This is part of a series of articles talking about my experience of being made redundant from Arista. I am writing these articles as the events happened, though out of respect to my former employer I held off publishing them for several months. The hope is that writing about this will give some encouragement to other people who find themselves in the same position.
This morning I started the process of making serious job applications. My experience of job applications in the past has been almost entirely positive: I work in a field where qualified people are in high demand, and I’m sufficiently articulate to make a good fist of the written application process and the face-to-face interviews. It would be almost impossible to imagine how I might have had more positive reinforcement from the job-hunting experience in the past (I don’t necessarily think I’m a perfect employee once hired, but as an interview candidate I do very well indeed).
And yet I’m petrified. Absolutely consumed by nervousness, to the point where simple tasks take an age, and complex tasks get put off indefinitely. I managed to knock out five job applications first thing in the morning by making heavy use of my already-written CV and covering letter template. I was hoping to make use of the rest of the day to catch up on some new technologies and sharpen my Clojure or C++ skills with a couple of programming projects, but I can’t concentrate on anything at the moment. I’ve had a few positive responses from people wanting to arrange phone calls, but right now this is just making it worse.
I’ve never felt quite so bad when applying for jobs, but then the stakes have never been this high. I have about 6 weeks of runway thanks to my notice period and (minimal) redundancy pay, and objectively this is more than enough time to find a software job in London. But I’ve never previously been in the situation where there’s even a possibility that I might end the month without a job.
I don’t know if this is at all encouraging to people, but I take some heart from the fact that nervousness seems to strike entirely independently of circumstance. If ever you find yourself thinking “I’d be more relaxed if only I’d had better luck with interviews in the past”, just forget it. You’re nervous because you care about the outcome, and that won’t go away.