Weeknote 01

Trying something. No idea if this will stick.

2023 was a dumpster fire and I’m incredibly glad to see the back of it. Here’s to a much better 2024.

It’ll be off to a better start already with a new job on the horizon. Start date 15 January. Ordered a new bag and notebook. Next up is to break out of my couch goblin phase with a small new wardrobe to get me through dreaded winter. More on the new job next week (mini-spoiler, it’s not in Wales).


I applied for a number of roles in 2023, different sectors, different levels and with very different processes behind them. All but one of them unsuccessful.

Unsurprisingly I have thoughts and opinions on it all.

  1. Most organisations don’t actually know what they want.

They think they do. They use digital words and parrot back familiar phrases and concepts. But when you actually confront them with the realities of what digital looks like, they retreat back into their shells and hire what they know. Not digital.

  1. Most organisations already have a preferred candidate in mind

Please, just save the rest of us the time and energy and find a different way to confirm your hiring.

  1. Most organisation’s recruitment processes are utterly broken.

Very big very senior role and you don’t keep people in the loop on timings and process? That’s a paddlin’

Don’t offer the ability to speak, informally, to anyone in the organisation beforehand? That’s a paddlin’

Ask for a week’s worth of work in advance? That’s a paddlin’

Don’t share questions in advance? That’s a paddlin’

Make me submit a CV and letter through a horrific online “portal”? That’s a paddlin’

Make me upload a CV and statement and make me rekey all the stuff you just uploaded because your system is crap? That's a paddlin'

  1. Sharing questions in advance, giving candidates all the opportunities to be their best at interview works. It just works.

I don’t know how we’re still in the world of gottcha interviews. You are not getting the best candidates. You are actively discriminating against people at this point. Just stop it and start sharing questions in advance.

  1. Most post-interview feedback is unhelpful.

I’ve yet to receive any feedback from an unsuccessful interview that was actually helpful. It’s all very generic and set out to be so bland so as not to offend. This also makes it unhelpful in terms of improving in future interviews.

My biggest learning is this: I won’t be participating in recruitment exercises that don’t do this. Traditional recruitment does not work for me. I need to be prepared ahead. I need to know what is coming. I need the stress and worry removing. You get a better me.

My other learning: not getting the job is a blessing. They've saved you months of stress finding out the hard way that you just aren't a fit for each other.

Note: new job did just this, I have to say one of the best hiring processes I’ve been through (alongside my previous job at the Centre for Digital Public Services).

What I’ve been thinking about

Where I sit in the world of neurodiversity. And is this something I need a bit of paper to wave around, to myself and to others. Mostly to myself.

I don’t know.

I continue to talk to friends about this and I continue to think about what I need to do for me.

What I’ve been watching

We’ve always got something that we’re rewatching, that’s on in the background. Currently, it’s Star Trek The Next Generation. I can’t even count anymore how many times we’ve watched this.

Geordie is a massive creep and Deanna Troi is the best character hands down. And I’ll fight anyone who disagrees.

In the “new TV” department, I’ve finally overcome my initial issues with the smoking and the rampant sexism and we’re working our way through For All Mankind. We’re just about to start Season 2.

Loved seeing Chris Bauer again. The man just does not age. He looks the same as in The Wire.

What I’ve been reading

First book of 2024 (I mostly read fiction, I need a break from work and reading is relaxing for me)

All the Little-Bird Hearts by Victoria Lloyd-Barlow. It was longlisted for the Booker Prize last year.

It’s about (an autistic) mother, her teenage child and some neighbours who move in next door. I’m about a third of the way in and I’ve got no clear picture yet of where this is going. Her past is still unravelling. I’m finding it a little bit irritating to read but I’ll persevere.

What’s blooming

Aconites. Lovely little drops of yellow sunshine. A few hardy cyclamen.

Spring is coming.