I took a cheap black fountain pen from my pocket and began to write; the letters spilled upon the page, condensing as my thoughts began to drain away. Now, it seems, I’m left knowing nothing, ready to absorb what gleaming lies are ready to be brightly sent abroad.
“….within the plastics trade and the coatings industry, there seems to be a universal hostility to the idea of sticking to polypropylene. Correspondents on DIY websites are also vigorous in their condemnation: for instance Clint Sharp, writing on the diy-forum.net site in June 2006, remarked:-
‘Best advice, find a different base material as polypropylene is a right bugger to paint. Nigh on impossible to adhere to..’
While, on the apriliaforum, a chap called Lucky Dave (in March 2009) unleashed the following:-
‘Forget painting polypropylene, nothing really sticks to it. This is true of all the heat-activated cross linked polymers (polyethylene, high density polypropylene etc). By the same token, you can’t glue these resins worth a damn.’
And on the highly regarded Finishing Magazine website, Freeman Newton declared:-
‘There is NO adhesive for butt joining polyethylene (or polypropylene, for that matter). Were someone to invent a good glue for PE they’d be an immediate billionaire!’
This is mightily depressing for me, since I spent a couple of years during the early nineties looking at PP. By trial and error and some expert guidance from my research supervisors, I discovered that chlorinated PP solutions can be used to facilitate strong adhesive bonding between polyprop and epoxy adhesives. Indeed, if you apply the primer to the substrate and then scrub it with abrasive paper while still wet, you end up with even stronger bonds – almost on a par with the results from chromic acid etching (but without the severe health hazards).
Of course, all this work was anticipated in the mid-seventies by Messrs Lerchenthal and Brenman, who suggested that the process works by generating free radicals which cause covalent bonding between primer and polymer surface.
I don’t know if this is true, but from the results of hundreds of lab experiments I am confident that PP can be bonded using structural adhesives. However, many people in the coatings industry have been assured that such bonding is impossible, and they are keen to display their knowledge by repeating this mantra whenever possible.
We shall see…….”
Well, I’m getting fed up with this Job-Hunting lark. At least it’s not like the old days, when you had to write out an application letter and type a CV – or, if you were extremely lucky, print off a copy from a WordPerfect file stored on a three-and-a-half inch floppy. And then put these in an envelope and lick a stamp and rush down to the postbox before six o’clock.
Nowadays, we need only call up a saved letter document and tweak it slightly to match the job description, then paste this into an e-mail message and attach a CV.
But even so, there are problems: many of the companies and recruitment agents have websites which require personal log-in details before allowing an application to proceed, so you have to remember the correct username and password combination for each one. Simple when you have a single e-mail address; but when you have to remember separate passwords for Universal Jobmatch and Monster and Indeed and Totaljobs and New Scientist and Linkedin and Manchester University (and Salford University and Huddersfield University and Manchester Metropolitan University and Salford City College and University Technology College) and Trovit Jobs and Morgan Ryder and Hudson Shribman and Fish4jobs and CV Library and Mycounciljobs and NHS Careers and Randstad and Xpat jobs and Listgrove and Manpower and Blue Arrow and Reed and Kelly and Intek and Scantec and Qualtech, well, it all becomes a bit much.
For ease of processing, the recruitment agencies employ computer spreadsheets into which they load all the details for each candidate; and every job advert now calls for candidates who hold “at least an Upper Second degree”. So any unfortunate persons like myself, who managed to get a lower-second, are automatically rejected from every application. One enterprising advert specified that applicants should hold “…a good degree, at least Upper Second, from a redbrick or plateglass University” which is a polite way of saying ‘no ex-Polytechnics please’.
The job adverts aren’t really that helpful; when a post calls for “Higher Level Degree or A-Levels”, how does one decide whether or not the job is right for them? The same advert specified “Excellent understanding of chemical formulations” and “Good knowledge of advanced mathematics”. It seems that HR managers are caught up in an arms race, with superlatives being generously sprinkled over every advert. Everything is excellent. You never see a school proclaiming that its facilities are average, but it stands to reason that half of them must be below average, and the current standard level of attainment is a clutch of five GCSE passes at grade ‘C’ or above. One of my local schools only managed to get 60 percent of its pupils to this level; instead of keeping quiet about the fact, they announced it on a huge printed banner with the slogan ‘Congratulations to Class of 2016 – Fantastic Exam Results!’ The children deserve recognition for their hard work, but this degree of excitement is hardly justified.
Meanwhile, during my recent career-guidance workshops (basic remedial maths and English) I heard one of my colleagues remark that they had attended only three job interviews, and that finding work was mainly a process of exploiting personal friendships to secure employment. So |I peered into my pocket diary, and found references to ten different job interviews: Univar, UTC, Linemark, Americhem, Solvay, DWP, Tetrosyl, Salford City College, Air Products, Sterling Lloyd and some place in Salford where I was presented with a copy of my CV, all the errors neatly underlined.