Monday, January 24, 2011

Feeling low....

It's been a long time, again.
Yet, I'm still pretty much in the same place in life, only with a new language(!), a new address(!), a longer gap of unemployment(!), and less desire than ever to return to the bench.

Husband, LittleOne and I packed up our home from the last 6 years in PhDLand and, on LittleOne's 1st Birthday, flew to a new (to me) country (NewCountry) where Husband could start postdoc #2 (after an unsuccessful tenure-track job hunt and a loooooooong 16 months of unemployment). One main attractive feature though: it's Husband's home country, where his family still live, and where he is a native speaker. This dramatically simplifies important things like immigration and housing applications. My abilities in NewLanguage are pretty decent, at least on the social level, but I've never had professional experience in a NewLanguage environment. I'm hopeful that my NewLanguage skills will improve with more time spent here, but as it stands, I spend 90% of my time home alone with now 15 month old LittleOne, who is (not yet) the greatest conversationalist. Husband and I speak English together, and I don't yet know any NewLanguage speakers in our new town, so my progress is pretty limited to food ordering and shopping skills and short chats with the sweet grandmotherly lady who runs the little grocery store down the street.

On the job front, I was pleasantly surprised when my work visa arrived much faster than anticipated and immediately started applying for any and all industry jobs I thought I was remotely qualified for, plus numerous spontaneous applications with local pharma and biotech companies. And... after 3 months, I haven't had a single interview. Most haven't even replied that they filled the job with someone else (at least form PFO letters allowed me to close the door on applications and slide yet another folder form the "Open Applications" folder to the "Jobs I didn't get" folder on my laptop. How much longer can I keep this up? I was initially giving myself 6 months, but at the half way point, I'm already feeling pretty low.

Husband's parents took LittleOne for his very first sleepover at their house tonight to give me more than the usual hour-long bursts of job hunting time while LittleOne naps, in order to re-work my CV and re-think my job hunt. Trouble is, I don't know what to change. I don't know how things work here in NewCountry. And until now, I've only replied to job postings in English, and not those in NewLanguage. So at least one way to start is to make a NewLanguage version of my CV.

Why why why does this have to be so hard? A lot of days I love being home with LittleOne, but one crappy postdoc salary is just not going to cut it in the long run in stupid-expensive NewCountry, and I'm getting desperate for some non-mom aspect to my life.

So... I decided to try to revive this blog, if nothing more than as an outlet for job hunting frustrations, and, in an effort to motivate myself more, a place to record my job hunt progress so that I feel accountable for my time. So, bear with me. I'll try to post each time I apply to something new or make some sort of progress in Project GetAJob, and maybe some other stuff in between.

Today I applied for a position with this job title:

1. Regulatory Affairs CMC Specialist (limited 1 year contract)

And I did these job hunting tasks:

1. Updated my English CV for January 2011

2. Re-designed a cover letter template with a more active voice, shorter, more concise sentences, and bullet form lists showing I understood the job posting and how I fulfilled each point

Now, to enjoy a baby-free evening with Husband (whenever he gets home from the lab). There's a little pub down the street from our new place that I've been wanting to try out since we moved here. I'll try not to miss LittleOne too much (and maybe call to check up on him after bed time...)


  1. Hey...
    Moving to a new country is a huuuuge energy drain, in my experience, it takes half a year or even longer if new language is hard to learn. We've done it twice now, with kids, and the one thing I learned is that kids will open loads of doors. Can't you get a place in a daycare/playgroup something like this? Half a day per week is sufficient to get to know other parents. I found the nicest people at the uni daycare, but that was hard to get into. Once you know people, things usually improve a lot.
    Hang in there!
    Hang in there!

  2. Thanks Fia. We just put LittleOne on the waiting list for one day a week in the local daycare centers... I hope he gets a place soon! There's a local place for parents with small children to gather, but both times I made the hike to get there with LittleOne it was closed. I now have the schedule printed and stuck up in the kitchen! I'll get there one day.

    One complication - we couldn't find an apartment in the city with the Uni where Husband is a postdoc, so we're living about an hour away in a small town and virtually no international community. But the nice thing is all the nature around us. Can't wait for spring!

  3. Gracious - big changes! Good for you!

    Is there a resource from grad school or undergrad who might have a contact in your new location? Perhaps someone to offer insight into any differences in cover letters, formatting or interviewing that might be relevant? Job searching is painful enough - it seems scary that there might be secret strategies out there for you.

    Wishing you much luck! I'm happy you're writing again!

  4. Thanks Katie. There is actually one former postdoc from my grad school lab that is from here (and now has a TT job in MyHomeCountry, strangely enough). I should send him an email. Good idea. Can't hurt right?