Where Have You Been?!

 

Golders Hill, London

I’ve been hiding a little bit – Golders Hill, London

Over the last few weeks, I’ve pretty much disappeared off the face of the blogosphere. For little old me, it’s the equivalent of a tree falling in Canada’s boreal forest, but just in case anyone cares enough to wonder why – here’s what’s been going on with me this fine November.

I’ve been somewhat down lately

Before I moved to London, I had planned to be a replacement classroom assistant and start as soon as I arrived. A couple of weeks before my departure, I decided against it. I knew that kind of job wouldn’t make me happy and the pay wasn’t enough to make it worth it. So I jazzed up my CV and looked up digital recruitment agencies so that I could find work in what I’ve been doing (mostly) for free in my pyjamas.

Working at the Phoenix, Freelancing

Working hard, hardly working at the Pheonix

When I returned from Dublin, I buckled down and starting looking seriously and full-time. I was calling up recruitment agencies, writing cover letters, talking to people… I even went to a networking event for a university I didn’t go to!

Five weeks in, I hadn’t gotten one interview and recruitment agencies were turning me down daily. I was starting to feel like I (and my writing) just wasn’t good enough. I started to think that I was setting my standards too high – that I should start with an unpaid internship and work my way up. But I felt I had relevant experience and I shouldn’t have to do that.

Despite feeling pretty crappy, two awesome things did come out of these weeks of desperation: 1) I found this awesome place to work on freelance stuff near where I live – an old cinema called The Phoenix; and 2) I wrote this hilarious GIF piece about finding work after travelling.

I had a bit of a health scare

At some point in November, I lost partial vision in one of my eyes. It started with one blind spot in the centre, which has now increased to two. Luckily, I was referred to Moorfield’s Eye Hospital. Yeah, London has a hospital just for your eyes, with an emergency room and everything. Mind-blowing.

Ally Pally viewfinder

At least I wouldn’t have to close one eye to do this anymore…

I got a lot of tests done and saw a lot of specialists. Right now, they are 95% sure that I had an infection or virus that caused inflammation of one of the layers of my retina. It should resolve itself in a couple of months.

I’m sure that no British person would say this, but thank goodness for the NHS. I was able to see about four specialists and have a few very expensive tests done and I didn’t pay a thing. I’m actually still expecting a bill to arrive any moment now.

Then, things started looking up (no pun intended)

I had signed up to attend World Travel Market at the beginning of November but I couldn’t even bring myself to go out that week. I spent the days at home desperately applying for jobs and feeling extremely sorry for myself. I was also feeling a lot of pressure to get on my feet and into my own flat – not from anyone else, Tom’s family has been nothing but welcoming, but from myself.

Then I got asked to come in a search marketing agency for a “quick chat”. I had sent my CV in a week earlier because of a blog post on the website of one of the recruitment agencies I was using. It said something along the lines of “Tug isn’t hiring right now, but do send your CV and maybe we’ll invite you in for some tea and a chat!” They also have an office in Toronto, and I thought that was pretty cool.

Instead of a quick chat on Thursday morning I walked into a 50-minute ambush interview!

I’m hyperbolizing slightly, but I was expecting some feedback on my CV, some tips about the London job market and maybe getting them putting my CV on file.

In reality, I ended up in a conference room with the HR Manager, the SEO Manager, and the CEO of this company all holding my CV and asking me a bunch of questions that I was completely unprepared for. Luckily, I had read their website but I didn’t think I was going into an interview! When they asked me if I had any questions, I was like “Wait, so…is there an internship or something?” Seriously.

Apparently it went quite well because after another informal meeting, I was offered a job!

Squirrel in Golders Hill, London

Happy as a squirrel !

I am now officially an SEO Executive for Tug – an original silicon roundabout agency! My office is in Shoreditch and my coworkers all seem really cool (and the CEO is from Toronto – yay!). It ticks all the boxes – and I even get to wear jeans to work – success! The really awesome part is they essentially hired me for my writing and research skills, so that feeling of inadequacy was for naught. Not only will I get to learn about the technical side of SEO, I get to do what I was doing at home (mostly) for free as well!

The only thing that sucks is that I actually have to change out of my pyjamas five days a week :P

 

Oxford Street Christmas Lights

And it’s Christmas soon!

  8 comments for “Where Have You Been?!

  1. 26 November, 2013 at 20:52

    I found your blog through Brenna’s blog. So glad I did! I’m glad you were able to secure work, and are feeling up about things.

    • Alyssa James
      27 November, 2013 at 17:12

      Thanks for reading and commenting! I appreciate the kind words :)

  2. 27 November, 2013 at 10:54

    Congrats! It sounds like you had a tough couple weeks, but are doing much better. I am pulling for you and look forward to reading more about your adventures in Europe.

    Be well.
    Sojourner Seeks recently posted…Picture This…Athens (Greece)My Profile

    • Alyssa James
      27 November, 2013 at 17:13

      Thanks for commenting! Plenty adventures to come – especially now that I’ll actually be able to afford some!

  3. 27 November, 2013 at 15:49

    I was wondering where you were! Congrats on the job ;)
    Kirsten recently posted…(Re)visiting Fort Edmonton Park Part 4: The 1846 FortMy Profile

    • Alyssa James
      27 November, 2013 at 17:14

      Thanks lady! It’s nice to know someone was in the forest :P

  4. 1 December, 2013 at 19:09

    Yes. Reading this gives me hope to keep on writing and looking for more work in my ‘field’ rather than giving up and attempting the easy route of hospitality or admin. Congrats, hope it goes well!
    Lauren recently posted…If My Life Were a Movie, There Would Be DolphinsMy Profile

    • Alyssa James
      3 December, 2013 at 16:18

      Thanks, Lauren! I really like your blog so I’m glad you’ll keep on going. It’s kinda funny because it was your blog that I read and thought “Oh cool, so I can keep doing what I’m doing, I just gotta own it!”

      P.S. I’m now on job twenty-five!!! I’ve had more jobs than my age now..

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