Saturday, 19 October 2013

Why are you in Manchester?

Ok so update. Primarily because some pretty big stuff has happened recently but also because I don’t want to do the washing up and this is a good distraction. I know the washing up will still be there when I’m done but I might have found some inclination towards it by then.

So for those not in the know I now live in Manchester. It’s not as glamorous as my relocation to Sydney and I doubt I have any shot of coming back with a tan but if anything this represents a bigger shift in my life than Sydney did. When I went to Oz I knew I was coming back and I had 2 girls with me who were in the same boat (well the same airplane but that’s not a phrase now is it?). I have moved here with no one, to live by myself…. Scary! I do have a safety net of a friend from 6th form who is at uni here and a friend of a friend who works here so that’s nice.

Quick explanation of why I’m here as people keep asking me - Why are you in Manchester? I didn’t just wake up one morning and think “I know what would be fun, let’s move somewhere I’ve never been to before and don’t know anyone, for no reason!” that would have been one of my more idiotic ideas. I moved here because I was offered a job. All grads (unless very well connected or whom are prodigies in their field) will know how mind bogglingly time consuming, arse numbingly boring and almost politician-like in logic job applications are. I filled in application after application with very little reply. I went on one testing day (hence the London observations post from a bit back) and had one phone interview but that was it really, for nearly a years’ worth of job applications. Even when I found jobs that I thought I was vastly experienced with and perfect for would reject me and as organisations rarely give feedback at an application level it was impossible to see why.

Anyway, the result of this was that I graduated with no job and moved back in with my parents to continue my search for employment. 2 months went by and no a lot happened. I had fun and games with signing on for job seekers allowance, especially when my “personal advisor” didn’t know what I biochemistry graduate could possibly do with themselves. Interestingly I only saw him once despite being told to see him once a week and being signed on for 6 weeks.

I’m not getting to the point very well am I? I’m 3 paragraphs in to my “quick explanation of why I’m here” and you’re still none the wiser. Ok so I started branching out with my job applications. Whereas though uni I was applying to academic posts usually involving research and/or PhDs, when I realised that they were getting me nowhere fast (ok I was offered a PhD however it was at least a year away from getting off the ground) I started applying for more general things. Ok that sentence is a little grammatically interesting, read it without the brackets first then it might make more sense. I started applying to scientific conference producing, clinic coordinating and anything to do with health. I found the application for an NHS management graduate scheme and thought that sounded a bit out of my league as I know grad schemes are very competitive. But the worst they could do was say no and it was another job applied for to show the job centre I was putting the work in. I was surprised when they said I got through the first screening and would I take some aptitude tests. I was even more surprised when they asked me to come to a testing day. I was astonished when they asked me to give a presentation and interview. I think I was maxed out on surprise when they offered it to me!

Interestingly a day before I was offered this job I was offered another in a research facility that I was seriously considering. So I took a couple of days to consider the two offers and went for this one as I felt it had more to teach me.

The application process for this job was very intense but I got to have some fun with it too. The testing day tasks involved a lot of actors bombarding you with different scenarios and it was actually quite fun and I got into role playing and making my way through these different situations. Having to give a presentation was a bit nerve racking. I don’t mind public speaking as I’ve had a fair bit of experience but it’s still not something that I actively enjoy. I was sure that when I came out the interview I had sounded naive and idealistic but they must have liked that as here I am!

I’m going to be spending the next 18 months working within the hospital trust and experiencing managing a rotation of departments. However, before I started that I went through 2 weeks of orientation. I have been shown as many types of job the trust employs which means I spent a day in surgery actually standing in a theatre watching operations (by the way scrubs are so comfortable! It’s like being in pyjamas) and a day out with district nurses seeing patients, tours of nearly every major department, walked a thousand miles on a porters shift, done a night shift on a ward and even spent a day driving about in an ambulance!!!  It’s been so cool.

This week I have been thrown into my first placement and already have big plans and a project to manage which should be good. Also I was sent to a conference to network all of the NHS graduate schemes, along with the 7 other graduates they employed on the graduate scheme. This was a really good opportunity to meet people on the national schemes and also find out about their experiences as the 8 of us are the guinea pigs for this graduate scheme. It was also really nice to see that when they needed to split us up, none of us wanted to be apart so we have gone from total strangers to inseparable in 2 weeks. They are a really nice group and I’m looking forwards to spending at least the next 18 months with them.

So here I am, in Manchester, with a job and a flat and everything. And it’s going well! I’m finding that I’m not as anxious about things as I was expecting and I actually quite like Manchester as a place too. For example:
·         It’s got lots of interesting bars and restaurants. I’ve already found a good Chinese and a good Japanese restaurant. Still working on the bars though, it’s hard to go out when the only people I know are people I have to work with so can’t really go out with on a sat night.
·         It’s got loads of theatres but ditto the same problem.
·         It’s very multi-cultural and integrated between them.
·         It doesn’t have many sky scrapers which make you feel claustrophobic like in London. This also means that when the suns out you can feel it even in the city centre. In Sydney you had to take extra layers if you were going into the city centre because you would constantly be in the shade!

Also though bad things about Manchester:
·         It rains a lot. When people said it rains a lot in Manchester I thought they were just complaining but it genuinely seems to rain a lot more frequently and a lot more enthusiastically here.
·         It makes me hiccup. Not sure why but I’ve hiccupped about a dozen times every day since I’ve been here.
·         There are a lot of students who make me feel old by how young they look. Freshers were born in 1995 now which is silly; those people should still be in school.
·         Everyone sounds northern and mumbles which is taking some time to get my ears adjusted to. I can translate most people now though. Interestingly they can still pick up the Australian in my accent and think its hilarious!
·         Everyone’s mad about football. Nuff said.

Not exactly deal breakers so all I need to do so I can survive here is; grow gills, be constantly surprised, ignore the students, learn to translate the accent and learn about football. So effectively just become a local!