November 2010 – I’ve got no time for livin’ yeah I’m working all the time…

In this month’s instalment, I get a new job, miss out on getting tickets to see my favourite band of all time, work seven days straight without a day off, learn something about a fellow colleague and my first teaching experience…

I’ve been trying for ages to get a new article online but with things like work™ taking up my time I’ve had to put things on the “back burner” so to speak. So, in a departure form my normal posts I’ve decided to wrap everything up in one post. Although the title is that of this month I’d like to take you back a few weeks earlier to October…

 I had my first experience of delivering a 30 minute lesson

In a dramatic change of fate I have clawed my way back into the land of the “working man”. I’ve joined an Internet Service Provider as a Technical Support person, it’s something of a sideways move for me as I am typically managing networks and carrying out desktop support. Although I still like desktop support working for an ISP was an opportunity too good to pass up! And it sure beats the hell out of signing on at the Job Centre!!!

As a self-confessed IT geek I’ve played around with modems ever since dial up (sheesh) but have not really done that much with them as for the most part they just work. I’ve always been aware of what ISP’s were, but I’ve never really looked into what they do in any great detail. This was a prime opportunity to see what goes on “the other side of the wire” and this might seem funny but it’s really got me all fired up about IT again!

What’s more important though is that this represents a victory over the “gatekeepers” in Recruitment Agencies as I got this job without their intervention and on my own merits, and at a time where excuses like “we don’t think you would find the role challenging enough”, “you’re overqualified” or “you should be aiming higher” are rife among various forums and jobseekers are becoming more disillusioned with Recruitment Agencies. It took me two years but I did it and it feels great.

After some 5 weeks of in-house training we finally got to join our respective teams and believe me when I tell you that nothing prepares your first call flying solo! Last week I did my first seven day stint and boy was it a doozy! It’s been a while since I’ve had to work a weekend so it did feel really weird. But what really made my day was some of the calls you can get… Believe me it put a smile on my face!

As some of you may know I am a massive Rush fan, and this week was the pre sale of tickets for the UK and European leg of the “Time Machine” tour. Despite being a fan since ’81 when I was first introduced to them at school when I bought a copy of “Hemispheres” on vinyl for £3 I have only seen them on tour three times. I missed out on the “Hold Your Fire” tour back in ’88 due to the total lack of promotion in the UK. It wasn’t until ’92 before I got to see them live at the NEC in Birmingham for three nights. Rush is a band that until recently have never been accepted into the mainstream of music consciousness as over the years they have defied trends and being placed into nice, neat categories by making the music they want to make.

2004 marked the 30th anniversary of Rush and they embarked an a world tour that included 7 gigs Me & the Familyin the UK. I actually took two weeks off from work back then to follow them across the length and breadth of the country, from the feeding frenzy of buying and selling tickets’ in order to get better seats, planning itineraries, booking travel and hotel stops it was a joy to behold. Two weeks of touring, going to gigs, getting hammered every night (well most nights) and spending some time in the company of fellow fans… Happy Days!

In 2007 Rush returned to the UK for the “Snakes & Arrows” Tour. There were 5 gigs that time and in the usual frenzy of organising the tickets and a family holiday to London I made an awful mistake… I somehow forgot until that I had booked a hotel in Sheffield City Centre for the evenings gig… the night before we were due to go to London! What a disaster that night was! I travelled to Sheffield by car and when I got into the city my Sat Nav couldn’t find the hotel… and then I discovered Sheffield’s accursed one way traffic system. So there I was going round and round in circles, time ticking away and getting even more frustrated because I wasn’t going to make it and I had a 9th row ticket! In the end I simply decided to give up and head home feeling totally gutted…However, once in London things got much better and apart from having a great holiday I got to take my 8 Year old son to his first (second and third) Rush gig. I even managed to get the last 40 mins of the gig on my camcorder which became a Bonus DVD on an unofficial fan recording.

Rush at Wembley Arena 2007 Which brings us to the present day and Rush is in the throes of bringing the Time Machine tour to the UK and Europe. The presale of tickets started earlier this week, and many people I know have been incredibly lucky to score front row tickets. Sadly for me I am seriously out of pocket and as I don’t get paid until next week I was unable to get hold of any decent tickets for the gig. So I’ve decided to give this tour a miss this time around. What really annoys me though is the fact they have started the sale over 6 months before the first show! Not to mention the ticket prices! Hey guys, we are still in a recession here you know!

For those that don’t know, prior to my getting a job I was considering switching careers and going into teaching, not kids but more in the line of Adult/Further Education. I managed to get onto a PTLLS course (Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector) which is run nationally. It is an 11 week course which covers the necessary requirements to teach adults. As part of the course you are required to do around 14 assignments, some written and some practical.

Last week I had my first experience of delivering a 30 minute lesson on Beginners Japanese to a group of 6 people including an observer from the lifelong learning service who was assessing my and other participants lessons. It was a really good experience all round. I found the process of delivering a lesson in my own inimitable style energising as did my fellow learners. Until I started this course I would not consider standing up in front of a group of people and deliver a presentation. But last Monday I did exactly that and by all accounts seemed to make it a very enjoyable experience for all concerned.

I learned something interesting about a fellow colleague at work… He’s a keen UFC fan and is also into his football. While chatting he said that someone had said to him “you remind me of Eric Cantona” (lol!) which he wasn’t too impressed with, however I can see the resemblance. But what really surprised me was that his Dad used to play for Manchester United (well there’s no accounting for taste I guess…) and he used to manage Oldham Athletic… none other than Andy Ritchie. Not that I have a scooby-doo who he is..!