Job hunting and querying are extremely alike, I’ve found. Cover letters are basically just queries for yourself; an interview is a full or partial request (depending whether it’s the first interview of several or the only one); and those offers of representation / employment seem hard to come by.
Also, I’m rapidly losing my nerve with the whole thing, though unlike querying, this is not because I found a plot point that will alter my entire life and therefore need to rewrite my own existence. It’s just because this whole “real life” thing is intimidating, particularly as someone whose health conditions mean I’m not sure, day to day, what I’m capable of.
When I first applied for a job, back in January, it was because the particular graduate traineeship appealed to me. It was full time, one year, and I told myself that it was the only full time job I was going to apply for. After all, my health isn’t great, so maybe I’d be better off living at home and working part time for a while before trying to take that step.
Then I found other similar traineeships and applied for those, but as three more met with no success (two interviews, neither successful), I began to widen my net. I applied for a more permanent position a couple of days ago. I have two more traineeships for which I’m preparing applications, and another more permanent job (one I’m not sure I’m 100% qualified for, but hey, a Mediocre White Man™ would apply anyway, so I should too; it can’t hurt to try).
It’s partly that, as I’ve adjusted to living a busier life with dance alongside my degree, I’ve got back into the mode where doing nothing is bad for my mental health. My fatigue is not gone, but it’s slightly more under control, and staying in bed these days is more unhelpful than helpful. The thought of having a minimal amount to do once I graduate, while initially appealing, begins to look less than great after a moment’s observation.
It’s also partly that every time I come home, even for a few days, I’m struck by how much I need my own space and my independence, and therefore how desperately I want to move out. It’s hard to express this to my parents without making them feel bad, but it’s really not about them, except that they eat gluten and dairy and I don’t and there’s nothing to make you feel alienated in your own home like reading the ingredients on everything in the fridge and realising you can’t eat any of it. It’s mostly about practicalities.
I have one thing going for me in my quest for independence, though: I don’t want to stay in London. Which is great, because the kinds of jobs I’m looking at would not let me move out if I did. I looked at house prices in one of the areas where I’ve applied for a job and I could literally rent a three-bedroom house for the cost of a one-bedroom flat in Cambridge or London. (It’s not even in the North.) I’m happy to move more or less anywhere, as long as there’s a dance school vaguely nearby.
Nevertheless, the whole process is anxiety-inducing. What if I don’t get anywhere with it? What if I do find a job but then my health makes it impossible for me to actually do competently? What if I move out and then find I can’t cope? Will I be able to keep dancing, wherever I move to? Wouldn’t all this be easier if I could drive? (Yes, definitely.)
It’s also difficult because I don’t really have the time and brainpower to concentrate on job applications now, in the immediate lead up to my dissertation deadline and finals, and yet this is exactly when I need to do it.
I’m trying to stay positive about it. If I don’t get a job now, I haven’t “missed my chance”. I can try again in the summer. If I have to live at home for a couple of months that’ll be okay; I could write a novel or two. But the overwhelming feeling of urgency I get with everything in my life is hard to ignore. It’s like there’s a corner in my brain solely dedicated to reminding me that I’m running out of time.
Over the next six or seven weeks, I don’t anticipate blogging much. There’s not a lot that’s interesting to say about revision, and it’s probably better not to be public about the progress of my job hunting in case any of the potential employers follow the link on my CV and end up here. I’ll check in, of course; my dissertation is due on Wednesday, so I’ll probably post them, and I’ve got a dance competition on the 29th which I’ll definitely try and talk about.
But I can foresee May being a quiet month for blogging as I prioritise revision (and job applications) when it comes to brainpower and use of hands. My exams finish on the seventh of June, after which I intend to work on a major and terrifying redraft of Butterfly of Night, which I’ll probably end up blogging about just because novels take over my entire brain while I’m working on them and there’s not a lot else to talk about.
My book blog’s hiatus will also probably largely continue, although I had hoped to be able to schedule some reviews for the next couple of months so that it wouldn’t die completely. I’ll continue to read, though probably less than usual, and you can find my brief thoughts on books over on Goodreads.
But right now, I need to concentrate on my degree. It’s hard not to feel the pressure when the entire thing rests on four exams and a dissertation (thanks, Cambridge system, for making final year the only one that counts). I’m trying to let it motivate rather than scare me, but I don’t think I’m succeeding right now.
Bleh. For today, though, I’m just going to worry about surviving a two-hour dance class in a non air-conditioned room when it’s 27°C outside.
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