their back yards on fire. Oh well.

OK - some pics.

This is the new, 1000 ft tall "Shard", being built behind City Hall (aka "The Bollock").

Thames at sundown, from Waterloo Bridge, looking towards The City.

David in the weed patch, which is now actually blooming, and which a friend referred to as our "cottage garden". How charitable! Will get flower pics soon...

A rainbow, looking out from the front door.

A face only a mother could love?

David and Robin would kill me about this pic - but this is them watching something on 3D-TV. It just gives me a headache...

Rob and Frank, sitting outside Costa Coffee on Old Compton Street, on their brief foray over from Berlin!

Robin giving death rays to someone's dog in a pub.

Sundown on Northway, just around the corner from our house.

Telephone wires coming from a rather ancient pole.

Oh, I almost forgot - I had a very strange dream last night - strange even for me. First off, and I think I've said this before, I get recurring dream themes. I get water dreams when I am feeling overwhelmed (not as overwhelmed as fire) and I've been having dreams of trying to take public transportation to absurd places lately, which I link to feeling like I'm stuck in my job (in the public sector). So, last night I had a dream that I was on a large ferry. Only on this ferry, we were all strapped in like in a roller coaster, and loaded onto these sort of ferris wheels - cars, people, etc (don't ask, it was my dream). Anyway, I thought this was a bit odd, but whatever. So, then it's time for the ferry to leave, only, instead of lumbering out of the dock as one might normally expect of a ferry, it catapulted out at hundreds of miles per hours, into the air (suppose this was why we were strapped in). As it flew out of the dock, out of nowhere started playing the theme tune - Copacabana (which, incidentally, I heard last night, so at least that made sense). And then David was shaking me awake, telling me to turn my stupid alarm off. To think I nearly made it across the great body of water in the supersonic ferry, only to be thwarted by my alarm.


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