Not a moment too soon
02.07.2013 - 19.07.2013 30 °C
My days of unemployment are officially numbered. They number 3 more to be exact. Which is very exciting and worthy of celebration for lots of reasons, but the chief one right now is that my new workplace has airconditioning, and my house does not.
Don’t get me wrong, fun-employment in mid-summer London has its perks. The last few weeks have seen plenty of picnics in the parks, sunbathing, various outdoor big screens and large pitchers of Pimms. However London has now transitioned from best-run-of-summer-weather-anyone-can-remember to its-officially-a-heatwave-we-all-might-die. Which means, actually, we’ve had 5 days in a row where the temperature has been at least 5 degrees above the average. Whatever. It’s hot. In a way that other cities I’ve lived in don’t get hot. A sunny day in Auckland is great until about 2pm when the cumulus clouds start piling up, the sea-breeze kicks in, and there an even chance of a late afternoon thunderstorm. Not here. It’s clear, calm and stifling all day long.
Which is nice in San Diego. In London, the streets are narrow and crowded; the buildings are old and designed to be warm in winter, not cool in summer; and most of the infrastructure (including the sewers) was built in Victorian times and has changed little since. All of which adds up to the experience being not quite as pleasant as you might imagine. If you believe the headlines, the central line was hotter and more humid than Bali this week. I believe it. I was there, and it was more like a well-dressed mosh pit at a rave deep inside a volcano. If I’d had to endure the sheep-pen crush of rush hour tube travel in these conditions more than once, I might have quit a job rather than accepted one.
As it is, I’m extremely lucky to have landed a job within easy walking distance of our place, and that walk is a pleasant riverside stroll the whole way. Kayleigh mentioned in the last blog that slow and steady wins the race, and it turns out she was right, despite me doubting the strategy a few times in the last few months. The London job market is a strange beast which has taken me a while to learn to tackle. After many years of skipping happily from one pre-arranged job to the next, it was a steep learning curve for me. The sheer scale of the job market here is mind-blowing and there are far more interesting, well-paid roles than I could ever apply for even if I was spending my entire day on the hunt (which I seldom was).
Unfortunately there are even more well-qualified candidates than there are roles, so getting noticed is a big challenge, even when you know you’d be perfect for the job. There were certainly moments of extreme frustration and anger along the way. Ultimately however, persistence has paid off and I’ve been offered exactly the type of role I wanted, with a great company full of fun, motivated people.
I won’t go into lots of detail here about strategies for finding work. Everyone has plenty of advice to offer, some of it is useful, and some is just barely disguised pity. If you want to know what worked for me send me a private message and I’ll be happy to share some tips. Mostly I just wanted to say that I’m glad I jumped in the deep end. I never would have mustered the determination to secure the job I have now if I’d been sitting comfortably in another job and trying my luck occasionally. In the last few months I learnt more about myself, my talents, and what I want to achieve that I have since basic military training 14 years ago.
To me, all forms of adventure are just ways of learning about yourself. Climbing mountains and sailing oceans are great ways to initiate the learning process. So is quitting your job and moving to the other side of the world on a whim. Everyone should do it. Oh, and if you do, Canada makes a great stopover!