The Job From Hell?

You may remember how a couple of weeks ago I said that if at the end of the 4.5 weeks, I didnt stay in the job, I’d be screaming? Fine, its only taken me 2 weeks to reach that point, I’m screaming! In more senses than one, in fact.

Thats right, I managed to find the one call centre where good customer service isnt a desired item, but in fact, just the opposite, they hate it. I’ll be honest, I’d read some horrible reports about this company, and their levels of service, but assumed that having us ‘extra bodies’ would enable us to help out with that matter. Seemingly, that wasnt in their plans!

It quickly became clear that all they really wanted us for, was cannon fodder, to act as a buffer between them, and their angry customers. When we started trying to help clients, we were quickly told that wasnt what we were employed for. We were just to take messages, so they stopped us putting information on file. Then when that failed, they took the computer system away from us. We had no way of telling if we were putting down the right details, or anything. Anyway, between Wednesday, when this ridiculous situation kicked in, and Thursday evening, 2 had had enough, and left. Thursday evening, I was thinking I’d stick it out to the weekend, and then possibly do the same. My body decided otherwise! Basically the stress issues sent my stomach into overload, and I spent a lot of Thursday night in the bathroom. Friday morning, I still got up, but exhaustion, and the inability to do much at all, had me retreating to bed, for 3 hours much needed sleep.

Friday, I inquired about doing a clinical trial starting next Monday, but irony, because of stress related issues, they dont want me, as that might factor into my results. All the same, practically, mainly to keep my sanity, I’ve tendered my notice, and just asked them to pay me for the hours I’ve worked. Yes, job hunting again, started today.

And how bad is it, I’ve been looking at betting shop jobs (assistant manager) as an option (thought not applied yet), and I really dont want to do that. But its money. Then again, I thought the same about this job, and look where it got me! Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket Wednesday, as its a £22.6 million rollover. Though why anything should go right for me at present? Still, should I win, I could afford a nice little place in Hollywood, so…

OK, the video. You could say, I guess, this was my journey to work? Though I went via a hellish train company, but…

Lonely this Christmas?

Well, in the dim, distant past (last one was 2000), I tended to spend Christmas on my own. Since then, I’ve had company each year, but this year, thats not going to happen. Slightly ironic, because if I’d made the other call last week, it wouldnt be the case. But because I did, and believe me, it was the wrong call, I will now be working until the close of business on the 23rd, and by then, the others here will have headed south, earlier that day. The cats will be happy at least, as they wont have to go to a cattery, and I’m sure I will be more than happy with my own company, I’ve been that way before, and I’m sure that will be the case again.

I did jokingly look at flights to LA on the 24th, mainly to see what the premium would be for flights out that day, and it was surprisingly less than I expected it to be. But in all honesty, even if my favourite little apartment was available for a 2 week stay over the holidays, it couldnt really happen. It isnt, strictly it shut up for the winter after I left seemingly, not open again until April and May, but anyway…By the time I get to LA, all the shops would be shut, so getting food, and drinks for the holiday would be a bit of an issue anyway. But no, unless someone wants to convince me otherwise, its not practical, for several reasons mentioned. Oh, and money might be a factor too lol!

Oh fine, that wrong call? Yes, it was the Job v Clinical Trial one. I took what seemed the percentage offer, the guaranteed job (not a great one, both work wise, and money wise), or the chance that I would get on the research trial (More money for less time, more interesting, more, just about everything in fact), and took the easy option. Wrong! Yes, this week I heard the news that I would have been on the trial, so not been a happy bunny. In theory, if I’d heard earlier on Wednesday, I could have jumped ship, and signed up for the trial anyway. Unfortunately, by the time I got news that they wanted me, I was already within the 48 hour ban on caffeine, and though only just, I had gone over that mark. I did ring after work anyway, but by then it was too late in other senses, as they’d called in a reserve anyway.

Right now, I’m planning on doing one in the New Year, as my friend there tells me that there will be some interesting ones in February, and I’m only working until the 23rd December anyway! At least I should get there then, fingers crossed!

Oh, the job. Yes, I had the impression they just wanted some telephonists to take the cannon fire from customers, and in my first week, I’ve seen nothing to change that impression. All for a very uninspiring wage, too. Oh, and a company infatuation with stats (which I was suspecting) that could drive the patience of anyone straight out the window. In truth, they dont care about Customer Service, they just want to be able to present a high call turnover, at any cost. So if your stats are good (one of mine was far the best of the new staff), its not enough unless you improve on them. So yes, I’m pretty jaded already, and just trying to survive the next 3.5 weeks.

Lastly, to add to my joy, the bus drivers in Huddersfield are on strike Monday, so I’m going to have to walk 1.5 miles into town, probably in the rain (if forecast is correct) to get there! Oh joy!

So, if someone wants to convince me that I should look at those flights to LA again, with good purpose, just shout! Though if I believe one lovely lady, I’m going to hear news, 4 days from now, that will have me heading to Hollywood on a more long term basis. That would be so wonderful, but I’ll believe it when I hear it.

Lastly, the video. A Christmas classic from the very distant past, that sums up what my Christmas might be. Though given 2 demanding cats in the house, hmm?

Just wishful thinking?

So yes, despite the best intentions of my ‘wonderful’ local train company to do otherwise, I started my training course for my new, temporary role yesterday morning. I’d planned to get the 8.21 train, and have plenty of time to walk up to the office before 9.00. So I got the 8.13, which turned up at 8.27, and just about got there by 9.00, planned start time. Unfortunately, it took 3 of us who arrived just in time, a while to get in, as no one had explained how we had to do it, given that we didnt have entry cards. But we got there in the end, so…

Last nights train, coming home was late too, I hadnt forgotten Trans Pennine Express could be awful, but 2 out of 2 late, not a good start. Still, the trains topped it this morning, though not all their fault, to be fair. Train was late (about 7 minutes) arriving in Huddersfield, which was definitely down to them. I had 10 minutes, or so allowance, so fine, if it left. It didnt! Got settled on the train, to hear there was a slight delay, due to a signalling issue. Given it was the first train of the morning through to Leeds, they might have just discovered it, but anyway…35 minutes later, we heard the train was cancelled, no trains would be running through to Leeds, and they would try to lay on replacement coaches. Seemingly, about an hour and a half later, they did! But this wasnt much use for training course, day 2, from 10.00 to 3.00. Even if a coach had come along straightaway, the best I could have reached the office was 11.15, and they didnt even get close to that!

I rang the office when I got back here, let them know that I hadnt just had enough (one did yesterday, disappearing after lunch break), but just couldnt get to Leeds. I’m not sure the guy really took in all I told him, but he said to turn up as planned, post training in the morning at 9.00, so I will do as told (as a good robot should lol), and see what happens. Might just get trained in what was learnt today, might just grab their card back, and tell me to go, even if it wasnt my fault!

Of course, the irony then, I might yet get to be a long term clinical research guinea pig, which lets face it, I’d rather do anyway! Be ironic, if after all my frustration this morning with the train, that I got to do what I really wanted to do, wouldnt it? But yes, you know me, and luck, that would just be wishful thinking!

And yes, thats tonights video, would you believe?

Once in a lifetime? Same as it ever was?

Yes, absolutely no prizes for working out what the song is tonight, from that title. Live version though, definitely a different feel.

So fine, as of about 2.30 this afternoon, you could say I chose the ‘same as it ever was’ option, when I got the email confirming the details of when, and where I was to turn up to start job training on Saturday. Officially, that choice was made last night, but until that email arrived, I wasnt ever quite sure, given the parent company involved, and the fun I’ve had with job applications with them before. I know, I know, it was my choice (I’d still say it might be more fun if it wasnt, but…), but in the end it was fait accompli, given I could get no confirmation I would definitely be on the clinical research study. If I was, I’d have picked that, no hesitation, but there was no way I could say no to this, then not get on the study, so…I took the easy option!

If the future shows, that at the end of the month, I’m kept on, for as long as I want to be there, then I guess it will be proved to be a wise call. If it only ends up being for 1 month, then yes, you will probably hear me screaming, all around the world! Hopefully, if the latter should happen, I can get on a trial next year, but it would be back to point A, and all that, even assuming I can find something suitable, with a decent length stay in a clinic.

Strictly, if I heard tomorrow, that I was going to be on the trial, it would be a hard choice. I would be tempted to burn my bridges, do the trial, and then take my job chances in the new year. But would this rather large group blacklist me for doing so, and limit my chances then, who knows? But practically, the matter wont arise, been pretty much told it will be the beginning of next week before they choose the lucky ones, and by then, too late!

Yes, I know, I should feel pleased (for at least a month or so) that I’ve got a job, but just at this moment, its hard to do so, knowing I’m missing out on that probable ‘once in a lifetime’ moment, that I’d so built myself up for. But good ‘robot’ logic said, that if you only have 1 sure offer, you have to take it. But will I regret this decision, at least for quite a while, you bet I will!

And to rub it in more, I was going to get hypnotised on Saturday morning, and now that wont happen either! Fine, I shouldnt need destressing now that I’ve got a job, but…

Fine, the video. Yes, as I say, you’ve worked out the song, brilliant one. Live show from 1980

Hey baby, I’m your telephone girl…maybe?

Forgive the cynicism, after a couple of false alarms, that I’m not jumping for joy now, but I think I’ve got a job. Thats right, I will fail to be convinced on the matter until I get the official email in the morning, but in all likelihood…

OK, thats the good news. The bad news, it might only be for a month or so, up until Christmas. But, if I perform, and impress, it might well be longer! Which, being blunt, is the only reason I’ve agreed to it, because financially, otherwise, it makes no sense. As in, even starting Saturday (weekend learning the ropes), prior to Christmas, working there, I will earn less than I would doing the medical research trial, in 2.5 weeks, by a long stretch.

But given that at the moment, I cant be sure about being on the trial at all (results not all yet back, plus would need to be selected at weekend), I’ve decided, with regret to say yes, to the role. Not that I’ve anything against the role, its just inbound calls, dealing with basic queries, and passing on messages (would be further trained, if I stayed on), nothing complex, for decent money.

But lets face it, especially by now, I was really looking forward to being on that research trial, and seeing what happened, that I regret now, that its almost certainly not going to happen. I guess, if they said to me Friday that I was on, I could change my mind, but its not likely to be till the beginning of next week, so…decision made! I guess if it only turns out to be a month, I could do one next year, but that would mean starting from scratch, all over again, so…ah well! But no, I’m not going to officially stand down just yet, because I’ll only believe I’ve got this job on Saturday morning, when I start training, and besides, I’m interested to see how my results come back, in all honesty, what type of state I’m in, health wise!

I know, being practical, and logical, but hey, thats what robots work on, logic! And in the end, the thought I could end up with neither, just settled it for me.

Fine, the video bears no resemblance to what my type of work will be. Its a 70’s song, full of sexual innuendo, but hey, its fun…I think?

All wired up, and connected to a machine…safely…shame?

Well, I dont know if any of my readers have ever had a full medical screening, in relation to going on clinical trials, or for any other reason, but now, I have! Really enjoyable experience, I must say, I only hope that the test results come back fine, and that I get selected to go on the actual trial now. If not, I’m sure a certain wonderful lady will be trying to find me something I can go on, even if the stay isnt quite as long. But hopefully, this will be the one…

OK, fine, dont laugh. The hardest thing this morning, the fact that I could only drink water in the last 6 hours before the screening. Yes, I know, I could, and did survive without coffee for that period, but it was hard! Someone here was trying to tell me it would do me good, but I still dont believe her. That first post screening coffee (free, at the screening place) may not have been the greatest cup of coffee of all time, but I didnt care!

Anyway, before we got there…

I actually got there a few minutes before planned, as for the first time ever, public transport ran smoothly, and got me there before the time the route planner said! Anyway, the lady on reception rang through to my contact, Ruth, and we met in person for the first time, as opposed to chatting on social media. Yes, she’s a lovely person, and I’m not just saying that because she’s going to read this. The guided tour impressed me, the facilities available, a comfortable bed in the ward, and everyone I met seemed nice. I was taken in a room where some ‘experiments’ are done, mainly in the sense of eating food in an isolated setting, and seeing how much people would eat. There was some interesting looking machine in there, but I cant now remember what Ruth said they used it for. Sounded interesting, but doubt it will get used on me, all the same. Well, fine, they want me as a clinical guinea pig, but besides that, I felt welcomed regardless of that.

Then, screening proper. All the relevant form filling, and signing, just to prove I was doing all this of my own free will, and nothing else. Breath test collected, urine test delivered, and then down to serious business. Yes, I really, really got wired up, and connected to a machine. Fine, it was an ECG machine, and those electrodes were taking readings from my heart, not zapping me in any way. It probably was longer than it felt that I was connected up, but it did seem very brief to me. But…fine, I’d have at least loved an EEG reading of the brain, or the electrodes doing something more exciting than just reading what my heart was up to, but realistically…

OK, then the fun bit. Well, I’m not sure fun was the right word, more like frustrating, but anyway. Yes, blood test. The lovely lady tried to find a vein, suitable for drawing some blood, from my right arm. Seriously, nothing suitable! Thankfully after a bit of effort, we found a vein on my left arm willing to give up blood, and problem was solved. Only downside, I’m told I wont be able to do any research involving IV’s in the future, as you need at least 1 good vein in each arm for that, shame!

And then, starvation over! Yes, allowed to eat and drink again, provided with a free sandwich, and hot drink. After that, a quick physical checkover from the Doctor, of my lungs, heart, and stomach, and then that was it. Finished my food and drink, signed out, and headed for home. Now all I can do, as I say, is await the results of the tests, and hopefully hear the good news that I’m selected for the course.

Lets just say the journey home wasnt as smooth as getting there, and leave it at that!

So fine, part of my reasoning for doing this, is the one that probably gets many people doing them, the money! Yes, I’m not down to my last farthing or anything, but a major boost to the bank account will be useful, all the same. But do you know what? At the same time, I said all along that I wanted to do something different, and interesting, and this definitely fits that bill.

Yes, seriously, you can pay me the money, I need it, if only for Christmas gifts and things. But to be honest, doing something like this is going to be a new experience in my life (if selected), and I’m really looking forward to finding out what its like to be a clinical guinea pig. Of course, if someone decides to upgrade the experiments, then great. But no, thats not going to happen, but I think the ‘real thing’ will be exciting too.

Would I be doing this, if it wasnt for some wonderful, and witty lady doing their social media? Maybe, I’d seen the adverts on Facebook before I spoke to her, and considered doing it, but she just settled the issue. So hopefully, 2 weeks tomorrow, I’ll be fasting again for a while!

Video, well, I was wired, though not for sound!

Medical trials. Of course it will all go fine?

Pre warning to all reading this, there is a large element of tongue in cheek in this, and I only hope someone doesnt ‘kill’ me for writing up this version. I could say its her own fault for blogging about a horror movie called ‘The Last Experiment’, and she, err, inspired me to this. Well, most of this…As she said of that movie in her blog, its scientifically inaccurate in so many ways, and so is the latter part of this.

First, the serious stuff, covered in a lot more brevity than my main blog. So if you want to know more, and know how to find it, go there! In May, I went to a clinical research company in Leeds, for a job interview in their call centre. Fine, to cut it short, it was one of my first attempts at a job interview post redundancy, and I made a total mess of something I still love to this day, the competency based questions. I did get a tour of the office though, and was impressed by what I saw of the place. At the time, it did cross my mind that maybe I should come back as a research volunteer, but then the job hunt went on, and I forgot about that idea.

Then in September, on Facebook, I saw they were advertising for volunteers to undergo medical trials. And given how well the job hunting was going…not…I thought again about the idea of doing this. But given I was away for a week in mid September, and then for 4 glorious weeks in October, beyond a polite inquiry, I took things no further. Though fine, I did ‘like’ their page on Facebook, and got to read the entertaining postings someone was making there. A vast majority are serious business stuff, but a few, less so.

So I’ve decided to take the plunge, be a brave old girl, and volunteered to go on a trial. Actually doing one that could be beneficial to me, as its a new trial for an arthritis drug, and given how stiff some of my old joints are, might benefit me, as well as them, results wise. My screening is actually next Thursday, so as well as everything else, I might just find out how healthy, or unhealthy I really am! If I pass that, the trial itself starts towards the end of November, should be interesting.

(This is the point where it gets less serious, in case my friend thinks otherwise)

And of course the only electrodes that will be attached to my body at any point in the screening will be when they check my heart. None will be placed on my head, and none will affect my thoughts, and brain patterns in any way, shape or form. They will only take blood needed for a blood test, and no strange solutions will be injected into my body at any point.

And during the actual trial, the capsules I will be given will only contain the drugs involved in the treatment of the arthritis testing. Nothing whatsoever that controls the mind, body, or transforms you into a robot! And again, any needles used for blood tests, and the like will not be delivering any nanites, or other sinister material into my blood stream. Nor will any EEG, or ECG checks that might be done be anything more than that, proper checks. No sinister electrical jolts to heart, or mind.

(Hopefully at this point, someone is roaring with laughter, and not threatening to tear me limb from limb next Thursday, before the screening. Well, if she wants to make notes to pass on to the medical staff lol…)

No, I know, nothing naughty, or wicked is going to happen to me at the screening, or during the trial, but I’m probably the only volunteer they’ve ever had who might wish it does! So dear, if you’re still reading this, and not laughing too loudly, if you want to set me up, in a ‘good’ way, at either, or both, I wouldnt mind in the slightest!

Fine, the video, rather apt. I only discovered tonight that Tom Bailey, formerly of the Thompson Twins is performing live again, great news for me. As I say, the video works for this