Monday, 29 December 2008

Gone Surfing

I was very pleased to have been contacted by Tim Kevan a former Barrister who escaped from the city to go surfing in North Devon.

Tim has downsized from the London rat race and is now living in beautiful Braunton in North Devon. Tim and I chatted by e mail as to what it takes to escape the rat race and the city and to downsize. A few things which Tim said to me have stuck with me. Tim said that it is surprising how cheap it is to live in a rural area and when you are there you see other things that people do to get by so that they can live in that area. Tim also said that sometimes it helps to switch off the spreadsheet part of the brain and think of alternative ways to make money rather than amassing a huge pile of money. Tim thought that sometimes when you look at how much money it would take to finance an escape it is almost akin to a lottery win.

Wise words.

If I could work out how to put a blogroll on my site I would include all my favourite reads. Sadly I am sorely lacking in IT skills so for now here is a link to Tim's site:-

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Got a Job!

I've managed to find a few months work.

I feel so lucky to have this work at the moment and I am really grateful.

Its at a local firm of Solicitors. Its only temporary whilst they recruit on the permanent side. For reasons I cant go into I would not be able to be considered for the permanent job. Its a shame as the job is right on my doorstep and the commute is 5 mins walk!

I don't see it lasting for longer than 2 months as they have already offered the perm position to someone who is considering it. OTOH if that person decides against it then I could be there longer.

It all happened last minute.

I still really want a permanent position to tide me over for the next few years until the great escape. I have applied for practice positions, judicial office and academic roles. We will see.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Times are changing

Things are different these days.

There is no such thing as a steady job. No such thing as job security.

Should we be thankful these days just to have a job? Nevermind a career. Is a career a luxury in these times? What is a career? Is it a job where you have a marketable skill which provides fulfilment and a decent wage?

Does anyone have a career anymore? Its seems to me that if you have a trade, if you are a hairdresser, a plumber, an electrician a butcher then you have a useful trade or a useful skill. You have opportunities, your vocation is not saturated.

Why is everyone hellbent on going to university, getting a degree and incurring the debt? Degrees are ten a penny these days everyone has one.

Today I looked at the local paper. I have opened my mind to the possibility of re-training or working in another area, doing something which is non legal or perhaps even quasi legal. What do I see in the paper? Jobs which are supposed to be professional jobs paying £25k.

Yes £25k. And if you don't like that then the alternative is to take something at £6.00 per hour, IF you can get it. That's right, even the admin temping work has dried up.

The recent economic hardship has made me more determined than ever to find a more sustainable way of life. It has made me more determined to ignore conventional ways of living, aka live, work, die. It has made me more determined to squirrel and gather away the nuts. It has made me more determined to find a liveable way of life away from the city and away from urban areas. It has made me more determined to live an austere and self sufficient way of life.

I promise myself that we will achieve our downshifting dream. At the moment the idea of going to live in a magic bus somewhere under the radar looks very appealing.

Friday, 5 December 2008

Its cold out there

Well its been just over 2 months since my last gig finished.

Things on the job front are looking pretty bleak. The permanent job market is worse than ever, lots of graduates, NQ's, i.e. cheap labour forcing the market down. As if that wasn't bad enough it seems that as a result of the recession there are simply more candidates for each job.

The locum market, well this has changed. One of the reasons why I liked locum work was the lack of any real recruitment process. For the last two years I haven't stopped working. I was used to finishing one gig on a Friday and having the recruitment agency on the phone asking me could I go to X firm on Monday. Now it seems that for some reason there is an interview process for locum jobs. There also seem to be more candidates going for locum jobs.

I have had to lower my hourly rate by about £5.00 per hour to remain competitive. I don't wish to brag but I really know my stuff and I will work hard. But I have to be competitive or I will price myself out of the already tight market.

The only gigs that have come up recently are jobs across the other side of the country or jobs where I cannot commute to on a daily basis. The difficulty is that by the time I pay for travel/food and digs it is simply not worth my while taking these jobs away from home. Just yesterday an agency phoned me about a job in the London area. Now surprisingly locum work in London does NOT pay more than what I can get up north. Permanent jobs OTOH in London pay a lot more. I worked out roughly in my head that my expenses would probably come in at say £400.00 per week. That's a lot of money. Not worth my while.

So what to do, what to do. Christmas is fast approaching so it is unlikely that I will get a start for January now.

The hardest part of being unemployed for me has not been the loss of money but the sheer bloody boredom and isolation. I am a transplant. I did not grow up where I live. I don't know anyone other than my DH of course. I need to change this and develop a social outlet. I have been thinking of joining a social club. Problem is, I'm not good with large groups of people. I prefer smaller more intimate connections with people.