False starts

A couple of weeks ago my boss casually mentioned he was thinking of getting everyone into the office for a day later this month. Apparently this hasn’t happened, but it made me speed up my new job plans, which then promptly petered out when no more was said. I’ve had well over 100 messages from recruiters, but it’s hard to read through any of them and think “yes, I want that job in particular!”. And that’s assuming they tell you anything; about half of them are just “Hi, I’ve got a great opportunity, what’s your phone number?”. I still can’t believe how annoying it is to deal with recruiters and potential employers. They make it such a hassle. I’m busy, I’m tired and I already have a job… make it easy for me or I’m not going to bother.

One of the other things that puts me off slightly at the moment is that inflation is such a moving target. Various places are predicting that it will reach about 20%. I keep seeing comments online of people who thought they were clever accepting a new job for a 10% pay rise, and then seeing that inflation has already outpaced that. Hmm.

In other news! It appears Liz Truss is going to be our next prime minister. I struggle to feel emotionally invested in politics lately, but anyway… I stand by my initial assessment that Liz Truss comes across as a simpleton, but I still find her preferable to Rishi Sunak. With Rishi, you’re certain he’s going to be terrible, whereas with Liz, there’s just that little chance…

Drama

I handed in my notice and apparently sent a few people into a panic. My timing was terrible, as the MD was out so couldn’t handle it, but instead got my manager and the (I don’t know his job title? but he’s kind of the second in command) to discuss it. They both seem to think the MD will give a counter offer.

Anyway, the MD is going to review it over the weekend and get back to me on Monday. I’m not really sure what to expect with this. Despite my manager’s optimism, the MD has consistently low balled me when it comes to pay. On the other hand, he’d be silly not to match the offer, because it is the going rate for my level of skill, and hiring is hard and my departure leaves the company quite understaffed.

But am I open to counter offers? A few days ago I said I wasn’t, but if they do match the salary then I’m not sure my case for leaving and starting a new job is so compelling anymore. The MD also laid out a few days ago that he wasn’t expecting to go back to full time in the office, which was also a big fear of mine. So if the salary is equal, the main points are the hours (37.5 currently vs 40 in the new job) and the tech (more modern, CV friendly in the new job). Well, and the stress and risk of starting a new job.

I suppose I need to decide on my thresholds and see what Monday brings.

Happenings

I’m not at all happy with the weather the past few days. I tried running this morning and it was absolutely horrible.

Parkrun is back at the weekend but I don’t think I’ll be doing it. The COVID case numbers are shooting up very quickly, which puts me off. It seems like Parkrun has promised to return a number of times and then didn’t, but ironically now it looks like they’re actually going to do it, it’s happening at a time when there’s a higher chance of contracting COVID than any time previously.

I phoned the recruiter and said I was happy to progress. The next stage is to wait for the employer to send everything through. I’m not used to such a slow process! And it’s playing on my anxiety. Apparently they do some kind of background checking. The recruiter told me there would be a credit check (why?!) and a criminal record check. I’ve never had to deal with this for a job before so I don’t know what to expect. From my research it appears it will be the basic DBS check, because my role is not eligible for the standard or enhanced checks.

But since I’ve never done this and don’t know what to expect then I guess I should wait until this clears before actually handing in my notice? Obviously, I’m worrying I’ll fail the background check despite there being no reason I should. I’m worrying about references too. I’m sure my current employer will be fine, but the previous one… I have low expectations of them. I keep telling myself that they would gain nothing by starting a fight with me and potentially exposing themselves to a hefty lost earnings lawsuit, but eh. What if they just refused to give a reference? Thanks, anxiety.

Have a little faith

So, they have offered it to me after all. The recruiter phoned me Friday afternoon. I’ve said I’ll think about it over the weekend, but I’m pretty happy.

The only downside is the 40 hours vs 37.5, but as it’ll be mostly remote I’m OK with that. Everything else is either the same or better. A big thing is that they are using more modern technology, meaning I’ve solved the problem I would have if I stayed here for a few years, which is that the technology we use is rapidly approaching legacy status if it hasn’t got there already. The treadmill of technology…

I’m pleased with the salary. My employer gave me a 5% pay rise recently, and only because I complained that I hadn’t had one for over a year and a half (after being contractually promised a review after six months). He said (very unnecessarily) that most other companies weren’t doing pay rises with the uncertainty of the pandemic and he assured me that the raise he gave me was ahead of the average. The new job is a 23% raise.

The thing that stands out for me is that when I interviewed there, he asked how much I was making and then told me I was underpaid and offered a small raise over that. I’m sure he thinks this saves him money, but how much is it going to cost to replace me? Far more than what he’s saved. Whereas this new job didn’t ask how much I was making, they just made an offer based on their perception of my value.

So next week it will be formalised and I’ll give my notice. I’m not sure if my employer will counter-offer. I’d like to think they would, but they’re going to look a bit silly suddenly magicking up some extra money that supposedly wasn’t there before. Like Theresa May’s magic money tree. I think that they’ve burnt my trust enough on the financial side that I’m not open to counter-offers. Plus, the new job’s experience will be more valuable for my long term career value.

Uncertainty…

I’ve had no interview feedback today which surprises me. Pretty much every time I’ve come out of an interview thinking they’ll offer it to me, they do indeed offer it to me and usually very quickly afterwards. I feel a bit unsettled to have not heard anything. However, it is a larger firm than I’m used to dealing with and large firms tend to move slower.

I don’t think I actually mind whether or not I get the job. If I get every job I go for then that just means I’m not aiming high enough. And equally, I’m not in a rush and this job isn’t perfect. If I don’t get it, there will be another comparable one along at some point. Either outcome is fine.

And yet I have been quite stressed again today. I’ve also been very hungry. Since I haven’t been running much lately I haven’t been getting hungry, but I guess anxiety will do that too.

I’ve been trying to force my body to relax a bit more. I spent the afternoon working on my laptop…. while laying in bed. It helps!

Interview

The interview went well, or at least I think it did. At the risk of sounding arrogant I think they will make me an offer. The question is: will I accept it? It’s 40 hours a week vs my current 37.5, but I’m happy enough with everything else that as long as the salary fairly reflects the extra hours I’ll probably accept. I guess there are a few big ifs in there. If they offer it to me, and if they go up to the top end of their salary range.

I feel like I’m jumping the gun a bit though. After I went through it all in my own head a few days ago I think that staying put for the moment is probably the right strategy. I can afford to see how things play out with my current employer, and maybe that’s even preferable. So if nothing comes of this, I probably won’t apply for anything else just yet.

I can’t believe how stressed my body has been today. The interview was this morning, but my heart rate stayed above 70 all afternoon. That’s crazy.

Changing plans

I ended up cancelling the gambling company interview. I wasn’t that struck on them to start with, but I went through the Glassdoor interview reviews and that put me off more. There were a couple of reviews for the same level of position saying they’d been asked to do a week long task for free and then been rejected after doing it. Yeah, no.

So anyway….

I tried running in my new insoles yesterday and it was not a great experience. I am still getting slight numbness, even after barely running for the past few weeks, which is much worse than this has been in the past. Even with the insoles. I’m not sure if they’re helping at all, because the support is towards the back of the shoe, but if I’m pronating at the very last stage then my heel is already off the ground at that point. The other thing is that even after a fairly short run, the skin on my big toe was really sore. I have a callous down the side of it (probably from pronating), but this felt like a blister was forming underneath it. I’m not sure what that means…

Popularity

I have two interviews this coming week. One is the second interview from the phone interview I did a few days ago. I misunderstood when he said technical test – it’s actually a ‘collaborative’ coding/technical test thing done there and then inside the interview. That’s good as it really is time limited to 45 minutes, but bad because, well, I’ve never done that before in an interview setting. Which is funny. It’s a test designed to show I can do what I’ve been doing every day for the past decade, and I’m worried I might not be able to do well on it because I’ve never done it before.

The other interview is a phone interview. It’s come via the same agency – when she phoned me to tell me about the second interview, she threw this one in there and said “I’ll send you through a spec, and get back to me if you’re interested”. Less than two hours later, her boss emailed me to say “great news, they want to interview you! Are you free Monday?”. Well, I didn’t actually say I was interested and I haven’t looked at the spec yet, but…

I’m not sure about this one at all. I would have filtered myself out if I’d seen the spec published as an advert. They are looking for Umbraco experience, which I don’t have. I don’t get why they’ve written a spec saying Umbraco experience is a must, and then they see my CV and instantly want to interview me. The other thing is that the software they make is for online gambling. That’s a very exploitative industry. On the other hand, how many employers don’t exploit people?

I would have skipped it even if they hadn’t asked for Umbraco experience, though. Umbraco is a content management system (like WordPress) and if your technical problem looks like a CMS… Well, I’m not sure you’re going to keep me interested for long. But we’ll see

Interview…

I had an interview today. It went OK I think. I got really nervous about it, but I don’t know why. I also got really nervous about seeing the physio last week, because…? The tablets make me more functional when I’m nervous but I’m not sure they reduce the nerves at all.

He asked me some technical questions, and I got the hard ones right and the easy ones wrong (duh). Not because I didn’t know the answer, just because I’m not used to having to suddenly remember and regurgitate obscure technical trivia over the phone. I’m not too worried because I was able to speak in depth on the harder stuff. Apparently the next stage is a technical test, which is usually where I look at it and go “I’m not spending the next week doing this!”, but we’ll see. He said it would be about 45 minutes, which is reasonable… assuming this estimate bears any relation to reality (big if).

I’m not too sure what I think at the moment. The recruiter told me it would be predominantly remote, in the office around once a month. But the interviewer had other ideas and said they were thinking of it being more of a hybrid role with 2-3 days a week in the office. The plus side is that it’s within walking distance (just about), so 2-3 days in the office there is much better than 2-3 days in the office at my current employer. But that’s not really the right comparison, is it?

Weekly update

I had to rearrange my running physio appointment for next week because I somehow managed to give myself an ice burn on my foot last weekend. So I also ended up not running all week, which gave it a rest I suppose. I did a short-ish (6.5km) run today and it actually felt OK, but I’ll still keep the appointment since this seems to be a cyclical thing.

I’ve been preparing myself a bit more for interviewing again. I decided to get serious about it, which means I’ve completely overdone it. I bought a new webcam and a high quality microphone so I can use my desktop (with a wired connection) instead of my laptop for video calls. I read somewhere that high quality audio makes you come across better, so I thought, well, OK, let’s invest some money into that. It makes sense to me. If the other people interviewing are on low quality laptop webcams (pointed at their chin) with noisy audio and then I come along with 2K video and clear audio then, rightly or wrongly, I look a lot more professional. So now I have a big desk microphone plugged into an audio interface with lights and knobs (I already had the interface for my guitar) and I look like a radio DJ or something.

The problem now though is lighting. The window is behind me, which isn’t great. I kind of got away with it before by having my laptop angled at the side of me, but doing an interview like that with a desktop monitor isn’t really going to work. So I’m rearranging the room. Now I just need to buy a longer ethernet cable…

In totally unrelated news, I don’t get the Tour de France thing, with them threatening to sue the woman. The woman holding the sign didn’t collide with the rider, the rider collided with her. I mean, he’s on a bike and he ran into a stationary pedestrian. Did he try braking? Nope, he kept pedalling until about 2 metres before he crashed into her. Even Lionel Hutz couldn’t lose that case.