It’s the coldest snowiest winter for decades and the whole country has ground to a halt as has news reporting about anything else. I don’t care because I am loving every flake that falls. After two years in the UAE getting a winter like this is an absolute treat. Of course if I had to do anything, other than the 5 min walk to the gym or the supermarket, I am sure I would not be enjoying it quite so much.
However, I am starting to get very frustrated about my unemployed status. It seems that my last two years of experience in the UAE is completely irrelevant to any job I apply for here. The cultural and arts sector in London is huge and I am sure that most jobs advertised are oversubscribed. So I assumed that some recent international experience covering policy, production and publication would actually give me an advantage but of course it doesn’t work like that. Employment seems to be on the basis of committed insularity which means that potential employees know how best to operate within the UK network. I know this makes sense and it’s the same everywhere. All that really changes is the size and depth of the pond but this experience of coming back to the UK is markedly different from my two previous re-entries.
On returning from Japan it was easy to find work, partly because I spoke Japanese but also because there was a big Japanese community in London so there were plenty of places to look where my experience was likely to be valued. When I returned from Jerusalem it was also easy to find work. I was there during an interesting period and had also managed to pick up a whole bunch of very useful new skills. As is usually the case with the Middle East I had also met people who knew other people who made sure that I met the right people when I got back to the UK.
This time, however, there is really nowhere to go. There is such a strange and complete disconnection from the UAE. It’s as if it only exists when you are physically there. It feels like I dreamed the whole thing and then woke up with some new but completely useless knowledge that I cannot apply outside of that environment. The UAE embassy doesn't even have a cultural desk which is quite ironic given the amount of energy spent promoting it over the last two years!
I just hope something comes up soon otherwise I can see myself heading to the refuge of the eBay shop. By the time I’ve flogged all the stuff I’ve accumulated from everywhere over the years, I’ll probably be in the market for an environmemtally friendly eBay coffin.