My Employment Story


     Prior to our arrival in Oxford, I had a mental timeline for when I would start looking for work. Mark and I were blessed to move here in a financial state that did not require me to panic about getting a job right away, and I figured I would seriously start looking for work sometime after Christmas. 
     I had fairly grand plans about what I would do with those first few months of unemployment. Set up house, explore the city, write, blog, be creative. Grand plans, indeed. Cue: watching Doctor Who all day, barely leaving the house, and sleeping like a house cat. 
     Eventually, I started to get pretty down on myself for my lack of productivity. I felt like a failure. I was gifted with so much time to make progress on the things I love to do, and I was squandering it doing so little. Yes, I set up our home, got to know the city, and became familiar with getting around and finding what we need, but that about sums it up. 
     Eventually I decided to start applying for support jobs within the University to give myself something to do. This process revealed a whole slew of insecurities because I have never put myself out there to officially apply for a job before. Living in the same city my entire life had led to some amazing connections that, in turn, led to employment. I couldn't remember the last time I put together a resume or CV, and I had sure never written a cover letter or supporting statement before. I was never going to get a job. What skills did I have to offer?
     Mark helped me immensely crafting my CV and putting together my first cover letter. I remember feeling so nervous hitting the 'submit application' button for the first time on the Oxford University website. And I also remember feeling crestfallen after receiving my first rejection email. 
     I bounced back quickly, though. It would have been a miracle to get a job with the University right away, with absolutely no connections and no experience within the University system. I tried again. Rejected. I submitted my CV to the University's temporary staffing services. No reply.
     Throughout this process, I was still struggling with my lack of productivity. What was wrong with me? I had found myself in a serious funk. 
      But, through prayer, and reflection, and encouragement from the church community I have connected with here in Oxford, I came to realize something extremely important: at the end of the day, even if I accomplish absolutely nothing, God will still love me and value me.
     I was stuck in believing the lie that my value and worth are directly related to my accomplishments and productivity. This is simply not true! I had to re-root my identity in who God says I am, not in what I do and how I do it. It was hard, and it's still a journey, but my eyes are opening to this truth a little more each day.
     I had been gifted with weeks of free time, and yes, there was so much I could have done with those weeks, but one of the best things I did was rest. The lifestyle Mark and I led in Canada was busy. Really busy. Coming to Oxford has been a breath of fresh air. God gave me the gift of rest - resting my body, resting my spirit - resting in him, and getting to know him again. 
    Throughout this process of accepting this gift of rest and coming to understand my identity again, I was still looking for work and a position at one of my favourite UK retail stores caught my eye. I decided to take a chance and apply for it, and I got an interview!
     The same week I secured that interview, I received an email from the University's temporary staffing service to set up an interview with them, too! 
     Two interviews in a week. Cue my nerves! I had never sat through a formal interview before! Both interviews went really well, and I was offered both jobs, although the temporary staffing service couldn't guarantee work right away, if at all.
     I decided to follow my gut and take the position with the University's temporary staffing service. That night I got a call about temp job available until Christmas, so for the last couple of weeks I've been working as a receptionist at one of Oxford University's science departments. It's part time which allows me to still focus on things like blogging, writing, and making dinner for my studying husband (ha!), and everyone at the department has been extremely kind and welcoming.
     I can't express how blessed I feel about how everything has come together. As difficult as the first couple of months were for me mentally, moving to Oxford has been one of the best decisions Mark and I could have made. I think I've done more scary things since arriving here than I have in my entire life and I wouldn't change a thing.

     Have a beautiful day, friends! Thank you for taking the time to stop by and read about my ongoing adventures in Oxford!


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