Behind The Wheel

5 08 2015

Steering Wheel

Last week, I took my first step into doing something I have always wanted to do, but so far as yet had not. I had my first sitting behind the wheel of a car.

Ford Fiesta

For the past several weeks, I have been trudging around several employment websites looking for work, and am as yet unsuccessful in finding something. When I do find something promising, or that I like the look of, I will read about it and if still interested would apply for it. One issue that I have found is that many jobs ask for a current driving licence. Not too big a thing unless you don’t have one, and need the income to learn to drive in the first place. Well, a few weeks ago I started looking into Intensive Driving courses in the hope I could learn quickly and receive a driving licence as quickly as possible to allow me to apply for those kinds of jobs with ease. A couple of weeks later, my Mam informs me that a friend of hers at work, knows some people who offer driving experiences to allow the people the option to just have a little driving lesson and see how they feel. The experience is only really offered to 14-16 year olds, not people over the age of 20. However, I was able to get a slot to have a little go behind the wheel of a car.

Traffic Cones

I was booked in, and went to the Truck Haven near Carnforth last week where a section of car park was roped off. I was rather scared and worried as I had no idea how the car was going to react, or if I was going to like it or not. I had little worries going through my head. I met my instructor there and he had me take a seat in the front of the car behind the wheel. Getting in was hard due to my height, but he took me through the basics, such as pushing the seat back, heightening and lowering the back rest, adjusting the mirrors, the order of pedals including which foot to use best for which pedal, everything to the point of turning the car on for the first time. He then instructed me about the ‘biting point’ and how to start the car up into it moving for the first time. To begin with it was only in first gear, and I only drove round the area once before coming to a stop. But I really enjoyed it; it felt so amazing to drive the car round. We then did it again, I was a bit harder on the brakes that time, but I was beginning to enjoy it more.

Test Drive Unlimited 2 (Eden Games - 2011)

And it didn’t stop there. He took me through braking for a corner (something I was worried about given my experience in Test Drive Unlimited 2) and how to change-up and down a gear. I really did enjoy it, and felt a little bit sad when my slot time was up. I had a brief talk with the instructor and my Mam, and the hope now is that I will be proceeding with learning how to drive. I am still a little scared to be going out on the road with real drivers to learn, but I am kind of excited to finally learn how to drive a car. Then all I will need to do is get a job to pay for my own once I pass my driving test.

Pagani Huayra

GENEPOOL (I very much doubt that my first car will be a Pagani Huayra).

Sam’s Rant – Jewellery Application

8 07 2013


A couple of weeks ago, while looking for summer/student jobs I found an offer online for a job at a local branch of a well-known jewellers. It was a temporary sales associate position and seeing an opportunity I decided to apply for it. With a whole load of experience in the retail sector from the course I took at LMC in 2005, I thought I was in with a good chance of getting it. So I apply for the position online on the website I found the vacancy on and send them a copy of my CV. The following day I receive an e-mail from the company that owns the chain stating that to complete my application I need to fill in an application online on their website for the position. So I go to the website and find out that I have to create an account with the website to apply. I am just applying for a job but, surely if I need an electronic account with them, wouldn’t be best to wait until I get the job? With my account now made, I go through the step by step process. Firstly I needed to tell them about my previous work. They asked what my previous job was and why I left, but I had not left as I am currently and still am a student. So I still filled it in with mostly N/A in the boxes. Once this had been done I had to go onto step 2 which involved asking lots of multiple choice questions; well I say multiple, I only had two choices for each question and in many cases that was not enough and so I had to choose which one was the closest but in many cases it was not the right answer.

Multiple Choice

From pretty much the moment I started doing all these things it was like I was not applying for a summer job; it was more like I was applying for a career. I am only applying for a small “Temporary” vacancy, not what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, even if I could and wanted to do it for the rest of my life, would I really want to stay temporary? Ok, it was optimistic of them for all of this, but come on. But I got it all done and was ready for the next part, this was a mine field. I had to complete a quick exercise that could take up to 30 minutes, that’s all that was really said and what the exercise was, was not really shown other than that it was an exercise. But before I could start it, the webpage would not load, so I contacted the website about it and they said they were experiencing technical issues. So I waited until the next day before I did it. The next day arrived and I got to work with the exercise, it was here that I officially entered the minefield. The exercise involved answering questions by rating different outcomes of events that may arise in a fictional jewellers shop. There were four answers for each question and I had to rate each answer by 4 different choices:

  • Counterproductive
  • Ineffective
  • Somewhat Effective
  • Effective

So I got stuck in with the exercise. The questions ranged from things like; a customer walks into the store and asks for a specific watch and it is currently unavailable, do you? One of the staff members is showing a watch to a customer but does not know as much about it as you do (which was both a question and the example), and each of these questions would give four answers which would say something like (if we take the last question as the example),

  • Interrupt the conversation
  • Leave them alone, the team member needs the experience
  • Talk to the manager
  • Find the ideal opportunity to join the conversation

And this was how it all panned out, and pretty much all the questions were exactly the same in one way or another.


Eventually I finished it all and submitted my answers only for the site to tell me that I did not meet the criteria for the position. So I set up a career account with the company’s website only for them to tell me that I shouldn’t have bothered. I still have the account with them now (at time of writing), I don’t know why? They really need to fix their careers applications online system. But do you want to know what the most interesting thing about this whole experience is? It’s that the questions in the 30 minute exercise (even though I did it in 10) only talked about customer service. I was pretty sure that a question that was in my head at the time did not appear anywhere. What would you do in this situation? Please rate your answer to the system above (counterproductive, ineffective, somewhat effective, effective).

The Shop is being robbed by armed gun men, do you?

  • Talk to them calmly and do as they say
  • Pick up the phone and call for the police (even if criminals can see you doing it)
  • Jump over the counter and attack them
  • Run for it

It is a good question. Not unless they either don’t get robbed at all (despite the place being a jewellery shop) or maybe the staff just do as they’re told and tie themselves up in the back room as soon as they see a gun (What happens to the customers we don’t know). Another good question to ask would have been:

The Shop is on fire, do you?

  • Find the nearest fire extinguisher to fight the fire with
  • Have a health and safety meeting
  • Run for it
  • Use the nearest source of non-flammable liquid to put out the fire

Why these sorts of questions were not asked is anyone’s guess?

GENEPOOL (Maybe I should do more of these interesting unasked questions as a future blog post).

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