Seagulls and Wood Pigeons, but thankfully no Foxes!

This week’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt is ‘Animal Noises’ and the first noise that springs to mind is the sound of seagulls. Not the odd one or two squawking occasionally, but living on the coast here in Inverness we have soaring and swooping seagulls all around us, all day, every day, and I just love it – I even wrote a poem about it 🙂

And the soft, deep, hollowed-out coo of puffed-up Wood Pigeons has followed me up and down the country wherever I’ve lived for as long as I can remember. There’s one that must like to sit right on top of our chimney pot because when it coos contendedly it echoes loudly straight down the hollow chimney space, which gave me quite a start when we first moved in but I’ve grown used to it now.

And what about the noises I don’t hear any more, and definitely don’t miss?

Dogs barking dementedly in houses whenever people walked past outside, or dogs straining on leads growling and snarling aggressively at other dogs while passing on the pavement, was a thoroughly common sound in London. Lots of dogs are walked around here too, but are perhaps less terratorial with more space at home to make their own? Or maybe people own dogs for different reasons up here, purely for companionship rather than as a status symbol, encouraging friendliness rather than fighting? Who knows… but the dogs are definitely quieter here.

And foxes… OMG we had loads of city foxes in London, skulking around as if they owned the place, unafraid of humans, scavenging in bins and rumaging about noisily in back gardens all night. A fox bark is such a creepy sound, rough and grating and eerily staccato in the urban darkness, the kind of sharp nocturnal cut-short screech you hear in horror movies, a scary scene-setting sound that sends shivers straight through you.

Cats too at night – not gentle purring, cute mewling kitten-cat noises, but the violent, visceral caterwauling of sexually active tomcats tomcatting around as they do, echoing across the gardens and through open windows. It never ceases to amaze me how cats can appear so docile and demure and delicately passive by day, and yet make such a bloody racket when actively mating! 🙂

Just a Jumble of Jobs

When I first left school I learned about the importance of writing a good Curriculum Vitae, or ‘course of life’, otherwise shortened simply to CV, in order to sell yourself and stand out in the saturated world of the employment market.

The idea was to provide a positive sense of progress from one thing in life to another, a sensible story of education and work from school through to wherever you are now. So you would start with your contact details and a single sentence personal mission statement blurb-y kind of thing, then record your educational achievements, then show a clear career path from past to present, then highlight any particular skills you’d like to mention. Sounds fine, except…

My life course is not at all a straight linear path progressing neatly and clearly from one level to the next with increasing complexity and responsibility. It’s more of a ragged jumble of unlinked jobs interspersed here and there with a couple of full-time chunks of educational improvement, and extended gaps of family focused housewifery. And the older I got, the more nonsensical it all looked trying to record it all succinctly on one sheet of paper.

To be fair to myself, for a long time the type of jobs I was applying for (and getting) had no need of a CV at all. The Healthcare, Civil Service and Education sectors that take up a good 15 years or so of my working life required filling in a succesion of very robust sector-specific in-house application forms. But still I persevered in the background with updating that old-style CV of mine until about 10 years ago, when once again a CV became a necessary tool for job-hunting and I had a bit of an epiphany that turned it all on its head.

To make sense of the story of where I was in life at that moment I realised I needed to create a skills-based, not a career-path-based CV. So ever since that moment of clarity I find it much better to have my contact details at the top, then a section highlighting my transferable skills built up over decades of working a variety of jobs across many different sectors, then have my simple list of previous employment, and finally a small section at the bottom noting my further and higher education.

What my CV says about me now is – this is the mature me, these are the transferable skills I can bring to your company, this is cumulatively where I gained that experience – and oh, by the way, I have a degree. It feels much better this way, feels a more authentic record of who I am and where I am in life just now, and far better suits the type of work I’m looking for these days. I’m not a career-girl, and realise now I never really have been, although for a while I gave it a good try…

So right now I’m job-hunting again for the first time since relocating from London to Inverness, and am looking for something part time, reasonably local, that doesn’t require me working evenings or nights. My children are all adults now with children of their own, we’ve bought our own home and are mortgage free, and I’m not looking for any level of responsibility or anything that requires tipping that precious work-life balance too far towards taking work home with me, mentally or physically.

So realistically I’m basically looking for minimum wage retail employment or something along those lines. And if anything in that line isn’t forthcoming any time soon, I’ll consider going back to working in a pub, which is what I did for the last five years we lived in London. So in my own best interests I definitely don’t want to be shoving my degreee down anyone’s throat, or highlighting how many zeroes I used to earn annually working as a univeristy administrator way back when.

And being well into my mid-fifties now, I really need to try to turn my advancing years into a blessing not a curse, into an eminently employable and reliable jack-of-all-trades broad range of experience, not a past-its-best badge of out-of-touch obsolescence. But it’s not an easy task, and rejection is still rejection and it still stings, however old you are.

I’m confident I’ll get there eventually, though, and hopefully my odd jumble of jobs won’t hold me back in my quest – at least they show I’m capable of adapting to many different work situations! 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Progress

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Epiphany

Living Room Window

This is my living room window, all 2.5 metres width of glass pane, and I just love the way the light streams through it from morning till night. My sofa is sitting right in front of it, and sitting on my sofa is where much of my blogging takes place, with my laptop on a bean-bag lap tray on my lap. When we were house-hunting last year, two of my main non-physical must-have criteria were light and flow, and we’re absolutely delighted to have achieved both where we are now 🙂

Fandango’s One Word Challenge: Glass