Thursday, November 17, 2011


After quite a few interviews and ultimately no success, I'm unsure how to feel about it. I am doing something wrong or not trying hard enough? Or is it just that given the state of the labour market and public sector funds, competition is strong at the moment? There are many applicants with UK experience, giving them more technical knowledge of policies and curricula, not to mention fluency with jargon. They can talk the talk. It's easier for them to answer the classic interview question "what would you do if...?"

I was even turned down for a tele-fundraising job last week, having got through the initial phone manner test with flying colours. What did I say in the formal interview that put them off?

Time to get some experience. Unpaid work seems to be all the rage these days. I'm already volunteering at the Citizens Advice Bureau but since I'm looking for work, have irregular interviews, meetings and other "stuff to do" it's impossible to make enough of a commitment for them to train me. So I sit, observe, try to make myself useful and get what I can out of the experience. But watching others working, with little more than filing to do yourself isn't great for the self esteem - if you're only doing the filing isn't it because that's all you're good for?

So, in addition to this, I'm going to do a day a week at the local junior school. Hopefully this will make the difference next time a TA job comes up. With Rosey's visa application - for which she needs a means of support - imminent, I certainly hope so.


  1. Toby, may I suggest PGCE. Take the financial hit, but you'll be earning good money within 1 year. Maybe now is the time to think more creatively. It worked for me. Paul

  2. I understand what you're experiencing. When I returned from my five-year stint abroad I found the job search much more challenging than I had feared it would be. It seemed easy to get interviews but nearly impossible to get offered a position. Employers seemed to view my time abroad with skepticism. I even applied for work through a temp agency but didn't make it past the screening interview conducted by the agency itself. I was asked why, at my age, I hadn't yet chosen a career or acquired marketable skills. My reaction to all of this was anger and frustration and a deep sense of humiliation. I eventually found work but not the sort I had imagined for myself. I wasn't expecting much but I expected more than a job in a call center. This was the real reason why I returned to school. I had never ruled out the possibility of returning to school but I did hope that I would end up with a reasonably decent job and wouldn't need to. I'm glad I'm back in school and am confident that with a graduate degree and internship experience I should be much more marketable when I graduate. At worst, I'll manage the call center instead of having to actually take calls.

  3. I believe volunteering (esp with an organization you are passionate about) is an excellent way to get a foot in or just see where things go. Time spent abroad, second career, going back to work after being home with the kids (me) or just starting out - there are so many in your shoes. For me, I skipped off the corporate fast track 10 yrs ago when I embarked on my adventure abroad, and not one regret. It has had the biggest influence on what I've become. But...came to truly believe that statement now after 8 yrs of settling back home. We had at least 4 or 5 rough ones. for some, it takes time. best of luck.


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