Thursday, September 22, 2005

Is there a full moon or something?

There are some people, the kind that answer telephone, that are just plain wierd!

Today I have been ringing around potential employers.

Employer #1's secretary answered the phone. 'Hello I said, I'd like to speak to Mrs. Bla de Bla', 'She's away on holiday' (no can I take a message, no she'll be back tomorrow/next week/next month).

'Ok, I'm calling about the position you are currently advertising.'

'WHAT? YOU'RE NOT SUPPOSED TO CALL HERE!! YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO CALL HR AND ASK FOR AN APPLICATION PACK. YOU'RE NOT TO CALL HERE!!!' she wailed. The poor woman seemed so distressed that I had somehow transgressed the laws of job applications, I didn't even bother to point out, well this is the number on the ad and Mrs Bla de Bla is the person it says to speak to for informal enquiries. I gave up and rang the HR answer phone service. Apparently they put something in the post.

Anyway, Employer #2 was able to put me through to Mr. Bla de Bla. And I said, 'Yes, I'm really interested, tell me some more.' So he waffles for a bit and then says, 'What are your experiences?' So I say, 'Well my experience is mainly in child and adolescent mental health' to which he interrupts with a more patronising tone than a children's TV presenter, 'Are you aware that this is an ADULT service'

'Er yes,' I say, 'that's why i'm interested. I'd like to get experience with a different client group to strengthen my clinical psychology training application. I'm sure that many of the skills I've gained in child are very much transferable.'

Yeah right!

There are some strange people at the end of telephones.

If you pick up a phone today - BEWARE - you might have to talk to one of them.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

I heart blogthings

I am bored at work...and look, results (wonder what my supervisor will make of them if I give him these instead of the statistical analysis I should be doing ;P):

You Are Likely a First Born

At your darkest moments, you feel guilty.
At work and school, you do best when you're researching.
When you love someone, you tend to agree with them often.

In friendship, you are considerate and compromising.
Your ideal careers are: business, research, counseling, promotion, and speaking.
You will leave your mark on the world with discoveries, new information, and teaching people to dream.

Your Inner Child Is Naughty

Like a child, you tend to discount social rules.
It's just too much fun to break the rules!
You love trouble - and it seems that trouble loves you.
And no matter what, you refuse to grow up!

You Are a Mai Tai

You aren't a big drinker, but you'll drink if the atmosphere is festive.
And when you're drunk, watch out! You're easily carried away.

What Your Underwear Says About You

When you're bad, you're very bad. And when you're good, you're still trouble!

You're comfortable in your own skin - and don't care to impress anyone.

How You Life Your Life

You are honest and direct. You tell it like it is.
You tend to avoid confrontation and stay away from sticky situations.
You prefer a variety of friends and tend to change friends quickly.
You tend to dream big, but you worry that your dreams aren't attainable.

Cheese Pizza

Traditional and comforting.
You focus on living a quality life.
You're not easily impressed with novelty.
Yet, you easily impress others.

You Are 34 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Your Kissing Purity Score: 26% Pure

You're not one to kiss and tell...

But word is, you kiss pretty well.


I love this poem. I have it on a CD, read by Liam Neeson and its downright spine-tingly. My English lit teacher (Liam Neeson's second cousin no less) would be so proud...


Human beings suffer,
they torture one another,
they get hurt and get hard.
No poem or play or song
can fully right a wrong
inflicted and endured.

The innocent in gaols
beat on their bars together.
A hunger-striker's father
stands in the graveyard dumb.
The police widow in veils
faints at the funeral home

History says, Don't hope
on this side of the grave.
But then, once in a lifetime
the longed for tidal wave
of justice can rise up,
and hope and history rhyme.

So hope for a great sea-change
on the far side of revenge.
Believe that a further shore
is reachable from here.
Believe in miracles
and cures and healing wells.

Call the miracle self-healing:
The utter self-revealing
double-take of feeling.
if there's fire on the mountain
or lightning and storm
and a god speaks from the sky.

That means someone is hearing
the outcry and the birth-cry
of new life at its term.

Seamus Heaney,
The Cure at Troy

Monday, September 12, 2005


It was out of nowhere you came
Quiet glances
Careful smiles
Drinks in the evening
Coffee by day
Long conversations by night.

We knew that underneath
There were differences.

Be careful
She's not like you
They said
Be careful
You know it might make you confused
Something of her might rub off on you.

Yeah right, whatever.
How paranoid.

But they were right, you know.
You touched me
In the deepest places
And suddenly I realised

You have rubbed off on me.
My neat philosophy
And pre-prepared explanations
Meet the force of your
Raised eyebrow
And suddenly
We erupt
Into raucous laughter.

Your friendship reached deep within
Stole my whitewashed theology.
Together, we are healed.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

It has arrived....

I opened our post box yesterday (yeah, we have a little post box rather than a letter box) and out it tumbled. The application pack from the clearing house for clinical psychology courses in the UK.

Ever since I have had my nose in the course guidelines book trying to work out which courses I want to apply for. I think I want to do them all, except the one at the ominously named Institute at Psychiatry (two words - institute, psychiatry - I don't think so.) Unofruntately I can only apply for four.

I have very mixed feelings about it atm. On the one hand it is desperately exciting to finally feel as though I am in a position to take a decent stab at the course I've been wanting to get on for about 7 years. On the other, it is unsettling to be trying to find a course, and really not having any strong feelings about which course I would like to do. Having to balance courses that value research experience (which I've got), courses that take a more pluralistic approach (which is what I'm interested in more than anything else), courses located near city locations where partner dude can find a job and courses located in areas where we could feasibly afford to buy a house (I resent giving all my money to landlords who can't be bothered to fix dripping taps) is going to be difficult. I don't want to take out a mortgage for a chest freezer-size flat in London when for the same money I could have a mansion (ok a 3 bed semi) in another part of the country. And call me crazy, but I'd like to live somewhere pretty, with lots of fresh air and green stuff. It will be good for the old stress levels, as Post Liberal will no doubt confirm ;).

Then here I am, thinking about all this, with the heady dose of realism that only 28% applicants are successful in any given year and it is not unusual for people to make 3 applications. So at the end of the day, I could get rejected and be out looking for low paid assistant psychologist posts where I will doubtless be condemned to doing someones statistics (read percentage equations...yawn yawn yawn) with a doctorate in my pocket. :( I will give it my best shot and see what happens.

I am reminded of Parker Palmer's words in 'Let your Life Speak',

"Running beneath the surface of the experience I call my life, there is a deeper and truer life waiting to be acknowledged."

In a sense the career path aspect of my vocation has not been a difficult one to find. I naturally gravitate towards people in distress, I naturally gravitate towards rigorous academic thought and an intermingling of science and philosophical pondering (sorry, "critical and reflexive thinking"). Clinical psychology combines those in a way that excites me and the whole area feels comfortable and natural to me.

On the other hand, there are many hoops to be jumped through, boxes to be ticked off, application forms to be written, buzz words to mention and a way of putting them across in a way that fits with the course selection criteria. In the muddle, it is easy to forget the 'deeper and truer' life, that is simply who I am.

It is the true me that needs to be trained and begin on the path towards this elusive profession. I am not a list of buzzwords, nor even an impressive showcase of "extensive research experience within a clinical setting" nor I am a"solid understanding of theory-practice links and the challenges of applying this to individual cases" and not even, "a breadth of experience in the NHS which has enabled me to appreciate the value and importance of multi-disciplinary team working and the challenges of providing a high quality clinical service in an overstretched health service." It is me who is going to be working in a team and me who is going to be working with clients and it is the true me that will fulfil my potential to care for others, be they clients or colleagues in this setting.

I will have to spend some time reflecting on how to express and acknowledge the truer and deeper life within steering me towards this career in my application. Because really, this is what motivates and stimulates me and this is who I am.