Djcnor’s Weblog

Will Obama Affect My UK Job Hunt?

Posted on: December 28, 2008

I have now been in the UK for nearly 4 years. I have three degrees, one of them a Ph.D. and at least 30 years of experience in three different fields. Yet, I have worked no more than a month in total in one of the areas that I have skills or experience.

Some of this, I am sure, is because the area where I lived has few opportunities in those fields, and most of those opportunities are for the young, those just educated in the fields. Some of it is probably ageism. I’m over 50.

I know this is not unusual for immigrants anywhere. There is a vast waste of education and skills among immigrants. Qualifications earned in other lands, however strong, are not trusted. New York City was full of folks with graduate degrees driving taxis and running newstands and working in the kitchens of restaurants or as waiters in the front. It’s worth saying again. What an unholy waste! I don’t think this makes any sense at all and have ranted on the subject sometimes.

The way I see it is this: Anyone who has the gumption and organizational abilities to move their lives from one country to another and survive is highly competent. It’s especially ironic in the US that we appreciate and praise the characteristics that led our ancestors to do this, but do not appreciate the same characteristics in recent arrivers.

The UK, of course, has a different history. Those who have come here from other lands are usually seeking either refuge or wealth. We came seeking refuge from the Bush regime, and one of us came to fill a UK gap in skills. Now the Bush administration is ending, and we will most likely go home when our Visas run out because  immigration laws have changed. The UK has adopted a point system that essentially requires all non-EU immigrants to either earn more than either of us can earn in our professions, especially in the area of the UK we live in, or to be young.

We will also go home because Obama wil have become President. But in the meanwhile, I quit a job in which none of my skills and knowledge was put to use and I was bullied by my boss, and I’m looking for another one. I’ve put in some 20 applications, all for jobs I have the skills and knowledge for. Many of them said they would begin the hiring process in January.

Today, in the Guardian, I read that since Obama was elected, Americans in the UK no longer have to constantly go around declaring how much they dislike George Bush (which we didn’t mind doing in the least) to avoid being lumped with him and in fact are suddenly considered cool. Now, the article says, Brits are happy to talk with us.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/28/barack-obama-george-bush

Maybe, up till now, Brits didn’t want Americans around because having them around required addressing unpleasant subjects. Invariably, Brits tied Bush to Blair, saying things like “Of course, ours is just as bad,” when actually Blair was nowhere near as incompetent as Bush. Perhaps they were being polite, in the best way they knew how, but that was all they had. It wasn’t going to last past a week or so of having the Yank around. Now they’ve got something positive to talk about with Americans so it’s much more pleasant to have us around.

Will the influence of Obama’s election even extended to our own area of Britain and the type of work I will be able to do in the time we have left here. Or will the influence of Bush, in terms of the world-wide economic crisis, prevail and leave me still working just any job?

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