On the way
Job hunting has certainly been an eye opener. In my life pre travel I was an executive assistant, a blooming good one too, I’ve worked for Chairman level bosses for over ten years with a good few years of board level experience before that. Once in a meeting for one of several companies my last boss was Chairman of, the discussion came to the pay for a chief operating officer, at several tens of thousands of pounds less than I was earning at the time, my boss looked at me pointedly, I smiled Mona Lisa-esque and continued with the minute taking. If you know anything of an EA you know a good one is worth their weight in gold. It’s not the hardest job in the world, if you are a problem solver and a firefighter, faultlessly organised, can juggle a million and five things at once and prioritise on the go, if you can go from speaking with the cleaner to the head of a multi billion dollar company with the same level of respect and administration makes you smile rather than cringe, not hard at all. Maybe we’re not rocket scientists but an EA doing their job well means that the rocket scientist can do theirs even better.
When we came back to the UK we knew we did not want to return to London, a city after so much freedom would have felt like a prison. And having decided that we would very much like to return to Asia one day with enough money to start something of our own, saving money is our priority and returning to live in London would cause the very opposite of that to happen. My Ma, now widowed, has a big enough house, which we are currently living rent free in, now many of you may not wish to live with your parents, let alone your parents in law (JHubz amongst them) but I missed her, she can be a pain in the butt for sure (the best people always are), but she’s my pain in the butt and while we can live here at little to no cost and no harm to our psyches that is what we are happy to do. When we move out, rent is more affordable locally and we stand a good chance of being surrounded by fields, something that is making the absence of an ocean more bearable.
When I started looking at jobs I knew I would prefer to work locally but was also more than willing to commute to London for the right role, (while I didn’t fancy three to four hours commuting a day, the thought of the amount of books I would be able to read in a month was pretty enticing) with that in mind I registered with recruitment agencies both locally and in London.
The cost of travel into London (even without the additional spending which would no doubt occur while commuting, a little pain au chocolat here, a hot chocolate there) meant I could look for jobs locally at a considerably lower salary than in Central London and still be quids – which was a good thing really as the salaries out here are a LOT lower than in London.
I knew that an almost two year break to travel on my CV wasn’t going to be such a charm but also that my Father’s death as a precipitating factor made it more understandable and that my years of experience and excellent references stood me in good stead.
London agencies began telling me about juicy roles and how excited they were to have me on board while the local ones remained oblivious. One local agency repeatedly advertised really interesting looking roles at exactly the right salary yet ignored my applications for SIX WEEKS, until the day after I accepted my new role, jerks! Another contacted me very excited about a role, planned and had a skype call with me, yes yes he was sending my CV off for the role right away AND I NEVER HEARD FROM HIM AGAIN, jerk.
As my desire to avoid a long commute grew so did my resignation to having one, until just over a month ago when I saw an advert on one of the many jobsites I was frequenting. It took me very little deciphering to figure out who the principal was, that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity and the potential to be the most incredible role I would ever have, oh yeah I wanted it. Having received my application the agency handling the role (a London based one OF COURSE) called me in to register and agreed I was perfect for the role, four interviews with a variety of people later, the principal agreed, PHEW.
It would have been easy in the last few months to lose heart, I had naively thought it would be so much easier to find work; I have both excellent experience and references. There were notable exceptions not least the agency that placed me and another senior London based agency, who were excellent, inclusive and communicative but on the whole I found the lack of communication and care from the agencies mind-blowing, promised call backs never materialising, feedback never given.
Tomorrow a new era begins, not the one maybe we thought we’d be starting just now but an equally exciting one nonetheless. I’m all about living the dream but I’m also a grown up, ha! It’s okay to want everything now, a little unrealistic but okay. It’s also okay to enjoy the steps that bring you closer to your goal Xx