Monday, 23 February 2009
Life In England
I found the previous entry on a message board that I frequently visit. The UK Yankee website has been wonderful. I've often gone to the message boards when I've been feeling a bit uncertain with life in London. It's been really helpful to find other people who are going through the same kinds of things. I met up with a woman last week that I met on the board and other people have sent emails. It's been a fantastic way to feel connected to people and to not feel so alone.
I was having a look through the posts and found the post from Mindy and it really got me thinking. I never planned on living in England. I never thought I would be living in another country. I didn't plan it or think about it ahead of time. It was never a dream of mine or a goal to live in England. I thought that I would have my semester in London and then I would go back to Minneapolis, finish my last semester at MCAD, graduate, find a job and build a professional life there.
If I were living in Minneapolis and decided that I wanted to live in England I just couldn't pack up my things, move over and get a job. I wouldn't have been eligible for a highly skilled migrant worker or a tier one highly skilled worker visa. I don't have the professional experience to get that kind of visa. I could have come over on the Bunac program, but you have to pay for that and you are only able to be in England for six months.
So in some respects adjusting to life here is difficult, but I do love it. I love my husband and I feel very lucky to be able to live here. I am fortunate that I will be able to travel through Europe and see things that I would have most likely never have seen if I had not been living here. I also feel like I am really finding out what I am made of. There have been so many changes this past year and a half and I faced things that I never thought I would. Has it been easy? No, but definitely worth it.
The biggest challenge that I have been facing is looking for a job. I feel like I don't know what in the heck I am doing with my life and it's not a good feeling. I was so excited to get my first "real" job after college and although I can't say with complete certainty I was pretty sure that I could have found one. It's not a good feeling to not be able to get a job. I've gone on interviews and networked and sent out my CV and nothing has come through.
I can't tell if it's the economy, or if it's because I am American, or people don't understand my experience and it makes me crazy. The interviews I have been on have been interesting and I have the feeling that I am not coming across very well. The longer I look the less qualified I feel to do anything. I just graduated from MCAD, so I am a recent graduate, but I also have had some significant work experience. I am also older than the typical recent graduates so I come across as more mature. I have also been told that it's hard to put my American experience into a London context. That means I have to sell myself that much more.
I was also thinking that maybe I won't be able to find a job given the recent conditions and that I will have to get a job working as a nanny or in a shop. I don't want to give up on the hopes of finding a job that I want, although maybe it's just not going to work out that way. Do I want to work in a shop or as a nanny? No, to be honest I don't. I want a job where I can put the skills that I gained during four years of college. I am willing to do whatever it takes to get working. I have applied to work in shops and at grocery stores, but have been rejected from those as well.
I am at the point where I feel like I might have to accept that I won't be able to find a professional job, but I just don't know. I have been officially looking for work since October 11th, 2008. I took some time off during Christmas and for a short trip back to Minneapolis, so I have been looking for about three months. Before that I had been working part time as a nanny while finishing my MCAD degree online. That ended in August and it just feels like it's been ages since I've been working. I hate it.
I think I hate feeling like I don't know what's going on. I am not sure if I am applying for jobs at the appropriate experience level or where to look anymore. I have asked people for help and they have been wonderful with giving me feedback. I am just not sure what I should expect. If I knew that I would mostly not be able to find a job than I could accept that and get on with it, but at some level I think that I should able to get a job here in London. I don't know, maybe it's very hard for an American to find a job here? The not knowing is the hardest part and I am taking steps to get help trying to figure it out.
I am working on shifting my expectations and trying to seek out answers from people. I will never give up.
Posted by Rhea O'Connor at 15:51