⚠️ IMPORTANT 2022-11-15: Please help me find a job and move countries.

Status update on my job search

This is a follow-up to the video I did: help for job + story about my CV. I still have nothing concrete to share. There are some openings and I already applied for one developer position. I did it because I need something: I do not know if I am fit for the task, though I am hoping for the best and will keep trying.

Below is an overview of how things stand.

CV misconceptions

In that video I talked about my CV: I described it as “underwhelming”. People explained that I was wrong in that I can populate the CV with all the informal work I have done. Here it is: https://protesilaos.com/cv. Take out everything I publish on this website and you see why I thought the way I did.

I used to think that only formal qualifications count. The rest of what I do and love would be relegated to some “hobbies” section. This is informed by my past experiences, all of which came with strict requirements for degrees and certificates. For example, I would apply for a position that demanded English language skills. At the time, I had about 500 articles on my website—five hundred! (Now it’s over 1000, quality notwithstanding.) So I thought I would use my publications as proof that I am not a fraud. Nope, I never got past the initial stage. Never! When I would contact a human, they would reply with the generic “sorry, sir …” and reiterate the stipulation for formal qualifications.

To acquire such qualifications, you need a job that pays handsomely; to get the job you need the qualifications. You explain the problem only to be dismissed as an ideologue. They console you with a “good luck”, which puts an end to your complaints and reminds you of what needs to be done. Hence the epidemic of unpaid traineeships for highly skilled positions. I met several lads who were on their third or fourth unpaid role: I hated it and would not be a part of it. Besides, one must already be able to afford being a trainee without remuneration…

To me, formalities and status are irrelevant. I care about the person at the qualitative level and I do not pursue “social points” for myself. Philosophy does that to the mind. The above is not my opinion or how I judge people. It is how I was treated in a world that is oblivious to the human element. I eventually gave up searching for jobs and scholarships (I once thought I would become an academic), and simply did part-time manual labour.

Based on the feedback I have received, the programming world is more relaxed in this requirement. I am well aware that it is not all sunshine and rainbows in this field, though there is hope that it offers some immediate relief.

Encouragement and advice

I have received lots of messages, especially from the Emacs community. They contain words of encouragement as well as helpful advice. I am replying to all of them, though it takes time. Right now I have 60 unread emails. I hope to get to zero by the end of the weekend. Normally, I reply within a day, though it is impossible under these exceptional circumstances. Thanks to everyone and expect my reply soon!

The advice I get pertains to the CV, which I already covered, and to the sort of skills I should pursue. Most people tell me that web development is the most marketable field. I admit that, as an outsider, I am discouraged by the sheer complexity of all the tooling and frameworks involved. I will continue researching the JavaScript world. My first impression is that the much-touted marketability is not uniform, as there are different (perhaps incompatible?) skill sets involved.

I am interested in Clojure and Common Lisp because they are closer to my Elisp skills. They thus appeal to me. I understand there is not much demand for either of them, especially the latter, and there are no positions for beginners.

I am also looking into server-related fields. I can rely on my knowledge of Unix, though I understand there are enterprise-grade tools involved: I know nothing about them.

The point is that I must pick one. Given my predicament, I will probably end up with JS or server stuff, despite my preference for the Lisps.

“Beautiful place; stay there”

I agree with the sentiment that my mountains are nice. Though there is more to life than sparsely populated landscapes. If I am to pay rent at or around city-level prices, I might as well live in a city to benefit from all its amenities and potential for sociability.

My stay here has allowed me to remake myself and do the sort of internal work that no CV or other token can ever capture: I became a philosopher (plus all the free software goodies). It has also taught me that one’s residence must provide for fallback options. Autonomy cannot be exercised in marginalisation and against unfavourable institutional arrangements, but I will not elaborate in abstract right now.

Here I only have a plan A, which is not sustainable due to the rapidly rising cost of living and exorbitant rates for accommodation. There simply is no alternative in my area. Precarity grinds you, even though the beautiful vistas offer some consolation.

Remote work is an option, yes, though it does not change the fact that this region has no fallback options. I am happy to work remotely in the short-term, but change must happen regardless.

Relocation without a job

Some people offer me a room at their place and are willing to cover the necessities. I thank them and explain that I cannot accept such offers: they are not tied to an employment position. The risk of relocating without having a job is too high. Imagine I visit you, spend 6 months with nothing to show for, and then find myself homeless in a country whose local tongue I am unfamiliar with.

Interest-free loans

I received two offers for an interest-free loan. In general, a loan is useful, though I cannot take one under the prevailing conditions. The reason is that unless I have a job, I cannot guarantee that I will service the debt.

Hoping for the best

I will continue applying for job openings and hope for a positive outcome. Given that relocation schemes are hard to find, I am focusing on the software industry as it offers possibilities for remote work.

My plea for help stands: if you know an employer, please put me in contact with them. I am not asking for charity. Just bring the human factor back to this world.