Tag Archives: jobs

Endings and beginnings

So life has again moved on at quite a rate since last posting, hence the silence. We now have a place to move to, a nice little two bed flat in Ealing, which is actually not as little as our current place, and has the all important Spare Room, and is only about 5 mins walk from the station which is good for the morning commute! We pick up the keys and start the packing this weekend, and then move next Friday. All exciting, and it’s really good in lots of ways. Just have to get through the upheaval of the packing and moving and all that.

I now have less than a week left in my current job, which I finish officially next Friday but have Thursday and Friday as leave so we can move. I have things to finish off and make sure I’m not leaving too much work for other people, but not in a stressful way and the last week should be quite nice. And then the week after we move I start the new job. With the new flat most likely still in chaos, I start my commute to Reading, getting to know a new office and a new team of people, and doing this permanent job that I’ve been aiming for for ages. Exciting yes, but not a little bit scary too!

Wedding plans are progressing although not in a very concrete way (what with us having to move house imminently!). We’re currently trying to locate the various ‘suppliers’ (people wot do stuff) that we need to get booked earlier, the main issue at the moment being to locate a suitable (ie not costing the earth) Ceilidh band in London somewhere. Which it appears is easier said than done. The exciting development is that designs for the invites look like they might be getting somewhere. These are being done by Chris’ wonderful brother who has his own printing business, and is an absolute star! So we (or I) spent last night playing with images to make our very own mood board (I know, how professional does that sound?!) which I think turned out rather well. The other thing I managed to do was to more or less get the drawing done for the invites- I had wanted something floral, and being quite picky about getting the right kind of flower for the season came up with the idea of a snowdrop, which is in flower at this time of year and therefore fits with the time of the wedding. Chris is happy to go with my ideas on creative matters, while still taking the opportunity of mocking the botanical geek in me (“lots of brides want flowers, you want botanically accurate flowers!”). We liked the idea of having something of our own creation on the design, particularly if the rest is being professionally done. So now we have our very own snowdrop, and I’m quite pleased with it even if I do say so myself 🙂 When it’s a bit more finished I might let you see..

Changing perspectives

The newest piece of news is that I have been offered a permanent job with Natural England! Each time I’ve thought I might blog this something has changed, either in real terms or at least in our thinking about it, which has complicated things. I applied for two jobs, one where I am now (East region) which I would do from Cambridge still, and one in the South East where I would work from Reading, and in the end the one we have gone for isn’t the one we started off thinking we wanted. Funny how perspectives change.

I was offered the South East job before Christmas, told them I’d think about it, and then interviewed for the other one. Having really disliked the second interview, to the extent that I wasn’t sure I wanted that job anymore, we began re-evaluating our previous assumptions, looking at the logistics again. It’s interesting when something happens that changes your perspective, you see all the possibilities which you were blind to before. When we’d thought about it previously, we had pre-conceived ideas of what would be the best, and therefore saw all the problems with the other. This one small change allowed us to look more carefully a second time, and see that the South East was possible, indeed in some ways preferable.

What was to start with awkward and annoying (that the first interview was for the job I didn’t think I wanted, so I had to wait for the second interview) was actually quite fortunate. When I returned to work I found out I hadn’t been offered the other job anyway, which was fine, I didn’t want it by then. But if I had been told that beforehand, then the South East would have felt like a second best, even if we later saw the positives in it. Or, if I’d been offered both, then we might have stuck with the East region, and not have seen what we had missed. As it is, I’ve never been less upset by being turned down for a job, I’m looking forward to starting the new one and having some new challenges (my current job has stagnated a bit of late) and to moving into a nicer, larger flat with a spare room for visitors! Not so much looking forward to the actual moving bit though!

I don’t start till early March, so I can finish my current contract, and so we have time to find a new place, pack up everything and move across London. At least this time we’re only going down the road in comparison to the last move! One of the big advantages to this move is that we will stay in London and therefore keep the connection to our church which we have begun to feel at home in, and also where we will be getting married (in fact, we’ll end up closer to the reception venue after we’ve moved, which is handy!). This opens up all sorts of cans of worms in terms about wanting to stay versus wanting to leave, how long we need to stay, when and how we want to move away etc etc. But as I keep being told, we can only worry about so much at a time. This doesn’t stop me worrying, but I can at least try!

PS Responses to comments on the previous post will follow, lots more to think about there!


Today I got offered a job, working for Natural England, the countryside conservation agency who are the advisers to government on matters of conservation. These are the people I have been wanting to work for for a long time. And while this is only temporary, its a really good start, and a very exciting job.

Technically the job is doing condition assessments of Sites of Special Scientific Interest. These sites are protected as the best examples of certain habitats in the UK, and are monitored on a regular basis to see if they are meeting their targets. However, as the field season will be on its way out soonish, I could be doing all sorts of other stuff as well. All in all, very exciting indeed. I think I’m going to be based in the Cambridge office, which is easily commutable from London, and a lovely place it is too.

In the last 6 months I’ve had an interesting relationship with Natural England recruitment. I applied for, and was interviewed for, a job back in March which I didn’t get. I asked for some feedback, which I got about 2 weeks ago. Yes, about 4 months later. After not getting this one, I applied for the same post in another region, had a telephone interview in May, and had heard nothing (except many promises that I would be ‘kept in touch’ and would ‘hear soon’) until today (yes everything happens at once) when I got home to an email thanking me for my patience, but they would ‘not be running any more assessment events for this campaign’. Not only very bad to keep people waiting this long and then ditch them all, but also the lack of contact and information the whole way through was pretty shocking.

If they hadn’t just given me a job I might be even more unimpressed 😉

The beginning of the end

Things have progressed since my last post, although not really in the way I might have liked. Things are now more or less resolved in one way or another, in that I at least have answers to some of the uncertainties.

In the last week, I;

  • submitted my application for voluntary redundancy and was told it had been received
  • found out (the same day) that I hadn’t got the other job I had been waiting to hear about
  • had my application for voluntary redundancy accepted
  • was told I will probably finish work on the 17th (this Friday)

In exactly that order.

This left me with around a week left of one job, and yet no other job to go to. Unsurprisingly this led to a night or two of complete despair, worry, and so on. These feelings aren’t gone, but they’re more under control now. I know we’ll be ok, and I just have to hope that as well as that, I will be able to get back into this career I was trying to build at some point.

So now, almost a year to the day after I started this job, I am facing my last four days of work. The day I finish will be three weeks to the day since we got the email saying the process was starting. Fast just doesn’t cover it.

I’m now left with a bizarre mixture of emotions. Sadness at not really having anything meaningful to do, worry about not being able to get something else, and disappointment at things not working out properly (we’ll probably have to look for a smaller cheaper flat than we’d like due to me not working). These are balanced with excitement at the challenges and opportunities that this might bring, the new things I will experience and the different possibilities before me, relief that I won’t have to endure another season of newt and bat surveys, and unbelievable, indescribable happiness that sometime very soon we might actually not be many miles apart. There are no words for this, but its that which keeps me going.

Also, their were enough of us that opted for voluntary redundancy that no one else is going to have to leave without choosing to, which makes a big difference to how I feel about leaving and what will happen afterwards.


A little while back I wrote about a friend of mine at work who had gone through a not very nice redundancy process.

Well, on Friday I found out that I am now essentially going to go through the same process. Our team is being ‘reviewed’, which is a nice way of saying they can’t afford to keep us all on, and so something (or someone) has to give. Not a very nice thing to read on a Friday lunchtime, but then, when is a good time come to that?

Having had a weekend to let it settle in, to talk about our options and to work out as much of a strategy as is possible with this many unknowns, I feel at least a little more prepared, and a little more able to think and talk about it.

Firstly, we don’t know if it’ll be me or not, but looking at the criteria that they use to decide, I think I can make a pretty safe guess that it will. Then there’s what ‘options’ I get given, which I’ll find out on Wednesday at the consultation meeting. Yes, its all that quick. They reckon three weeks and it’ll be pretty much there.

Secondly, there’s other jobs. The one I had the interview for the other week is not lost yet. I was told at the time it would be a few weeks, so still waiting on that one. Was trying not to pin too many hopes on it, but I think now thats gone out the window. If I get that one, all will be well, or at least, it will be a lot sooner. If not, there’ll be others. And meanwhile we’ll manage for a bit on a combination of payoffs and savings, I’ll blitz temping agencies and whatever else in London, and keep at it with the ‘real jobs’ till I get somewhere.

Also, one thing that struck me straight away with this is that, even though its pretty crappy, I’m in a far better position than many of the others. Among this group of people many have mortgages, children, one has a child on the way in the summer, and another, my colleague here, is getting married on Saturday and then off on honeymoon for two weeks. Not to mention being settled here where his wife-to-be has a steady job and where both their families live. And if the jobs market isn’t great at the moment, its probably none existant round this way.

I think I’ll be ok, at least, at the moment I’m not too worried. This may well change if I find out tomorrow that I didn’t get the job and on Wednesday that the situation is worse than I thought. And last thing at night when I can’t sleep it doesn’t seem so easy. But it’ll be ok, and I know I’m not doing this on my own, this is a ‘we’ rather than a ‘me’ thing, and just that makes it all seem a whole lot less scary.

Although I am of course terribly disappointed that I may miss out on a whole lot of newting 😉

Seek and ye shall find

I’m not really a believer in those ‘open up the bible at the right page and it will answer your question’ theories. Quite honestly, I think if I’m going to get an answer to my question, its going to come when I don’t expect it, not on cue because thats when I want it.

But. This lent I’ve restarted the words for today daily readings, partly in an attempt to pull myself out of a kind of spiritual wilderness of only ever really thinking about faith as part of writing sermons. Anyway, I also decided I wanted to read Marks Gospel, cos I never have and people say its a good one to read, and its one of the modules on the LP course, to name a few reasons.

The chapter I got to today had the story of the storm at sea. The disciples are caught in the most terrible storm, the boat is rocking and they’re all about to be tossed overboard. And Jesus is asleep. Nevermind how is he sleeping through that in the first place (doesn’t anyone else ever think that?), the disciples are yelling at him to wake up and sort things out.

Jesus, for goodness sake, what are you doing just sitting by and letting this happen? Can’t you see things are really difficult here? We’re going to drown in a minute if you don’t do something! And he stands up, and stills the storm. And asks them ‘Why are you afraid? Have you still no faith?’

Well that told me. I’m not sure I always believe it, like the disciples I frequently doubt and think I’ve been forgotten, that he ought to have done something by now. But maybe I need to hear those words more often.

This week I have a job interview. The right job, in the right place, at what is pretty much the perfect time. Very soon things in my current job start to get crazy again, I lose my free time, and probably my mind. People expect me to start committing to other things here, which are made harder by the hours I work. This is it, and the prospect of not getting it is scary. And I’m tempted to yell at God ‘why haven’t you sorted it out yet?’ Today I think I needed to hear those words.

Learning curves

So this week I had a course from work. It was kinda full on, including the weekend and evenings, and one all nighter with the bats (that I thought I’d got away from), but I learnt lots of new stuff, I got to go up into the hills and explore the heather moorland (this is fun in the books of a geeky botanist),

This week reminded me of the reasons I want to do this, and the fact that this is still what I want to spend my time doing, what I want to aim for. To play an active role in the way we look after the habitats and species around us, to be involved in the decisions which are made about how these declining habitats are managed, to know each day that I believe in what I’m doing. And at the same time, to be able to spend my days mucking about on hillsides recording plants. Yes, I already mentioned the geek thing.

The other thing about this week was that I met new people. It sounds a bit exaggerated to say I made friends with them, since it was only a week and I may very well never see most of them again, but for that week, they were friends. There are friends you’ve known for years, and you know each other inside out, and know you can ring them any time or just show up and they’ll put the kettle on. But then when you’re used to that, when everyone you know fits that category, you start to wonder if its possible to start that again with complete strangers. Which is part of the scariness of moving away.

This week, I spent time with a group of fun, interesting, good humoured (and satisfyingly sarcastic!) people, and had a really good time learning about them and telling them about me. We went to the pub one night, one I picked since I know the area, and over a couple of beers we chatted. I can’t remember the last time I went to a pub with a group of people I barely know. It was kinda scary. But it was good. Really good. And in a way its sad, cos these were people who, if they lived nearby, I could see myself spending lots of time with, and yet they’re scattered over the whole country. But in another way, they showed me that it is possible to find new friends, to meet people you click with, people who can someday become those you know so well. Which was kinda important.


Ok, so its been a while, and I’ve been not very good about the positivity in a public blogging sense. The positive things which happened, which at the time I didn’t want to blog about, were in the shape of interviews. But I wasn’t really wanting to make any of this public.

However, I now have actual positive news, in that I got a job! The first interview, which was for a proper real job, the kind that I want, I got it. A job, a real permanent one. Its ecology, using the skills I have, and its paid. I spent a good 20 mins fairly speechless (which I think Chris found fairly amusing) when I got a letter in the post Saturday morning, having had no phone call or anything else. I think its still only just sinking in. But its real.

Its just not *quite* near home. In fact I have to move all the way to England. Which is Scary. With a capital S. I have a home here, its not just where I came to uni, its home. My friends are here, which is easy to say but so much harder to describe, and to replace. This is where my church family is, who have supported me in the various stages of my ‘calling’ to preach. The people and the friendships I have here will be impossible to replace, even in time. I really believe this is a special place, and I know this even more as I prepare to leave. There’s something about this ugly lovely city, and it will always hold a special place in my heart.

But now I have to force myself to take those steps towards leaving. I’ve been ringing estate agents, trying to find suitable flats I can afford, trying to to this from a distance, knowing I’ve got one day to see as many places as I can there. Then I have to think about buying cars, learning my way around a new place, getting used to a new job, and hoping I can do it. And so on and so on. And doing all this on my own. I wish it was both of us, but thats not possible just yet. Even though there are many people helping out, and offering to do so, I still have to do all this myself. And I will, I just need to remember that, and remember that I can. Maybe this is an exercise in positivity in itself, even though it seems like the best thing to have happened in a long time.

Overall, this is a good thing. Its what I’ve been waiting for, its a step in the right direction, its good timing in terms of all the rubbish stuff at work. Its just going to take some time to work out the details, and when that starts to happen I’ll feel better. Till then, and probably after aswell, prayers appreciated.

For all those facing change and uncertainty, for those separated from the ones they love, for those feeling lonely and disconnected from their surroundings. God who during this holy week knew loneliness and isolation, place your hand upon them.

Tough decisions

This job hunting malarky involves quite a bit of decision-making- which jobs to apply for being the most obvious, and then things like what to include on the form, who to choose as references etc etc. After all this, I wonder if I can include it as a skill on the next application?!

But a decision I never thought I’d be making was whether or not to take up the offer of an interview. I wonder (and might always do) whether I’ve made the right decision in turning this one down. For starters it was very last minute, and then it turned out to not really be what I’m looking for. In the space of a few hours I’ve gone through every emotion and state of decision about it, but all the time with an underlying sense of it not really being right. The job was a long way away somewhere I know no-one, wasn’t very appropriate and it was going to take a lot to get to the interview. Adding the difficulties of getting there to whether or not I wanted the job at all meant I wasn’t feeling particularly enthused.

But there’s still this small voice inside me saying ‘you say you want a job but you’ve just turned down the opportunity for one’. I don’t know whether its the right thing or not, I just have to hope so. And keep going with the next form. I’ll get there one day, I’m sure.