Ha. This post depresses the shit out of me.

When I had to start building this plan; it was less than 2 months before the move. It’s recommended you do this earlier on than that (6 months, to be exact) – but I had hoped the agency I worked at, would let me work abroad. Well, as you may expect – there are legal issues with that – due to being different countries, governments and currencies – so both sides had decided, sadly, to part ways.

I want to preface by saying that job was the happiest I had ever been with a job prior to now. I’ve worked jobs where I enjoyed aspects – but my last job before moving was a place that I could see myself staying at for years. I loved everyone I worked with, the culture and atmosphere. I was paid fairly, had a comfortable commute and worked in my favourite part of town. I had never before, and haven’t since, had a job that ticked off all of those boxes.

So, in the last two months, to have to make a job plan to find a place, just like it (never going to happen) was almost impossible.

This made me do what I always do – I turned to spreadsheets.

File_000 (11)
Or the less conventional – multiple notebooks and shorthand that makes no sense.

I have countless spreadsheets – but my job plan ones are tried and true. Even though it’s been harder for me to get work in the UK; I have a skill that made me easy to hire back in the States. A project manager who can write technical documentation for web, apps and software is a big deal – and someone who can write good technical documentation is important. I won’t personally say if I’m good or not, because even though I’m an asshole – I’m not cocky. However, I’ve always been able to find a job and most complaints about my work was related to styling and not functionally wrong.

So, while I lived in the States, the Job Plans were important because they helped me decide which companies to pursue in the first place, who I accepted to go to an interview and finally, who I chose to work with.

You need to remember, picking a job is like your going first date. It’s just as much for the both of you as it is for them. Going in, desperate, makes two unhappy parties. You need to be sure at the end of it that you both asked enough questions, had chemistry, to make this go forward.

At the previous job in question – Everyone had a similar sense of humour to myself. This made the interview comfortable and when I got the offer later that day; I jumped at it. These were the kind of crazies I wanted to work with.

When I was applying previously and I got the reply – I knew exactly what were the pros and cons from my previous research. I chatted to a friend who worked there and probed the internet to find flaws my friend may have skipped. This gave me the confidence after interviewing to know there weren’t any skeletons in the closet to shock me. When making your job plan, I recommend setting it up like this:

  • Did you apply for the role? Y/N
  • Date you applied (They will sometimes take months, you don’t want to have applied for two different roles and hear back on one and not the other, thinking it was the other one).
  • Job Title (I like to link to listing)
  • Company (I link to the company page)
  • Salary
  • Benefits
  • Pros/Cons
    • This is critical and you are free to be petty. If you really don’t care about Happy Hour Tuesdays and would rather have flexitime – call it out.
  • Distance from Home
    • For me, this was up in the air because prior to moving to York, we didn’t know if we would live in York or Leeds.
  • Commute Time
  • Heard back? Y/N
  • Interview? Details

I usually colour code by the responses. As you can see from above – it went really, really bad for me when we moved. Former job plans were mostly green (Offers) and this time, it was multiple no’s (Red), no responses (White) or “Thanks, we’ll call you.” (Yellow)

When picking companies to approach, keep in mind how this job fits your goals. If you are coming over as a dependant on a student visa; you need to look at larger companies or companies which can sponsor employees. You will need to check the government documentation for the place you moving to, to see that list.

Key companies to look into:

  • Larger companies
  • The companies with US offices (Especially if locally to you – You might already know your contact to help you apply)
  • Companies that need shortlisted roles (These do not require a company with a special sponsorship certificate)
    • Note: Project Managers are shortlisted – just not my kind – They only want the ones in Graphic Design, focusing on the gaming industry.

If you are having great luck and have multiple offers, I recommend checking yourself before you react. I had to reset my mindsets about the kind of company I wanted to work at when I moved here. I had left a great digital team in an American Agency, where we drank beers at our desk, went on Chipotle runs and worked on pretty cool work. At my current role, it’s been much closer, but different at the same time.

That doesn’t make it bad – the differences will help teach you to adapt to your new country better. The differences will test your mindsets and help you become better at your job. However, they will also make you sad some days, missing what you had.

You can still love your former life, without shitting on your current one. Make sure you give both a chance and appreciate what you had and how that helps you now. Your new job will appreciate your experience and your old job will be happy to see how well you moved on. Or at least they will pretend to with random Facebook “likes” haha.

Just when picking a job to not stretch yourself too far. Picking a long commute for more money might seem like a normal choice back in your home town, but when you are in a foreign country, it may add new stress. Hell, even taking the job that looks good on paper, but you can see the fire in the interview – keep in mind you are going to be already stressed moving here – Don’t make it harder on yourself.

2 thoughts on “Create a job plan

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