Week 13/52

As I said in an earlier note it has been a long time since I did formal job interviews – until last week my previous panel interview was for mySociety in November 2016 and prior to that ONS in January 2013 (my Defra interview was – let’s call it – semi-formal.) Since those days the Civil Service interviews (or at least the corner of the Civil Service I am interviewing for) have changed a lot – there is certainly a great deal more homework for this one than I’ve ever done before – I’ve done around seven hours of preparation for two 90 minute interviews.

On the other hand the private sector (but huge institution) role I am also interviewing for is pretty old school – semi-formal, no sight of the interview topics and thus no homework and just generally a bit more freeform. 

Honestly I couldn’t tell you which I prefer at this stage – I’m surprisingly enjoying both processes. Having the time to think through responses ahead of time (especially as I don’t have to try and fit this around work at the moment) is really great and allows me to be more thoughtful but also I like the rush of thinking on my feet and just busking the answers as well.

Who knows, maybe I’ll blow them both. Hope not though – for different reasons they are both very exciting (even if I am leaning more towards one of them.)

As an aside I think it is pretty bad form that I haven’t heard from the interview I flunked last week – sure I know it is going to be a thanks but no thanks after such a bad performance but no contact for a week? Weak sauce.

They actually just emailed – I still think it was too long but they at least got in touch and the feedback was thoughtful.


I’m off to Govcamp Cymru in Cardiff tomorrow which I am very much looking forward to – lots of friends will be there and it’s been exactly Covid years long since I went to an unconference. 


One of my (many) quirks is my aversion to listening to people talk on the radio – since the advent of the Walkman I don’t think I’ve ever listened to a deejayed radio show in a scenario where I had any control – it is like nails on a blackboard for me regardless of who it is. This has also contributed to my lack of engagement with podcasts (and audio books). That said occasionally something slips through – I went through a stage of listening to West Wing weekly all the time and enjoyed Mogul season 1 (https://gimletmedia.com/shows/mogul) and at the moment I’m kind of obsessed with Armchair Expert with Dax Shepherd and Monica Padman (https://armchairexpertpod.com/). 

It is – it turns out – a hugely popular podcast but I only really discovered it because I am a huge fan of Shepherd’s wife. He had a role in a show I am very fond of (Parenthood) but other than that I’d always found him pretty unremarkable as an actor and a bit of a bore as a personality…which makes the fact that the show works so far really impressive. In any traditional sense he is a dreadful interviewer – he is constantly inserting his own experiences into the conversation, interrupting guests, derailing things and losing track of his own questioning…but his extreme openness about his own life somehow disarms his guests and they really open up in a way that is almost always surprising. My trip to Austin has really supercharged my interest in the nuts and bolts of entertainment – especially the writing end of it but generally the creativity of it all – and this show really helps sate my appetite for that.

I’ve listened to around 40 episodes in just a couple of weeks!

Dax and Monica – Armchair Expert

Somewhat related as she was in the same show as Dax for years I read Talking as Fast as I Can by Lauren Graham in a couple of hours this week as well – the Gilmore Girls stuff was interesting and she has a fun, breezy writing style but it was pretty lightweight.


I went to see the latest (and hopefully final) Jurassic World movie. I don’t know why really – the whole sequel trilogy has been bad and this was no reprieve. Even within its own ‘universe’ it makes not a lick of sense, is all over the place tonally, Chris Pratt is dreadful, Sam Neill seems half asleep and Bryce Dallas Howard would clearly rather be directing The Mandalorian. Only Jeff Goldblum seems to be having fun with it.

Even the dinosaurs are rubbish!


Road to 50

1983

Movie: Trading Places

Album: Into Battle with the Art of Noise

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