I feel like the new girl

Lack of posts recently, mainly because I’ve been working away and having to contend with the lack of quality Wi-Fi in hotels or having to pay to use more than 30 minute’s!

It also has a lot to do with not applying for that many roles, as I have had a stay of execution from being made redundant.  It does however now mean that I’m back in limbo as my contract now doesn’t end until the end of October.

Part of my new role is working in an office, something I haven’t done on a daily basis for over 7 years (and I didn’t enjoy that either!).  Although it’s with the same company I feel like the new girl as I’m having to ask where everything is, normally I’m the one who knows how to get things done and I’m finding it hard asking for help.

This week I’ve been a HR assistant, systems tester, writer of manuals and tea maker.  I’d forgotten all about the politics, the clicks and the general etiquette… 

It’s almost felt like I’m being constantly watched and I’m conscious that people can hear my conversations, but I have to remember that I’ve already learnt how to zone out so they must do the same to me.

Rejection – Only negative if it doesn’t help you move forward 

That moment when an email from the company you interviewed with pops up in to your inbox…. And then you know, because if you had got the job they would have called.

Getting the email to say that you haven’t got the job is hard, especially when you really wanted it! But in reality and hindsight, was I really suited to an office job? I haven’t worked monday to Friday and 9-5 for so many years I’m not sure I could.

Im working away a lot, and a lot happier now than when I was stuck within four walls, and this all is helping me work out what I do want to do.

However I guess it helps I’m currently writing this whilst sat in a bar overlooking a beach in Greece.

Speaking to a few of the workers out here, their roles are all uncertain due to the whole Brexit.  Currently it not clear if they will be able to work here in the future or not, many was about to buy a place here but if she can’t work then what’s the point?

Last winter I applied for a summer reps job for this season, maybe now is ,y last chance to do it before free travel within Europe becomes a thing of the past?

But for now, my job search is on hold until I return from my break… I’m off sailing wp-1467801491757.jpg

Milatos, Crete

Whilst sitting watching the football last night (well done Ireland!) I remembered that the last time the Euro’s were on, I was on holiday in Crete…  And yes that is the most shameless excuse I can think of to post about another place I’ve been to!

I stayed in a very small village on the north east of Crete.  I had a nightmare getting there as I had booked onto a transfer coach and the poor driver kept getting lost.  I finally arrived at the rooms, where the owner had very kindly waited up for me and provided me with a very welcomed bottle of ice cold water – it was almost 2am when I got there and the coach had to drop me at the end of the road as it was unable to get closer to the apartments.  I haven’t booked a transfer like that since and would never use the company again!

There isn’t much to do in Milatos – and I think this is why I loved it.  If you have a car then its easy to get to places such as Sissi, Agios Nikolaos or Elounda, and should only take around 50 minutes to get to Heraklion airport.

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Almost all of the village… the trick was to swim from the harbour in the afternoon, once the water heats up

There are a couple of tavernas serving traditional dishes, but when I was there the only one that had a big TV screen was the taverna attached to the apartments I was staying in.  That meant that I was eating and drinking with the locals and as most didn’t speak English I began to pick up a few words.  I’ve been trying to more ever since!

The family that owned the taverna were really friendly and would always ask if I needed anything.  The room provided everything I needed and was cleaned daily.  When I was researching for a holiday recently, I looked at these rooms again and they have all been updated.  I think they have lost some of their charm now but may appeal to a wider audience. A link to look for yourself… Socrates Apartments

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A frozen glass of Mythos

 

I spent most of my time reading, sleeping, eating and watching the world go by – very relaxing, and just what I needed

I would definitely go back to Crete, its a big Island so lots more to explore.IMG_5389

The Interview

I went for an interview, this is the first one from my original batch of applications – I only heard back from one other to tell me that the company were not going to progress my application, but at least they acknowledged the effort of the application!

I got so nervous and ended up stressing myself out – to the point of being sick! 

 I worried about everything, from the perfect interview outfit, to what I needed to take with me.

After I had a word with myself and calmed down, I got ready for the interview and on my drive there I started to wonder…  Are the people that I interview that nervous?

The receptionist threw me – she had me in the diary for a different time!  I panicked as I thought I had made a mistake, first impressions and all that… turned out it was their error, but even she noticed that I was shaking.  My answer was that I think all people should be a little nervous about attending the interview, otherwise why would they go?  I guess it showed that I wanted the job.

I think the interview went ok – it was just over an hour and a half, and the people that interviewed me made the role sound really interesting and like a challenge.  Something I could really get my teeth stuck into.  I was told that I was 1 of 6 that they were interviewing, I was number 4 and they had two more next week and it was possible that they would hold second interviews too.

I even got brave and discussed wanting to wait for my redundancy… the only thing I still don’t know is the salary, as it wasn’t written on the advert and they refered me to the HR department. This to me seems strange as I don’t want to waste their time if I am unable to take the role due to the money not being enough.

There are lots of things written about interview etiquette, but I was always told just be yourself if it goes well they know what they are letting themselves into and if you don’t get the job then you never have to see them again!

Fingers crossed I guess 

 

Parga, Greece

For a change I’m going to write about somewhere  I’ve visited, as one of the main reasons I want to get into the travel industry is to encourage people to get out and see some of the fabulous places this planet has to offer, or on a smaller scale somewhere they might not have considered.

This time last year I was in Parga, Greece.  It was introduced to me a few years ago by a co-worker.  She wasn’t a fan of the more touristic places and was often disappearing off to these wonderful looking places (we worked in an airport!). A few years later when a friend and I were looking at destinations I stumbled across Parga again.  We were looking for rest, relaxation and somewhere that wasn’t overly English.*

It’s on the mainland in the region of Epirus and is served by Preveza Airport (PVZ).  We flew out with a low cost airline from Gatwick and organised for a hire car to be collected when we landed.  The airport is one of the small regionals, very similar to a lot of the island airports, not much there and very busy when flights land.

Greece is a country I love, the people are friendly and welcoming, the food is simple yet delicious and the weather is usually good.

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Town Beach

There a a couple of lounging spots to chose from, Town beach is the most obvious but it can get a little busy.  It’s also possible to visit Lichnos and Valtos beaches by boat that can be caught from the harbour.

Like so many Greek resorts Parga is situated around a gorgeous bay, which unfortunately means hills to walk up!  There are lots of little cobbled streets and the terracotta tiled roofs make it feel more like Italy.  I think the Venetian castle overlooking the resort only adds to this.  Its worth the walk as the views back to town are gorgeous.

 

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From the castle, The hotels in the hills is where I stayed

 

Our Hotel was not the traditional style that I am used to in Greece (I’m normally more of a budget traveller), but this was beautiful.  I contacted the hotel direct to book and we paid 700Eur for the week B+B.  The hotel was slightly out of the main resort but there was a shuttle provided and if you did miss the last one of the night, a taxi only cost 5Eur to get home.  The food was excellent and all of the staff went out of their way to make you feel welcome.  I also would recommend the cocktails from the bar!

 

If you want to you can see more pictures and read my review on Trip Advisor  Salvator Hotel Review

We didn’t do a lot, but we did get to the Achernon River which is not too far away.  Here you can go horseback riding or rafting through the river. It’s possible to swim in but remember it’s from the top of the mountain so the water is very cold and I would recommend a pair of beach shoes.

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Acheron River

In ancient Greek mythology, Acheron was known as the “river of woe”, and was one of the five rivers of the Greek underworld.

For more information Wikipedia Acheron River

I would definitely return and in fact planning to visit nearby very soon…

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Sunset over town beach, all the lights in the hillside make for a very pretty view

 

* No offence to the ‘typical English’ holiday maker – I’m just not into fry-ups and Sunday roast dinners when I’m visiting another country.

To my future employer

img_0086I’m trying to get into the travel industry it’s difficult, but not impossible.  Granted most start out earlier than me and so by now they are earning a decent wage – sadly I have bills to pay so am unable to take an entry level position.

In every job I have done, I have become an expert. I’m often the go-to person when another store doesn’t know the answer, because if I can’t help then I know who can.  Recently I’ve been helping one of the managers that did my first weeks of training – he now comes to me for help with the technical stuff!

I guess what I’m trying to say is…

Dear future employer, I have a lot of skills that will transfer into the travel industry, for example customer service, sales and most importantly problem solving – I just need someone to take a chance on me!

My passion is travel, I love the planning and researching and get a thrill out of finding the best deals. I have had some amazing trips over the years and would love people to have similar experiences..

Eventually I would like to be booking dynamic packages, or specialising in travel for people happy to go on their own as there is a definite gap in the market.  But in order for me to gain  experience, I know that I will probably have to start with selling package holidays and even that puts a smile on my face.

 

This post is part of the blogging fundamentals #day4

 

1st one done

Well I’ve taken the plunge and submitted my first application!  I will be happy if I only get an interview – obviously the job would be amazing and I do want it (otherwise why would I have applied), but I also now need to get my head into ‘interview mode’.

The last job I went for had an assessment day and I didn’t even make into the afternoon session, and to be honest I was heartbroken.  I drove home the two and a half hours in a total blur and went to bed crying.

You might say I didn’t take it very well…

This was because it would have meant a complete lifestyle change, probably selling the flat I worked so hard to buy and move abroad.  I had got my head around moving away from family and friends and was ready to start new somewhere different.  Not getting the job (or getting any feedback after requesting it) meant that I had to re adjust to my existing role, something I wasn’t enjoying and no longer a challenge.

Now because I don’t have the comfort of having a job in a few months I have to push myself to get these sent. It’s only three months before my beloved store closes and sadly I have bills to pay.

If I had any tips for sending application forms it would be…

  • Arrange a time where you have no distractions – Switch off your notifications and don’t look at your phone/tablet!
  • Draft a copy including the key points you want to get across about yourself.
  • Make sure you read all of the instructions.
  • Tailor your answers to the company and the job advert – there is nothing worse than reading answers that have no relation to the company or job.
  • Make sure what you have written makes sense, get someone else to check it if needed.
  • If you can, print a copy to take to the interview with you.  Interviewers will have a copy – will you remember what you wrote?
  • Get brave and press send!  If you don’t try the answer will always be no.

 

I’ve got brave and pressed send on another…

 

Gotta Love A Mystery Shop

Working in retail I love a good competitor shop, it gives an insight into what the ‘others’ are doing and then you can use your experience to put into practice what you have seen, be it good or bad. Sometimes just looking at something different gives you new insight and it allows you to think differently and react if need be.

There reason for my mystery shop is because there is a job posted for a well known high street travel agent not to far away from me.  I decided to go and see what they are all about, after all I haven’t booked a trip through an agent for many years – part of the fun for me is researching and discovering all the good deals!

To be honest I was quite unimpressed. I walked into the shop on the local market day and there was one customer at the back of the store arranging currency.  There were three assistants, all sat at their desks.  The first looked me up and down and continued with her phone call (she was on hold and didn’t look very happy, but who knows how long she had sat in her queue).

The second was a sat further back with a mug of something, her body language made it clear that she was more interested in that than me.  I ventured around to where the brochures were and started to browse and giving the ‘buying signals’ that anyone in retail have been trained to look for.

The third assistant got up to talk to me; reluctantly I will add, as I think ‘mug girl’ had pushed him.  He was very polite and did attempt to make small talk, and even gave me a brochure to take away.  I then asked if they had anything if they had anything for solo travelers.  Again he was very good, he explained he didn’t know but asked his colleague ‘mug girl’ if they did anything. It was her response that surprised me a little.  Her reaction was to screw up her face and answered “no”.

Not an I’m sorry, it’s not really the sort of thing we do’ or a ‘what sort of thing are you thinking off’, just an instant dismissal.

After a bit more of a conversation it turned out that the do “something in Norway” but the brochures were upstairs, and she clearly was in no mood to put her mug down to get me one.  I explained that I was ideally after some sunshine, and again I got the same reaction as before – however she did say that she would be happy to book me that but I would be paying a lot more money if I went on my own.

With that I left with the brochure the polite young (assuming trainee) gave me, and I left wondering how that branch make any sales with that level of service.

Cute uniform though.

Happy Flyday

I sent my CV off and have paid for the service of having a cover letter written too.  To me the price was quite expensive so I am hoping for good things, after all the job I’m after will involve a pay cut for me.

The experience this time hasn’t started particularly well, my scheduled meeting was  over half an hour late and so the consultation I paid for was a total of 15 minutes.  The guy didn’t fill me with confidence either. I don’t think there was any prep completed in advance of our call and it didn’t sound like he had even read the CV I had submitted.

When I interview I always re-read the CV prior to talking to the candidate, as I think it’s good manners to be able to refer to what they have written- it gives them a sense that they are not just another face that is there to make up the numbers, and after all they have taken the time and made an effort to be there*

I was told to send some information to him so that he could have a draft to me by the time I started work (I have a 15 minute drive – not exactly a large amount of time to draft CV and cover letter?!) As I write this I have been in work for three hours and not received anything…

On a positive note it’s Friday (or Flyday as a well known low cost airline advertises) and I have the weekend off to enjoy the sunshine, and research where to go on my next week of in July

 

*not all interview candidates are like this.