I could come up with a more eloquent synopsis for my current predicament – jobless and back in the parental home after nearly 20 years, with two kids. But it’s what it is and it does kind of suck. So we are one month into the new year, and I thought I should update everyone about my current FRUITLESS JOB SEARCH so far. (Yes, in my mind I see these words in caps – I need to give them extra emphasis.)
To recap, I am looking for a job so that our family (which includes the English Husband) could move to the United States on a permanent basis. Otherwise I will go back to London by spring/early summer, where my husband actually has a job that supports our little unit, but which is 6000 miles away from my own parents, who I miss often. I have felt this homesickness more acutely since having children of my own.
I think I have said this before but I feel like my existence in the United States is hanging by the thinnest of threads. If I’m honest, sometimes I don’t even know what I’m doing here after so many years abroad. It’s so difficult to move to a new country without a job and a means to support yourself. Add children into the equation and this difficulty is magnified many times over. You’re not just trying to scale a mountain; it actually feels more like scaling the mountain without equipment and shoes.
I’ve not yet given up entirely. I am still staring at the computer, trawling numerous job websites, until all the job descriptions start to sound the same and the screen starts to blur. I’ve at least got better at deciphering some of the cumbersome lingo that employers use. Looking for a communications specialist who is an expert at corporate-wide engagement and adept at administering technical platforms? What you want is someone who can get people excited about the place where they work and can use a load of different things – the internet, blogs, email and social media – to do it. I could go on…
I did have one short job interview over Christmas for a job in Portland. I got pretty excited about this – I love the idea of this city – but I didn’t get past the phone stage. I still console myself with the knowledge that I did have one offer back in November. It didn’t work out, but at least someone was willing to table an offer. This is a huge psychological boost because I have concluded that looking for a job in the current market is probably one of the most soul-destroying, confidence-depleting tasks you can do. No matter how many times people tell you not to take all the numerous, anonymous rejections personally, well, you kind of do. Or maybe I just don’t have the thick skin of an elephant.
A digression on top cities
Despite the fact that the economy is still as shaky as an alcoholic before his first drink in the morning, investment in London is booming. I read the summary of a report (released by Jones Lang LaSalle) about direct commercial real estate investment in the world’s top cities. London gets the no. 1 spot out of 30 cities with investment of $43bn (2010 to 2011, Q3). California has three cities in the top 30: Los Angeles (#11 with $10bn), San Francisco (#13 with $8bn) and San Diego, where I currently reside, in the 25th spot with $5bn worth of investments. Tokyo and New York took the #2 and #3 spots with investments of $32bn and $27bn respectively. Manchester came 30th with $4bn. In summary, only 30 cities account for 50 percent of the real estate investment volumes worldwide from 2008-2011. The top five – London, Tokyo, New York, Hong Kong and Paris – have the biggest share of this by far at 25 percent.
Interestingly, the top ten fastest-growing large cities in the world are all Chinese. (Click the link above to see the report in full – it’s kind of interesting if you scrawl through it; there are lots of graphs!)
My very simplified, and probably naive, conclusion is this: If you have money (and lots of it), invest it in London and China. You probably can’t go too far wrong. If you’re looking for a job, like me, head to Asia and learn Mandarin.