Sunday, March 23, 2014

New start

I haven't posted for absolutely ages, because I didn't think doing so would improve my mood and I had little to say anyway. But guess what, some news! I've got a new job, out of life insurance or anything remotely related to that, for ever (that's a promise). I'll be working at Wellington City Council, analysing data to do with water: waste water, stormwater, and drinking/bathing/washing water. Beyond that though, I'm pretty clueless as to what I'll be doing on a day-to-day basis, but it's got to be a helluva lot better than what I'm doing now. The first interview (with a panel of three) was long. Eighty minutes. How did you handle this or resolve that or implement the next thing? Jeez, I don't know. In ten years of life insurance I haven't implemented a goddamn thing. I made a good impression in the middle of the interview when they gave me a kind of test, asking me to comment on some print-outs of manhole data, and I suppose that was the crucial bit. No, I didn't get asked why manhole covers are round. They made positive noises at the interview and I felt like, you know, I could actually see myself working there. Then they invited me back for a second, shorter, more informal interview with two senior managers. If anything this was scarier than the first. They were big on concepts, big on ra-ra-rah. The big boss, seeing on CV that I'd lived in France, took me by surprise by speaking to me in French. Merde, I don't understand anything. Was that a date? 2020? 2200? Help me! When I chose to respond in my native tongue, that didn't deter him from continuing to prattle away in French. I did come out with something eventually but I felt a bit embarrassed. They then mentioned a salary band, with a massive range between the top and bottom figures. That didn't sit well with me. The second interview actually served to dampen my enthusiasm for the role. Anyway, at ten to three last Wednesday I got the phone call with the job offer, and I accepted it the next day. My mum had been speaking to someone from the golf club and apparently you have to negotiate salaries these days. Mum proceeded to tell me at least ten times (and I'm not kidding) the exact words I had to say in my salary negotiation. Sometimes she needs to butt out. I was glad when they simply gave me a figure, which I accepted. It's not a huge amount but it's a significant increase on what I'm getting now. It should get me further along this graph:

I'm more relieved than excited about the new job, which I'll be starting on 22nd April, straight after the long Easter weekend. It's what it gets me out of as much as anything. I'm a bit surprised (and lucky, I think) to have found something so soon. I'm a bit worried that I won't fit in (especially after that second interview), and that the work will be beyond me, but the gamble is worth taking.

On the same day as I got the phone call about the job, Richard texted me to say he's got his old wine-selling job back.

Kevin has been here since the beginning of the Month of the Cicada (aka February). He's taking some getting used to. The hardest thing to get used to is the sheer amount of time he's here - in an average week he's out of the flat less than twenty hours. For me, getting outside is vital to avoid going mad; not so Kevin (or maybe he's quite happy going mad). He has one or two traits, if you can call them that. The smell of his room, which permeates through the whole downstairs, reminds me of the interior of those old clapped-out buses - probably about an N-reg from the first time around - that we used on our school trips. There's his chewing gum - look, you can chew as much gum as you like, I don't care, especially if it'll stop you from smoking, but making it click is really, really vulgar. Then there's the TV. You know, sometimes I don't want the TV on at midday on a Sunday. What's on at that time anyway? And he watches so many movies, nearly all of them violent action movies. Seeing how much he enjoys watching violence is a little disturbing. Last night we watched Inglourious Basterds, and that got pretty gory at times but was actually rather good.
Although Kevin is basically OK, I don't look forward to weekends like I used to. I seem to have less freedom to do what I want, when I want, than I did even in other flatting situations, let alone in the seven years I lived by myself.

I've been following the story of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, mostly on the Guardian website, for the last two weeks. In this world where everything is tracked 24/7, it's hard to fathom that a plane of this size carrying hundreds of people can vanish off the face of the earth. I spent most of last week trying to work out why those two red arcs - which encompassed the possible "final" locations of the plane - weren't joined in the middle. The whole affair has been handled appallingly at times, but it's heartening that so many people and organisations from all over the world have banded together to try and solve one of the greatest mysteries of our time.
Strangely this has made me want to travel overseas again, on a plane - something I haven't done for four years. With the new job, who knows, that just might be possible again in the next year or two.

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