I do apologise that my posts are constantly out of date. The internet café I now rely on for my web usage costs £1.50 an hour and isn’t exactly up to date in terms of its hardware or software. The seats are falling to pieces and there is no software there more up to date than 2003. So when I wrote my blog posts in Microsoft office 2010, I didn’t realise I’d have to change the file type back to an earlier version.
Rather than try a Windows specific format I went back to the good old .rtf file format which has served me so well in the past. If it’s text you’re interested in, with formatting preserved, it’s the simple things that are the most reliable.
Anyway, as much as to preserve my own sanity as anything else, I wanted to write a brief account of my travels and travails as a jobhunter. I’ve written a couple of posts already, just search for anything with the ‘unemployment’ tag. Rather than give a day to day journal which may be extremely boring to you, I thought it more prudent to give a short summary.
The short story of this week is that I have had 2 interviews this week and might have another 2 next week. The first one was on Tuesday at a technology company about 15-20 miles down the road. It was tucked at the back of an industrial estate and seemed to take quite a long time to walk there, though I did arrive at the train station very early, was in my posh shoes (which aren’t the most comfortable) and was taking in my surroundings as I went. It was actually quite a hot day.
I arrived my customary 6 minutes early for the interview, though the office didn’t seem to have a receptionist. I was buzzed in by an anonymous voice at the other end of the intercom but then I just sat in reception. The clock ticked past the interview time and still no one appeared.
Eventually someone saw me and asked who I was waiting to see. It turned out that both the people who would be conducting the interview were still in a meeting. Once we did get started, the interview lasted an hour (which they were keen to stick to). I thought we got on OK, though I did stumble over a couple of questions. At the time of writing (Sat the 5th) I am waiting to hear back to find out if I’ve made it to the 2nd round.
The other interview was in London on Thursday. I made it up there in good time and had a little wander down the Thames path, as the office overlooked the river. This was a very different role to the others that I had interviewed for (this is now my 7th interview in total) as the role in a very small company replacing a retiring finance director who had been in his role for longer than I’ve been alive! So although the role wasn’t that of a director, some elements had de facto directorial elements to it, such as becoming company secretary. The main downside was that they wanted the role to start on the 1st of July. So even if I got it, I would still be unemployed for a further 2 months.
The interview was quite close to Pimlico so I headed down to the Tate Britain which is a gallery I’ve been to once before and enjoyed immensely. However, it just seemed to lack something this time and I didn’t really have fun there. Even my favourite painting, The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse, had been moved so it was now well above eye-level and the reflection on the glass covering the painting meant you had to stand to one side to view it without reflection from the gallery lights.
So I curtailed my visit and went home, to get ready for our church’s monthly prayer meeting. Whilst changing and having an exceptionally early dinner, I received a text message telling me to check my emails, as someone had sent me another job spec. I nearly jumped out of my chair when I read it, as the company’s office was but a few minutes’ walk from my flat. I checked the job spec to make sure there was nothing on there that would likely hinder me from being able to do the job but, finding nothing, I was in the middle of emailing back to say ‘yes’ when the agent phoned me. We had a brief discussion covering the salient points and agreed my CV was to be put forward for the role.
Anyway, I got the train down to church and made it to the prayer meeting. It’s quite rare that I can make them, as they are always scheduled for the 1st Thursday in the month (the first week of the month is usually the busiest for accountants) and it’s at 8pm which is generally far too early for the average working professional. But as these usual hindrances were now removed, I saw no reason not to go.
Apparently, it was quite a high turnout, though I couldn’t really determine that having very few meetings to compare it to. Amongst the many to things to pray about, my unemployment inevitably came up. Everyone is now expecting a great testimony in a short space of time though I really don’t know when that’ll be. I won’t consider prayers to be answered until I have an employment contract in front of me. Also, unless I have a fully scripted speech in front of me, I’m not great at public speaking. And the size of my church (Sunday mornings have around 120 people plus or minus 20) it’s quite awkward. It would be much better if the audience were top side of 1,000 where it all becomes rather more anonymous.
So then we come to Friday. I had to go to the job centre to sign on. I had prepared my booklet which recorded everything I did to look for work. They used a temporary agreement that I used 6 years ago which said I had to do 3 things per week. My general idea is that I try to do 3 things per day, and that afternoon I certainly did.
On my way to the job centre I got a call from a consultant and he said he had some good news for me, but I had to cut it off short and call him back after my appointment. When I did, it turned out that I had been invited to interview at the place that was very close by. I made another couple of calls later that day with nothing forthcoming, but then the phone rang at about 5:20pm from a consultant in London saying I had an interview on Tuesday! The trouble was he was asking me about when would be a good time to go, suggesting 9:30am. As that would mean travelling to London at peak time, it would be a very expensive train ticket, so I suggested we put it back until at least 11am. He said he’d get back to me and confirm. As I finish writing this post on the afternoon of Monday the 7th, he still hasn’t done so. I did try to phone him back on Friday afternoon about 6:15pm but got no answer. So when he arrives back at his desk on Tuesday, he’ll find in his inbox an email from me telling him that the interview has to be rescheduled. Even if it is booked for 11am, there’s no way it is professional for a recruitment consultant to confirm an interview 2 hours before it takes place. I need to be mentally prepared and I’m not going to get myself psyched up on a purely speculative basis.
So coming into the third week, I have 2 interviews that I’m waiting to hear back on with a potential 2 further 1st round interviews in store. None of these are guarantees and I don’t really foresee this being the last week of unemployment. Even if these are successful, there are still further hurdles to jump. It’s a dark tunnel and if I think I can see a light at the end of it, it often turns out just to be an electric light shining round the corner. But there’s no telling how many corners there are to go and I won’t consider the task done until I can see the sky and the trees, with the tunnel exit fading quickly in the rear view mirror.