Monday, 11 May, 2015.
My job hunt began…
…and included one application that was rejected only two hours after I had submitted it.
Despite that very sudden setback, during the next few days I continued applying for jobs online and contacting recruitment agencies.
Thursday, 14 May.
Fortunately, some promising developments had appeared.
First, one recruitment agency lined up a fact-finding interview with a potential client in a week’s time for a possible one-month contract due to start the week after.
Second, the day before I had applied for a job in Sydney – and that day I got a call from their Canberra office, asking if I would be interested in being considered for a full-time position there. I said yes, although I informed them that I could possibly be working for the next month in Sydney. They said fine, and that they would get in touch with me again.
I then spent the next few days preparing for my first interview, which included research, buying my first-ever suit and visiting YouTube to relearn something I was stunned to realise that I hadn’t done in at least 15 years – wearing a necktie.
Finally, the day of the interview arrived – Tuesday, 19 May.
Overall, I had spent several hours preparing for a pleasant-enough interview that went for barely 20 minutes…
…and the next day, I was told by the agency that they decided that someone with more relevant experience would be more suitable.
Meanwhile, back on the morning of Friday the 15th, I rang another recruitment agency to find out more information about another job. I was told that the person I wanted to speak to was busy, but that he would call me back as soon as possible.
But he never would.
And neither would the Canberra office who had called me on Thursday the 14th.
So, at the end of my second week of job-hunting, there had already been some disappointment.
It was far from the end of the world – and based on previous job-hunting experience and what I’d been told at Right Management back in May, I was prepared for these sorts of things happening.
I have to admit, though, that I was quite annoyed by that recruiter I’d called on Friday the 15th who’d never called me back.
So I struck that agency off of my list, and continued looking elsewhere.
On the afternoon of Friday the 22nd, I had another interview at the local Centrelink office regarding my application for unemployment assistance.
Although I’d previously submitted a lot of required paperwork, I had to return in person with enough points of ID to prove my existence – despite having previously supplied them with ID like my passport.
What took place was the worst experience I would have during my job-hunting, where unfortunately I was interviewed by a condescending and unhelpful arsehole who claimed I didn’t have enough points and rudely turned down some ID examples I did supply.
I kept my cool and restricted myself to commenting that I had found this whole process “infuriating” – but at the time, and ever since, and including now as I type this months later, I was furious.
At the time I was far from desperate financial straits, so I didn’t yet need assistance that (as I had been told when this process had begun back in March) I wouldn’t be able to (maybe) get until March 2016…but I was looking for work, and in the future if I hadn’t found work I could need assistance indeed.
But with this rotten face-to-face experience, and previous incidents like ‘phone calls to Centrelink going unanswered and dealing with their cumbersome online system, I was thoroughly fed up with applying for unemployment assistance and have given it little thought ever since.
(Several months later, I would read in the news that not only had there been many recent complaints about Centrelink in general and their online system, in the previous year a staggering 26 million ‘phone calls had gone unanswered)
A couple of hours after that lousy Centrelink interview, I met up with some former work colleagues for dinner.
Because it was great to see them again – I’ve known most of them since the late 1990s – and I wanted to enjoy myself, I didn’t say a word about what I’d just experienced. Thanks to what I’d learned from dealing with my depression, I focused on the now and enjoyed myself indeed.
My former colleagues were all still at my previous employer, and they reported that the situation there was getting grimmer. Redundancies were continuing, unfortunately.
May became June, and the job-hunting continued.
Increasingly, more recruiters were contacting me – and especially via LinkedIn.
There was one amusing incident where two recruiters from the same agency called me within 15 minutes of each other about the same job opportunity – but which I declined because I didn’t have relevant experience. One of those recruiters thanked me for my honesty, though, because recently there had been an embarrassing incident with a candidate who hadn’t been honest about his experience.
There was another opportunity that initially I didn’t think I would be suitable for…but after almost a month of job-hunting, I had now adopted the attitude that the worst that could happen about applying for any job was being told no (or, as I was finding in most cases, getting no response at all). I would be no worse off than I was, and in the future it could even lead to something else (like that Canberra office contacting me).
So I applied for that job, and shortly after I received an email from that company asking me some interesting and challenging questions.
I answered them honestly – and not long after, I was asked to come in to their Chatswood office in north Sydney for an interview.
Wednesday, 17 June.
About an hour or so before my interview, I went to the Chatswood RSL partly to enjoy a increasingly rare delicacy for lunch – bangers and mash – and partly to get ready.
As it turned out, I didn’t get bangers and mash because I wasn’t that hungry and I didn’t want to get too relaxed by one of my all-time favourite comfort foods (instead, I had one or two small packets of potato chips washed down with diet cola).
But I did spend a last half-hour or so doing final research at the company’s website, as well as ensuring in a men’s-room mirror that my suit and tie looked just right.
Finally, I went to the office nearby.
I was interviewed by two members of staff, including the person who had emailed me those questions.
We spoke for up to an hour.
And in all seriousness, and not just because I was very interested in the job, it was a job interview that I liked and would genuinely describe as “pleasant”.
As a result, I became even more interested in wanting to work at this company.
I left feeling very good and hopeful, despite one minor issue.
The next day, both interviewers were heading overseas on business for three weeks and they wouldn’t make their final decision about the job until after they returned.
Again, it wasn’t the end of the world…but I hoped that the next three weeks wouldn’t feel like forever.
And, of course, I hoped that in three weeks’ time there would be some very good news.
The next day or the day after, I got another call from that company to report that I was on a shortlist of three candidates for the job.
On Friday the 19th, I headed down to Wollongong for the weekend to display some of my Lego creations at Brick Fun Day 2015.
Once again I stayed at the City Beach Motel, which had come to my unexpected rescue during a previous stay in Wollongong.
Also once again, Brick Fun Day this year was as fun as it had been last year.
As well, I enjoyed Wollongong itself for two major reasons.
First, since my last stay at the City Beach Motel in 2011, the centre of Wollongong had improved greatly – including the addition of the local outpost of a Mexican-food chain I had recently discovered and become a big fan of in Sydney. I had about half of my weekend’s meals there.
Second, because of my redundancy payout, money was not an issue – not only for being able to indulge when eating out and buying some long-sought Lego I unexpectedly found in a local department store, but also because it made travelling to Brick Fun Day much easier. Instead of a train ride and two long walks each way I would have considered making pre-redundancy to save money, I took $30 taxi-rides both ways.
Because I wasn’t working, I could also afford to stay Sunday night and travel home Monday morning.
During a big breakfast on the way to the railway station, I got yet another call from a Sydney recruiter (although ultimately, again, it would lead nowhere).
June became July, and the job-hunting continued…
…and most of all, of course, there was still the waiting for that particular call or email I hoped would have very good news.
By now, most of my weekdays had been spent mostly at home with almost all of my job-hunting activity in the mornings.
But that routine was getting to me – partly because the recruiters who called mostly did that late in the afternoon, and some afternoons I found myself waiting too much and falling asleep.
So I began changing things.
Mornings now became a long and relaxed easing into each day, and job-hunting activities shifted to the afternoon.
As well, I decided to take a break every now and then and do more things like long-walking.
I began to feel much better.
Late afternoon, Monday 13 July.
Shortly before I headed out to dinner, I got an email from the company in Chatswood.
They told me that in the end it had been “VERY close” between myself and another candidate…but “we have decided not to offer you the position” because the other candidate had been more suitable.
Yet again, it was not the end of the world…but this time thus far, it had felt the most disappointing.
Back in March at Right Management, my fellow job-seekers and I had been told that these days it took an average of six months to find a job in Australia.
I had been job-hunting for almost three months.
I wasn’t getting angry or upset or hugely dispirited, only disappointed every now and then.
There had been a few big purchases thus far, like my suit and new shoes and related accessories, and a new iPad, but otherwise my spending wasn’t excessive and there was still a lot of my redundancy money left.
My main concern at this time was that it would be a shame if it took me a long time to find a job and most or all of my money being gone by then.
I was keeping calm and carrying on.
Fortunately, as I mentioned at the end of my last post in this series, a 9 July ‘phone call with a recruiter in Canberra would eventually have major consequences – and how.
But that’s another story for the next post in this series.
Until next time, stay well and take care 🙂