Martina in London

Following on from my previous post, I thought I had better let you know…Martina in Jozi will be no more for a while.  I’m sadly packing my bags and heading back to London for a while to go earn some cash temping.  I just can’t find well paid work here in Jozi

I had known about the Black Economic Empowerment Policy before I moved here.  I had assumed I would find it nearly impossible to find employment because of this.  Rob was going to turn the offer down because of it, but Rob’s company assured us that they have partners of secondee’s coming over all the time and can help me find something.  As I also used to work for that company (yes, we had a slutty office romance) and was PA to someone senior there I assumed they really would help.  Turns out they haven’t

What this means though is that Rob is stuck supporting all of us (cats can also be expensive) and it is a huge burden.  He pays for absolutely everything here, we are still paying for a few insurance policies back in the UK, and he also has to continue paying National Insurance there for the first year that he is here.  As per my previous post, life here is expensive and although we have reduced our outgoings to the necessities we still struggle.  You know the worst thing?  Rob earns quite a lot of money for SA!  He is here for a reason though, and it is the type of work that he is doing rather than the money, but his company failed to adequately prepare us for just how much life costs here and now we are in this situation

Most companies won’t look at my CV if I don’t have a work permit.  I need a job offer to get a work permit.  Catch 22 of note

So on a plane I depart.  My family don’t live in London so I am going to have to couch surf whilst I am there, which is such a pain in the ass for everyone involved.   It’s too expensive to just have a spare room lying around in London.  My best friend even said she will chuck her fiancé out to his mum’s house and I can stay with her! Although I am sure that she would love to get rid of him for a week, it’s still such a huge inconvenience for them – she has 2 kids to look after and I’m not a great dad…

I’m so angry that it has come to this.  That I have been pushed to be apart from my boyfriend and my gorgeous cats (I’m a little obsessed by them!).  That Rob’s company let us down.  That this country actively discriminates against colour – any colour.  That I have to leave my beloved Jozi.  That I am going to be alone in London.  That Rob is going to be alone in South Africa

The alternative is to take an extremely poorly paid job which I hate which compromises my CV for the future.  I just can’t do that, especially with the struggle I am having with my depression.  If I have to go to a job everyday that doesn’t challenge me and isn’t rewarding I would go mad.  Hating my job in London made life unbearable for both Rob and I – I just struggled with my moods

No.  I can’t live like that here.  It would be better for me to go home than taint our time here

So I don’t know how long I will be gone.  I’m not sure I will still blog.  This blog has a purpose – to show people what life is like in Johannesburg.  To show people the kinds of things that they can get up to, as before I moved here I cried and cried because there was nothing positive on the internet.  This blog is not my life – it’s my life in Jozi.  My life in London would be boring to blog about!  I might slip in a few posts about cool things to do, but I think Martina in Jozi is going to have a hiatus.  Some of you will be glad!  Some of you will be sad.  I’m angry

I know you will ask what am I looking for work as.  To be honest – almost as anything right now!  In London I used to be a nightclub and restaurant manager. I loved that job, but I burned out young due to the excessive lifestyle.  I have been a Lettings Agent part-time.  More recently, I am a board-level Executive Assistant.  It’s more than a Personal Assistant, and seemingly the EA role doesn’t exist in this country.  I have always provided high-level support to my boss and extensive project management, but here it seems it is more secretarial.  I was an EA in London because it pays extremely well – not because I enjoyed it.  I’m bloody good at it though.  I just can’t take on a lower level secretarial role now.  I had thought about trying recruitment here, but I have had no response to my emails.  Changing industries in any country is hard.  I just want to do something challenging, interesting and just use my brain.  I don’t want to be a secretary that gets paid R5000 a month here.  I get paid more than that in a week in the UK.  I know the economy and the market is different here, but the cost of living is higher.  Crappy situation!

So I’m off at the end of April for a while.  I can’t say how long it will be, because it depends on opportunities out there.  Unfortunately, if I find a really good role there, I may not come back.  This makes me so sad.  I will miss you

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19 thoughts on “Martina in London

  1. Sad that you’re leaving Martina. Really enjpoyed your blog and your enthusiasm for Jozi. The Jozi blogosphere will really be worse for it. Hope you make it back.

  2. While you are angry I am sad 😦
    I have some names of people that might be able to find a job for you. So how definitiv is your decision? Any chance of coming back? Would you consider to carry on looking for a job in Joburg? Please let me know!
    Love
    Bianca

    • Thanks Bianca. If I could find a job here I would stay! It would be the best situation. I had just kind of resigned myself to the fact that it wasn’t going to happen. I have applied for over 100 jobs and heard back from not one!

      • I know exactly what you’re going through 😦
        Work permit and BEE restrictions in this country are contradicting the fact of existing skill shortage…

  3. Martina – The dots will connect and you will find the right challenging work and be reunited with Rob. This job market here is a strange one and the job pool very very small – I made a bad move a few years ago from my comfort zone corporate world and went back to my old job from the mid 90’s for more money – it was a big mistake – but I believe the dots connect – its just part of the journey (I have a great article Im going to send to you on this). If I don’t come right soon in this market here I will have to go back to where I was born – I believe the job pool in London is bigger and more opportunities. I wish I could earn a living from photography here – who knows …
    You shine and I will miss you on our walks. But if I come over to London – maybe we can start our own photowalk club. London is a great place – you know what Wordsworth said hey ?

    • Thanks Jacqui. Yes, life is difficult for so many people at the moment! It’s not fair! Yes, it’s far easier to find a job in London than it is here. Equal opportunities, more companies and more desire for good workers. Unfortunately, life just isn’t as good there as it is here! I’m going to miss this place whole heartedly, so I truly hope that I can find something

  4. Well, you are always welcome to stay with us in SM; it will at least make me finish Tom’s room! Admittedly the travel in to London is a bit pricey, but if you want to get a job outside London then we’ve also got a second car we don’t often use at the moment 🙂

    • Aw thanks. Unfortunately it is the expensive commute that is stopping me staying with either you guys or Angela. I want to try and stay as central as poss to save money. I’ll come and visit though 🙂

  5. Dude, you’re coming back. I just know it. Or maybe I refuse to accept the idea of you not coming back.

    And I hope you change your mind and decide to blog a bit while you are (TEMPORARILY) in London. You might feel differently once you get there. People will be interested in your London life too!

  6. I agree, I thoroughly enjoy your writing and humor and outlook on life. I’m sure there will be worthwhile things to tell about London so I hope that you will share them with us. Maybe you’ll see some of it through “expat” eyes now:-)

  7. I shall miss your accounts of Jozi life too – it’s such a shame that it hasn’t (as yet) worked out. I hope that something good pops out of the woodwork for you before you have to leave at the end of the month. It’s always such a huge disappointment when promises don’t pan out.
    I agree with Sine – perhaps you will see London through different eyes… I know that it’s like that for me whenever I return to the UK.
    Good luck Martina!

  8. Martina, please don’t stop blogging. You could continue your blog about London for the time you are there. I used to live there too and know how you feel about the work thing. I also can totally relate to the dilemma about crappy jobs bringing on the depression, I’ve been there lots of times and always end up qutting them. However, London can be great too, there are lots of lovely hidden away parks, cute cafes, city farms etc. I understand that its v hard leaving your man and your cats though, sending you good vibes to deal with it. Anyway, you inspire me the way you’re open about depression plus you seem like a creative nature loving soul so I’ve nominated you for the Versatile Blogger Award here: http://thecosycreative.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/the-easter-nest-awards/

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