I’ve been technically unemployed for almost a year. I finished my last contract in December 2008 and haven’t been able to get a job since. This isn’t to say that I’ve spent the last year watching Jeremy Kyle in my pants, but that no-one seems to want to pay me for the work that I am, and let’s not mince words here, pretty bloody good at doing.
For a while I wanted to chart my own course, and try and find ways of doing things that don’t involve working for the man but circumstances changed very much for the better, and while they confirmed what I had been trying to do for a year or so, to at least stay in the same place and settle down, I’ve run up against something of a brick wall in regard to finding a job.
In fat times, the recruitment agent is your best mate. There were times when I could put my CV on Jobserve and then spend a few days fielding offers ranging from the ridiculous to the sublime. When I moved from London to Leeds in 2001, I secured a job within a month of making the decision to move.
Moving to contracting after a few years, when I got itchy feet, was easy enough too, but to cut a long story short, despite living in reach of two of the biggest (if not necessarily the most prosperous) cities in the country, the global financial collapse and the recession has put paid to much of the IT business in the area. I am, for the first time in fifteen years, signing on, and even considering retraining.
At this time the recruitment consultant isn’t your friend. He stops returning your calls. When he does call it’s for jobs that have no relevance to your experience or are 200 miles away. Even the jobs that are posted to the big job boards are untrustworthy, scraped from company websites, incoherently copied and pasted, poached from other agencies and just plain made up to harvest CVs to meet quotas. When it has been the only method of looking for work that one has known for most of your working career, it becomes difficult to change. However, the alternatives don’t seem to work, as employers seem not to have got that either.
So, if anyone out there is looking for an aging, yet very competent sysadmin somewhere along the M62, get in touch. Stop paying agencies to top slice the first five CVs they get before going back to playing Call of Duty. Post your own ads on the job boards and make your own decisions. You might be less disappointed.
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