I have just experienced a surprising three month (approx.) period of unemployment. Surprising because having worked steadily through the IT world for almost 20 years in full time employment I thought I would be a catch for another company and would get a job sometime in January. I actually finished with my previous employer on the 9th January but I spent December sitting around on “gardening leave” so I am going to include that as part of my unemployment. I suppose I should have been doing all sorts of things around the house during this time and I did start with good intentions in December to the extent that we now have a fully floored loft (It’s only been waiting for me to finish that for 12 or so years), I also started painting inside of the bathroom door from a dull mushroom beige to a brilliant white (three coats and still it does not perfectly cover the mushroom colour) and I dismantled the locks on the bathroom door and kitchen door, ostensibly to clean off the accumulated years of paint and restore to shining brass (in the case of the bathroom) and burnished metal. This not surprisingly has turned out to be a much more difficult task that first envisioned and as well as not being finished to date has annoyed my wife as she would like handles on the doors of both the rooms she uses everyday.
I think that I have tailed off doing things around the house as I have got more nervous about not having a job and moving steadily towards my fiftieth birthday. I think that I see this upcoming birthday as a barrier beyond which I am unlikely to work again if I have not got a job when I reach it. This may be stupid but it still preys on your nerves over time. The good news at the end of this is that I have a job with a software house in the of position of Software Developer just round the corner from where I started my last 20 year period of employment and in a similar role which is not much different from where I started out all those years ago. However, it is much better paid and should prove to be interesting work.
I have to say that there have been a few poor decisions over the last few months, first one was being miffed at having my job eliminated in my previous company. They did try and find me a new position as my line manager had said that he wanted to keep my skill sets within the company (thus inflating my ego and giving me a false idea of how the market may treat me) and I was offered a position of, yes you’ve guessed it Software Developer in another team within that company. So filled with my own ego and being disappointed with having a job which I enjoyed (I should mention at this point that I was a Project Manager running a team split between Glasgow and Mumbai) taken away from me that in a fit of pique I choose to leave the company and get another job elsewhere. So brimming with confidence I set out to look for a new job. I had two interviews in December and early January which also boosted my confidence, but both of these were with the Clydesdale Bank who are now looking decidedly shaky due to the banks owners, National Australia Group re-evaluating their position in Europe and strangely enough both positions were either “outsourced” or “given to an internal candidate”. I had one more interview in January to work as a Software Developer with another bank in a team whose leader was less experienced than me and possibly younger. That had a rejection which sounded a bit peculiar to say the least and I have my suspicions as to what actually was the rationale behind that. After that… nothing. I was surprised and disappointed. Who would turn down my fabulous experience in several different industries, my long experience as a developer, architect, analyst and manager in IT! It turns out almost everyone and that has been a salutary lesson to me. I will not in the future be trying to make decisions based on my own hyper-inflated ego but will look at the cold hard aspects of the market and its demands. I have taken a drop in salary to get this new job and I think that part of the reason I have it is because I had a loose association with the company some eight years ago (when it was a start-up, spin-off company from Glasgow university) and that two of the members of the interview panel knew people that I had worked with or knew as friends. It is as they say “not entirely what you know, but much more who you know” and I was told in December, which I have to say I dismissed somewhat, that I was much more likely to get a new job from my own personal contacts and networking within those contacts than just applying for the most suitable jobs out there. Well, I hope that is a lesson learned and I leave this entry as a reminder to myself not to be so stupid in the future.