Friday, 31 August 2012

This one time I was unemployed.

I thought I should probably provide a bit of a summary of my unemployed life. I know, fun right? I've got to say this one's mainly for me so I can look back and remind myself of what a totally bloody god awful and stressful time it was.

So I ended up unemployed for pretty much bang on 3 months.

I applied for over 20 research jobs - that's all I've got on my uber geeky spreadsheet but not everything went on there, plus you have to remember that the research jobs I am after don't come up very often.

Of those 20 I had 4 bothered to tell me that I hadn't been unsuccessful and 3 invited me to interview, the rest disappeared into the ether never to be heard from again.

The Research Interviews
To be fair, the 1st interview I was invited to was for a charity in Newcastle and they actually did offer me a job. And had I been single I would have gone for it but it was nowhere near enough money to support both me and The Person to move cities. (See - being in a couple isn't all it's cracked up to be!)

The 2nd interview was at Swansea University and was the single most terrifying experience of my life - there was a lunch beforehand where all the candidates met up and it turned out that I was literally the only person without a Phd. Awesome start. And then one of the four people on the interview panel appeared to be playing the role of Simon Cowell that day. That was an insanely long day - I spent a total of 9 hours on trains, travelling down and back there and by the time I came home I was kind of a wreck. I wasn't surprised when I didn't get the job but actually the feedback was very positive - they really liked me but decided to go with someone who had a Phd. I can't really compete with that.

The 3rd interview was down in London. This was a lesson I learned to trust myself. I didn't have a great feeling about this job, didn't really want it but felt pressured into going for it because I felt I couldn't turn the opportunity down. I didn't get good vibes during the interview at all from the people interviewing me and they threw some things in about that job that weren't included in the job description and had they been I wouldn't have applied for it because I didn't have the necessary experience.

The Admin Interviews
Meanwhile the pressure was mounting from the JobCentre Plus to just get an admin job and have done with it. This is an odd policy which makes no sense to me at all. Would it not be better to let me have the time to look for and get the job I want and am qualified for, earning more money and therefore paying more tax? Instead of forcing me to take a job I'm over qualified (which also means I've "stolen" a job from someone probably more suited to the role, much like the Phd people have been "stealing" mine) which means I earn less money so contribute less and don't have the time to look for a better job?

I couldn't even keep count of how many admin jobs I applied for, they didn't make it on to the geeky spreadsheet.

I had 4 interviews for admin jobs though.

One wasn't offered to me because the guy said he knew I wouldn't stay in the job because I was over-qualified. That was hilarious. I lost out to the others on 'not enough experience' grounds.

Then there was the interview for the job I've got now in which my interviewer informed me that over 340 people had applied for the job advertised and they had 4 posts available. And that my friends is the job I'm now in, but that's a tale for another blog post...

In some ways I can't believe it was a whole 3 months I was unemployed for - it feels as if it's passed very quickly although at the time it all seemed to be a long period of forever and a day. I don't know if 3 interviews in 3 months (if we're only counting the jobs I was really after) is good or not. I guess everything has to be looked at on an individual basis taking into account the kinds of jobs applied for etc. I certainly don't know if 3 out of over 20 is good odds. I suspect the JobCentre Plus is pleased that I was on and off their books fairly rapidly but you definitely don't want to get me started on them as a topic.

Funnily enough I'm officially in the phase where I was actually better off claiming JSA and getting some money every other week. I was paid on the 15th of this month for just over 2 weeks work and now have the long, slow, painful wait until the 15th September when I will get a full month's wages. Of course at that point I won't know what to do with'll have to start giving The Person something towards my upkeep. Bollocks.


  1. Ok I will race you with your long and painful wait - let's see what comes first, your pay packet or my baby.

  2. It is interesting to read about other people's experiences in this area. Even getting temp secretarial work (whilst looking for something more permanent) took me a while. And I interviewed for several positions before being offered one (which is a maternity cover for a PA role in an environmental organisation - so a little toe in the door). Who knows what is average though. I had one friend who applied for lots of jobs but got the first one she interviewed for and another friend who was contacted by a company who wanted to hire her.

  3. I think three interview out of twenty applications for decent jobs is really good going, and if you'd been in work while doing so it would have seemed different. I for one was really impressed with your attitude and determination all through your redundancy and unemployment. Hope you manage to find something researchy soon xx

  4. Want to hear more about this new job at some point too! xxx

  5. Yes, we all want to know! Been missing your entries, xxx


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