From the Heart #9 – A Change of Direction?


And so we begin week three of unemployment and I am up to 40 lines on my job application spreadsheet. This spreadsheet includes everything – all those positions that I knew I didn’t tick all the boxes for but which I went for anyway, those that I ended up not being able to pursue for other reasons – such as the Teaching Assistant role of a week ago, and those which, on closer investigation ended up being too far away. Yes people, a new gripe to add to the list – providing just a county for the location in job descriptions is NOT helpful. Some counties are bloody big, and whereas some parts would be fine, others are impossible.

Out of those 40 lines there are 10 for which I’ve had no response at all and now don’t expect to – all of these are either for roles with a different title to the one I’ve had for ages, or which are a step down from what I’ve been doing. I understand employers’ reluctance; unfortunately they don’t see it as an opportunity to get someone with more experience behind them for less money, they are worried about investing time and money in someone who may only hang around for a short time. I can’t argue with that.

At least 7 lines are taken up by duplicate jobs where multiple agents have been taken on to try and fill a role and because of that ridiculous ‘client confidentiality’ thingy I refer to so disparagingly in a previous post, it’s not immediately obvious they are in fact the same role. Some of them even advertise different salaries! My ‘interview’ today turned out to be one of these and has therefore been postponed as I would prefer to be represented by Agent Number 2. Sigh.

1 of the 40 is for an interview I’ve got for a role I’ve been told nothing about. That’s a new experience. I have responded to suggest that if they send me a job spec along with details of location and salary I would be more than pleased to confirm if I’d like to proceed or not. Honestly, this again smacks of the whole ‘we are doing you a favour and you must be incredibly grateful for the fact we’ve even contacted you’ ethos I despise. Who knows? The job may be absolutely bloody perfect, but surely it’s just good manners to tell me what it is first? How on earth can I prepare for an interview when I don’t know what the job is?

I’m still waiting to hear from a further 12 – most of these are for jobs with a closing date in the future. The most telling stat of all though, is that out of those 40 lines, there is only one job for which I have applied, been interviewed for, and not been offered. This gives a real indication of the job market at the moment – even getting to interview stage is next to impossible, and this is having had fantastic feedback on my CV and recruiters assuring me that I’d be snapped up quickly with my skills and experience. Hmmm…

Isn’t it funny how sometimes it takes someone to verbalise something for you to realise you always knew it to be true? A bit of a messy sentence but you know what I mean. It took my Cousin pointing out how much more animated and enthusiastic I was when talking about potential roles that have absolutely nothing to do with what I’ve been doing for the last 7 years, to realise that she is absolutely right.

I am absolutely loving the work I’m doing as Intern Editorial Assistant for an online business magazine (for any that don’t know, it’s an unpaid role to gain experience) and as well as loving the work, I’m reading about all these amazing, inspiring, entrepreneurial women. My Cousin is right – it’s changing my perspective. I am still applying for all those jobs that come up for which I’m completely qualified, but only really because I feel I have to. What I really want to do, is something different.

My wonderful new ‘boss’ has offered to write me a LinkedIn recommendation and she is also happy to be a referee, but I still have to find a role that pays enough and isn’t more than 25 miles away. So, I’ve updated my CV a bit, updated my LinkedIn profile, set up some new job alerts (as if I didn’t have enough already) and written some honest, hopefully ‘creative’ covering letters that explain why I want to change direction (this is what got me the Internship in the first place). There are now 4 lines out of my 40 that I’m REALLY interested in and none of them have anything to do with my previous career.

Unfortunately that probably also means that they will get added to the ‘no response’ stats. But I can but try. They are all related to writing, publishing, communications or editing in different capacities – all will mean a pay drop but might just be do-able. The more experience I get though, the greater my chances so in that respect I can’t hate the situation I’ve been landed with. I’d never be doing something I love if it hadn’t happened.

I’ve also started vaguely looking at Franchises today and one in particular that would seem to combine everything I’m most interested in. Perhaps running my own business is the way to go? Don’t they say that’s the only way you’ll ever be rich? I can dream…



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