06 January, 2006

Exit strategy

I've talked before about my unhappiness with my present job, and the amount of time I've invested in searching for a new one. What I haven't detailed is the number of miles I've clocked up on my quest for somewhere new to work, nor the amount of cross-country journeys this has involved.

I did another one of those journeys yesterday. But this one, hopefully, was the very last of its kind.

I had to go to London, a round trip of 400 miles, but a voyage I've done six times in as many months in the name of finding a new job. As such I've developed a routine and a series of rituals to make such an epic odyssey, if not bearable, than at least manageable.

All the way down to the capital I'm necessarily in a state of acute tension and unease, desperately looking over my notes by way of last-minute revision, reciting words and phrases in my head, and willing myself the good luck and the good sense to perform well. I then make the journey from Euston to the location of the interview on autopilot, so used am I to the practice of catching Underground trains and sussing out locations and killing time before the interview is supposed to begin.

After the ordeal I lapse into a complete stupor and wander around London for several hours in a daze, letting my feet take me wherever they want. I can't get a train back here until after 6pm - given the exhorbitant prices - so this meandering can last for some time. I then spend the return voyage mentally picking over the day, half-slumped into slumber, my shoes off, my mind addled.

Every time I undertake such a mission I tell myself it has to be the last. But each time - until yesterday - it hasn't. Or rather, by the look of yesterday, I won't have to make quite such a journey ever again. What precisely emerges from the events of the previous 24 hours is still to be sorted. But it finally looks as if, all things being what they are - and remaining as they are - I've got myself an exit strategy.



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