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Hard Labour

Mrs.B has got a job! A full-time, fully paid job at an insurance firm that shall remain un-named. You won't believe how relieved we both are, as she has been unemployed for a full year.

When she received her letter of resignation, I wasn't worried at first. After all, there are plenty of jobs for legal experts, right, even in these difficult economic times? And frankly, I was relieved that her previous contract came to an end, because her old boss was trying to push the blame for his department not reaching its targets on her shoulders. And then he tried to set the rest of the team up against her. Unsuccesfully so, I might add, because my wife still has good contacts with most of her old colleagues. But still, it was time to pack and go.

'Take it easy for a while', I told Mrs.B. 'Don't worry about finding a job, with your qualifications you're sure to find something soon. But first take a rest and get those nasty times out of your system'.

But four months later, by the end of the year, she'd received a lot of invitations and done a lot of tests, but no job still. A couple of times she came really close, but then... She wasn't the only candidate. In fact, there were loads of other candidates. She would meet the same people over and over again waiting for the same job interviews, even when she applied for rather specialised positions.

Meanwhile, our savings were drying up. I stopped working in the house. We stopped going out. We bought only the bare necessities. And then we had the car crash and a new loan to pay off. We stopped inviting people.

When we went on summer holidays, we decided we didn't want to sit in our caravan all day, afraid of spending a single euro, but when we came back it was clear that day X would be somewhere in November. To make matters worse, job openings were getting even scarcer. We had 'minimum birthday parties' for Tyl and Mrs.B in September.

And then suddenly, an insurance company AND a sollicitor's office were both interested to see her. More tests followed, and it was difficult for Mrs.B to motivate herself once more for these lengthy procedures, reviews and tests. I was secretely hopeful, but then again we'd been disappointed so many times before. In the end you don't dare to hope. So at the same time I started to contemplate the alternatives: sell the car, the horse, the house, the children - maybe even as a final desperate measure my vintage porn collection.

But then she had not one but two offers. The sollicitor offered her a part-time position, but the insurrance company was interested in more.

So this Monday, after a year's sitting, waiting and brooding at home, she packed her lunch, jumped on her bike and rode to  the office. It's only a short bike ride from home, so it's even very practical to bring the children to and from school/day care in the morning and evening.

So until she receives her first pay check, we'll still have to eat spagetti twice every day. But you can't believe what a relieve this is. Yay!

On The Dole

It’s official now, I’ve lost my job. We’ve all lost our jobs, because our organisation has no money no more. Well, just for a couple more months, but then it’s really finished.

It’s no surprise really, they told me when I applied for my current job that the organisation urgently had to improve its fund-raising abilities. But after two years of struggle, it’s become painfully obvious that we are unknown, unloved and therefore unfunded.

I’ve been looking around for another job for a couple of months now. I’m terribly picky, because I want to continue in international development or international affairs, but on the other hand I don’t want to go abroad for long periods of time anymore now that I’m married, expecting a baby (well my wife is) and sinking into mortgages and loans up to my eyebrows. On the other hand, when I do apply I’m always invited for an interview. ‘Always’ meaning twice, and as you know I couldn’t make it the first time because of my recent business trip to Niger. The second time they were more flexible and I was able to postpone the interview until after the trip, even with the four days extra. Another big hug for Air France which almost made me loose two job opportunities, apart from the funeral of my grandfather.

Anyway, they invited me last Thursday, the day after my return from Niger. Despite still being very, very tired the interview went rather well. So much so that they invited me for the second and final round next Thursday. Please keep your fingers, toes and tentacles crossed that day. So far I’ve done well since I got selected together with seven others from a hundred letters. I don’t know how many of us remain in the final round, but I really want that job.

If I do get it, I will return to emergency relief aid and food security programmes. I would be responsible for the projects in the Somewhat Democratic Republic of the Congo. But they were also very interested in what I’ve been up to these last couple of years in terms of structural development. Could be a very interesting job!

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