Saturday, April 28, 2007

I got the job!

... but not the one you think!

In my last post I had mentioned an interview for a job I was not 100% sure of. Meanwhile, I had spotted this job advert which read like my dream job and so I applied for that too:


Testing & Training Coordinator
Required skills: global brand company is currently recruiting a Testing & Training Coordinator, to assist with the testing & training activities. To work towards delivery of the testing & training strategy and project plan. Skills profile, knowledge of SAP at both a working and technical level. Knowledge of business processes, excellent communication skills, experience in a testing environment, experience in a training environment, train The Trainer skills and experience. Coordination of defined system testing activities. Coordination of design and development of testing plans and cases.
Location: London


The day after applying, I got invited for an interview too - on the Friday. So I had 2 job interviews. One next Monday and the other this Friday.

On Tuesday, I decided to put together the presentation for the next Monday interview. This is why it is important for one to have a discerning spirit and be prayerful. After staying up late working on the presentation, I listened to a voicemail on my mobile the next day from the company saying they had offered the job to someone else and the person had accepted. Can you imagine!

Even though I was not 100% sure about the job, the rejection still hurt not to mention the wasted time working on the presentation. Still, I had the Friday one to look forward to and I really preferred this role for the following reasons:

  1. It was in London

  2. It was working for a huge company

  3. It was 25% more money

  4. Most imporantantly, it was much more than just training. I'd get to see and learn the technical 'back end' of the system by co-ordinating the testing, it was some what managerial, so I'd have some real responsibilities and use my strengths which are planning, analysing, scheduling, problem solving, organising etc...

Anyway, I had to leave work on Thursday afternoon because I was feeling unwell with very bad chest pain and fatigue, got home in London and made an urgent appointment with the G.P (family doctor), it turned out I have Costochondritis which thankfully is not as deadly as it sounds. The cartiledge where my ribs meet my breast bone are inflamed due probably to a viral infection. I was prescribed some anti-inflamatory medicine and told to rest.

I tried to prepare as best I could for the interview but when I got there 9am on Friday morning, I was relying soley on Jesus. I could not remember the last time I did proper system testing plus I did not have experience of the SAP modules they used. The interview started and progressed quite well I thought and an hour later it was over. I asked how many others are being interviewed for this role and was just I was the first. I then asked how soon would all the candidates be informed and was told early next week.

As I left, I prayed "God I really want this job". I prayed that for the others coming, their car would not start, their train would be cancelled, they will get offered other jobs, they would change their minds etc... I also called the agency and told my contact there that I really really want the job and he should call them and get their initial impressions.

Barely 2 hours later, he called me back and said they really liked you and think you are a good fit for the company. They want you to start on Tuesday! Wow! I screamed totally delighted. Then realised "I can't start on Tuesday". I told him that and he said he'd see what he could do. He then called back to say they will move the start date to the 8th of May.

I was over the moon and walking on clouds at the same time. God was so favourable to me, my very first interview and I did not have to go for any more. I really felt blessed. Everyone had sent me prayers for the interview and I started calling and texting back with the good news.

It's only a 3 month contract with the possibility of extension but that was just what I wanted. I will be home every single evening and see my babies (Kitan and Tunji), I can watch my programmes without having to have marathon sessions at the weekend catching up with everything via Sky+. I can meet up with friends, go out to dinner with hubby, go to midweek service and prayer meetings. No more Sunday blues thinking about the drive and the week up at Leicester. It was like I had my life back!

Talking about church, I'd decided I was not quite spiritually ready for the church job and would spend the 3 months working back in London to build myself up spiritually while still helping out at church in the evenings and weekends (when I can). Maybe in September, I may feel ready to take up the job. I'm at peace with my decision and hope they are too.

Can you believe, next week is my last week in Leicester?! I'm happy the adventure is nearly over and really could not have done it without my faithful blog and your reading and supporting me through it. I will continue posting because settling back at home and at a new work place will certainly come with their own challenges though I doubt anything will compare with Leicester.

Monday, April 23, 2007

I have an interview!

What a lovely start to the week after an even lovelier weekend.

Last week, I managed to wrangle a day off on Friday in exchange for working till 8pm on Thursday so I left work very tired but pleased at the prospect of waking up to my baby (and hubby too ofcourse) on Friday.

I had a wedding to attend on Saturday and spent the better part of Friday (after bonding with my baby ofcourse) at Brent Cross shopping with my pal Kemi and her daughter Tolu. We had lunch at Yo Sushi - not the yucky raw stuff but yummy dim sum and a nice noodle soup. It was like the good old days of being ladies who lunch.

At Brent Cross, I bought a very nice transparent floral top with tones of blue and burgundy to wear over the strapless blue jaquard dress I had planned to wear. Ofcourse I bought the 'spanx like' under support to flatten the belly, a pair of burgundy suede shoes (a bargain at £35 reduced from £100) and a few other bits and bobs.

Saturday was spent at the wedding, I think I looked okay - nothing spectacular but pretty and feminine in the floral print and soft colours. We took a taxi down to save ourselves the parking wahala. Everything was very well planned, my friend looked stunning though I was not sure about the strapless bodice part of her wedding dress. As the day progressed, her boobs seemed to be riding up the top and needed constant rearranging. She is a beautiful girl and her face was very nicely made up. When it came to feeding each other the cake, she knelt down in true traditional style to feed her new husband a slice of cake to gasps of shock and horror from the other ladies both married and single. After much fun and catching up with old pals (and enemies), we left about 5pm, back home to Kitan.

Sunday was church, our Pastor preached on the woman with the issue of blood. He said hers was a unique case as she was able to get something from God/Jesus without being granted or given it. Her faith was all it took to get her healing without being directly handed it by Jesus as he walked with the crowds. I'd actually never really thought of it that way. Almost everyone else in the Bible prayed or asked or demanded before being blessed but not her. My Pastor also said that after 12 years of suffering from her affliction and going everywhere for healing, she still had enough faith to wrench it from Christ whereas most of us after suffering one misfortune or the other for a short while become jaded, discouraged and unable to summon up enough faith when required. The sermon was a real eye opener for me.

I stopped enroute home to buy Meats (chicken, cowleg, beef, shaki & kidney) to make a huge pot of stew for Tunji to last him the week and when I got home, started cooking the stew. My friend Bee was running the London Marathon, a lifetime ambition for her and at short notice I was unable to go to support her. To cheer myself up, I went onto Ebay to look for inline roller skates. I had seen some at Brent Cross for £50 and almost bought it. Online, I saw one on Ebay ending soon and put in a 'snipe bid' via my secret website that sneaks in your bid at the last minute. I had placed a maximum bid of £36 and was pleasantly surprised to win them at £16! Even better, they came with free knee and elbow pads which I am sure I'll need.

Later that evening about 6pm I decided to take Kitan swimming. I'd been meaning to start that as a Mummy/baby routine for us every Sunday evening but had never got a chance to until now. So I scooped him up and off we went. It was great fun! He'd had swimming lessons as a baby but obviously that was money down the drain as Kitan was terrified and clung to me like white on rice. Still he found it really funny and was laughing his head off as was I. Soon, he got used to the water and found he could actually stand in it which he loved. We left about 7pm tired but happy.

Monday - back at work and it's usual woes, but I don't want to write about that, I have only a short while left to go. I can do it! Anyway, I'd sent out a raft of CVs last week and today got a call for an interview in London!!! What a huge morale booster. It feels like a first interview as I have not had a proper interview in ages, even my current job was via a telephone interview. For this one I have to deliver a 10-15 minute presentation. Yikes! Still God is able and I'm optimistic. It's a permanent job and not one I'm 100% keen on but I'm going with the flow remember? So I'll do my best and we'll see what happens.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

I've packed

I woke up this morning at 5:40am and could not go back to sleep. I had this strong feeling to pack my stuff... not all of it but to take my large suitcase back home this weekend instead of my travel bag.

The truth is, I'd always felt I should begin to take stuff back in the month leading up to my departure so on the last day, it will be a tidy good bye. Not suitcases, bin bags, dripping cream bottles and all that.

So I started packing. I cleared out half the clothes in my wardrobe, my food cupboards and most of the stuff on my bathroom shelf. Also all my books. My flat mate was still around (usually she leaves for the gym at 6:15am) and I had to reassure her that I was definitely coming back after the weekend when she saw me clearing out.

On the job front... I'm getting calls now. One agency has been pestering me to send further information for a role in Swindon. Yes Swindon! In a moment of madness one evening, I sent off my brand new CV out willy nilly and one was for a job almost 3 hours drive away in Swindon. What was I thinking. It's been over a week now and he's been calling me upto 3 times a day to send the additional information. I spoke to him finally 2 days ago and said I had not had time to prepare the other info he wanted and I was not sure I wanted to work 3 hours away from home especially after Leicester. He said "Oh, it's not 3 hours, it's 1 hour 45 minutes" - what could I say except "Okay" and then sent him the info. Hopefully, the company would not be interested otherwise I could find myself travelling up to Swindon to interview for a job I don't want. I did get some other more promising calls today, so we watch and pray.

"What about the church job?" you ask. I spoke to the Pastor's wife on Sunday and she stressed the need for me to be spiritually strong to work at church. To attend more prayer meetings etc... She said the job was "more spiritual than anything". I want to grow spiritually which is why the role is appealing to me but I'm not sure I want to be (or am) able to discern ALL things from a spiritual perspective.

I have been praying about making the right decision and today, I was reading my bible. In Matthew, chapter 17 (I think), Jesus was telling his disciples how he will be persecuted and killed. Peter replied "Never my Lord!" or something like that. And Jesus rebuked him seriously saying "you are seeing things in the flesh and not in the spirit. Get away from me!" - Obviously Peter did not want anything bad to happen to Jesus. That was his motive but he did not realise (spiritually) that that was part of God's plan for Christ to reclaim His position at God's right hand side and for the world to be saved. Peter's role as disciple was "more spiritual than anything" - and he did not always get it right.

God led me to this passage so what is God trying to tell me through this story?

To change the topic drastically - Tunji called me today to say Diane (my emergency nanny) wants to go but will wait till the end of my contract. I was not shocked or upset. She started working for me while I was already in Leicester and has not had the chance to learn things my way. She's very good with Kitan but not so great in house chores but I let it go because my priority was my baby. I did feel that when I move back home, it would be like 2 madams in the house and there was bound to be a clash. Her 'contract' was till end of June anyway and I had planned to let her go and find someone else who would learn things my way since I'd be home. Her deciding to leave on her own accord was God taking control and sparing me the unpleasantness of letting her go.

My weightloss plan has gone weird... I've not lost a pound in 2 weeks (according to my scales) but have dropped almost 2 dress sizes. Things I could not wear 3 weeks ago now fit - go figure!?

Anyway, the weekend is here and I'm hoping for lovely sunshine especially as I have a day off on Friday (shoe shopping and general pampering me thinks!) and I'd be attending a wedding on Saturday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What do I REALLY want?

Festival of Life was awesome! The prayers, the music, the preaching... all of it was great and sooooo soul refreshing. The theme was "All will be well" and Pastor E.A Adeboye preached on how that statement meant different things to different people. To the sick, it means healing, to the poor, it means prosperity, to the childless, it means fruitfulness, to the lonely, it means companionship etc...

I had to ask myself, what does "All will be well" mean to me? I won't lie, I struggled to come up with a concise answer. I backed up and asked myself "What do I really want?" - No answer.

Still, at the event, I was caught in the spiritual euphoria and claimed every prayer point for myself and my loved ones.

It was not until later, on Sunday, that I came across an article in the Sunday Times and asked myself again "What do I really want?"

The article was about how every one should have a reason to leap out of bed in the morning. How we need to focus on achieving our goals one bit at a time, how we need to slow down and re-evaluate our lives regularly to make new goals and scrap old ones.

Right now, I really feel ready for a change but I'm not sure what that change should be or if I am brave enough to embark on it. The article mentioned 'being and staying positive and optimistic', research has shown that those "deluded optimists" are happier and more successful.

I know I have been quite negative - about my Leicester experience, about my life, about most things and I'm going to be changing that. I'm also going to be working on figuring out what excites me. In a positive way, without beating myself up about it. As the article suggested, I'm going to try out new things and old things in a new way - something may spark my interest and excite me.

About after Leicester, none of the options before me right now are 100% appealing so I'm not going to focus on convincing myself one way or the other, I'll just go with the flow and keep a look out for what else is out there.

One of the delegates I was training took sometime off this week to attend the funeral of his cousin. A 28 year old woman, who just went to bed and never woke up. She was not ill, no one killed her. Her autopsy report said "died of natural causes". She leaves behind her husband and 2 young children.

I don't want that to be me, so weighed down with problems and stress, not happy, not joyful, so much so that one day I just don't wake up. God forbid!

I've tried this week to be positive and optimistic and this is what's happened so far:

1. Some of my delegates requested an evening this week to practice what they've learnt before their assessment. We are very short staffed at the moment, so I offered to stay back for the 2 hours on the Thursday they were requesting on the condition I get Friday off - and my manager agreed! 2 hours extra work for a whole day off! Super.

2. I arranged to drop my car at a garage on my way to work this morning for an MOT. The mechanic had said they can only give me a lift to work if I drop the car off at 9am. I start training at 9am so that wouldn't work. I said okay but took the car in at 8am. The guy was there but said he could not leave until others get in at 9am, I said "no problem, I'll wait". But I had prayed for God to make a way and I was expectant. 5 minutes later, a woman pulled up to drop off a car battery, as she got into her car, I approached her and asked if she would drop me at work. It was out of her way but she agreed and I got to work for 8:20am

3. My car passed MOT - first time! No additional mechanical work required and this is a car I punish with 180 miles motorway driving every week.

So what do I really want? I still don't know for sure but I'm going to pray to have a happy, joyful, optimistic and positive journey finding out.

p.s. Have you noticed the Weekly Poll to the left? There's a new question every week and I'd love to know what you think. No personal details are collected at all, just your view on the question asked. You can see what others think too by clicking 'View Results'. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

All will be well

If you really need to hear these words from someone... now is your opportunity.

If you are in the UK or will be in the UK... don't miss this.

Friday the 13th of April is Festival of Life.

It's free and doors open from 8pm.

The host is Pastor E A Adeboye and the theme is "All Will Be Well"

I know... this is a blatant advert, but I will be there and I've shared a lot on this blog this last few months and just thought I'd share this with you too.

God Bless!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Easter Tears

I usually have mixed feelings about Easter ever since my sister died 11 years ago around Easter time. This year, her anniversary fell on Good Friday. I remember being devastated at the time and thinking why would God resurrect His son but leave my sister dead? It was hard to celebrate Easter. But time is a healer and 11 years on, it does not hurt as much and for the first time I did not cry as I remembered. I am grateful for the resurrection of Christ which means I have the assurance of seeing her again one day.

On Friday, we treated Kitan to a bus ride to Oxford Street and then walked over to Hyde park where we met up with his beloved cousins for a boat ride on the Serpentine Lake.

at the park

As you can see, it was a beautiful sunny day. Children really give you the opportunity of seeing things with totally fresh eyes and delighting in the most mundane things. They had a swell time not that you could tell from their little worried faces in the picture.

On Saturday, Tunji took Kitan out and I spent hours working on the perfect CV. It's only a few more weeks left and it was time I got my act together. Whatever decision I did make, be it 'sit at home', work for church or get another I.T job, I still needed to get my CV out there. After much tweaking and fine-tuning, I was proud of my handiwork. I remembered to pray for God's blessings so that as I send it out, job offers will flow in. IJN. AMEN!!!

Sunday was spent in church and afterwards at home having lunch with friends. Tunji surprised us by ordering a large, really yummy cake - sorry Roz - if I had known he was making an order, I would have ordered from you - not that you were around over Easter anyway.

Our yummy Easter cake

Monday messed me up! I had decided to go and get my hair braided and made an appointment for 10am. When I got there, the lady said it would take 4 hours, 5 at the most. No probs I thought... I would be done by 3pm and still have lots of time to spend with Kitan because I had barely seen him that morning before I left home. I figured I might take him to the fun fair at Alexandra Palace or go see my friend in Stevenage.

Anyway, the hair took ages and when I called home at 8pm to ask that they keep him awake for me, Diane said he had gone to sleep already. I was so upset. I did not leave the 'salon' until 9:15pm and got home at 9:30pm.

A whole day at home in London and I did not see my baby for more than 20 mins.

How precious are these days at home? How could I have wasted a whole day doing my hair? But I need to do my hair! How can I win? I was in tears and unconsolable, eventually crying myself to sleep. I wanted Tunji to tell me to stay home but he did not, instead he said "it's a short week and you'll see him at the weekend". After seeing how upset I was, by morning, he had changed his mind and begged me to stay home, I said "Oh and deprive you of the ££££ pounds I would have made... surely not!"

Should I have stayed home or was I right to go?

Needless to say, I was a sad, depressed and broken woman driving up to Leicester this morning.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

April at last!

For the first time, I can now say "I'll be out of Leicester next month". I've been wanting to say that since December 2006.

This is not to put anyone thinking of doing something similar off. It is do-able and it can be fun, for someone with a different type of personality. With more get-up-and-go.

Now that I can see the end in sight, I realise there was more I could have done to enjoy my time here. I could have done more to make friends and have a social life in Leicester. I could have developed myself somehow - maybe take an evening course in French, baking, sewing... who knows.

For most of my time here, it was Winter - cold, dark and dreary. When I leave work and it's pitch dark, there was no incentive to do anything beyond, get home, have dinner, curl up in bed and wonder what the hell am I doing here.

Also, the job had a factor to play. It was not challenging enough and there was not the scope to do more. Training is hard! And I don't know if it's because I'm lazy or what... but standing for most of the day and talking almost non-stop, is not my idea of fun and the worst part is having to repeat myself over and over again word for word for each subsequent class. Torture! And I'm not a naturally talkative person. I like puzzles, challenges, analysing, problem solving, process design - and there was none of that here.

I've buckled down for the home run - and everyday I pray to God for strength to see it through to the end.

On the plus side, I've started losing weight - 11 pounds so far. If I'm going to be attending interviews in the next couple of months, I have to look at least comparable to the small small boys and girls going for the same job.

After Leicester, I've love to take a month off though... maybe spend it in the States or in Nigeria. Just chilling with my little boy. We've planned a mini-tour of Europe in September, 18 days driving through France, Italy and Spain, staying in holiday camps along the way. I've got that to look forward to.

Last weekend was good! On Saturday I had to go and do Naija food shopping. I went to Cricklewood and bought Pounded Yam, Amala, Yellow garri, White garri, Knorr Cubes and Beans. Tunji was very happy! In the evening, I had a bridal shower to attend for this 'almost 40 year old' friend of mine. Beautiful, educated, great career - but no man. Until now! At the last minute, I decided not to go and stayed home bonding with my baby. Sunday was good. It was thanksgiving service in church. Some young friends of our dedicated their one year old son - a gorgeous little boy. It reminded me of when my 'miracle baby' was dedicated. I am yet to hear the sort of prayers they prayed for Kitan prayed for any other child. That day, the whole church bowed. The visiting pastor must have known that this was a special baby - there is nothing he did not cover - it was amazing!

After church was the birthday party for the little boy then on to another party for a 40 year old friend of mine.

We got home totally shattered but it was fun and we'd got to spend time together as a family and eat free food. Free as in I did not have to buy it or cook it!

France, Italy, Spain - here we come!

Omara's Weight loss progress (started diet 17th March 2007)