10 Years of Living in London

Published on 5 October 2009 in , , ,

It was on 5 October 1999 that I first took my steps into full time employment, as I started my first job in London, having moved to the city a few days before.

Canary Wharf from the Thames

It was never in my plans to move to London – it never crossed my mind. I just assumed I’d stay somewhere in the north; get a job and find somewhere to live.

Catherine had a years placement in London before she went on to study her MA, but we had no plans to stay there and whilst she would obviously be living in the capital, could study her MA in six different places in the UK.

So I settled back into my parents home in Hyde and started looking for work in the North West. I signed on and tried to find something in the North doing web related stuff.

And I didn’t get very far. There just wasn’t the industry up there for that kind of thing. So much so that by the end of the summer, I’d extended my search to looking in London, and even applying for Wetherspoon’s manager training programme as a backup plan.

Wetherspoons actually went as far as inviting me to an open day, and if I’d gone my life might have been very different. But as it was, they got in touch about a week after I’d moved to London in preparation for starting a role with a small design agency out in Shoreditch.

It was only a temporary contract but it was a start. I initially moved in with Catherine and her housemate, before finding myself a rather grubby studio flat in the north of Ealing.

After a few weeks, said design agency proclaimed there was no more work for me, which led to much wailing and gnashing of teeth given I had next to no money – I’d obviously nothing saved up – and a large monthly rent to pay. A week and a half on the dole again, led to design agency offering me more work. But the brief gap had already got me looking and by December I was with ft.com doing some work there.

By January I was again unemployed, but by the end of the month I had two job offers in the bag – a permanent role with an internet startup or a three month contract with the BBC. It was a difficult decision, but I had a feeling joining the Beeb would stand me in good stead for the future. And indeed, a few months later they offered me a permanent contract.

With me holding down a full time job in the capital, the decision for Catherine to apply to do her MA in London was a bit of a no-brainer, and Catherine becoming a student again although financial reasons were partly the reason for us moving to a one bedroom flat near Ealing Common.

And that’s been that. It’s now ten years since I arrived here and there’s no sign of leaving just yet. To another ten then? Well who knows what the future may hold…

Almost inevitably, this is a series of posts. So pop back tomorrow for things I like about London!

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