Out of the wilderness
My eight-month period of unemployment is about to come to an end – I start my new job tomorrow. I had plans in mind for a new career when I left my previous job in April, but didn’t really carry them through.
Even so, looking for another job in programming has been hard. The shortcomings of my skill set didn’t help – too much experience with outdated skills that are not much in demand, not enough experience with the flavours of the month. I applied for a few jobs as a C# developer hoping that my limited exposure to .NET technologies over the last few years might carry me through, but found out that I knew a lot less than I thought. Much of my recent experience is with Oracle – I would have applied for more jobs in that field if there had been any.
I had an interview for a job in the City back in May, and thought I did quite well, but never heard anything back from either the employer or the agency. Dealing with employment agencies has been one of the major frustrations – I got regular calls from agencies who found my CV on one of the job sites, but never heard from them again. A couple of jobs I went for required me to take a technical test – I never got the results from those. In all, before my successful interview I had three on-site interviews and I think four phone interviews – most of them were painful experiences.
December was a bit of a washout for job leads, and I was going to give up until the new year. Then a couple of weeks ago I looked at a local job site on the off-chance, and spotted a vacancy that looked like a good possibility. I put in my application, and was brought in for interview a few days later. I had to sit a technical test first, in which I apparently did very well, and then amazingly the interview went smoothly. I was offered the job next day. I could hardly have picked a better location – in the centre of Southend, an easy drive or bus ride away. After seven years of being stuck out on an industrial estate in Basildon, it is going to be a revelation to be able to step out of the office at lunchtime straight into the High Street!
So what have I been doing during the eight months of leisure time? I managed to largely complete a decluttering exercise on my house. I recorded some music of my own for the first time in twenty years. I’ve been teaching myself some web design skills, and have just about completed a rewrite of my ancient “Socca Stats” system as a web application. I’ve had more time for reading and watching TV, but I’ve done more of the former than the latter. I’ve enjoyed being able to sleep for 6-7 hours per night and thus stay awake during the evenings as a result – this is one thing I want to keep going.
There is no doubt that I am ready to return to work, though. It’s nice to have unlimited freedom, but ultimately some discipline is needed to balance against it. Freedom is still there, it’s just a case of making the most of evenings and weekends.