Tuesday, 22 May 2012

A much needed but brief update

Days have passed over the last week or so and with each one I have felt increasingly guilty for not keeping up with this Blog. So here is my very brief update to remind myself about what is important at the moment and to say a quick hello to others who swing by and read this stuff when they get a minute.

Currer Bell's recent post about her much anticipated face-to-face job interview that was unfortunately cancelled, has prompted me to mention some of my disappointment about a lack of response to a job that I applied for a couple of weeks ago now (as of last Friday). The job specification (a UK city council Post 16 education job), like many standard council posts, warns possible candidates that if they haven't heard about an interview in four weeks from the closing date, then they should assume they were unsuccessful. In my previous experience of applying for education jobs (in academia and years ago when I worked in a secondary school in London), the response came within a week if they invited me for an interview, so it seems clear to me that they are not interested.

I have been walking around the past few days feeling a bit hard done-by and sorry for myself in great frustration, knowing that I meet all the criteria for the job spec and more, and have not had a look in. I'm angry because this is one job of several others, not to mention sending the cv and letter out cold to some places, that I am more than willing to do and keen to build some kind of future around, if given the opportunity. This is where I begin to feel the anger welling up. I see myself as one of the many highly qualified, educated professionals out there now (I also have earlier commercial experience before secondary school teaching, then higher education teaching, and now qualitative research experience in several different project areas), who is perceived as 'over-qualified' and too old.

This may indeed be the case in this context, but it was a place where I was willing to go as it would have allowed me to start at a lower level and build more competencies and experience and eventually move up. This is difficult territory. I am 49 next month but, in spite of some grey hair, I do not fit the picture of a frumpy, middle-aged grumbler. (Okay, perhaps a revealing photo will be out up soon so you can see I'm not lying!) I've always been told in work contexts that I've got an open mind and showing a great willingness to learn new stuff and take the ball running. I think the post-graduate experience and slogging through contract teaching forces one to adapt to new ways all the time, so helpful in that way (one positive thing to come out of it!). Anyway, this post about this unsuccessful application experience is kind of an expression of my 'heavy sigh' feeling at the moment. In the last week I have begun to feel many sympathies for professional people who have lost their jobs in older age and have been long-term job searching. No wonder so many get depressed and give up.

On another note, one of the reasons why I haven't got around to posting here is because I've been offered some very short-term paid research work that picks up on the project that I 'officially' completed (in terms of data collection and some report writing) at the end of February. I have a tight deadline that I need to stick to so cracking on with the stuff at home mainly for the next three weeks or so. I'm pleased that my manager 'found' some departmental university money for me, but have some mixed feelings about doing more academic work. As I've been having to talk myself out of academia, it's then hard to get my head back in the space that is required to do a decent job. I'm already looking forward to finishing it, but I do feel that a decent thing's been done in my boss's commitment to find me some money to do the work. He could have tried to exploit the situation in other ways for sure.

So, that's it on the job hunting side and current temporary employment issue. Forgot to add that at least the sun has come out - finally! - in this part of England in full force yesterday and today. Helps the mood but it would have been much more convenient if the shone in the last six weeks when I was desperately unemployed!


  1. Ugh. So sorry you've been down recently. Don't you just have those periods where the crushing unfairness of it all just seems so overwhelming? Never mind the additional sexist, ageist, ableist other bullshit that's always present in these decisions too. I hope that one of these hiring people get their act together soon and give you the kind of job you and your qualifications deserve. Hang in there!

  2. Thanks Currer. Yes, the overwhelming feeling comes every now and then. It all feels a easier when the good weather arrives. Didn't think I was ever prone to seasonal affective disorder but Britain has had such a bad 7 weeks or so of rain (almost non-stop pretty much!), and it really compounds the other stuff if you're feeling a bit low about it. Hanging in there is the thing to do. And thinking of strategies to help, whether it's writing, volunteering, whatever, are better than doing nothing. Once I'm finished with this bit of work, I'm also aiming to get some more exercise! It's the kind of thing we always complain about not having enough time for.