I’M in between mountains at the moment. And I’m in between jobs. I’m in between a lot of stuff. If I wrote a book I’d call it The Inbetweener but I’d probably get sued. Today I’m going for a walk in between hills. I can see the North York Moors to the east and the Pennines to the west. I’m not going far, just out of the village in between dinner and tea – or lunch and dinner, whatever your preference . . .
I visited the job centre this morning. Actually, it’s called Jobcentre Plus these days, or Canolfan byd Gwaith in Welsh. My local Jobcentre Plus is stuck up an alley in Richmond. That’s the Richmond in North Yorkshire, not the other one down south.
It’s very pleasant and all the ladies who work there are very helpful. But I always leave the building feeling as if I live on the edge of a world where people speak a language that isn’t quite English and I’ve managed to detach myself from its gravitational pull with the greatest of efforts. Charlie Drake never had this problem.
This is a new post within the Council created to focus on identifying and developing projects to a ‘deliverable’ pipeline to be submitted for LEP, LEADER or other funding streams.
Don’t all rush at once for this job or you might tumble into the funding stream. That’s if you manage to survive the ‘deliverable’ pipeline. Me, I’m going for a walk between the hills, where the England I know is more certain of itself. But before I set off, here’s another example of distorted English taken from another job description:
The Digital team will work in collaboration with other channels allowing customers the channel of choice for managing their investments and planning for the future. I am seeking an innovative, creative individual who thinks outside the box to develop and implement the corporate web strategy and online presence.
I sort of know what this means but I could condense it into half the words. Someone gets paid for writing – sorry, churning out – stuff like this. If you ask me they require a dedicated strategy for delivering an elevating force to their individual or collective and collaborative posteriors.
And another thing: a “creative individual who thinks outside the box”. That’s a bit 1990s isn’t it? A bit David Brent? “Thinking outside the box”. “Ballpark figures”. “Crunching numbers”. Hey, the world has moved on. Wake up and smell whatever you want to smell so long as it isn’t coffee.
If you’ve reached this point in the post you will have noticed that the photographs are not linked in any way to the text. There is a valid reason for this. When we walk our minds are usually tuned to different wavelengths. We think of a multitude of subjects. This doesn’t count if you’re balancing on the crest of Striding Edge in a gale or caught in a white-out on Ben Macdui because your attention will be focused on your immediate surroundings.
But when you’re between hills in rural North Yorkshire enjoying a jaunt on a fine August day, as I am, your mind penetrates some bizarre corners.
So, just for the record, I’ve set off from Barton, which lies in a pleasant hollow between Richmond and Darlington, taking the old A1 to Newton Morrell, and I’ve cut across fields on a track to Clowbeck Farm, where the A1M – the Great North Road – passes beneath a motorway bridge.
To develop and establish a dynamic channel which delights customers as demonstrated by strong customer satisfaction scores.
I expect it’s a doddle. My customer satisfaction scores would be clattering up three bells and three cherries before I got warmed up. What about this gem:
Manage input quantity, quality and timeliness in line with website governance.
Really, truly, it’s all bollocks. There is no other word for it. Bollocks, bollocks, bollocks. These people are having us on. The business world thrives on this sort of stuff. The men and women pulling the strings eat it, drink it and breathe it. Our destiny is in the hands of David Brent. He is real and he is out there. And the scary thing is that I’ve got to send him my CV and ask him for a job.
Back to the walk. I stand for 35 minutes on the motorway bridge, watching traffic rumble along the Great North Road. Even here I’m still in between things. In between the road signs and the white lines; in between London and Edinburgh, England and Scotland, past and future, history and destiny, Yes and No. I’m singing the road sign white line song. Sorry, I’ve strayed into a Melanie Safka lyric there. Remind me to sing it to you some time.
But across the bridge lies a more structured country. It’s productive and its roots are in earth not fluff. Harvesters roar through barley fields in clouds of dust. Tractors chug. Seagulls feed on newly-ploughed earth. Berries ripen.
I consider, as an exercise into broadening my skills base and extending my employment potential, hailing one of the many passing tractors and asking the driver how I could orchestrate economically sound alignments and enthusiastically redefine my monotonectally predominate viral solutions in the immediate rural interface but he’d probably tell me to eff off. So I don’t.
Instead, I walk paths I’ve been walking for the past 18 years but never photographed. And I learn something. I learn that if you carry a camera along familiar routes you see new things because you’re looking for new things. You observe your world through fresh eyes.
And today it is more real than ever before. There are crab-apples and sloes and elderberries and a horse shoe stuck on a post. And a pile of bricks with old names embossed in fired clay. And a dead tractor in a barn and another decomposing in a field. And an old iron bath left out in a farmyard.
And I catch the scent of newly-cut hawthorn. Hedges have been trimmed and the sap is on the breeze. It’s as English a smell as lawn clippings, fish and chips, and varnished school halls on the first day after the summer holidays.
Now I must go home to rewrite my CV because, I’ve been told, the business community is horrendously ageist and any dates or references to periods spent in employment that might convey the impression I am over 30 must be deleted. The business community is also incredibly thick, apparently. O-levels should be referred to as GCEs because then there is a chance they can be misread as GCSEs – the modern equivalent.
That’s the Jobcentre Plus telling me this. Suits me. If a government department wants to pander to the deficiencies and prejudices of a stratum of society that can’t read or write the English language then that’s not my problem.
By the way, if you’re new to this blog and you’re a prospective employer in the work-related arena, and you’re in between a rock and a hard place when it comes to engaging suitable staff resources – I’m 29, multi-functionalised, and I absolutely adore actively embracing client-centric methodologies. Let’s open the kimono and peel the onion, buddy.