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End of the Tour?

So firstly a big ‘bad me’ for the complete absence of blogs now since early April… so nearly three months later I’m back, feeling like writing and yet the whole reason for this blog is almost obsolete.

I started this blog in early 2005 as a way of keeping friends & family in touch with what I’m up to as I travelled away from Northern Ireland. Today I’m 21 days away from relocating back to Northern Ireland. The tour is almost over.

To take a few steps back, for those of you who’ve not been paying attention, I moved back to the UK in 2010 with my then girlfriend Dina. She got a job in Belfast in April 2011 and has been living & working there since – and I have been trying to move there permanently since October 2011.

I tried really hard to get a job in Northern Ireland with my current employer – the biggest retail bank in the UK, with over 100,000 employees and some pretty significant office space in Belfast. Yet nothing was doing.

I couldn’t persuade my senior management to let me move back and I couldn’t find a role in the bank that was truly flexible on the location question – despite many claiming they would be. I even had one, very senior manager, say that I would have difficulty in finding a manager who would let me work “abroad” when I asked her if she knew of any roles in Belfast (perhaps it’s no surprise the Financial Services sector is in the diff’s it is when that’s the quality of the intellect managing the sector…).

So in February I registered with four recruitment firms in Belfast and several websites who specifically looked at the Northern Irish market. The recruitment firms – MSL, Brightwater, Lucas Love & Clarendon Executive – between them worked one ‘potential’ opportunity… so not much cobber, as they say down under.

I also applied direct to Citibank in Belfast, though managed to screw up my application… oopsie… and then, NIjobs.com threw up a few interesting options, one of which was a job in Barclays, based in the city centre. I found the same job on Barclays’ own career website and applied. The following morning I had a call to arrange a screening interview the same week. Following success in that I had a full telephone interview inside a fortnight and a full three hour, face to face interview inside a month.

It’s fair to say it moved quickly from application to eventual offer… and so there was plenty to thin about. At the same time, my old job in India came up available… so I threw an application in to that too… though that came to nothing.

So, on the 20th June 2012, having accepted Barclays’ offer, I handed in my resignation at Lloyds Banking Group and I’m currently working a month’s notice.

In a way I am sad that I’m leaving Lloyds. I have thoroughly enjoyed my career with them… it’s been nearly eight years and I’ve met some fantastic folks and seen a few things I would never have if I’d not joined – including just over two amazing years in India. And yet I’m moving back to my homeland; I’ll be closer to my fiancée and my family – my expanding family as my brother throws out kids at a frantic pace; and with an excellent job, months in advance of my wedding later this year.

It’s all worked out nicely in the end and I am very, very happy.

The past few months haven’t been without their excitement and journeys and I promise to try & update the blog with some updates of what I’ve been up to – including a trip to Devon in May – so that in the round of time, it’s complete by the time the end of July comes around. And so, it’ll be a question of what I write about next… I’ve a few ideas in mind but I’ll take a little time & make up my mind.

In the mean time, it’s nice to be back and I’m looking forward to writing again.


About Mcfaggen

Having grown up in Co. Fermanagh where most of my family still reside, I thought it would be worthwhile to keep a blog of my travels around the rest of the UK, Europe and the World.


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