Work Sucks

A week ago I had an appointment with the British Home Office in Croydon to upgrade my immigration status from a sponsored Work Permit to Tier 1 Visa as a Highly-Skilled Worker, for which I am newly qualified.  My reasons for this are two-fold:  for one, I am job-hunting, and this grants me the ability to work for any employer in any industry within the UK, rather than relying on new sponsorship within my current profession; secondly, although I still have over two years remaining on my Work Permit, I thought it best to get in there fast to take advantage of the recently relaxed requirements for Tier 1 qualification before the new Tory coalition government clamps down on immigration policy.  It means that I can continue to live and work in the UK without dependence on a company or a partner, which is a pretty sweet deal, even if it does cost £1095 for the privilege.

Like anyone would, I jumped at the opportunity to combine my passion for navigating bureaucratic red tape with the thrilling roller-coaster ride that is the uncertainty of employment and immigration status.  It’s like visiting the DMV, but with your livelihood on the line!  Already a “highly-strung” personage, I’ve found the experience to be nerve-wracking, especially on top of the dozen job interviews I’ve had over the last couple of months.  I feel like I’ve been living in an uneasy state of limbo and have been hopeful that at least settling this aspect of my existence here in London would bring some clarity.

Alas, it was not to be.  Here’s what’s happened so far. (more…)


Note: Not me, I just relate to the face.

Yesterday I was really tired from a tedious Sunday flat-cleaning, still nursing a tinge of hangover from a weekend wedding, and my left eye was studiously applying itself to the development of an infection via clogged oil glands.  The main reason this was different from a typical Monday was that I had a hot job interview scheduled this morning (Tuesday) with the COO of a company in which I’m quite interested.

In preparation, I spent time reviewing their website and sector, but was admittedly feeling mentally fuzzy and physically icky.  Saturday champagne and Sunday bathtub-scrubbing make for dreary Mondays, especially combined with client tantrums and not enough rest.  Obviously, I needed to whip myself into interview-ready shape, like a Cosmo article for your most fab, fearless self, but without the ice cube enemas or whatever it is they prescribe.

The one thing for it, I sensibly decided, was a solid night’s sleep, especially given that the interview was at 7:30 am and I needed to get up extra early to anchor-bob my hair and pretend to be someone who is professionally pert at the ass-crack of dawn.  I was home from work Monday by 7:00 pm, ate a high-protein dinner, painted my nails, and ironed made my boyfriend iron my blouse in readiness.  By 9:30 pm, I was tucked into bed with a “demanding” Sudoku puzzle and an Introduction to Venture Capitalism.  Normally, that would be sufficient to dull my senses towards comatose, but I wasn’t taking any chances.  A refreshing sleep was crucial, so I took a quarter of Clonazepam to aid my efforts.  Ahem. (more…)

So, I’ve been in this long-term relationship – five-and-a-half years, to be exact – and things haven’t been going well recently.  To be honest, it’s been a rocky relationship from the start, and I can only ascribe its duration to my own complacency, oft-misplaced loyalty, and perhaps a mutual recognition of tenacity.  There have been good times, no doubt, but also a fair share of bad times, and throughout it all, a nagging sense of boredom and of things left undone and unsaid.

When Johnson and I got together, I was 22 years old and coming out of a nasty patch; I latched on to him with enthusiasm.  He was a foreigner in my hometown, we were both looking for some security, and the mutual benefits were immediate and obvious.  It didn’t take long for me to invest my heart and time, shrugging off the occasional errant suitor in the face of Johnson’s promises of longevity and fulfillment.  If I was good and devoted to him, he would be good to me, and together, we would go places.

It didn’t take long before I could see we were going to have problems.  He had a roving eye, as is his wont, and I was going to have to fight to remain in his affections.  Over the years, other pretty girls came and went, but I continued to declare my commitment and one by one, they dropped by the wayside.  I wanted to prove I was dutiful and in it for the long-haul, but sometimes the frustrations of all this struggle to stay visible and important overwhelmed me.  I didn’t understand why we couldn’t just sail on an even-keel; maybe we weren’t so well-matched after all, and I should be seeking attention elsewhere. (more…)


I posted a week back about a certain resume that made its way to my inbox some time ago that remains a valued source of delight.  Favored commenter London_Calling was thus inspired to share this little tidbit from another jobseeker out there in the world, who introduced herself thusly:

What my resume does not reveal is my professional demeanor and appearance.  In a business environment, these qualities are of the utmost importance in dealing with clients as well as co-workers.   In me, you’ll discover a reliable, detail-oriented, and extremely hard-working associate; one who will serve as a model to encourage other staff members to demonstrate the same high standard of professionalism.

Alright, it’s a  tad arrogant, but I like her forthrightness.  She expects a high standard of professionalism from herself and those she works with, and believes in the importance of presentation – got it.  This is no bad thing and, personally speaking, if the rest of her CV fit the needs of the job for which I was hiring, I’d be intrigued.

I expect the potential employer who received this resume felt the same way.  Unfortunately, when her name was Google searched, one of the first things to pop up was this image from her Facebook profile: (more…)


Recession or not, it’s a hard world out there in general, and there are few things I hate more than turning away eager job applicants.  As a sub-middle-management type (more like the hiring front lines), I am inspired with a great deal of pathos on a regular basis.  I’ve placed a few Monster ads seeking administrative support in my time, which basically makes me a combat veteran (never again).

I’ve suffered the Walmart cashiers applying for highly-specialized technical roles, and the desperate immigrants with PhDs applying for janitorial jobs in a pitiful bid to stay in-country.  Having all these people call you on the phone to plead their cases will make you want to claw your soul out, as you have no lifeline to throw them; your false words of encouragement ring in jaded ears, and you reveal yourself as yet another, seemingly heartless, dead end.  Never include your contact number, for your own sake.

I don’t often find mirth in poorly-written resumes, or people battling for positions above or below their qualifications.  Mostly, it makes me feel sad, and then lucky to have a job, whether I like it or not.  In times like these, a good friend and I sometimes turn to a certain resume that made its way to our inboxes some years ago, and I have decided to share it with you here.

It goes without saying that names and locations have been changed to protect the witless.  However, the content remains unchanged, and so does, I hope, the enterprising spirit of one Miss Petunia Alexander:



work_stressA few weeks ago, I did a post about my Boy Person’s impending move-in date, and how, while I was excited, I was also weighing in my mind the ways in which I view this new definition of commitment as a limitation of opportunity.  How very funny, in retrospect.  This week is my first week as a cohabitant, and the challenges thus far are a little different that the ones I was expecting.

I planned to do my second post on the division of housework and personal time – you know, the standard day-to-day things that keep us all ticking along, and seek input on how you divvy up your own allotments of chores and space as cohabitants.  While space is something the Boy and I are still working on, all of that has come secondary to The Most Important Thing in My Life:  My Job.

As seems to be the nature of my job, things lurch along without much of a problem until, all of a sudden!, we enter a solid week or two of panic mode, wherein I am at the office 11 hours a day, perpetually stressed and wiped out and completely incapable of carrying on functional relationships with the people in my Real-Life, to the point where I am too exhausted and irritable to even make a phone call when I drag my ass home.  I get so physically and emotionally tired that I am a fount of irritability.  I am crabby.  I am short-tempered.  I am brittle.  I am the worst version of myself and I have no time for anyone else.  I never meet friends during the week and I don’t even like to call my mom, because when I get home I just want to inhale the little bubble of solitude I have for three hours until I collapse into bed to have anxiety-dreams and wake up dehydrated and achey at 4:00 am.  It is melodramatic, completely self-centered, and I feel helpless to do anything about it.  (more…)


overwhelmed_leadYou ever been absent in your own life?  That’s sort of where I am right now, although I’m hoping things are heading back to tolerable.  This blog, which I think about every day, is really important to me.  I’m not under the illusion that folk check in to consume my (and my co-writers’) every word, but I am so very happy with this tiny corner of the internet we’ve set up and the incredibly cool people who choose to hang out with us.  I know every regular commenter by heart, and I actually do hang onto their words, because it’s sort of like wandering into my favorite cafe and joining my random group of friends who always have the table in the back with the busted seats and it’s our space.  It’s like an awesomely ragtag group of people who are arguing about politics, laughing at a fashion magazine, and comparing oral sex travesties in a raucous manner and there’s always an interesting story to walk into.

So, I’ve basically been absent for six weeks or so, which is my longest “break” from the blog since we started it up.  And, honestly, it’s been both bad and good.  Here’s what’s been up with me:

1)  I got swine flu.  Okay, it wasn’t officially diagnosed, but that’s what I got.  I was exposed to it the weekend of July 4th by a friend who has a fully-functioning immune system (I do not), and about three days later I got sick.  It was undoubtedly the sickest I’ve been in a long time, but I went into work every day because we had a bunch of important meetings and this is not the economy in which I felt I could take a few sick days without imperiling my job.  For whatever reason, I always think of the flu as vomiting/nauseau/diarrhea (incorrect).  Since I didn’t have exactly those symptoms, I didn’t even consider swine flu until I was past the point of contagion and had been dragging my ass into the office every day for almost two weeks.   I went to bed at 8:00 every night and would get up feeling like death even after 11 hours sleep.  By the time it was pointed out to me that I had flu, and I practically crawled to the office of my GP, I was greeted with a sign that said “IF YOU THINK YOU HAVE SWINE FLU GO HOME.”  (more…)


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