New Beginnings

CoachingAs some of you already know, for the past few months I’ve been retraining to be a career/life coach and have started my own business. You can find details about it here.

I don’t foresee blogging about intranets and social media in the immediate future(though I will maintain an interest), but I have been writing about my new industry and how it can help all manner of folks.

So, if you or anyone you may currently know or meet in the future, is looking to change their life for the better, then head on over and say Hi. I’ll be very pleased to talk you through how it all works – for FREE of course.

And thanks to those of you who took the time to read and comment on my intranet musings. I’m sure our paths will cross again sometime.



I attended this free BBC seminar the other day “Top Tips On Screenwriting” as I’ve recently embarked on writing a screenplay.

It’s far too early to give anythwriters rooming away about the topic, but I’m thoroughly enjoying the creative experience and also learning about a new craft.

Who knows, it may end up being screened somewhere near you.

Job seeking…..

Six months ago I signed on the dole. Or Job Seekers Allowance as our politically correct Govt call it.

Job Centre Plus logo

Job Centre Plus logo

Little do they know, when you turn up at the Job Centre (JC) waving the little magic form they’ve given you that allows you access to the desks beyond the “reception desk”, the maitre d asks if you’ve come to “sign on”. That toff, Iain Duncan Smith (IDS)  should visit a Job Centre once in a while; unannounced obvs, and see what it’s really like. Not all Job Centre’s (well mine is a Job Centre Plus, whatever that is) smell of fresh paint and have bunting.

Tomorrow is my last signing on day and thereafter I’m on my own. I’m entitled to nothing. Nada. Niet. Nuffink. Not a sausage. Well I can go and get a sausage, but I will get no money toward it. I have to pay for my own sausage.

After six months the £70 per week job seekers allowance is stopped and it then becomes means tested. Seeing as I have in excess of £25 million in the bank, then I don’t suppose I’ll qualify for any further help. But that can’t be right can it?

I’ll have to ask my mate IDS the next time I see him on the golf course.  Just before I let the people who really do need the Govt’s support, the chance to bludgeon him; with his own golf clubs natch.

Note; I don’t have £25 million in the bank. And I don’t belong to a golf club. And I’ve never met IDS, but if i do he’ll be sporting the verbal equivalent of a nine iron.

IDS and JC are interchangable.

Recruitment and estate agents & used car salesmen……

There is very little difference between all three……

So; job hunting. How’s it going Phil?

Alright actually.

Except when it comes to dealing with recruitment consultants. Obviously.

During the past few months, and because of my circumstances, I’ve had to deal with recruitment consultants, used car salesmen and estate agents; and my girlfriend has also had to deal with solicitors. So, between us, we’ve had to run the gamut that is the world’s least regarded “professional” careers.


They all spout crap about undertaking their business to meet their clients interests, but there is only one interest as far as they’re concerned; making money – for themselves. At anyone’s expense.

If they think you can turn a few quid in for them, then they’re so far up your arse it’s uncomfortable. Once they realise there’s nothing in it for themselves, they’re like ex partners with a dose; long gone and nowhere to be seen.

Now. I don’t rely on recruitment consultants to find me my next job. If i did, I’ll be looking for work for many years to come. I don’t rely on that phone call or email from the latest pimp to come a-knocking at my door. I work it. I use them and they use me. But I don’t allow them to use me more than I feel comfortable with.

At the end of the day they do their stuff and it works like this.

  1. they see my details on Linked In or a job noticeboard
  2. they contact me – gushing with praise and state what a great bloke I am and how my CV is the best they’ve ever seen……..yadda yadda………
  3. we chat – they put me forward for a job. I only allow them to do so if I’m actually interested in the gig. Which is where myself and recruitment consultants differ. Enormously.
  4. now this is where things deviate;
    1. I get an interview – they’re all over me, until the conclusion – they either get the fee, or they disregard me for ever – the result is the same whatever the outcome
    2. I don’t get an interview and all of a sudden my calls and emails go unanswered. I’m no longer of interest to them. What a surprise.
  5. The process starts again with another pimp.

steve mcqueen

We dance around each other……..

Check me out on LinkedIn; – I’m cool. Like Steve McQueen……………..

Job seeking

Looking for work

Looking for work

A couple of weeks ago, I did something I’ve never done before. I registered for Job Seekers Allowance (JSA) online and then presented myself at my nearest Job Centre Plus for an interview and to sign the many forms that today’s Government demands.

The process for applying, and subsequently receiving, JSA, was pretty straightforward, but fraught with anomalies. Like having to do it online, having a mobile phone to receive texts, and needing to ring an 0845 premium phone number, if you have queries. Not exactly the best way to spend the £71 per week some job seekers, including myself, receive, My personal circumstances, like others, mean I receive no additional benefits, so living on 70 quid a week, is virtually impossible.

The Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) want to see their “clients” (their description, not mine) back in work as quickly as possible, so they provide a number of support resources to facilitate this, whilst also ensuring they check that their clients are doing what they said they will. That’s fair enough, but when it means three separate visits to the same Job Centre, incurring unnecessary travel expenses, the already inadequate and stretched allowance has already been busted.

Now, I’m fortunate enough to have been able to plan financially in advance for a period out of work, so I can get to where I need to be without having to worry about how to pay for the bus, but not everyone is as fortunate as myself.

Tomorrow, I shall venture down to the Job Centre to sign on, and prove that I’m available for and have been actively seeking work. Which I have been, and a number of applications are currently being processed by various organisations. To this end I will show my advisor the diary I’ve kept detailing my job seeking activities. You may be interested to learn that the Govt only expects job seekers to undertake a total of three job seeking activities per week. Three? Per week? WTF? It will be interesting to see what my advisor makes of my long list of activities and applications I’ve noted on their (crappy, photo copied hundreds of times) form.

Someone asked me the other day, why I’d registered for JSA, and for a variety of reasons, I did resist doing so for a while. And when I’ve previously been between jobs I didn’t venture online to register, as I didn’t even think to do so. But when it was pointed out to me that my NI stamp wasn’t being paid during those times (which were merely a matter of a couple of weeks), I was advised that I should register. I wouldn’t want anything to affect the massive pension the Govt will give me when I reach retirement age.

I’m not relying on the Job Centre to find me a job. Why would I? I’ve been perfectly capable of finding my own way in the world of work for the past 35 years, so why should that change now?

So back to those job websites I go………

Features vs functionality.

Features vs functionality

Features vs functionality.

One of the best tweets I’ve seen recently about web usability is simple and direct.

Like most things the simplest approach is usually the most effective. Tristan gets his message across in less than 140 characters and after reading it, we instantly get what he means. No further words are needed. That’s what Twitter has done really well, as has Tristan.

This rule can, and should be, applied to all websites if they’re to be used as intended; both internally and externally.

I have nothing to add. Do you?