On the hazards of being interviewed for work

I mentioned in my previous entry that I’m awaiting the outcome of an interview for some casual work. This is actually the third interview I’ve done over the past few months, with the first two being for software engineering positions for which I was ultimately unsuccessful. (I was later told that one of the companies had decided not fill the position at all as they were themselves unsure what they wanted.)

Aside from whatever feelings I might have about any specific job, and a fear of going to the effort of applying for more jobs only to abandon them if the interview succeeds, reaching an interview seems to have two major effects on me. Firstly, I become less assiduous in seeking and applying for other jobs. Secondly, I worry that being offered the job might mean losing the freedom I currently have to choose how I use my time. In the worst case, perhaps, I might end up working full-time again, which would be a failure of another sort given that I have set myself a goal of working a reduced week.

It’s impossible to know if I’ve missed any opportunities because I failed to find or apply for positions that were advertised while I was waiting for the outcome of an interview. I’d like to think that the applications that I don’t make are the ones least likely to be successful anyway, being applications of the kind that I only make out of obligation when there’s nothing else to do. But I haven’t taken any notes that might prove this.

I know from past experience that I’ve been able to find time to work on my own projects even when I’ve been engaging in full-time work. I added fewer entries to my blog when I worked three or four days a week and my fiction writing progressed very slowly (and not at all for some periods) while I was working full-time, but they did actually get done, as did plenty of hiking and travel, brewing and cooking, and SCA projects. I surely would do a bit less writing, reading, travel and other things if I worked longer hours, but it’s unreasonable to think that even full-time work would be the end of it.

Perhaps the worst thing about having to return to full-time work would be in circumstances that meant I had to abandon A Little Research before it got started. One of my motivations for starting the business was to work across many projects in many organisations, rather than spend my whole working week on only one or two projects within in a single organisation. The former, I hope, will make me a better scholar and engineer, even if the latter makes me better at whatever technology the organisation involved happens to use.

None of this is say that I might be better off without applying for jobs in the first place; I do need a little more income than what I have now if I’m not to be digging into my savings at regular intervals, and applying for work is itself one way of getting into different projects and different organisations. I just need to be judicious in choosing jobs compatible with my goals rather than just making applications for the sake of saying I’m willing to work.

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