Niall’s virtual diary archives – March 2003

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4th March 2003

Naive optimism

26th March 2003

Reality sets in

Tuesday 4th March 2003:5.42pm. Well well, I am now most definitely in the UK permanently! The final move from Madrid actually went quite well - lots more boxes got lugged down to the post office, and I still bear the bruises. I also scrubbed and cleaned most of my flat so at least it was presentable, though the fridge was a bit funky.

While it's been sad to leave, as I remember predicting to a Spanish friend of mine who asked, I have been fully occupied with finding a job. When I can't be finding a job, I tend to be extremely bored, an emotion I haven't felt in well, a very very long time. So most unfortunately last weekend I went and drank lots of whiskey to make the boredom go away - and thus making Monday quite a painful day!

However, today goes much better. Y'know, people say there's no contract IT work in the UK, but the more jobs listings I peruse the more I think that's not true. I must have applied for at least fifteen to twenty jobs now in two days of looking, and I am being quite conservative in terms of only applying for jobs I could do and not learn very quickly indeed . AFAICS, there's shit loads of them, and my skill set is pretty limited!

Anyway, I figure I'll write up my experiences into an article and publish it maybe on or something. See if I can shortcut the process for a few people. That site could do with updating anyway!

Right, that's that I suppose. If/when I get a job, I'll let you know here. The interviews, if any, should surely begin in the next week. My only great difficulty for the foreseeable future is somewhere to live - I do not wish to impinge further upon my aunt, and the room I saw last night at 380 quid per month would eat up nearly half my current finances with no guarantee of further finances any time soon. So it looks like snatching periods on sofas of friends which was always something I knew was likely to happen, but nevertheless it's uncomfortable and inconvenient. OTOH, I'll be easily up in time for work each morning!

Be happy ...

Wednesday 26th March 2003: 4.10pm. Three and a half weeks into job-finding and well, not much luck so far - in fact, not even a single interview. There have clearly been some errors in my strategy but I think since last week it's been as good as I can make it. In fact, I published an article about the shitty IT contract market last week, and the feedback was voluminous. I've made copies of the bulletin board response and once access to my main computer is restored, I'll put all that online.

Since late last week, I lowered my sights completely and began to apply for all work from Guildford to Cambridge and for all pay quantities (even as low as 17k in central London, which my maths say is barely possible to live off). While responses from agencies have increased to maybe two or three per day, there still have not been any interviews. Having run some sums, I can continue here until around the 19th April on present finances, which means a decision to return home to Ireland is looming. If it were to be decided this way, I'd stop actively looking for work around the 12th April and start concerning myself with moving all my stuff back to Cork.

Obviously, I'd need a loan from my father for an unspecified period for this and I'll be talking to him tonight about it. If I were to return to Cork, I might as well make it for a couple of years and get on with my project, possibly doing little bits of contract work in between. Not having a driving licence means I'd effectively be stuck at home with no internet for that period. Fun.

Still, I don't see much choice. I have applied for over sixty jobs in three weeks, something which has taken me two to three hours per day to do. And if from all of those I cannot even get an interview, then it is clear that in the current market I am unemployable. I think agencies and HR departments view my CV with suspicion because it appears to them I have been unemployed for a year and they probably discount all my pre-Madrid experience as summer jobs too. This leaves me as an Irish new graduate with a pass degree from a non-top-10 uni whose sole full-time experience is in a foreign country and even that was only sixteen months. And oh - there aren't any references from this sole full-time employer. Viewed this way, my CV is pathetic and thus I quickly drop to the bottom of a list when 150 candidates are applying for each job .

Anyway, still a few more weeks to go so let's hope I strike lucky! Hope you're all well, be happy!

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