So, this month I haven’t had as much time as I would have liked, to work on Plane and Simple; it’s been quite a hectic past few weeks in general. In October 2020, due to health concerns and a desire to focus on programming rather than research, I decided to leave my Doctor of Engineering course. This was not an easy decision to make by any stretch, but I decided that it would be the best for me. On the 16th of October, I handed in my termination form and was officially thrown out into the world without a job.

As well as taking some time to regain my health, I decided now would be a good time to work on some projects that I had wanted to do for a long time, namely make an indie game that would be eventually released on various gaming platforms for purchase. Hence, after a brisk, cold walk with my good friend Callum, we came up with a game idea that we could finally sink our teeth into. Once the development process was in full swing, I decided to also start looking for a job to support my creation of the game…

Starting off with a graduate scheme for a financial company, I was nervous to go through the assessment and interview processes for the first time in many years but decided to power through nonetheless. After completing the one-way video interview, I was optimistic that I had done well. More on that later…

It was at this point that I realised I should probably apply to a wide range of roles, so as to give myself the best chances of finding a good fit. On a daily basis I was getting cold-called by 2 or 3 recruitment agencies, all of which promising that I was the perfect fit and the company would more or less definitely take me. I’d have to say now, counting them all up, I must have applied, or been put forward for over 200 jobs, of which I think I must have had just over 15 interviews all-in-all.

The first job that I thought was a guaranteed win, was a database job, working with C# and Python, for which I proudly thought that I had aced the interview. Apparently, I had, as I was called 10 minutes after the interview and told that I was overqualified for the position and that they wouldn’t give me the job because they were worried that I would get bored and leave in a few months. This was let down number 1, because I didn’t like the idea that people were assuming my decisions for me, as I had intended to stay in that company for the foreseeable future, hoping to work my way up to a senior role. Oh well.

The next few interviews went along a similar vein, with comments such as “everyone was just so good, and we had a limited amount of spaces, the other candidates were just slightly more fitted”. This one, I can understand, but it is still disappointing to hear nonetheless. We’re getting to the start of December at this point and I saw another graduate position for another financial company, that I decided to put myself forward for. I seemed to do okay on the preliminary stages (I can’t remember if the video interview was before or after the assessment stage…) and found myself taking the assessment they had provided just before Christmas. It was a lot of information processing tasks and graph reading, interpretation, “what would you do if” type questions, of which I think there must have been about 20 to do in about 40 minutes. I got to about question 12 with 5 minutes left and decided to rush the rest. I was sure that I had messed this up, but at this point, I was somewhat used to getting rejection letters, so tried not to overthink it too much.

Christmas was somewhat dead, with recruiters obviously spending time with their families, however, I did have a couple of interviews with an AI company, which eventually turned out to never contact me again. This is the response I hate the most, as it would be nice to get feedback from these things so that you can improve. January was very quiet, I don’t think I had much in the way of job interviews lined up, apart from one with the latter mentioned financial company (a different one). This one interested me as I thought it would be very different from what I am used to and was intrigued to see what that would be like. I passed the first interview, the coding test and then got onto the final interview. Again, lost out because someone else better fit the role. It was around this time, that for the same company, I had completed an assessment centre day the previous day, positive that I would get at least one of these roles. A couple of days passed, and I got the calls. Neither of them. For the graduate role job, however, I was told that they would look for something similar, as they didn’t want to not hire me, they just didn’t have enough room on the program.

At this point, I had been borrowing so much from my family to pay rent, that I decided I just need to get something to make some money. Enter: Royal Mail. They were recruiting night shift agency workers at their airmail sorting hub in the Midlands, for which I have now been working the past few weeks, getting paid weekly. Emphasis on the night shift, as this is one of the major things that has been stunting progression of the game development.

Fast-forward a couple of weeks and I see an unknown number on my phone. Thinking it’s just another cold caller, I reluctantly answered it, and to my surprise, I recognised it as the voice of the HR representative from the latter financial company. They wanted to offer me a similar role in a different team, all I had to do was have a meeting to hear if I like it, and then it would be mine. Long story short, I had the meeting and accepted in a heartbeat. Luckily, I have managed to find a job (albeit after 4 months of searching) and will start in September, and I couldn’t be happier. I have a couple of residual interviews to do as they were already booked and I didn’t want to let the recruiters down, and yes those have all been rejections so far too, but it no longer bothers me, because finally, I found a role during COVID-19, 2021.

Oh, and the first financial company? Emailed me after 4 months of dead air saying “other people were better”. Guess that’s fine now 🙂

UPDATE: A few days later, after one of the previously mentioned interviews I had after I received the job offer from the financial company, I received another job offer from an AI company too! Due to it being closer aligned to my past experience, I have decided to continue with this job offer and am excited to see how it unfolds.