D+M: new lives and perpetual travel
Trip Start Jun 29, 2005
235Trip End Nov 30, 2009
My profuse apologies for not writing in an age, but it's been a weird few months with plenty of ups and downs and where things have only very recently come good. It's not that I didn't want to write - but apart from news that my sister is going to have a baby (yay!) and the odd weekend away, there just hasn't been much to say...
Regular readers may have picked up on my frustrations with house and job hunting in London a few entries back. Well I'm pleased to say that both of those issues have been resolved, although not quite according to the original script.
First to the housing. After moving through five houses in as many weeks (Angel, Aldgate, Edgware Road, Archway and Highgate) I must admit that I almost went bananas trying to find a home in London. That is until Matty J, an old friend from university days (so, so long ago), visited on his honeymoon for all of half a day. Along with his lovely bride Nicola we visited the Tate Modern before meeting up over a couple of ales with another old uni mate I hadn't seen for nigh on 10 years.
The other old uni mate John happened to have a spare room overlooking the river in a very swanky pad near the shimmering crystal and chromium expanse that is Canary Wharf. A small world indeed. Despite blowing my monthly budget I had soon installed myself there and was basking in the warming glow of a lingering Indian summer in one very comfortable and well appointed ultra-modern flat. I'd done the hard work and was happy to eventually land on my feet...
So at least I had a comfy lounge and plasma screen TV to console me whilst I tore my hair out looking for work.
Because it was late summer and still everyone important enough to make a hiring decision was on holiday. 'These guys usually push things along' most recruitment agents told me before putting me in a two week holding pattern between interview 1 and 2. Aargh. Note to employers - if you advertise a position, at least have someone there to do the interviews. And to the recruiters who ring up saying they will have a suitable position in 6 weeks - some people applying for your jobs actually WANT ONE NOW!
I understand it's a difficult process for everyone involved so I won't get too bitter and twisted over it. The worst part though is the interminable waiting. You apply for half a dozen jobs in the morning and no-one calls all day, but just as you write the whole thing off three agents ring within 5 minutes at 7pm when you've just finished cooking a nice meal. Brilliant.
All's well that ends well though. After three tense interviews I picked up what could end up being a dream job. Succumbing to the temptation of bags of money and great benefits I now work for an American software company building specialist financial applications for investment banks and hedge funds.
Now avid readers might begin scratching their heads at this point. At regular intervals throughout my recent journey I wrote D&M entries bemoaning the IT industry and looking to a destiny of creative poverty at the hands of ruthless publishers and the like, as I followed the dream and tried to move into some form of writing career. For all the talk, hadn't I learnt anything?
Well yes I had - the final months of writing on the road were tough to say the least (some of you even noted that I seemed more than a little jaded). By the end it was dawning on me that such a move might not be all I was hoping it to be.
Then I got to London and realised both how expensive it was and also how difficult it would be to change profession, even with a large downgrade in pay. It was much easier getting tech related interviews with very comfortable salaries than interviews for a dedicated writing role on 60% of the money. I did get past a second interview for one tech writer role, but frankly I wasn't enough of a nerd to reassure them that I wouldn't go crazy after 6 months in a pretty uninspiring job. In the end I also came to the conclusion that if I was writing 8 hours a day, it would be one of the last things I wanted to do in my spare time.
So I did what any person going stir crazy in my situation would do - I accepted the lucrative option. Going further off script with every step, I took the chance to work on-site in Edinburgh, Scotland (back to my roots) for the next 6-9 months as well as two weeks training in New York City and the potential for future travels to Europe, the Middle East and Asia to install the system for banking clients there - all expenses paid. Judging by my recent London tube and house experiences I would have been loopy not to...
Hence I'm actually writing this entry from a very cozy hotel in New York, half way through my two week training visit. Have I made the right decision? I don't know. Will I have more opportunity to travel and enjoy life despite finding myself in an IT job again? Probably. Fate has determined my course for the time being and if there was one main thing I learned from the big overland journey, it was to 'go with the flow'.
So maybe a new life of change and perpetual travel. One thing I do seem to need is regular change so here's hoping it works out nicely!
Next entry -> NYC!