Tuesday, 7 April 2009


"When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn."
~Harriet Beecher Stowe

Yesterday was a hard day. It started off by driving Raya to the tube station so she could catch her flight back to Minneapolis. I am going to be seeing her in May, but it was sad to see her go. Once back home it was time to get back to business and continue looking for jobs. Here's a somewhat funny story......so I have an interview that was set up for Tuesday and I wanted to confirm that it was still on. I sent an email to the person I was meeting with and my email bounced back, I of course became worried that maybe this company had gone under and there wasn't going to be any interview.

The website was down, although there was another site up that I hadn't seen before. I thought that maybe something funny was going on. I haven't ever heard of the company before and times are tough. I guess it's not too far outside the realms of possibility that they could have bit the dust.
I tried to call the phone number on the website, but the number wasn't working. That seemed really strange. Well after some investigative work (calling Matthew) it seemed that I just needed to add a 0 before the number. Ok, simple enough. Crisis adverted. I phoned up and got it sorted out, the meeting was rescheduled for Wednesday.

Alright, here's when my day starts to go down hill. A few months ago I had signed up with a recruitment agency called Blue Skies. I had gone to a D&AD event and met the husband of one of the women who runs the agency. I went in for an interview and there was this great jr role that I was so well suited for. It turns out that I wasn't experienced enough for it and didn't get it. I tried to stay in contact with my consultant, but the communication wasn't really happening.

I then went to the Blue Skies creative workshop and spoke to another person and they said that I should phone them and work with them, so I did. Never heard anything, despite all my messages. So then about a week ago I got an email from another person at Blue Skies telling me that they are taking over my file and we'd be working together. I was asked to send an email letting them know if I was still looking for work, so I did. I called that person up yesterday to see what was going on and to check in. I wanted to let them know that I was trying to get into digital project management roles and that I had just finished up my PRINCE 2 certification. I was then told that there were a few jr project management roles, but I wasn't qualified enough for them. There was also some concern expressed that my last agency experience was back in 2007.

This news just really broke me down. So I don't have enough experience to get a jr role? I have also been trying to get work experience/internships and have been told that I have too much experience to do that. I just didn't see how I was going to win. How do English people get there first jobs? I felt extremely frustrated.

Also, I had applied to work in a sandwich shop last week called Pret. I love Pret and thought that it would a great place to work part time while looking for a "real" job. At the moment they are doing a big hiring so I went down to the recruitment office to fill out an application.

The application was one piece of paper that asked for my name, telephone number, what tube I lived nearest to, my nationality, what hours I was available, if I could legally work in the country and it wanted two sentences about why I wanted to work there and what food service experience did I have?
That was it. I filled it out, handed it back and was told that I would hear back in 7 days. If I didn't hear back than my application hadn't been successful. I figured that all they could really gather from that one page was to what level your English was and if you could spell. Two things that I thought I had in the bag.

I never got a call to come in for an interview. The last day was yesterday and no call. That was pretty depressing and upsetting. Yes it's just a job at a sandwich shop, but you start to feel like shit when you can't even get a job at a sandwich shop. That coupled with the fact that I wasn't experienced enough for a jr role reduced me to tears. I also applied to KFC and wasn't accepted for an interview.....

The tears didn't stop me from keep applying for jobs. I sat there sobbing and still sending out CVs. It makes me so mad. I want to work! I want to get my foot in the door and get out there. I just don't understand why this is so hard. I understand that there is a recession on and maybe I will just have to accept that finding a job is going to be very very hard. I've applied to work as a receptionist, office assistants and so forth. I am willing to scrub toilets at TBWA if it means that I can work my way up. I just can not accept that I won't get a job. I am a smart, creative, hard working person.

Oh dear, so that was yesterday. My fear is that the longer I am out of school, the further away I get from my last internship the less appealing I am going to be as an applicant. In some positive news I am going to be doing some project management work experience for a charity called Sense. That starts up in a few weeks and I am super excited about that and working with Graham, the great guy that I met during my PRINCE 2 training.

Despite all of this I will never give up. I will get something. It's hard when you don't know if how you are going about things is the "right" way or if you are just trying to force a square peg into a round hole. I guess I am not sure where to focus my efforts. I am applying for full time "real" jobs, part time jobs (working in a shop, restaurant) and work experience. To wrap this up, to all you out there who have a network and contacts be appreciative.

I think the hardest thing for me is not having any contacts out here. I spent three and half lovely years at MCAD building a fantastic network. I also want to say thank you to those people back in Minnesota who have offered their help to me while I am in London.
Starting over without contacts is tough, it's not impossible and I've been working like mad to build some up and help others in London when I can. We can't do it alone, so share what and who you know! Now, I am back to the drawing board :)

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