An interesting thing has happened over the last few weeks. My desire to be a full-time worker has really diminished. It hasn't gone away completely, but I am much less panicked about finding a job than I was when I first got here. I think a few things are contributing to this monumental shift.
First, there are no jobs here. It's really hard to keep pounding the pavement when there just aren't available positions. Now, when I say that there aren't any jobs here, I am referring to both jobs where Dan works (which is my preferred location by far), and jobs "on the economy" (or in Harrogate or Leeds). I went to a job fair that was organized by Dan's work. There were around fifteen guest speakers lined up, each from a different part of the base. My friend Susan and I decided around two speeches in that we were going to turn it into a drinking game. For every speaker that said "there are no jobs available in the foreseeable future," we would take a shot. We got to 15 by the end of the two hour session.
A job recently came up on base though, so of course I applied for it. It was a part-time librarian's job. Nothing too exciting, but it would keep me busy. Around 100 other people applied for this job, and I wasn't even given an interview. Crazy! That's how competitive jobs are here though. Only one or two come up every few months (if that), so when they do open up, a ton of people are all vying for it.
Jobs on the economy aren't much better. I spoke to a recruiter about different possibilities for someone with my background and experience. He said that for every one position available, more than 200 people apply! It isn't a stretch of the imagination to see how a company would choose a British person over me when they have that kind of talent pool. Why would they pick someone who they know is definitely going to leave? Granted, I have three years here, but still...as a hiring manager I would probably choose the person who at least could potentially be there long-term.
The second factor that has contributed to this change in mentality is that I am finding myself much busier than I anticipated. When I first got here, I spoke with a couple of different people who are here with their spouses but are not working. I asked them what they did to fill their days. I wasn't asking to be malicious--I
really wanted to know! They all told me that they find tons of stuff to do and are never really just sitting around eating bon-bons. I didn't believe it until I was in their same position. Honestly, I am so busy now! I can't even remember how Dan and I did all the things that needed to get done when we were both working. Granted, it's a bit different because there is so much more that needs to happen now because of the move. But still, I've been able to do a lot of the chores like laundry, grocery shopping, paying bills, etc. that we would normally have to cram into the weekends or after work. This means that when Dan gets home from work, we're both done. We have no obligations and can just relax. It's kind of nice.
The third big factor is travel. Can I tell you how awesome it is to just be able to pick up and go somewhere? I don't have to worry about how much leave I have, or ask a boss for permission. If Dan is free, then I'm free. And, since Dan worked such crazy hours last year, he has tons of time off! We are pretty much unrestricted in our travel opportunities (aside from money, of course). I feel like this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see as much of the world as I can. I don't want to waste it sitting in some office. Especially if that office job is not actually going to help me in my long-term career aspirations.
So...there we are. I'm still applying for jobs; in fact I just applied for one a few minutes ago. But I think I'm much happier now than I was a few weeks ago because I've come to accept that it is OK if I don't have a job. It is not the end of the world and it does not define who I am as a person. Yes, having a second income is ideal. And yes, maintaining my resume would be great. But if I can't find steady work, then I know I can be fulfilled in other ways.
I hope this post wasn't too boring for you. I know it's a lot of words and no pictures, but I feel better for getting this off my chest. Thanks for listening :)