Technically underemployed

Warning: fire-hose of consciousness coming at you below. Buckle up.


I didn’t have to get up for work today.

Instead, I read my sister’s dissertation. I made a spinach and filo pastry pie and, in trying to do both, emptied a quarter of a pot of cayenne pepper into it.

In the afternoon I went into town for a final interview with a government department. I don’t know how it went. I am naturally pessimistic, but at the same time there were points when I had to say with honesty that I didn’t know the answer to a question.

I don’t know if it’s a good thing, but I made sure to ask the panel for the answer. I’m hoping “ignorant but curious” is better than “ignorant”, and almost as good as “knowledgeable”.

I also did a code challenge which I’m still puzzling over and playing with between lectures. I only had 45 minutes, but I can still remember it well enough that it’s been on my brain all day¹. Like a brainworm.

It was modelling a checkout. NEVER HAS A CHECKOUT BEEN SO COMPLEX

Immediately after that I had a call from a recruiter, who said I had good feedback from an interview last week. I think I’ll have another interview this week, but I find the velocity with which recruiters want to move off-putting. I appreciate that what they’re selling is almost certainly a perishable good, and I think it’s fair to say I’d struggle selling an opportunity that other people were trying to sell as well.

All the same. Let me have a couple of hours to think about things?

The sticking point I’m finding with many of these calls is that everyone, as far as I can tell, wants a full-time worker. There is not as much provision for part-time work as certain sources would give credence.

I had a surprisingly enjoyable technical interview with a multinational professional services company, so we’ll see how that shakes out.


Hitting that refresh button on my inbox. Day three of purposeful unemployment and I’m climbing the walls, when I ought to be revising. I’ve secured a second interview tomorrow — Thursday — with an interesting organisation that is probably the most diverse I’ve ever had the good pleasure of applying to, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed for that.

A good friend of mine thought of me and passed on details for a young company looking to do data analytics: an exciting prospect so coffee has been organised, again for tomorrow. If I’m going into town I may as well go into town after all.

I’ve also received confirmation that I’m through to the second round for the multinational company, which means 4–8 hours of unpaid labour. It’s a bit frustrating, and deeply problematic. I’m entirely able to do this work because I’ve got no job, but for someone working a full-time job with dependents I imagine it would present a massive barrier.

It is an interesting puzzle that has been presented to me, though, so I will do it — even though it feels like a betrayal. Capitalism puts you in this sort of spot: principles are all well and good, but won’t pay the bills.


Was offered, and accepted, a new position. Had a Nepalese to celebrate.

I’m trying to be cool because I don’t “have” the job until various things have been done. I also hope that my new manager is cool with these notes. If not — well, we’ll see.

I’m starting in June.

By the way, the offer was only the second proudest moment of the day. This most dad of all dad jokes was the number one:

I got him. I got him good.

Anyway. It was a day full of stress and minor anxiety as I fretted about turning down interviews. I am a hoarder, and that includes opportunities: I’m not as bad as Chidi Anagonye, but making big decisions is something you don’t really get daily practice in, unless you’re somewhere senior — which of course is the last place you want people who are practising making decisions.

To choose is to destroy an entire universe where I make a different choice. I can’t deal with that on my conscience.


Made quiche. Struggled with Java. Didn’t do the code challenge for the multinational. Did watch Thor Ragnarok. Feeling like this:


I am learning it. I am aiming to finish the course this week and be awarded a shiny certificate, saying that I completed a beginner-level course in Java in French. I’m really genuinely excited about adding it to my resumé, but I’m currently stuck on modelling an employee.

Update: programming is the absolute most frustrating-slash-enjoyable thing in the universe, so I’m glad I’ve accepted a job to do that.

¹ If you give me a task and 45 minutes, it will haunt me forever that I didn’t complete it in that time. You can — and the interviewers did — stress that it’s about the decisions I make, about the way I communicated, and in absolutely no universe, discovered or undiscovered, can this task be completed in 45 minutes, by anyone. I’m still going to come away frustrated I couldn’t complete it.²

² Can anyone spell “massive overachiever with imposter syndrome”?

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