In September 2006 I left Australia for Spain, riding high on my achievements at the ATO, and confident I would soon be receiving an offer of work in Spain. Since returning home with my tail between my legs, I’ve been learning all over again, how quickly things can turn gloomy. The proverb of looking before leaping definitely applies in this instance, and I’m wishing I’d paid it some heed before making this leap of my own.
It took about eight weeks of being told I couldn’t be employed in Spain because I either didn’t speak Spanish, didn’t have a European work visa, or both, before I faced the reality that I wouldn’t be spending the next few years of my life there, and that I would actually have to come home permanently at the start of December. Difficult as that was to swallow, I came home convinced it would only be a matter of weeks before I would be snapped up into the next major project to come along in Australia.
On Friday I got formal notification from infojobs that they’d filled the position for which I traveled to Barcelona twice to be interviewed. Long and the short of it is, that avenue is now well and truly closed. It leaves a bitter taste in the mouth when combined with the fact jobs I couldn’t land because of the timeframes involved in getting sponsored are still being advertised in Spain (in the time since they rejected me, they could’ve gone through the sponsorship process and got me over there by now).
Eight weeks after arriving home, bouncing around the country for various interviews and being rejected by numerous prospective employers, I got two offers for work. One in Melbourne as a permanent, on a modest wage, but with the opportunity to do some interesting work, hone my skills, and eventually move up the food chain towards project management and production. The other was a contract with an indefinite end at a government department in Canberra.
Whilst the work in Canberra was never going to be overly interesting, and the department in question left me in something of a moral quandary, the opportunity to come back to Canberra was one I jumped at readily, and the prospect of quickly refilling my cash starved coffers was an adequate sweetener. There was also a certain irony that after being rejected for my inability to speak the local language, or present evidence of permission to work there, I have now gone to work for the department tasked with locking out people who don’t speak the local language, or have evidence of their permission to work here.
I hadn’t, of course, paid attention to the influence of grads invading the city in the early months of the year when they strip the place of all available accommodation, as the locusts do to the vegetation here each November. I’ve spent most of my time here in hotels, hiring a car each weekend, and buzzing around the city in search of a place to live. As time has passed, the search radius has progressively spiraled into the inner north as I begin to weigh up proximity to work, to living in an interesting part of Canberra (the latter has won out).
I’m noticing with each week too, that I am becoming increasingly intolerant of people’s foibles when it comes to advertisers. I’ve had a number of them screw me around now—giving me lots of indications that they’re on the verge of offering me a room, only to casually flick the room sideways to a friend, or another complete stranger. I’ve had people ring up and cancel inspections a few hours before I’m due to arrive because they’ve “filled the room”, and lately, people who have been screwed over by strangers they offer the room to, are in turn screwing me in a similar way. The lack of available accommodation seems to be bringing out the worst qualities in people, who are suddenly finding it permissible to be a bunch of rude, inconsiderate arseholes.
Suffice to say I’m getting tired of being rejected from house after house, but then, when I think about it, perhaps it’s because for the last six months, I’ve had to endure almost nothing but rejection.