What is the Old Dog Blog?
Simply, it’s an Old Dog’s constructive response to his frustration at trying to find a job and an attempt to find an employer who recognises experience and determination as more important than grey hair and a distant date of birth.
The idea of the Old Dog Blog is to take an original (and sometimes light-hearted) approach to seeking employment and address some of the questions that might be raised by prospective employers which I will elaborate upon further down the page.
Oh.. and I know it’s not a blog in the true sense of the word but it seemed a snappy title!
UPDATE December 10th 2017:
An update on the Old Dog Blog is long overdue so I shall sit down and amend information that has since changed – principally on the work and radio fronts.
In essence, the updates are positive.
Two years ago (wow, has it really been that long?) I was offered a straightforward, 3-week fill-in job with my local county council and I am delighted to say that I am still with this employer. There has been a great deal of learning – especially over the past six months when I moved into a new role within the council. I cannot adequately express how grateful I am for the patience of others as I continue to learn, through the opportunities made available to me and the help from some exceptional people for showing belief. Thank you!
Tell me more about the Old Dog..
Many people in my position would rely upon LinkedIn as their primary online presence and I would welcome readers to visit my LinkedIn profile particularly to the recommendations – they will tell you more about who I am rather than just a list of what I have done.
As I have mentioned elsewhere (OK, my Twitter account) I have described myself as host of Hillbilly Boogie on Blues & Roots Radio (based in Ontario) – an out-of-practice (& therefore, an unaccomplished) mandolin player – and a golf player of slightly better renown. I also host Bluegrass From Yonder on 90.7 WEHC
While steadfastly marching through my sixth decade I do so with all limbs and mind intact. Amongst other things, I am the proud owner of a Washburn guitar that, like its owner, seems to get better with age and (now two) Eastman mandolins that deserves more attention than they currently receive and Ping golf clubs that have given me new-found faith that a sub-90 round is a realistic goal. (Update: a sub-90 round was achieved on July 2nd 2015 – I think sub-80 may be a tougher challenge – Update: Dec 10th 2017 – even 85 may be pushing my luck!)
Finally (in this section), the plan with the Old Dog Blog is that I will associate my LinkedIn profile with this Old Dog Blog page and a new Facebook page that I have created called There’s Life In The Old Dog Yet. I will then invite people who have worked with me in whatever role or capacity to add their comments and recommendations to There’s Life In The Old Dog Yet page and to share that page as an advertisement for my availability. I will also add their comments and recommendations to the CV & Recommendations page.
In recent years I have also been asked to MC and be a stage manager at Bristol Rhythm & Roots Reunion in Bristol Tn/Va. During one such visit the festival had a torrential downpour that lasted several hours resulted in a flooded and unusable stage with high-profile acts scheduled to appear. The result? … the Old Dog make his US television debut on WCYB at around 1:10 – click here for the video.
As mentioned above, I wish to address some of the questions that might be raised by prospective employers and the first will be the break that I have taken since leaving working for News UK (formerly News International). When I was in the midst of the consultancy period prior to being made redundant, my wife died unexpectedly – a shock in itself – to then find that the primary cause of death was attributed to an hereditary condition which affected some of my step-children and a grandchild then time had to be taken to deal with the investigations and other matters arising from this sad event. Needless to say – this took time and an emotional toll.
Once the various family matters has settled down I took a much needed sabbatical – I visited friends (though they are more like my second family) in the US and did some voluntary work in the UK before I decided that it was the right time to ‘get back into the game’. In hindsight, and in order to maintain continuity on my CV, it may have been better to have sought employment sooner rather than taking ‘me’ time but I took the time that I needed so that all matters were dealt with.
When I tried to return to work, is when the frustration really started. There were some roles where I reached the ‘final two’ but, as disappointing as that was, I always felt that I had represented myself in a positive manner. The real frustration came about from having numerous telephone interviews where experience and achievements were discussed at length to then be asked to demonstrate that I was qualified to work in the UK by sending in a scan of my UK passport. Time after time this signaled the end of the dialogue; so despite the positive responses received during the telephone interview and the request to demonstrate eligibility to work in the UK in order to proceed to formal interview nothing more would be heard. As I had clearly proved my eligibility to work in the UK (which was the stated purpose for sending the copy of the passport) to find that the application halted at that point it is very hard to believe that this was not due to my age. If this had happened once or twice I would feel less certain but it has happened many more times. Others of my vintage that I have spoken to have reported the same.
So.. rather than do nothing, I took some work that was largely unconnected to my previous roles such as being Ground Crew for a hot air balloon. While it was good to work outdoors (I do love being outdoors), the hours were long and the work very physical – I do wonder whether I lasted the season because I loved working in the open or because I wanted to prove that there was life in the Old Dog and that I could keep up with the younger crew (which I did)! The trouble with taking such work and temporary assignments is that it is more time away from the type of roles that I would like to return to which potential employers (understandably) find disconcerting.
Click here to move onto the next section where I will talk about my skills, experience and abilities (otherwise known as The Old Dog’s Tricks).