Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Pre-Employment Medical? Forget It!

There are time when you just know you made the right decision.

I got personal validation for one of my decisions today. I'd turned down a permanent job offer due to my discomfort over the partial contract details I'd been sent by email. That and the fact it had taken the company 3 weeks to send me a formal offer after the initial verbal confirmation suggested that there was something I wasn't being told about the job.

I got further confirmation today, when I received the actual hard copy, including the medical questionnaire. Not only did HR want my mother's maiden name (?!), but the medical questionnaire wanted to know whether, in the last 5 years, I'd had one of a number of debilitating conditions, not to mention kidney problems, STIs, cystitis or piles! They wanted full details of any eyesight or mobility issues, plus whether my relatives had diabetes or glaucoma (amongst other, more serious conditions).  And that's before I was expected to tell all about my potential tendency to be a Type A workaholic, my mental health or my possible HIV status.

I'm not kidding, the questionnaire ran to 12 pages.

Now, I've no idea who this company's clients are, but this is the most invasive set of pre-employment checks I've ever been asked to consent to, bar none.

It doesn't bode well for anybody working for the company, if your career with them starts off with the understanding that you've given them permission to perform ongoing checks on your suitability to stay employed by them during your career, of the same depth as the pre-screening checks.

I didn't have to do anything except refuse to accept the job offer. I know I can do better for myself than this. You don't get asked to fill in 12 pages on your medical history by Kleeneze. You get told that your income depends on the effort you put into both your business and your personal development. You get told that you're in control of your own life.

I love this business. Kleeneze works!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Persistence Works!

We're told repeatedly that persistence pays, that the successful few win out over the unsuccessful many because of their persistent pursuit of whatever they focus on.

So here's a practical example:

For the past week, I've returned daily, every weekday, to a lady who hadn't had a chance to look properly at the Kleeneze catalogues. I also tried, every weekday, to collect a straggler catalogue from one of her neighbours, who would never answer the door.

Today, I got orders from both of them. I've also made two new friends, not customers. And I got two new friends because I gave them time to trust me; I turned up when I said I would, I gave them the space and honesty they needed.

All I did was be me. It's all I do with any of my customers. It's all I need to do.

And it's proof positive of something I do my best to live by:

Do what you say you'll do, when you say you'll do it; even if you don't want to.

I love this business!

It's A Wonderful Life

It's amazing how little stress I feel right now. I've not had a "real job" for 12 days, I really need a decent week's sales to keep me on track for paying little essentials like the mortgage, utilities etc., and today I spent 2 hours turning around 250 catalogues which I will need to put out very early on Tuesday morning to have any chance of staying on track. I also spent 6.5 hours collecting in 131 catalogues in the sort of persistent rain that only England seems to get - that gentle rain that gets into every corner of your waterproofs, despite your best efforts to thwart it.I have another 200 catalogues to retrieve tomorrow. At this rate, I need to live on a planet with 36 hour days...

I have another 5 orders, all brand new customers. I have a permanent smile. Life is great.

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Today is Remembrance Sunday in the UK. It's also Armistice Day. Normally, I spend my Remembrance Sunday either in a parade or watching one. Today, I honoured the fallen with two minutes silence in an empty street, having started collecting Kleeneze catalogues an hour before.

I was collecting catalogues on this particular Sunday because I'd spent the first 3 days of the previous week dealing with family emergencies, including my daughter's relationship troubles (classic domestic violence; I know from bitter experience how this will end and can only hope that my daughter gets out before too much psychological damage is done) and my mother's health, which is back on a joyous medication-induced roller-coaster ride. As of right now, I am working my Kleeneze business full time, seven days a week if I have to.

In the past week, I've put catalogues into 1000 homes and managed to blanket drop to areas which had already been visited thoroughly the previous week. My first drop netted me 5 orders, my second netted none - a first for me with Kleeneze.

So as far as Going For No is concerned, I was 100 - 0 on the second day and 95 - 5 on the first. Not a great start to an already stressful week.

In typical Kleeneze Dragon style, I redoubled my efforts and around 400 catalogues went out on each of Thursday and Friday. Saturday, I collected 274 out of 396, and got 13 orders. On Sunday, I collected 211 out of 397 (not bad considering it's Remembrance Sunday and many would have been out at services, parades and memorials) and got 17 orders.

Total turnover for the week - just short of £400. Well off my target of £1500, but proof that, even when the area has been blanket dropped by another distributor, you can still get a decent number of orders.

Next week, I'll be putting another 1000+ catalogues out, and working in some personal presenting and product demonstrations too.

The Kleeneze Lady has got her Mojo back!

By the way, if any of you have bookmarked my blog, I've changed the URL to, so as not to contravene any company regulations regarding websites. I've also shut down, so as not to contravene the new company regulations. I'm hoping this is enough to keep the right side of the new rules, but I've emailed Kleeneze HQ for clarification.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Illegitimis Non Carborundum

Worst. Year. Ever.

Come to think of it, not even close to my worst year ever, but definitely up in the top 5.

That doesn't matter though.

My mum's health is improving, finally; my partner's degree is finished and awaiting final marking and my home life is about as stable as it ever is.

We won't talk about the non-Kleeneze work life. There aren't enough adjectives, let alone imaginative expletives. 

So, I'm starting again. From scratch, but with added scars experience. Time for a new 104 day plan.

You know what? I've missed this so much...

Monday, 12 March 2012

Normal Service? Well, It All Depends On What You Call Normal...

Originally posted on

Have you ever had times where you're convinced that there's some sort of fiendish plot to keep you from achieving your goals?

Me too. In fact, every single time I try to build a business that will fulfil my ambitions and goals, my family or my work life conspire to derail my progress.

You couldn't make this up - since I decided to stick to a 90 day plan and dual-blog:

- A second car has had to be replaced at short notice. My first was in October 2011, courtesy of a charming woman who ran into the back of me, gave me false details and then disappeared, leaving me with a written-off  Volvo. So I bought my partner's car off him with the insurance payout and that promptly threw part of its gearbox linkage within 10 weeks. I'm now driving a carpeted Transit Van (aka a VW Sharan) that drinks fuel.

- My partner decided to live in Rugby from Monday night to Thursday morning, because it's more convenient when he's decided to do a Masters degree in London to have a personal taxi service that is prepared to pick him up after 11pm and drop him off at the station before I go to work. Oh, and have a housekeeping service that provides him with breakfast, sandwiches, does his washing, loses his socks, etc. After a discussion where, apparently, it's my fault if I'm late for work because I'm not getting up earlier and managing the family better, he's decided to spend the next two weeks in West Oxfordshire, to sort out his tax returns and write his essays. I presume the wild-eyed, manic Harpy that dropped him off at the station at the end of that discussion may have had something to do with it...

- My eldest son has decided to move back in, with all the hassle that entails. I need to convert my office/music space back into a bedroom, move furniture into other rooms, etc. All whilst doing a full-time job, a two hour commute and failing to run a Kleeneze business.

- My mother is having serious kidney problems, which mean we're now stuck with a cycle of visits to GPs, specialists, etc. I'm scared it's kidney failure this time - her legs are swelling up and she seems to be permanently on antibiotics.

- Then there's this year's flu, which knocked me out for several weeks. I haven't felt this weak and lethargic since I had glandular fever in my early 20s.

All in all, it's been an interesting 90 days. Something had to give, and that was the blogging. However, I'm already drafting the next 90-day plan, whilst sticking to the remains of my original one to give me some forward momentum. 90-day plan blogging will re-commence in two weeks.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

90-Day Plan - Day 4: Singing in the Rain

Well, I'm half-way through my first week of 13 and I haven't started a new 90-day plan yet. That makes today unique!

Not only that, but I got over my sulks about the day-job; turns out that another day without any "official" work goes a long way towards clearing up an email backlog.

Plus, I managed to collect 90 out of 191 books before my paper listing which houses I'd blanket dropped fell apart due to getting soaked in a 2 hour long rainstorm.

That leaves the motherlode of all stragglers to collect over the next couple of days, and I only got 1 order, but who cares? I'm back on track and loving my Kleeneze business.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

90-Day Plan - Day 3: Practice, What Practice?

A lot of Kleeneze distributors got hit by bad weather today, especially those in Scotland, where a roof blew off a block of Glasgow flats to land on houses in another street, lorries got blown over and trains got cancelled. They still carried on regardless.

I got hit by the back-to-work blues.

After the euphoria of yesterday's efforts, I went to work smiling. I was singing in the car (got to practice somewhere and the offspring complain when I sing in the bathroom). That lasted all of 5 minutes after I got into the office.

By the end of the day, I was drained, miserable and depressed. Over the Christmas break, I had focused on what I needed to do to build my Kleeneze business's momentum, to the point where I was so fired up, I didn't want to break off for 6 hours sleep. I knew I was capable of achieving great things. I knew where I was heading, what I had planned, what work I needed to do, what routine I needed to follow. I was happy, as I always am when I'm fully occupied.

My day job doesn't have any of that. I have no project to work on, no activity assigned to me, despite my persistent requests. Normally, I'd find myself something to do that makes use of my skills, but I've been told categorically by my line manager and indirectly by his boss that these skills are of little to no use to the team as it currently exists. There are no suitable vacancies in other teams and I don't want to job-hop when I'm trying to build my own business after day-job hours.

So, I'm stuck with nothing to do, but I'm expected to look as though I'm working flat out on technical issues. I can't leave my desk for more than a few minutes at a time, as my line manager sits opposite me and is well aware I don't have any business users to talk to because he hasn't provided me with any work. Taking and making personal calls is discouraged and commented on.

Eleven weeks ago, I had a stress management meeting, which my line manager assured me would be written up and copies provided to both myself and HR. I'm still waiting. Mind you, he only completed my performance review paperwork after 8 weeks delay and a number of comments from his boss...

In that stress management meeting, I emphasised that not being fully occupied and not being allowed to utilise my many skills properly was causing me untold stress, to the point where I could have been used as a textbook set of symptoms by trainee stress counsellors. My line manager's response was to tell me, "don't take on the business, the business always wins." I got told to bite my tongue and accept whatever is said about me or my work, to be friendly regardless and to just do the work and make sure it's "good enough". I also got told that my skill set is unusual and unlikely to be used in forthcoming projects and that I should accept that and get on with it.

Since then, he's made no effort to give me any work at all. I can only assume that's what happens when you "rock the boat" in this company.

I know I'm whinging, but I was so upset after being back at work for one day that I couldn't face anybody. I slunk upstairs and shut myself in the office for most of the evening and played solitaire over and over again before crawling into bed for a fitful night's sleep.

What am I proud of today?

Nothing. I let the day-job get to me, yet again, to the point where I'm severely stressed and avoiding people.

What can I do to improve, tomorrow?

I can get over this stress and lack of self-confidence by working on my business. As I get better with my Kleeneze business, my confidence will grow and my focus will move towards my real goals rather than my day-job.

Monday, 2 January 2012

90-Day Plan - Day 2: The Benefit of Starting Off Badly

After yesterday's issues, today had to get better fast.

It's amazing how much more focused I felt after creating that to-do list and then reviewing it first thing.

By mid-afternoon, around everything else I had to do to prepare for the family's return to work and school, I had 200 catalogues out in a new area.

Plus, I've got a clear view of how I'm operating my business over the next few weeks. I actually feel energised for the first time in months.

I'm looking forward to my best year yet.

What am I proud of today?

Getting 200 catalogues out in a new area in under 2 hours.

What can I improve on tomorrow?

Get more organised with my non-business activities, speed up and increase focus on my business activities.

Sunday, 1 January 2012

90-Day Plan - Day 1: The Activity Hokey-Cokey

That's me*, completely out of step with what I'm supposed to be doing, but loving it anyway.

Of course, it's not really me, it's a stock clipart. This is me (right hand side at the start, in the middle):

Yes, I'm a morris dancer :-)

I'm not dancing much at the moment; I've chosen to concentrate on the 90-day plan instead.

Which, of course, is not going quite according to plan at the moment. Today was my day for putting new books out, which hasn't happened because I'm dancing attendance on those in the family who aren't feeling very well. To be fair, there's more flu symptoms than hangover symptoms, but, yet again, my plans take a back seat to everybody and everything else.

So my to-do list is a big one and I've lost the opportunity to blanket drop 200 catalogues.

Having said that, I've cleared a backlog of emails and I'm sorting out my study/music room/general dumping ground to free up some space for bagging catalogues and orders, so today hasn't been a complete wash-out.

What am I proud of today?

I worked on something to do with my Kleeneze business, despite the temptation to put off the start of my 90-day plan for another day.

What can I improve on, tomorrow?

I can stop messing around and concentrate on working my plan. Plus, I can set boundaries with my family, so they realise I am actually serious about making this plan work.

Does anybody else get side-tracked this early and easily or is it just me?

Happy New Year, everybody!