No, I Did Not Drop The Ball Last Week!

25 01 2017

football

Last week, the more frequent and eagle-eyed readers of my blog would have spotted that I did not post anything. Just to reassure you, no I did not drop the ball; it was sort of intended.

a-monster-calls (Focus Features - 2016)

Since 2011, I have been posting blog posts on this blog every week. I have been blogging in total for over 7 years now, but it was not until 2011 that I started posting more frequently, and have been doing so ever since. So why last week’s interruption, well there is sort of 2 reasons behind that. One is because I was hoping to post my film review of A Monster Calls, but after getting ill, and running dry of the emotions that the film created, I got a bit behind. The other though is that I have decided to scale back a bit when it comes to my blogging. Here’s why:

Steamboy (Sunrise - 2004)

In August 2016, I finally got a job, a job I am still doing to this day and am really enjoying; however when I first got it I was unsure as to if I would still be able to keep blogging frequently, so what I did was write a bunch of posts to post over a period of time instead of there and then. This idea worked, up until I started doing it for the rest of the year. I had written posts weeks, if not over a month ahead of when they were due to be posted. This took some of the fun out of blog posting, because when I have written a post, there is a great deal of excitement and energy about it, which makes you excited to see it simply get posted; if that is done weeks ahead, when it is finally posted the excitement has gone and so has the energy. Posting weeks ahead is only useful if you have a schedule to keep or have plans for a string of posts and need the extra time. For me it really took the fun out of it and as such I began to emotionally struggle with the blog, well thanks to both that and one other reason: Views.

views

When I started this blog, views were never really on my mind, as all I wanted to do was just write. When I discovered the views feature, it really started to grip me and I would look at it to see what was enjoyed, what wasn’t, and within a few years it pretty much took my main focus as I logged into WordPress every day. The views feature when you’re starting out can actually be quite fun, because when it’s the case that a lot of people are viewing your blog, that gives you a good boost of energy, but when they start to dwindle, that in return can get you down. Since 2011, I have actually kept a spreadsheet of my blog views on my computer, the main purpose being is that when I first started, WordPress used to provide views in a fun line graph, but this changed to a bar chart on the system, and as I quite liked the line graph, I decided to keep the spreadsheet to create the line graphs.

Godzilla 2014 (Legendary Pictures - 2014)

Come 2013 however, and the success I had achieved in 2012 quickly evaporated, and my blog views each month went from 3000-4000 views, to just over 1000. May 2014 saw a brief increase to over 2000 views mostly thanks to a certain film that was released that month, but since then views have been going down slowly. For the last 4 months of 2016, I received no higher than just over 900 views. I should just be happy that people are still looking at my blog from time to time, but when the views are sharp in your face when you turn on and go into the dashboard, and you see this continuing drop, it just gets you down, and with me losing the excited energy about the posting of posts, things really started to look grim. Then I had an idea, which upon considering it, made me very positive.

views-2

The issue; was that firstly the viewing figures were getting me down. So to combat this, I am no longer going to keep my own records, plus have managed to move the views window out of the way so it’s not completely in my face when I log on. I still have it to one side to look at every now and then, but now when I log in to WordPress I don’t get down when the views are down, because I don’t know if they are or not. Secondly, putting up posts every week did sort of begin to affect the kind of posts that I put up each week. This blog does not make money for me in anyway, it’s meant to be fun for me as well as a possible platform for my thoughts and interests, so why should I keep up a post each week? Posting each week does help me to keep it going and the frequency does help. The one thing I don’t want to do is give up, because in my current emotional state I may never get back into it if I did, so I decided to reduce the frequency to a post every 2 weeks. This keeps the frequency going, but does not put me in such a bad position. I can work on my posts more and have a little more freedom with less stricter personal deadlines, but also with more time to think and plan, I can potentially do more posts like the ones I really want to do. This does not stop me posting more frequently if I wanted to, but does not mean I have to rush a post out if I am late. It just gives me some options. Since deciding to go down this path, I have actually begun to feel a lot more positive and excited again about blogging and posting. While it’s in the early stages, I am beginning to feel pretty good about it. The rules I have put in place for myself are:

  • Post every couple of weeks at least.
  • Reduce number of film reviews a year too.

Film reviews have been a big part of this blog since the release of Inception, with me persisting to try and release one a month or at least 12 a year if I miss any. Doing big film reviews though do take up some time, and to allow myself as much freedom as I can, I am reducing my own required number down to six. If I am posting for half the year, I will do the same for film reviews too, but still continue to do them, just reducing the required amount in a year. So while it used to be at least 12, it is now 6. I am not intending to retire from blogging any time soon, I just want it to be fun again but also not tiring; so with this plan in place I am still hoping and planning to do the same as I always have done, just less frequently, and who knows, maybe this will turn out to be better than before, but right now that is not the important thing for me, the important thing is to be having fun again.

inception (Legendary Pictures - 2010)

GENEPOOL





I Think The Word PPI Should Be Banned, Who’s With Me?

30 11 2016

Dial Phone

Unless you have no TV, Phone, Email Account, Facebook, Twitter, Video Games Console, Front Door, House, Windows, Friends and Never go outside; then it may be possible that you have never heard of PPI. PPI (of course) stands for Payment Protection Insurance and is according to Wikipedia: “An insurance product that enables consumers to insure repayment of credit if the borrower dies, becomes ill or disabled, loses a job, or faces other circumstances that may prevent them from earning income to service the debt. It is not to be confused with income protection insurance, which is not specific to a debt but covers any income.” Well since about roughly 3 years ago (if not more), rumours spread that banks and loan company’s might have miss-sold it to their customers, and there was an opportunity for those who were miss-sold it to reclaim it. That was great news if you were miss-sold as it meant that you could reclaim money. Being sure is very important in these circumstances, and you would prefer to have a definitive yes or no, and if it was the case that you were miss-sold money and be given the opportunity to have that money returned to you, you would jump on it. On the opposite side of the coin, if you knew for a fact that the answer was originally No to the question “have you ever been miss-sold PPI?” then you would be happy as it would confirm that you have not necessarily lost money either. When it comes down to those who found out the answer was ‘Yes’ however; they needed to be given the opportunity and service to reclaim that money. However for those who found out that the answer was indeed ‘No’, then you would think that they would just be left alone to get on with their lives, not be talked down to by TV Adverts or be phoned round the clock by harassment agents belonging to call centres for 3 flipping years.

ppi-1

Ever since the word PPI made it onto the streets of the UK (if not the world), agencies were set up to try and ‘help’ you get your money back, (possibly for a cut of the returns) if you were one of those people who was genuinely miss-sold PPI, however for those of us who weren’t, we were still included in the seasonal fun of asking if we had. It’s nice to see some inclusion from these agencies for once, but after the number of times they have asked, told them that I hadn’t or that I was not interested, they still keep calling back. Now it is probably down to some kind of automated machine which brings up my house number for some lone drone to then ring me, but after 3+ years of being given the opportunity for any PPI to be refunded, you’d think everyone would have received it by now wouldn’t you? But supposedly the answer is No, and so they continue to ring up and ask to the point where they must be committing Harassment by now. It’s for this reason that I think the word (or at least those 3 letters of the three words in that order that make up those 3 letters in that order) PPI should be banned! These companies have now had plenty of time to find and return the money miss-sold, and now it’s time for this whole affair to end!

TV

Now there is one thing of course that could be a problem if it were to stop, and that is those poor people; who have been employed to ask everyone else, would be unemployed as a result. Alternatively, if they were allowed to spread their wings and be given an opportunity to go find other work, then they would be able to learn and maintain real skills and achieve proper prospects for themselves (more at least than they must be getting right now ). It’s a win for everyone: we stop getting harassed, and people in a slum of a job right now get a chance at far greater work opportunities. We of course still need to give those who may still be waiting (if any by now) to receive their money back, but I think the sooner the better. I was thinking maybe around March 2017. You know, these companies would then be given some time to have a proper hard go at their supposed job, but then come the first second of April 2017, they would have stop outright, and the term PPI would be banned, and any use of it down the phone could see the charging of a hefty fine (if not a Prison Sentence). Then we can get on with our lives and be safe in the knowledge that nobody will call us regarding our current PPI Status or be ruining TV with the use of that word either. Now if it was the case that some people still had money to reclaim, then in that case it should go down to professional investigators whose soul task it would be to do a proper professional audit trail and reward it justly (like the people on Heir Hunters), not harassingly. If by the end of that, there is still money to claim, but no one to claim it, then why not spend it on giving free ice cream to the people of the UK (not those who work at reclaim PPI companies, they don’t deserve it), and then we can get on with our lives. Now I realise of course that I have no real power to ban the letters or word PPI, and it will take some form of petition and act of government to achieve this, but as an idea, do you agree? Alternatively however, we could find other uses for the Letters PPI, maybe some kind of whimsically funny pun on something else, and then if that were to work; every time one of these people phoned up and said PPI, then we could just laugh at the funny lettering, and get some level of Joy from PPI instead? What do you think?

GENEPOOL





North And South

16 04 2016

Great British Flag

Milking the cow,

Reaping the grain,

But for why I don’t know how,

I continue with this strain.

Not enough money,

To feed my family,

If circumstances could differ,

Behind a desk I would prefer.

GENEPOOL





Sam’s Rant – Jewellery Application

8 07 2013

Diamonds

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.

Jewellers

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).








%d bloggers like this: