The job interview

Interviewer:

“So, what’s your biggest weakness?”

Me:

“Firstly, that’s a stupid fucking question.

Secondly, my biggest weakness is the weakness that I’m not aware of, and that I can’t compensate for. The weakness that I know about is a weakness that I’m probably already doing something to rectify, even if it’s subconsciously. The second I become aware of a weakness, it stops being such a weakness and becomes something more like a project.  I have plenty of those, but they’re not really weaknesses, perhaps more like future strengths.

Anyway, why are we even talking about this?  Do you think that I am likely to give away the secret that I’m a child molester or a terrorist or something in a job interview? Surely your processes would have weeded me out before then?  Or is that a comment on the inadequacy of your screening that you need to ask me directly whether I’m a criminal, rather than rely on your HR department to do the right thing.  What kind of an organisation is this, anyway?”

Interviewer:

“… We’ll call you.”

“Sensible people advise against drinking on an empty stomach, but to my mind it is the best sort of drinking. There is a sublime magic to that first drink of the evening. The cocktail, beer or wine goes straight to the nervous system, unblocked by food. There is really nothing to beat it. It marks the end of the working day, when you put worldly cares to one side and embrace good cheer and company. It is when the soul opens and we are seized by the need to chat. We are liberated. After spending the day either living in the past (regrets, reports) or in the future (anxieties, Powerpoint presentations), the first drink of the day brings us into the present moment: we become Buddhists.”

 

How To Be Idle by Tom Hodgkinson

Hospital – the least fun way to spend a week

I’ve had the misfortune to spend a lot of time in hospital as a patient in my life, and have also had my fair share of visits as a dad of young kids. Everyone thinks that the worst thing about hospital is the pain and suffering, and I suppose that if you’re severely injured or unwell that might be true.  However for most people, for whom a hospital visit is mainly about stabilising a condition, the worst thing about hospital is the boredom.

Sure, it seems like a holiday – time off work or school, no responsibilities, mushy food on a plate.  But it begins to pall surprisingly quickly.

The bed isn’t as comfy as your one at home.  There is constant noise, even at night. Light seeps in around the doorways and under curtains. Other patients are unworthy jerks with unwholesome personal hygiene.

And the boredom! No Netflix. No video games.  No sports or outdoor entertainments.  Books are much less interesting without the option to get up and make a cup of coffee.  One day may be a semi-pleasant disruption to normal life.  A week is torture.

It would (and I know I sound insane here) almost be preferable to be really really sick.  That way you have a project – getting better. If all I’m doing is hanging around, I’d much prefer to do that at home thank you.

Semi-free FitBit

I recently got a FitBit.  I have something of a weakness for technology (even frivolous technology), and I sometimes do Sporting, so this was a good match.  Even better was that I effectively got it for free after trading in some old games at JB Hi Fi.

Leaving aside for a moment the fact that most of the things that this device does are also done by my phone, and the fact that it’s only of marginal utility as a wristwatch, it’s quite cool.  It feels like very new and basic tech though, I expect much flashier and smoother versions will be out soon. Some of the software is distinctly wonky, which really shouldn’t be the case in something that costs $150+.

The most useful part for me is the sleep monitoring function.  It uses silent, vibrating alarms to wake you, so that your loved ones don’t have to suffer through your perky ring tone at 0530. Even better for the Quantified Self nerd in me, you then can access a log of exactly how badly you slept during the night on your phone.  It’s been honestly enlightening. I’ve always gone to sleep really easily (too easily), but two weeks of data shows me that I usually average around 30 minutes of restless sleep per night. If I want to feel good the next day I need to plan for around 9 hours in bed.

The device tries to convince you that you should get into competitions with your friends to see how many steps you each can take, but frankly that’s not going to happen.

Overall, a decent device.  Probably not worth paying for though unless you’re into endurance sports (especially running) or have a morbid interest in your own sleep.