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How to approach a company for a job?

Let’s just imagine you are looking for a job. It’s the beginning of 2013, you are being made redundant, want a change of scenery or a better salary and are ready to move on. You live within 40-50 minutes from London by train and are quite frankly fed up with the commute. It may be a thousand other reasons why you ended up on the job market – and nobody enjoys being on a market trying to sell themselves!

It was early days of my recent job hunt when I realised it was no good applying for jobs that said ‘125 applications received so far’. Some online boards would reveal this information, some wouldn’t. Either way, if I came across the same job advertisement on multiple job sites, it’s highly likely it attracted loads of hopeful candidates. Not that I don’t think I could be good enough, no! But realistically the employer might have liked the application No. 34 and by the time they will hopefully get to mine the candidate No.  34 will already be hired.

I don’t appreciate the fact that the recruiters seem to adapt the role of someone between a gatekeeper and God. You may never know why the recruiter never called you back after you’ve sent your CV – the company might have never even had a chance to know about your existence because the recruiter had a quick glance/skim over the document and (even though they might not even be that interested in your industry!) decided you are no good.

A couple of weeks into my job hunt a good friend who’s been a recruitment consultant for over a decade told me that in the current market too many people are looking for a job and it is the employer’s market with loads of choice. By that point I’ve had enough of sending emails into what felt an empty space and decided to look for a job that wasn’t advertised by recruitment agencies. Perhaps not even advertised by the employer; now that’s a challenge!

Now that I’m settling in at my new job with a company that hasn’t even advertised it, I’d like to share some tips here. And maybe that career move is just around the corner for you too! Continue Reading »

Yesterday’s dog treat is today’s savoury tapa

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It’s not difficult to get Eastern European rye bread or a jar of Polish sauerkraut in the UK nowadays, with most supermarkets having separate sections set up to feed the needs. It is much trickier, however, to come across ingredients for special dishes that are usually frowned upon in the UK. And I am not talking about kangaroo testicles or creepy crawlies here (I wouldn’t touch those with a barge), but a simple dish involving pork.

When a colleague of mine recently waved a smart phone under my nose with a photo showing a notice board at his local pet store ‘Pig’s Ears for Sale’, I thought to myself: right, it’s time to bring some real food into office, for lunch.

Lithuanians have always loved a nice rich meal made of various pork cuts, not just bacon, ham and cutlet. When growing up in Lithuania I have been exposed to (and fed with) pig tongue, liver, kidney, pig’s head, trotters, ears, tail, intestines (a key ingredient for Vėdarai) and many other things that my mom wouldn’t go too deep into explaining. However, the main method of handling a slaughtered pig in any village was to use every single usable thing, and waste nothing.

So munching on pig’s ears or going through a plate of cooked tongue with mayonnaise was a treat. Don’t get me wrong, the better cuts were also just as nice, but the bits that the pig didn’t have plenty of (i.e. tail) were an extreme delicacy.

Going back to what I can get in the UK, I must say it isn’t much. Only a year or so ago I noticed the upcoming trend in using alternative/cheaper cuts in cooking. The credit crunch has forced many supermarkets to look into possibilities of stocking pig’s cheeks and feet, and the media has started giving some positive press coverage. Continue Reading »

Top 10 Lithuanian gift ideas for Christmas

We’ve all been there. It’s easy to buy a traditionally French gift (some perfume or a bottle of exquisite champagne), a gift with a Spanish flavour (a hamper full of chorizo sausage and wines, or a set of terracotta tapas dishes) or even a typical Russian gift (usually a doll called matrioshka). If you are a Lithuanian national stranded somewhere in Europe, it is rather tricky to find a symbolic yet unforgettable Lithuanian gift for someone special.

I’ve recently picked up a brochure published by Lithuanian State Department of Tourism entitled “25 things not to miss in Lithuania”, and the 23rd thing not to be missed was called “Lithuanian handicrafts”:

Traditional Lithuanian handicrafts, such as artistic linen, ceramic or amber articles, can make beautiful decorations for your home or great gifts.

And I couldn’t agree more. One thing is to go to Lithuania and shop for those items at numerous fairs and markets; however, shopping for Lithuanian art or Lithuanian linen products while abroad becomes more difficult. Here’s my selected list of recommended retailers specialising in just about anything Lithuanian you can think of.

1. Amber and silver pendant

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By Ula © Ona.com

Think Lithuania, think amber. If traditional amber bead necklaces are not your cup of tea, opt for something more modern and subtle.
Available from: Ona.com

Continue Reading »

Poking fun at immigration

Not sure what happened, but in the last couple of weeks Lithuanian Jotter received quite a few comments, and they really inspired me to post more regularly. I apologise for such a long wait, so in order to get back on track I‘d like to share my little collection of excellent cartoons that were published in British newspapers over the last year or so, which are much more descriptive than any post on this blog. So, Eastern Europeans in the eyes of British cartoonists:

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‘Santa’s Polish, dad’

©Metro, December 2006

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‘Oh, stop moaning! The poor man’s flown all the way from Poland to treat your septic toe.’

© Mac, Daily Mail, 17 January 2008

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Festivities at the Lithuanian Country Club in Hampshire || Events

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It’s that time of year for Lithuanians in the UK – the celebration of Sekmines. Perhaps one of the main annual events within the community, this get-together traditionally takes place at the Lithuanian Headley Park Country Club ‘Sodyba’ in Sleaford near Bordon, Hampshire.

This long-living tradition of celebrating Sekmines (Pentecost, also called Whitsun) is probably better known among Lithuanians in the UK as the ‘second bank holiday weekend in May’, and provides an excellent chance of reconnecting with our roots, so to speak. If the weather happens to be glorious, the Lithuanian homestead in Hampshire can easily accommodate over 500 guests, enjoying their picnics on its beautiful surroundings.

Continue Reading »