Spent: £5.70 bus fare
Applications: 0
Hours worked at Waterstones: 4

Yesterday was a really nasty day. When I woke up I could hear the rain hitting my window pane in horizontal sheets, I dressed for the weather – my cowboy boots under jeans as they are cheap plastic and therefore waterproof, and there is nothing worse than having wet feet all day. My red coat, because it is the longest and heaviest one I own, so would keep a greater proportion of my body dry. My hair tucked into a hat to keep it from frizzling, and my elbow-length leather gloves to save my cuffs from getting damp.

Half way to the bus stop my umbrella blew inside out… and the fabric ripped at the same time. I then spent 15 minutes standing in the rain waiting for the bus, which came late and made it approx 200 metres before breaking down.

Public transport in this country is a joke. Sure, we claim to be worried about climate change, but until buses and trains run regularly, reliably and on time, no-one will use them by choice. Last Sunday, my bus to work got just outside Warwick before the driver pulled over and called the depot because he couldn’t make the emergency lights stop flashing. It took him about 10 minutes of working through caller menus “pushing 1 to speak to an adviser” before he actually spoke to an adviser, who was able to fix the problem by telling him which lever to flick.

Yesterday, the driver (different one) couldn’t get his break lights to turn off. He too called the depot, who told him to come by and swap buses. We stopped just outside said depot awaiting further instructions, and when he tried to start the bus again, it wouldn’t go. We ended up waiting there 40 minutes until another bus was brought out to take us on our not-so-merry way, and instead of arriving in the Waterstones staffroom with 30 minutes to eat my brunch before my shift started, I ended up wolfing my sandwiches down on the moving vehicle, then legging it up the road to arrive at Waterstones 3 minutes before I was due on shop floor.

Oh, and soaked right to the bone, which was NOT fun, and might be why I have been unable to get warm since. I’m writing this tucked under a blanket, wearing not one but TWO hoodies, one of which has a fur-lined hood. With both hoods up.

My nose is so cold! 😦

Freelance hours: 1
Spent: £0
Applications: 1
Interview offers: 1
Weekly hours at Waterstones offered from now til Christmas (or further notice): 30!

Today I had a bit of a lie in, got a load of chores done (and one application letter written) then walked up to Kate’s to do an hour’s consultancy on her company’s website. Waterstones called and offered me an additional 30 hours a week until Christmas (with flexibility to attend interviews, etc.) which I snapped up! And one of my agency contacts called and asked me to attend an interview, which – and you’re not going to believe this – I turned down.

Let me explain this. Tomorrow I am covering for one of the Waterstones regular staff who is at a family funeral. I said I would do this on Saturday. The company in question wanted me to interview in Oxford TOMORROW. As in, with about 18 hours notice.

I am proud of my work ethic, of the reputation I have as a reliable employee. I asked whether I could just get an extra 24 hours, to go in on Wednesday or Thursday, but was told that they wanted to interview tomorrow as there were internal candidates that needed an answer sooner rather than later. From which I concluded that I was being invited to interview to make up the external interviewee numbers. And for a maternity cover role in a subject area I have ZERO knowledge about – I was shocked beyond belief that I even got an interview! Nothing about it added up. If I were actually in work there is no chance I’d be able to get time off with so little notice… I just couldn’t do it.

In a couple of months time I might seriously regret this decision. Or, I might have a permanent role in a subject area that I love – who can tell? Either way, I’ll still have my reputation in tact.


8 thoughts on “Bus-stopped

  1. You kept a promise you made
    you respected yourself
    and you trusted your instinct
    I think that you won’t regret it
    and that was just poor recruiting on their part–I mean who would let slip there were internal candidates waiting for an answer?!
    Anyway, I hope you feel warmer soon.

  2. I hope you feel warmer too! We don’t even have public transportation here where I live, so I don’t know what’s worse. Non-existant public transport or one that is inefficient.

    I’m so glad you got the extra hours at the bookstore. That’s great news and will take the heat off while you look for a job you just love!

    Don’t worry about that interview. It sounds like it wasn’t meant to be.

  3. Hi Caroline,

    I tend to agree with Corey. I had a similar experience with a job I had applied for when I was looking for work this time last year. It was a teaching job in a school I loved, but everything about the set up of the interview seemed wrong to me (the head wanted me to come in before the official interview date, and he wanted me to promise that I wouldn’t take the QCDA job if offered, and also he wanted me to say that I wouldn’t go to another interview I had lined up for that week. All of this without any assurance that he was going to give me a job!) I turned down the interview and it did cost me some sleep and mental well-being to do it. But it was the right thing to do because – well, I reasoned if they were going to be that funny about interviews then maybe it wouldn’t be a great place to work after all. So I do think it is worth trusting your instinct on this kind of thing. And really, you don’t want to be working somewhere that isn’t quite right because that is miserable.

    I fully agree with everything you’ve said re public transport. I depend on it too. We have a temporary office near Birmingham International Airport and it is a faff to get here from Leam, and expensive too. The trains are infrequent, unreliable and uncomfortable but they’re my only option! When we are in our new office in Coventry I will probably complain just as much about the bus, but I suppose it will at least be cheaper than the train! I don’t know about train drivers but as far as I can tell bus drivers are underpaid and overworked (a colleague told me yesterday that someone in her family was offered a job driving for Travel Coventry but turned it down because they work a 40 hour week, earn well under £20,000 a year and only get 15 days holiday a year) so I’m unsurprised that the buses don’t run well or on time! We need to invest more in our public transport infrastructure because for most people outside of London, using public transport to get to work isn’t viable.

    Anyway – I hope you’ve finally warmed up! 🙂

  4. I hope you get warm soon (I recommend a cat. And a hot water bottle. And, hell, a duvet as well). I really hope you never have cause to kick yourself for missing the interview as you’ve definitely done the nice person thing. I really value being reliable too, and it doesn’t sound as though the Oxford people would have appreciated you at all.

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