Thursday, July 27, 2006

Job hunting: Round Two

27th July 2006:

The one downside with being a contractor is that once a project that you are hired for finishes, it is often the case that your employment contract finishes also :(
So, sadly, we all did too good a job on the last project(!) and it finished on time so I am back looking at the job market. Thankfully, all went well with Bullseye and as I'm leaving with a good reference from an Aussi company, it should should be easier to find the next job down under.

Despite only being two months since the last time that I went through this job hunting procedure, there is a noticeable difference in the job market. The one common phrase that I kept running into from recruiters and fellow contracting buddies regarding the companies looking for new employees was: "they just can't find anybody". It seems there is a major shortage of people with .Net skills in Sydney and I've been quoted between five and fifteen dollars more per hour now than compared with eight weeks ago. Its handy for contractors in the short term but I'd imagine that it will eventually start hurting the job market here if companies have to start offshoring projects to India or somewhere...

I have done eight interviews over the last couple of weeks and the vast majority were very positive with the both the business and technical parts of the interviews going aok. As with the last round two months ago, the technical part of the interviews tended to be VERY technical with real-nitty-gritty questions being posed. They varied from the "here's a pen a paper: implement x, y and z" to the more advanced on-line multiple choice series of questions which adapted itself to zone in on your weaker areas: yuck!

Still, no word yet on if/where I'll be working. So, in the mean time I think I'll embark on a mini-trip. Being winter in this part of the world, it makes sense to try to go skiing while there is snow in the mountains. Relatively close the Sydney are mountains which regularly get snow in winters (they're called the Snowy Mountains, oddly enough(!)): sadly it is just too wet this year and it seems the skiing isn't the best which many of the resorts resorting to artificial snow on otherwise rocky slopes.

With that in mind, I think I'll go for the sun instead. I had looked into going to some South Pacific island chain such as Tahiti, however there are limited flights and all are booked up for the coming couple of weeks :( Still, at the same latitude as Tahiti is the Aussi area of Cairns where the temperature never seems to drop below 25C all year: just what the doctor ordered after the last couple of months of wet Sydney weather.

So long Surry Hills

25 July 2006:

After three months in the hostel, the time finally came to move on. I realize that for most people, they would have moved on after less than a week, but why be normal?! Still, better late than ever, I have moved to the Bondi Junction suburb of Sydney and am now sharing a house with a Canadian, an Aussi, a dog (American Staff Terrier), a cat (does very little, just seems to purr on my lap all day) and a fish (Thai fighting fish, does even less and usually just likes playing dead at the bottom of the tank(!) Rent, the main reason why I moved out is nearly half of the 350 Aussi dollars it cost per week at the hostel (eek! so expensive!) so straight away I knew I was onto a winner with the new place.

So, why the Bondi Junction area? I'm five minutes from the shops, five minutes from the train into the city and the beach is down the road. Naturally, even though the continent was experiencing drought conditions for most of the last twelve months, its been raining nonstop since I moved two weeks ago with the weather forecasters saying that it it has been the wettest July in years: typical!

It is odd living somewhere where the kitchen has all of its walls (the hostel kitchen wasn't entirely enclosed which made cooking in the evenings a "fresh" experience) and having a room which is larger than a double bed is another bonus(!) Speaking of a double bed, IKEA is near Sydney and is the place to get cheap furniture. Only thing to note though is that unless you want to carry the bed back to your house yourself, you'll probably want to get the home delivery option: however, they don't explain until after you've bought the bed that the charge nearly 50% extra for delivery if the bed is larger than double size, and you didn't bring cash with you? That's another 2.x% charge for your credit card. Hmmmm...

Once the bed does arrive, you do get the pleasure (or pain) of assembling it yourself. I was quite proud of my effort: a mere 30+ pieces left over after I was finished! (their design was inefficient and I improved it: well, that's what I'm saying to myself anyway :)