I’ve been so busy to post a lot on here (yet so many blog posts in my mind…the day that I can blog telepathically, you’ll see this blog explode from activity!) that I even forgot to mention until now that my job hunting is over. As a rule I don’t post too much about my professional life on here and I had only briefly mentioned the fact that I was without job . But I’m happy to say that since 4 weeks already I’m back in business and it feels good to be working again.
Some miscellaneous thoughts on job hunting:
- It takes much more time than anticipated if you want to do it well: work on your CV, on your network, research job leads, respond to recruiters, prepare interviews and go to interviews, … My mental picture that I’d be home idle with loads of time on my hands, wiggling my thumbs and getting all those household chores done that never seem to happen was a huge illusion. All those household chores….are still outstanding and I’m now ironically enough trying to achieve some of them now on weekdays while juggling the new reality of being a working mother.
- It’s an illusion that you can job hunt 3 days a week and “enjoy” the time with Kabouter on the other days by only sending him part-time to the daycare. Recruiters do not know this arrangement and contact you anyway and appointments get booked last-minute and need to be prepared. So on my “days off” I often hoped that Kabouter would sleep a lot or Jan would be home and occupy him with Kabouter so I could continue. On the other hand, the days that I was “working” also resulted in much less effective time than anticipated as I’d also felt obliged to do some grocery shopping, cooking, …and I had to express milk multiple times a day etc etc. In the end the “working/free” days distinction became rather vague.
- The job market in Belgium is not as bad as I had feared it would be. Obviously it depends how picky you are in the job requirements you are looking for but there are definitely some interesting jobs out there.
- Much to my relief, I seem to have an interesting profile to recruiters as I have not pursued any job opportunity pro-actively myself, but only responded to recruiters who contacted me. However there is clearly much more activity on the ‘consulting’ market…a road I did not want to take.
- On that last point, jobhunting taught me once again how much I hate to move to a new environment...something which is inherent to the life of a consultant.
- On that last point, it's pretty scary to say 'no' though. You don't know how many chances you'll get and I don't deal well with uncertainty, neither with making choices. Somehow I always focus on the potential loss in a choice so saying no to job offers that didn't attract me, was nevertheless stressfull & scary.
- Stepstone is a big international firm, nevertheless their e-mails generated by the jobsearch I saved was full of dead hyperlinks. Argh, completely useless. How unprofessional.
- Also very unprofessional are the arrogant recruiters that phone & e-mail me purely in French. It's not because I list myself correctly as bilingual that you shouldn't show me some respect and contact me in my own language. Don't treat me so obviously as a "product" that you can use...you also need me. I might be the perfect candidate you are looking for and therefore you can also do some effort to gain my interest.
And no...I don't drop everything right away to drive to the center of Brussels only to find out a bit more on the job vacancy you have in mind: first give me the minimum of information that ensures me that the meeting will be worth the effort. Geez show some respect to potential candidates, even if they will not pay your invoice.
Unforatunately for you, I've only truly engaged in a job application process with recruiters that were polite, informative & respectful.
- It was the first time I used Glassdoor.com. Quite interesting, yet not that much information on Belgian firms yet. A pitty.