Sunday, 2 September 2007

Test me not…

As you know we rest the Louella, Jonas and what the heck is happening to Sam blog serial on a Sunday. But you can reflect on the past episode on And despite her disappointment over Daren, Kelly will soldier on and have, no doubt, an orange nippled, or equivalent, episode for us on on Monday.

Tomorrow and Tuesday I am going for a couple of job interviews. Yes, I have a job but I like to keep my options open and see what’s around. Translation:-same money, better hours and less drama. Anyway as part of the testing process I got sent an online quiz thing that measures how well you perform in word, excel, data input, typing speed, congeniality and attention to detail. It’s sort of a standard thing you get nowadays in Oz when it comes to jobs. I think it keeps someone employed making these tests up. Anyway I did the test today so they have it all ready to go on Monday.
I know that when it comes to word and excel I know all the shortcuts. The test required the proper non shortcut way - well crap. Why invent shortcuts then? As for data entry – boring. I say this for anything I am no good at. It's not that I am inadequate - its boring. I think that’s a reasonable approach don’t you? Typing speed for me depends on what mood I am in. I also can never follow the passage of writing they want you to follow as I always end up changing the words and making the text tighter and more interesting than it is. Attention to detail was a bad thing to attempt today as I was more interested in getting my next book finished so I did not realize the test had downloaded until I flicked over to find it was half through the four minutes allocated to it. Bugger.

The part of these tests I like best is the congeniality bit because you can cheat. Example – you are given questions such as “Do you like working in a team?” Well of course I am going to say yes as how dopey would I be telling the truth? I don’t do team things unless it suits me. “Are you happy to follow company rules?” Well no, not all the time beacuse thet are usually stupid – but I ticked yes. “Does direct supervision make your job easier or harder?” Well duh? Harder of course for how I am to get any writing done? But I said easier because that’s want they want to hear. They don’t want a bolshie, rule breaking woman who is really only just putting in what hours she has to to get paid. But let’s be honest. In the end you can run all the bloody tests you like but it all comes down to the interview and two things. One - how sincere you sound. I have sincerity down to an art form. And two – confidence. Nothing beats it.

Sandra Cox has kindly given me a excerpt from her book The Crystal – out now through Cerridwen Press.
"Only the chosen ones or their mates will ever be able to see the magic contained in the Globe."Caught in a downpour, Gabriella Bell enters a trendy little shop and discovers a crystal ball in which she sees the face of a hard-eyed stranger. Drawn by a force she doesn't understand she buys the crystal, unaware she is purchasing stolen property that belongs to the aunt of a premiere cat burglar known to polite society as Christopher Saint and to the underworld as The Tiger.
She soon discovers that not only does the handsome, hard-eyed stranger want the mysterious globe but so does a beautiful ruthless jewel thief who will stop at nothing, including murder, to possess Christopher and the crystal ball…and Gabriella is standing in her way. Gabriella discovers the road to true love isn't just rocky, it's downright dangerous.
The Excerpt
The wind keened and rain blew down in liquid sheets. Gabriella Bell clapped her hands over her ears and blinked as thunder boomed and lightning lit the sky.
She had forgotten her umbrella, again. Head down, she turned the corner and ran full tilt into the arms of a stranger.
“I’m sorry,” Gabby mumbled into an expensive, camel-colored raincoat, her nose pressed against a hard chest.
She felt long arms wrap around her, steadying her. For a brief moment the clean smell of rain mingled with the scent of expensive aftershave and crisp cotton, before the man gripped Gabby’s upper arms and thrust her away, holding her at arm’s length.
Icy green eyes, colder than the wind whipping her hair about, stared into her own. His rain-darkened hair was drawn back in a ponytail and beads of water glistened on his coat.
“May I suggest you watch where you are going?” The stranger stared down his nose at her, his voice brusque, his manner arrogant. Letting her go, he walked away.
Gabby stared after him, as he wove through the throng of pedestrians with the lithe grace of a cat. Still feeling the heat of his hands, Gabby rubbed her forearms as she watched him disappear into a sea of umbrellas.
Determined to forget the whole unsettling encounter, she wiped the rain out of her eyes and looked around. A small store with a purple awning was just a few yards away.
Seeking shelter, she made a dash for it.
Reaching the awning, Gabby pushed past a couple standing under it waiting out the storm. She grasped the cool brass door handle and stepped inside.
As she took a step forward, her sandals squished. Gabby grimaced at the puddle forming at her feet, stepped back onto a black mat and shook one foot then the other as she glanced around. She’d stepped into one of the popular little novelty shops that lined Main Street. Crystals glittered and winked. Pewter moons hung from the ceiling on silver chains.
Bags of dried plants and herbs lined one wall. She picked up a little plastic bag and sniffed…lavender. Gabby put it back and glanced at the jewelry counter. Stars and pentagrams gleamed against black velvet.
Starting toward the counter to get a closer look at the jewelry, Gabby paused as she caught a glint of color out of the corner of her eye. Shifting, she craned her neck to see, but the shimmer of color disappeared. Curious, she walked in the direction the flash of green came from.
A row of black capes blocked her view. She pushed them aside and stared into the shadowy corner. Hidden in the gloom, was a sea-green crystal ball. It stood in solitary splendor on an antique claw-footed stand.
She took a step forward and ran her index finger along its smooth surface. The globe felt toasty warm against her damp skin.
Drawn, she splayed her fingers until her palms nestled around it. A delicious wave of heat ran through her, like sitting in front of a crackling fire on a cold winter night. Ecstasy coursed through her body.
Transfixed, she watched the glowing green crystal change to blue, its hues dancing and sparking like moonbeams on the water.
The crystal pulsed beneath her hand.
By degrees, the feeling of warmth disappeared…and fear crept in.
Her breath hitched in her throat as the color in the crystal fell away and a face formed. Its blurred outline moved back and forth, wraithlike and then sprang into sharp focus.
She felt the color drain from her face, as her nerveless fingers dropped from the ball. The face in the globe belonged to the hard-eyed stranger she’d bumped into outside the shop, only moments before.

Remember Monday I ask the hard questions of Total-E-Bound Publisher Claire Siemaszkiewicz
Go ahead: Live with abandon. Be outrageous at any age. What are you saving your best self for?


anny cook said...

Excellent excerpt, Sandra! Intriguing story idea, too!

Amarinda, I detest those online tests! Applications, too. I want to know if the person is literate and who's actually providing the answers!

Kelly Kirch said...

One of those questions was a trick question. That one about needing guidance to make your job easier or harder. At least in my experience, State-side, they like the answer that you don't require supervision so that it means you self-start. But it sounds like you have a slew of interested parties. I think you will charm your way anywhere you wish to go.

Amarinda Jones said...

Yes, these tests do not measure true skill. What if someone is shy, or learning impaired but an excellent worker. I think our measures are limited and ridiculous