Monthly Archives: June 2005

On Writing Employment References …

Last week I got asked to provide a reference for a friend who I used to work with and, perhaps, don’t get to see as much as I would like to. I have no problem giving him the reference. From the sound of it the job he is after is right up his street and I know he will throw himself into it in a way that he’ll be great at it. I have no doubt he will be an asset to the company that’s looking to employ him. I just have one issue and that’s the reference questionnaire I was asked to fill in. It has some pretty standard questions asking how long I had know him and in what capacity. Then it also asked me to state his strengths (ok, no problem) but then asks me for his weaknesses and a number of other questions that encourage me to rank the individual (although on what sort of scale I am not told).

And therein was the problem. If I were representing his current employer (and I am not) I would have to be careful as, under UK law (if I am not mistaken) an employer providing a reference to a prospective employer owes a duty of care to the employee and criticisms can be taken as libel etc. or, at the very least, leave you open to damages. Now, I appreciate this is more of a personal reference but that’s not the point. There was so much I was being asked to fill in that I was beginning to think that the company in question could not trust their own judgement in any way as to his character.

The thing is I had nothing negative to say. I am certain we could all say something negative about everybody we know. You know, we could find some small personal trait that irritated but it’s not relevant in this case. When I worked with him he was diligent and performed as you would expect. So, I didn’t answer the question.

And, of course, by not answering the question there is a perspective employer who is wondering what I left out. I didn’t leave anything out I just had nothing to say in that box that I thought anywhere near relevant to the reference I was writing. Reference-reading is all about the unsaid not the said.

So, what should I have done?

On this day…

2003: Call God Now

Continuing

Continuing coverage while I have been away of Zach’s story (here or here for example) (previously mentioned here) but I do wonder what life will be like for him when he gets home. I have no idea what his whole experience will be like for him but there’s plenty of publicity surrounding what’s been going on that he’s had no say in. Most people who blog only imagine that a few people are reading their words. I wonder …

On this day…

No other posts on this day.

Goodbye Richard

There have been some very touching tributes to the news that Richard Whiteley, beloved presenter of Channel Four’s Countdown, died at the weekend. It’s always the unexpected that fill you with emotion. Anna’s written a wonderful tribute at The Guardian’s site (how I wish I could write like her) but Jerrard in that piece’s comment sections says,

I pulled in to a lay-by and cried. I’m a 50 year-old man who watched the first episode of Countdown in 1982 and was hooked, thanks to the unassuming geniality of its delightful gentleman host [source)

And, for a moment or two, something about that just made me feel very sad indeed.

On this day…

2004: Learning From Others

Where's The Hotspot?

I’ve spent half an hour trying to Google wi-fi spots in Richmond, South London for I am off there tomorrow to meet some friends from Norway. Amazingly, it’s hard to find one but I know full well, when I am there, I will find something. There was a wi-fi spot (or at least a sign for it) in the square in front of Zaragoza’s Nuestra Señora del Pilar. See, even in an exhausted state I can perform the art of the tenuous link.

On this day…

2005: Where’s The Hotspot?
2005: Fabulous Zaragoza

Where’s The Hotspot?

I’ve spent half an hour trying to Google wi-fi spots in Richmond, South London for I am off there tomorrow to meet some friends from Norway. Amazingly, it’s hard to find one but I know full well, when I am there, I will find something. There was a wi-fi spot (or at least a sign for it) in the square in front of Zaragoza’s Nuestra Señora del Pilar. See, even in an exhausted state I can perform the art of the tenuous link.

On this day…

2005: Where's The Hotspot?
2005: Fabulous Zaragoza

Fabulous Zaragoza

Oh, I didn’t mention yesterday that Zaragoza was fabulous. It’s a lovely place. I was going to write about it for you but, let’s face it, Wikipedia does it better and Ryanair will get you there for next to nothing so go see for yourself or go see my photos (they’re mainly of bars and beer which pretty much sums up a large amount of the time spent abroad. Off to eat now.

On this day…

2005: Where's The Hotspot?
2005: Where’s The Hotspot?

Time To Sleep

I am back from my weekend in Spain. My body’s capacity to survive on three or four hours of sleep a night never fails to astound me. My body’s capacity to flake out at that point and render me incapable of anything for another seven days also amazes me. So I should start sleeping now …

On this day…

2004: Olympic Dreams

Stories And Rumours

While I am way I’ve been thinking about all the fuss surrounding Holmes/Cruise engagement and Katie’s supposed missing days. From a distance it has always appeared to me that so-called real-life Hollywood isn’t that different from the movies; I suspect many over there can’t tell the difference anyway and walk around on a daily basis like it is a film. So, I hope they find the happiness they looking for. As for the rest of us, I think we should stop reading the rumours and stories. Frankly, what cares anyway?

On this day…

2004: Why Would You Be Interested?
2004: Entertainment Trivia
2003: Shameless

Blimey! It's Early!

I am off, right now at this early hour, on a long weekend to Zaragoza in Spain with some friends and ex-colleagues. I have no doubt that it will be a very friendly and social event indeed and I plan to enjoy the break (and hopefully the weather) as much as I can. I will be trying to post pictures from my travels to the mobile Flcikr feed so look out for them. Hopefully I will remain sober enough to point the camera in the right direction while I am there. Now, I have to brush up on my Spanish while on the way to the airport.

On this day…

2005: Blimey! It’s Early!
2004: We Wuz Robbed
2004: Come on Eng-er-land
2003: Turn Off That Alarm

Blimey! It’s Early!

I am off, right now at this early hour, on a long weekend to Zaragoza in Spain with some friends and ex-colleagues. I have no doubt that it will be a very friendly and social event indeed and I plan to enjoy the break (and hopefully the weather) as much as I can. I will be trying to post pictures from my travels to the mobile Flcikr feed so look out for them. Hopefully I will remain sober enough to point the camera in the right direction while I am there. Now, I have to brush up on my Spanish while on the way to the airport.

On this day…

2005: Blimey! It's Early!
2004: We Wuz Robbed
2004: Come on Eng-er-land
2003: Turn Off That Alarm