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The Pursuit of Employment

№281 ~8 minutes

In which I talk about the experience of suddenly finding myself hunting for another job and all of its vices.

A part of my, our, world collapsed last February.

In an M. Night Shyamalan twist I suddenly found myself without a job.

Fear, anxiety and all those other voices we all have in our heads clawed their way up from deep within the dark crevices of my subconscious.

As I started making plans I did my best to keep the voices of doubt—who sounds strangely like Gollum—at bay. We likes it here. We’ll never go away.

I told Rebecka the bad news who, as you already know, had bad news of her own. I jokingly knocked on our wooden table as I said, “Well this can’t get any worse.” Just you wait, it can always get worser.

Thankfully, for a change, it actually didn’t.

Making a plan

To not sink with the proverbial ship, we needed a plan. Sinking isn’t so bad, it’s the drowning that’ll kill you.

I called all of our utility suppliers to let them know our situation and that any unpaid bills would be delayed by a month. But that I would inform them as soon as our situation changed. It’s never going to change, you’re fucked. So fucked.

We looked at our recurring spendings trying to find which ones we could cut out. Don’t you dare take our precious spendings. Filthy human.

We went into frugal mode again, something we’ve done in the past for varying reasons, thinking about what provisions and dishes are cheap but not shit. ♫ ♪ You’re gonna starve to death, you’re gonna starve to death, you’re gonna starve to death.

The plan was to be able to make next month’s rent even if we didn’t have any more money coming in this month. And there won’t be any money every again.

The hunt is on

I thrive in routines and I knew I needed to keep one despite having no one to push me. Rebecka is awesome and supportive, but pushy, she isn’t and she shouldn’t have to be. We’ll distract you at every turn. Pushing and prodding at your weak spots.

Recent requests to provide consultancy services meant I also found myself making my own job, in addition to looking for a one. I’ll go into more detail about the consultancy business when the ideas are a little more concrete. You? A filthy business owner? A few years ago you could barely hold on to money from month to month.

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. Thomas Edison

I decided to spend the mornings building my consultancy business and the afternoons hunting for jobs. It will never work. You’ll never work.

If either of these got sidetracked by each other, e.g. a job lead came in first thing in the morning, then I would just switch them around rather than getting hung up on procedures. After all, they’re my procedures to ignore. Ignore them, ignore them all.

I would keep my lunch hour and have a healthy snack on either side of the lunch, as I had been doing before. All that hard work and exercise will be gone in a month. You’ll wither away.

Never being good enough

I always forget how much I hate updating my CV, until I’m actually updating my CV.

Somehow the very act of trying to emphasise all the good things about myself makes me question every single one of them.

“Am I really? No, I probably shouldn’t put that there, I’ve only done it for a year. Mmm, I’m not too sure about that, I’ve only spoken about it a couple of times.”

A magnifying glass aimed at a newspaper's job section.
Lesson #1 when applying for jobs, spell, “Atention to details," correctly. Misspelt intentionally here.

And at the same time as I’m filled with this growing monster of self-loathing, another voice from deeper still—or not as deep, I can’t be sure—tells me, “Sssh, you’re awesome and any employer would be lucky to have you. Also look at you, you’re gorgeous!” You’re ugly and shit and no one wants to hire you. You jobless, worthless piece of—

—Sometimes the voices cancel each other out.

If there’s a single advice I would give, it’s this; Write a CV for the job you want, not the job you have—but don’t lie. Oh, handing out advise now? As if you know what you’re talking about.

I also did what I imagine most people in my industry do nowadays and update my LinkedIn profile—which is about as fun as you could imagine. We love draining you of your will to live.

I did something completely new, at least to me, which was to tweet about my situation, something I did from the moment it happened.

And that was my plan. Find companies who were looking for someone or a company I would like to work with and send them an email. That they’ll ignore or print out to laugh at.

Rather than copy-pasting a cookie cutter email I always aimed to write each email to the company and their specific job ad. But I’ll admit that on more tired days I would send something which had been reworded very little. Such little rewords, it’s as if you didn’t write anything at all.

Rinse and repeat. Rinse and repeat, rinse and repeat ‘til death set you free.

As excepted, sending emails comes with varying degrees of success. We told you, no one wants you.

LinkedIn on the other hand is a great place if you want to be attacked by the land sharks that are recruitment agencies. Messages with the footnote that, “If this isn’t suitable for you, then could you send it to someone who is?”

I don’t know about you, but to me that sounds awfully a lot like you’re asking me to do your job for you. Without paying you, it’s really quite beautiful isn’t it?

I was quite surprised when Twitter easily had the most qualitative results. From only a few tweets—I tried not to spam people—I got approached by amongst other Shopify and the BBC.

And after interviews here and interviews there, a few of which were with Shopify, I have decided to join the enthusiastic team at Studio 24 in Cambridge.

Studio 24 is an award-winning web design and development agency based in Cambridge. As a full-service digital agency, Studio 24 offer a complete range of creative, technical and search marketing services.

And just like that, the voices dissipate. For now.

The next exciting chapter

Thank you to all of you and your kind and supportive words. That includes you dear reader, yes you, right there. Thank you.

I’m sorry we’ve been a little unreachable lately but we’ve just needed to focus our energy and time on getting through this.

A truly heartfelt thank you to everyone who retweeted my tweets. There aren’t enough words to tell you how much I appreciate people bringing me to the attention of potential employers.

A big, individual thank you to;

Adrian Trif (@aditrif), Alex Blackman (@Blackman_Alex), Andrew Hudson (@bigandy), Andy Holmes (@andyjh07), Andy Howell (@spacebeers), Benjamin Horn (@benjhorn), Bruno Skvorc (@bitfalls), Chris Allwood (@_cdja), Dan Jackson (@beesman), Dan Steele (@dan_of_steele), David Darnes (@DavidDarnes), Electric Palace (@Electric_palace), Exceptional Indiv (@exceptional_Ind), Georgina  Stockdale (@G_Stockdale), Harley Quin ن ! (@mayathekittie), Jamie Knight (@JamieKnight), Jo Driscoll (@jojo_disco), Kat Peskett (@katpeskett), Katie (@SciPhiKat), Liam Forsyth (@liamdforsyth), Matt West (@MattAntWest), Nela Dunato (@nelchee), Oliver Wehn (@oliverwehn), Paul Davis (@PaulAdamDavis), Rebecca Foran (@SillyRabbit669), Robert Rawlins (@SirRawlins), Sam Hardacre (@nocturnalmonkey), SouthParkSon (@sonja13), Squiders (@kris_jeary), Stuart Robson (@StuRobson), Sweary McHeadbutt (@whedonworship), Tam (@Tamfoolery), Tatu Tamminen (@_Tx3), TOMMIxᵀᴼᴹᴹᴵˣ (@tommixhelsinki), tychannosaurus (@madeinthearcade), Vanessa Osborne (@osborne_vanessa) and Waldorf Sixpence (@WaldorfSixpence).

And to the one person whose account is protected and out of respect for that I won’t publish their name here but, “Thank you too.”

Some of you, such as Paul Davis and Stuart Robson, even retweeted me more than once. I guess I owe you two hugs—though you can redeem it for one long and awkward hug instead.

I really meant it when I said I would trade hugs for retweets. I owe all of you a hug—except Jo, my former colleague, who opted out—and whenever you see me, at a conference or elsewhere, feel free to redeem my sign of appreciation.

And whilst words can’t begin to describe how grateful I am, here’s 1500+ words were I tried.

Thank you.

Dante’s Tenth Circle: Commuting

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