I knew that there would be a bit of a difficult period settling in to my new life in Britain, but it is amazing how things that I thought would affect me are not, and things I thought would be straightforward are more complicated than I would ever be able to imagine. In this post, I am going to touch on a few issues I have had, so far, settling into my new life.
I was a bit cocky with this one, I have to admit. I had had recent success at finding jobs in Toronto, right before I left, and I assumed that I had reached a point in my career where I was interesting to recruiters and firms. I then (naively) assumed that this would be the case all over the world. So I came to Huddersfield, settled in and then “cold called” many architecture firms in Leeds and Manchester. I got a few replies, but they were all negative, saying that they found my resume very interested, but because of the present economic times, they could not take on more staff, although they needed it.
This gave me hope, so when I started applying to advertised jobs through Monster, Reed, Total Jobs and other similar online job search engines, I felt that it was only a matter of time. And when I say “Matter of time”, I thought maybe a max of a month or a month and a half before I got a call. Yay, I got one call almost immediately and then never heard from them again. My phone has been ominously quiet and my email inbox has acquired a family of crickets who serenade me nightly.
It has not been that long, but it is making me very, very nervous. It is completely reminding me of when I first graduated from Interior Design and could not find a job anywhere although I woke up every morning and sent out resumes. We had even bought a fax machine and faxed resumes out daily at that time! No – that is not how I would advise one to look for jobs.
I have since changed my approach and tend to reply to advertised jobs, as well as to target specific firms that suit my interests (a much better way of job hunting while keeping control of your career). The problem I am facing these days is one I’ve never faced before and am not sure how to mentally process it. There are no jobs to apply to! Okay, I re-iterate. There are no jobs, in my field, at my level in West Yorkshire to apply to.
I applied to jobs before I left for my vacation to Trinidad…and then I came back all fired up to apply to new jobs being advertised…and there were…maybe four. That’s right. In about two weeks, there were only four jobs that I could apply to in West Yorkshire that suited my qualifications…and yes, I’ve considered taking a pay cut – just that there is a limit to how much. I am NOT going to re-start my career at Graduate pay again -not after almost 8 years of upping that amount! It’s more than six thousand pounds a year less than I require.
So I have been wondering if to look in the London area, after all, there are so many jobs being advertised there! The only problem, is that in order to do that, I’ll have to rent a room down there and live apart from the Luv Luv again. Yes, he can transfer to a school in London, but ideally, for him, staying at the school here is the best thing….whereas all the jobs that I seem to qualify for are in the London area! At the same time, the Masters programs that I want to pursue are also in London….so it seems that I need to be in the Greater London Area for my ideal British professional experience.
I really hope that the next few weeks prove differently from what I’ve found, because summer is coming and summer (at least in Canada) is when construction increases and therefore the jobs in the construction industry become more readily available. Even if it is a contract position, at least I will get British experience!
…and yes, I have considered doing other jobs, even retail or Kitchen Design…but it is hard to accept those types of jobs when I feel I have reached so far beyond. I’m not at this point yet, am I?!
Interestingly enough, I thought this would be the hardest thing to do for me, yet through my blogging, Meet Up, baking forums on
facebook and gluten free forums on facebook, I have met quite a few people both online, and in person! In fact, I have girlfriend dates!!! That’s something that, even though I had girlfriends in Toronto, never happened – not even during the year I was living on my own! That’s not because my girlfriends forgot me, it’s because everyone has kids and/or families and/or responsibilities that made them unable to go out on a schedule I’d love to go out on.
Now, I have girlfriends meeting up for book swaps, tea time chats, theatre, movies and days out at the mall! Are they my best friends
ever? No, I’ve just met them, but it’s such a relief to have female friendships IRL that are actually as active as my friendships in Trinidad used to be. I feel almost like a teen again! Of course, that probably would change a bit when I get my job (cause I will be getting one, right? RIGHT?!).
That being said, there are three ladies in Toronto who I miss terribly….Aeryn from Geek with Style, Kats who moved to Canada with me right after high school and Lucy whose wedding I may have to miss in October because I don’t have a job. These ladies were instrumental in keeping me sane and happy that year I was alone.
Well…money and job sort of go hand in hand. I assumed that I would have a job by now, and therefore, a bit more access to money. I thought I would have updated my wardrobe by now, yet I’m sitting here trying to survive on our tight (and dwindling!) budget seeing the seasons pass by and some awesome shoes/clothing that I’d like to have in my wardrobe come and go. Yes, as many of my friends know, I am a consumer majore, but I actually need shoes that do not leave me with dark blisters on my feet…I need to upgrade my fuddy duddy professional wardrobe to a slightly more stylish professional wardrobe.
This of course also affects my putting together my apartment. If you remember I wrote about my apartment here and here – for a student apartment it is gorgeous, but a bit cold and lacking for storage. I think we’ve managed to tackle the storage parts, but now I’m trying to make the apartment look more and more homey – on a very limited budget
I thought I’d be able to jump into the British blogging world immediately, but as I’ve had proven to me time and time again…these things take time and effort. I have no patience – I never have and probably never will. Hopefully, attending Cybher, Mumsnet Workfest and Blogs Up North conferences in June and July will help me meet with bloggers and brands that I can get along with and work well with.
I’ve found it a bit different, however … for example, I’m sure if you’ve been on Twitter before BlogHer, Blissdom (US or Canada) or ShesConnected, you’ll see lots of Twitter chats on their hashtags and their twitter accounts. Cybher has hardly any chat…neither do the other conferences (at least, not in comparison to the excitement the Canadian and US conferences seem to encourage). I’m a bit at a loss, because I was able to make the contacts online and then smoothly move into offline networking for the conferences I’ve been to in the past.
I’m not a good networker in person unless I have a previous relationship with you – I tend to be bumbly and stumbly and not sure what to say…or I talk too much and inappropriately. Either way I am awkward. And that is scaring me – how am I going to meet bloggers when I have no clue who they are? How do you find the bloggers to target as your colleagues (yes I realize that sounds horrible)? I am no longer on Twitter 24/7 as I used to be when I first started blogging and therefore do not have the twitter relationships I used to have.
Do you have any tips for an anxious, hopelessly awkward person in real life networking situations?!
Trying to Conceive.
We are on month 11 after seriously deciding to try to conceive and there’s still no dice. No I don’t need tips on the actual deed of trying to conceive, but as I mentioned above, patience is not a virtue that I own. A lot of you are going “11 months? That’s nothing! I’ve been trying for years!”, like I got from someone yesterday and felt ashamed….but again, this is something really personal, so even if I was trying for a month and found that frustrating – it is frustrating!
I thought that it was all the stress that was affecting us – maybe we’re still stressed? After all, I’m still “settling” into my British lifestyle. I never felt very stressed over the last year and a half (I say even though I developed anxiety issues and had to go back on pills), so maybe I internalize it. Maybe I’m still stressed?
No, I don’t need to hear “just relax and it’ll happen” or anything to that sort of advice – the fact is that that advice is often given but rarely appreciated.
Anyway, so we have been trying “naturally” for the last year (approx) with no ovulation sticks or medical hoo ha, so we’ve decided to start using a little help from these things. I bought ovulation sticks…next would be basal temperature monitoring (which does not appeal to me) and then doctors….wish me luck – I’d like to be happily pregnant by Christmas!
Dealing with the threat of terrorism on a daily basis
Now, I know it has become an everyday thing for many of you around the world, and I acknowledge the fact that, even in England, the situation is not as bad as say, places in the Middle East, for example, but this is not my reality!
I lived in Trinidad when the country was safe – way before it became second in the world for frequency of kidnapping, way before the murder numbers were above 400 per year (in fact way before it was even 200 I believe!), way before living in South meant planning your trips to POS so that you drove back in the day with other cars around you for safety…way before you truly needed to lock your doors when driving or break red lights (once it was safe) at night to make sure you weren’t mugged. The Trinidad I knew was safe. The precautions were taken, but it would be difficult to find someone who had a direct relationship to someone who was murdered or kidnapped or raped (at least that was know openly). Now, I go home and I’m nervous and I don’t know anyone whose family has not been affected by some sort of crime (including my own)…I have to say because all the precautions we used to take are now necessities….and that scares me.
But it does not scare me more than being in Britain with at least one new terrorist attack somewhere in the country per day. Just the other day Lee Rigby was attacked by two seemingly independent Islamic men and decapitated on the streets of London! He was in the British army, had gone overseas and fought and survived …yet he comes home and is killed in such a gruesome manner?
I have to say I was one of those people who argued that these Islamic terrorists were the few and far in between, but after this and reading articles on similar recent events, my faith that Islam is a good religion and that there are the anomalies that are violent is wavering…and that makes me sad.
Then videos like this make me even sadder – because it shows hate on so many different levels – just around the corner from me!!
Then today, they had to land a plane from Pakistan and bring out the RAF because two islamic men were threatening to hijack the plane?
This constant threat is making me more nervous here, in a first world country, than I have ever been anywhere else – even in Trinidad, on the road, by myself in the current criminally saturated atmosphere of the country. And of course, the media, who always have the power to make or break someone or something…..are going nuts, exacerbating my fear even more. For example, the Huffington Post Canada published this recently.
I thought that I’d be able to live in a country with terrorism threats because it was always from an organized society of some sort, because England is on a terrorist watch and that I would be safe. Instead, I feel threatened and scared – and even though all my career and schooling opportunities see to be in that area of the country, I’m scared to move there just in case, one day I’m walking along and am targeted as a “non-Islamic” lady….what would they do to me then? How many people would be filming my demise instead of trying to help in some way? How many views would that get on you tube?
Sorry….I went off on a little rant there. The point is that I thought that it would be less of my everyday than it has become. I thought I’d be better able to handle it than I have been.
I think that’s all I can complain (:p) about today. It’s amazing how things never seem to go the way I plan or imagine…honestly, I should just stop imagining the future or planning for the future. It has NEVER gone the way I imagined (yes, I’m one of those!).
Do you have any advice for any of these? How do you learn about the job atmosphere in your new home country/town? How do you meet new friends? What are your tips on networking? And okay, okay, what is your advice for trying to conceive? How do you make yourself feel safe?
I’m looking forward to hearing from you!