On Holiday

About time too – this has been another hectic week, again dominated by interviews and surrounding shenanigans – but at least we got to celebrate boy s’ birthday with a grand polycule gathering this evening. We met up for a meal once Lady M had finished work, and of course battled the usual assortment of roadworks each direction – because some things in life are a fixed and constant feature.

As is tradition, boy s cried over one of his gifts, and tried to hide under his own shirt when the restaurant staff sang happy birthday – he made the mistake of mentioning it when we arrived.

On an unrelated note, I am becoming convinced that one of the posts I’m trying to fill is cursed, as the second person I’ve offered it to has now accepted another job elsewhere before they’ve even started. They were, at least, very apologetic.

Interviewing Day

I’ve had a day of interviewing people, the first of two days this week, and the first set I’ve done since getting the new job. It’s been productive, and partnered with a colleague, we’ve kept on top of the associated paperwork with relative ease.

Tomorrow there will be more, and then the hard debate to separate the top scorers in a meaningful way so that we can give useful feedback.

One of the most exciting parts for me has been the knowledge that I’m closer now to filling out the last vacant position in my team of managers. Its been a while since I’ve been able to say that.

Interviewing Thoughts

I’m currently interviewing people for another round in our restructure, and it’s making me compare some of the answers to my own attempts over the years.

It’s of course easier for me as I’ve a marking matrix and suggested topics for answers but leaving that to one side it continues to fascinate me how different people approach the same questions in different ways.

Perhaps it’s also a mark of my age and experience now that I’m intrigued when people struggle unexpectedly with questions that I’ve breezed past before. I fully acknowledge that in those moments I am a horrible person, but I temper it with wanting people to succeed, to pull back their marks as they think through whatever has made them stumble and work it out in front of me.

Seeing that process and battle and resulting success makes my day, even as I wonder if I was ever that off the mark with interviews.

The quick answer is: of course I was, sometimes for years at a time.

Hello Winter

So, the clocks went back last night (or this morning, depending on your sleep patterns). As a result, anyone listing their activities in terms of GMT is now accurate for the next six months. So there’s that. I definitely needed that extra hour as our Pirates D&D game went on a bit later than planned – with a Halloween Beetlejuice-inspired caper.

Spooky is as spooky does

Oh, how we laughed. Well, more like screamed imprecations at the players who summoned him before finishing the containment bindings, but it did make for a fun and chaotic battle through a dollhouse.

The players learned that there was a reason I’d been grabbing and scrimshawing so many bones (healing potions reskinned as bones to break to activate). They also learned that my cleric’s version of turning undead was to shake bones and tell the zombies to f*** off back to their graves in fluent Draconic. And that said zombies tended to then explode when he did so. So that was colourful.

All of which was a good contrast to the week or so of prepping and undertaking interviewing of prospective saturday staff for the library I’ve just had. A night of mayhem was a good antidote.

Oh, and I did have time during the day to go see myr s for a few hours as well, which was also much needed by us both.

Feedback Joys

I had a job interview last week for an acting up position ahead of a restructure. I didn’t get the role, for which I’m thankful, as reading closely made it very clear that it was a hugely poisonous chalice and a set of stresses that I’m glad I’ve dodged.

Why did I go for it then? Mostly because I did some soul searching and recognised that I’ve now been a lot healthier for longer than I was very ill – and so I really need to stop drifting so much. As a result I knew that I needed to get some practice in for interviews at a more strategic level than simply managing teams on a daily/weekly/monthly/annual basis for frontline services.

Applying for this role would be very good at giving me sight of the sort of questions to expect, and more importantly structured feedback afterwards.

In this I have not been disappointed. While theres always a stress involved in getting proper feedback that goes in at nitpicking level I was very lucky to have it done by someone not only that I already have a working relationship with but who is also invested in seeing me succeed and grow within the organisation.

It has given me both plenty of food for thought, but also reassurance that I’m doing most of the right things. It’s just a matter now of polishing those extra sparkles to stand out in terms of wider context of roles, a little deeper precision in examples, and not being too successful at hiding the steel behind my convivial smile.

I can do that.

Moving On Up

A duty manager retired recently, leaving a gap in the rotation of people who look after our little cluster of libraries. After a few months of short-staffed chaos, I decided to apply for the post. I reasoned that I was getting tired of breaking in new managers, and if there were poor decisions to be made, it might as well be me making them.

In a surprising twist, I was successful, and we’re now in the paperwork shuffle stage of things. At some point in the next few weeks, I’ll be working at other libraries and making people realise I’m not joking when I refer to them as minions.

The announcement came during our staff meeting this week, and with the expectation of an acknowledgment upon me, the first words out of my mouth to my assembled colleagues was: “I promise to be cruel, unfair, and inventive in my rule of terror.” I figured if I was going to make breakable promises, they might as well be things that people looked forward to. The good thing is that everyone is used to my sense of humour, and so everyone laughed.

I also made people laugh during my interview. I was asked what three words my colleagues might use to describe me. I figured that as each of the people interviewing me had encountered the more acidic edge of my tongue in recent months I should include some honesty. 

“Unflappable, sarcastic, reliable” I said. Here’s hoping that doesn’t end up being my career epitaph.