#BEDM - 12th: Walk to Work Week and the arduous task of job hunting

Today is the start of Walk to Work Week.  If I did anything other than walk to work I'd find it odd, considering I work from home.  My morning routine consists of getting up, having my first cup of tea of the day and a bowl of cereal or porridge, whilst I do a bit of reading and watch the news.  Then I have a shower, get dressed, and walk to my dining room where I start work.

Work for me at the moment consists of working on my corrections.  As I wrote in March, I passed my PhD viva and am now hunting for that permanent, full time job.  In the meantime, I am working on the suggestions made to me by my examiners, and scouring the internet for job vacancies.

I'm definitely keeping an open mind when it comes to applying for jobs.  I live in Sussex and ideally would like a job relatively nearby (does anyone actually want to have a long commute?) but would happily commute to London if necessary (although that would inevitably eat a large chunk of my salary, think of the reading I could get done!).  I've applied for a whole variety of jobs, and my main issue is that I have a lack of experience.  I'm in my late 20s, very well qualified, but lacking in practical experience.  I've also never paid tax.  Well, I have, but I claimed it back as I didn't earn enough in that tax year to take me over my threshold.  My PhD funding was all tax-free and I think it's about time I gave back to society!  I have had one interview for a job that sounded genuinely interesting, and I met all the criteria on the person specification but I didn't get it - the feedback was that I am a 'competent and able researcher' but they were not sure how my 'skills would translate in an office environment'. I think that means they gave it to someone who was more experienced in terms of working in an office?!  Anyway. Must keep going.

The thing that is frustrating me the most is not having an income.  I have never had a particularly lavish lifestyle, but money is freedom.  Right now I am finding it hard to arrange, for example, meeting up with friends as I have to factor in travel and accommodation costs, plus food etc. Whilst that may not really come to a lot of money, it is a lot when you don't have an income.  I'm not eligible for Job Seeker's Allowance (JSA) as I live with my boyfriend and his salary is high enough that it apparently can cover the living costs of two people.  When I queried this in the job centre, pointing out I'm seeking a job, and this allowance is to help those who are job seeking the lady was very polite and said that's just the way it worked, I can show I'm in a committed relationship and his salary is enough to look after me.  "But don't worry, you'll have a well-paying job before too long." Yes, hopefully I will, but that doesn't help now.  I like being able to plan things, think about the future, or just spontaneously go out for dinner, but I don't have the freedom to do that, as I don't know how long I have to make my savings last.

To be fair, I do actually have two jobs coming up, but neither of them is full time or permanent. I'm just about to start invigilating exams at a local secondary school, and then in the summer I have a short contract teaching English at a summer school.  I'm really looking forward to the teaching, as I've worked in a summer school and did enjoy it overall (it did have its ups and downs, but I learned a lot teaching-wise from it, and even more importantly I met one of my closest friends there) and of course the income will be greatly appreciated but I do still need this full time, permanent role!

I'm signed up to multiple job sites, I have emails coming through daily about job vacancies ('Amy! We've found your ideal job! Senior Lecturer in Thai!' or 'Dear Amy, have you thought about becoming a chaplain in the RAF?'  Seriously, what skills have I got on my CV that show I am even the slightest bit qualified to do either of these roles with even the slightest degree of success?!) and when I know my finish date for the summer school I'll register with recruitment agencies - there is little point doing that now as they need to know my availability.  So I am doing my best to find a job, but it's one of those situations where I don't have enough experience to get the sort of jobs I want, but I am over-qualified for other positions, and therefore haven't yet had the opportunity to gain the necessary experience.  Argh!

So in the meantime, I will work on my corrections, invigilate some exams, and teach English to foreign teenagers.  A varied few months are coming up, I feel!  Where will I be in September?!

Any advice about job hunting? Any experiences to share?  Any jobs to offer to me?!


  1. That sounds incredibly frustrating! My brother had the same problem, very qualified but no experience, but cant get the experience without the job etc etc - a viscious circle! I'm sure you will get something and the summer jobs, though only temporary, can only help you fill up that experience pool! Good luck with your search and I am sorry I don't have any advice to share or jobs to give you!
    jenny x

    1. Thank you, I know I'm not alone. Just argh! At least I can show that I've been doing stuff with my time and not just watching day time TV. And yes, temporary jobs are still contributing to my experience!

  2. Ya, I'm in the same boat, I'm searching for a job and also living with my boyfriend. It's really disheartening not having money. Not in the lavish sense but being out food shopping and questioning if everything is essential or not. Or not being able to pick up, say, a magazine as a treat as you don't think you can afford it. I'm hoping something will pull through soon!

    1. Completely agree, whilst obviously I'd love exotic holidays, it's much more about being able to relax with general day to day stuff. Fingers crossed for developments soon!


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