Jobs (2)

Quite a surreal experience today. Pretty much since I lived in this village, I worked up in London. There was always quite a clear demarcation between home and work.

But today I interviewed with a couple of guys who work for one of the few businesses in the village. It’d be strange to work for them – working within walking distance of home, first time ever.

Realistically, I’m trying to get back into the industry after five years away, so wouldn’t really rate my chances – I’m not sure if it is something I’d want to be doing either. But equally, they’re a charity based in our tiny village, so they probably won’t attract many candidates. I wouldn’t mind betting that every candidate they do attract will have a back-story similar to  mine.

Realistically, every interview is practise for the next interview. This one didn’t go at all badly, considering the time I’d been away, how much water has passed under the bridge. But then again, I have spent months boning up technically, so really, that shouldn’t come as any surprise. I got a little tripped of on some of the most recent language concepts, but that’s not really a problem because I have already read up on the question I was asked, and I can easily read up on general updates to the language in the next few days. The only day that I am busy this week is tomorrow. Next time around, I’ll be convincing.

One interesting thing: I’ve never been a fan of “blagging” – pretending I know more about something than I actually do, instead I’ve always been very “matter of fact”, and have generally floated to the top in every environment that I worked in because I have always been stronger than most people, technically. If fact it would surprise you how often I’ve worked with poor technologists in supposedly prestige environments. Anyway, yesterday I had already come clean about my lack of up-to-date knowledge, so I asked these guys some questions about a few aspects. They didn’t use those aspects either! Just goes to show, you have to look past the blurb.And I still maintain that a lot of the languege’s innovations, while labour-saving for developers, are not necessarily intuitive for reviewers.

Pharmacy Blunders

This morning, a friend of mine had posted a story he’d picked up from the BBC. Some pharmacy (in the UK) had issued a chap with the wrong meds, the chap subsequently died. A similar thing happened to me once. It was only because I check all my meds as they arrive that I spotted the mistake beforehand. A lot of people don’t, so the guy’s death was not surprising – we just expect everyone to get it right.

In my case. the error was with my local pharmacy. The system in the UK, there are two boxes to fill out. One person picks the meds out of the store, initials one box. A second (different) person then checks the choice, initials the second box. Two-stage verification – a lot of the banking systems I designed had the same setup. One person creates, another checks.

Somebody picked the wrong drugs, then initialled the box. Somebody else then checked those wrong drugs, and ticked the second box. It’s this second step where I had the issue.

When I spoke to the pharmacy, their excuse was that they were very sorry, but the staff worked so hard and were always in a hurry. I asked them which was more important – to do things quickly or to do things right?

The pharmacy asked if I would return the incorrect medication. I refused. As far as I was concerned, those tablets were now evidence, in case they later denied their mistake.

I decided to complain to the NHS – there was every chance that they could make the same mistake again, and that the next person will not notice. The NHS swept the complaint under the carpet. If I’d have wanted things to change, I should have gone to a lawyer, hit them in their pocket instead. But my interest was that they get things right, not that I make money from it.

The Complaints procedure just left me feeling that the NHS just looks after its own. It hardly instills confidence. Their refusal to improve the system just means that I took unilateral action, and never used them again. Anybody else… shrug.