Monday, May 23, 2005

Busy Busy

Last Week was pretty busy.

I took a half day on Monday for a job interview with the Northern Ireland Film & Television Commission for Grant Administrator. They're based on Alfred Street in the city centre so it's still pretty convenient for me.
I arrived a few minutes early and took a seat in reception. The offices were pretty new and film posters from recent and upcoming films set in Northern Ireland adorned the walls. There didn't seem to be much going on and the open plan office seemed quiet. After finishing a cup of water offered to me, I twiddled my thumbs for a few minutes before being led to the interview room. There was a large table in the middle of the room with 10 seats either side. My chair sat a few inches out from the rest. I was gestured to sit down and three panel members sat accross the table from me, however, the table was large and there must have been 10 foot between us making the interview seem quite surreal.
After pleasantries I was asked my first question: "How do you feel about open plan offices?". How to respond? "No, I don't like open plan offices. I like my privacy so it's easier to maintain composure when I've no work to do or I want to slack off". Who's going to say that? If it was Groundhog Day I'd have a field day. "I have no problem with open plan offices, I believe it helps communication between teams". I was then asked a series of relatively sane questions and then they threw in an old gem. "What are your strong or weak points?". Answer should contain a minor irrelevant weak point with how you have combated this and now you have added this to your bastion of strong points such as prioritising a heavy workload, delegation when appropriate, ability to work alone etc.
Then they gave me the test. One of the panel members excused themselves to check if the room was available whilst the other two quizzed me about my work. Hold on, is this part of the interview - a casual chit-chat? Very unprofessional. After a few minutes I was led into another room and told to read through an application form and write a letter to the applicant informing him what was missing from his application and could he please send it in to expediate the review of said application for short film budget. I looked at the previous correspondance and assessed what was missing: CV from producer and director. I was given 20 minutes to do this so I took my time. No point rushing it and then looking over the letter for 10 minutes. I had just finished touching it up when she came back. Ctrl P and hit return. Thanks for your time, we'll let you know.
I wasn't sure how I'd done. I'd sat on tougher interviews before but not with the interviewers sitting so far away and such bizarre questions asked. Did I say the right thing?
I recieved a call from them on Tuesday morning asking if I could come back for a 2nd interview on Wednesday. I'd obviously done well, but not well enough for them to make a clear judgement.
I took a half day on Wednesday as the interview was at 3pm and I needed the time to induce my zen like calm. This time the interview was more formal, in a smaller room around a 4 seat table and I was made to feel at home with friendly handshakes. After a series of further questions which I believe to have ran more smoothly, we chatted about my former work with the Northern Ireland Hospice lottery and how Government grants are handed out and filter down through the system. They seemed impressed with my answers and I left in a jovial mood.
Inbetween all this I was applying for a job where I work as Office Administrator. It was being offered internally at first and so I was competing with my peers. Which one of them would apply for the position or would it be a one-horse race? At first no one else was throwing their hat into the ring and I was very pleased about how this was turning out. Then another admin staff threw their hat in the table and the chips were down. The position is better for me than Grant Administrator at the Film & Television Commission as it's more money and more responsibility. The date of interview is set for 26th May.
It's now the 23rd May, 14 days after my initial interview and I have still to learn my fate.

With such a hectic week of fluctuating between nervous tension and zen I was pretty exhausted. I'd also just been paid so it was an ideal time to take Lou out for dinner. We had passed by a restaurant called Darcy's many times and it looked pretty cosy. I booked a table for 7.30pm. We arrived on time and were led to the back of a long thin dining area, my back to the busy aisle. "Cosy" would be a word estate agents would describe it but the decor was more than adequate. We looked at the wine list. No house wines, only overpriced bottles. We chose a Chilean Merlot which you can buy in an off licence for £5.99. It cost £13.50 here - 44% profit. This always grates me. I'm here for the food not the wine, that's where the profit should be made and they were doing a fine job. The cheapeast meal was over £10. I'm not a tight-ass and I don't mind spending money on something worthwhile. I ordered Barbary duck with rhubarb and creme-fraiche. Lou ordered a pork stir fry. Both meals were superb. I felt like I was eating a dessert with meat so I didn't feel the need for dessert.
The meal worked out at a little over £30. Not bad at all.

On Saturday Lou gave me a lift over to Keiths house and Bert, Jill, Don and I played AOE2. Of course it took us 2 hours to set it up which is roughly the time it took us to play. Still, it was an enjoyable game and I'm looking forward to getting stuck into the sequel when it's released in the autumn. The rest of the afternoon and early evening was spent doing some general loafing and we decided to play some D&D. I know, I know, I'm slowly sliding into geek-dom. It's only a matter of time before I buy my own dice and box set. Anywho, I decided to be "Dungeon Master" [geeEEeek!] and my quest lasted until 4am. I'm surprised it lasted that long but it was enjoyable nonetheless.

On Sunday Lou picked me up around noon and we bought some things on the way home to make filled baguettes for lunch and then went for a walk up the Creaghy Glen and down through Four Winds back to the car. I hadn't been there since I was 15 and it had only lost a little of it's charm. It winds up through a glen surprisinly with a small river running through it with waterfalls cascading off rocks into pools below. I should have brought my camera and I will do so next time. We made it back just in time as the a sunshower with hails came down as we were getting into the car.
Lou spent the rest of the afternoon working and I spent the time backing up my brothers DVD collection and watching a nature programme about wildlife in Ireland. Fascinating...


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