Well it has been a while and its been lovely. After 4 years of back to back contracts I made a conscious decision to take a few months off. In the past I would want to line up my next contract before I left the one I was in or have the minimum of breaks – this was partly driven by fear (what if there is not work) and partly because I actually really like work! But after 4 contracts, of which the last were back to back rail bids. If you’ve been involved in bidding work you will know that it can be intense, long hours, highly pressured and as you don’t get any immediate feedback once you’ve submitted can lead to a crash.
I didn’t crash – I was prepared and instead I fell into a lovely wind down and period of relaxation. I went to a cottage on the Blenheim estate for a few days with himself and the dog. Then I went out to France to visit with my parents for a few weeks. Then I moved house and had time to unpack boxes, sort though storage and off load some really very good quality stuff to the charity shop. I didn’t really look for work, I kept my eye in and had a few chats but didn’t really start looking until I got back from my trips and was settled at home. By this time it was summer – the market was by no means dead but decision makers were away, roles changes from 12 months to 3 months, from day rate to FTC, from head of to officer. I had a few interviews, even got close on a couple of jobs (in fact was told I was number 2 on two and if the number 1 didn’t accept would I be interested – I would, I’m an interim who likes to do good work but recognise that there are candidates who have the edge over me sometimes).
Come the middle of august I started applying for more roles and contacting my network – finding a job can be a full time job. I am trying to be respectful in my contact – keep in touch but not bother people; help them to keep me in mind without them groaning if they see my name on their caller ID or email.
But it’s hard – other people have blogged about the ‘if you don’t hear from us you’ve not been selected’ paragraph (and I’ve had this), I also had the just not contacting or acknowledging. But then I’ve also had some truly great experiences and people to work with.
The problem now is that I am getting what I call ‘the fear’. I don’t have a contract lined up, have rent and bills to pay and am not sure when work will come. I’ve never been out of work this long, and whilst I’m glad I took those few months and allowed myself the time to properly relax there is part of me that wishes I had started sooner. Had made more calls, had worked my network more.
So I am back, I have a small piece of work I am doing for a client which I am getting in to. It more project management/operational focused than my usual people focused roles but its interesting and working my brain nicely. But I need to get back to full time work. So my job right now is getting a job – and along the way learning more about some of the good and not so good ways to treat candidates.
(in true Bridget Jones style here is my day so far today – networking emails – 4, job applications – 1, cups of coffee – 3, cigarettes – 0, episodes of real housewives of crazyville – 1)