How have we ended up in this situation?
I said to my brother outside a flat somewhere in Stratford East London. It was mid Summer 2006 and we were both in our t-shirts, on the other side in London from our home in Kilburn Park in West London. I had finished my PhD for over a year, still had no job, was in debt, had lost my father from a sudden death a few months ago in Nov 2005, my mother was now living with us, my sister was in hospital for a month and had been diagnosed for a brain tumour, and to top it all off our landlords in Kilburn had given us notice to move out within a month. I was out there with my brother viewing a property so we had a new flat to move into. That was probably the only time that year I took check of what was happening in my life, otherwise things were simply too busy to take stock and feel sorry for oneself.
The landlord must’ve taken pity on us as they let us stay longer so things started to get better. I got some summer work as a researcher in my old lab at Imperial College and I also got some work as a marker at Edexcel. The money didn’t last and I had to take my sister to her radiotherapy treatment daily. I couldn’t afford the travelcard so I cracked and decided to sign up on benefits. My Engineering job search was disappointing, I was filling in forms, attending job fairs but just wasn’t even getting to interview stage. I was never great at job applications and interviews. Even most of the small oddjobs I was applying for didn’t yield to anything, including being a library assistant for a small private library. I failed their spelling test! One such odd job I had also applied to was for a tutoring agency. My friend Tim knew that one of his friends was making decent money from tutoring so he suggested this to me. I had an interview with the agency and like pretty much any other job interview I never heard from them again and assumed I didn’t get the job.
Almost 6 months later in November 2006 I got a phone call from the agency putting me forward to a job. AS Level maths at £25/hr. This was a really decent amount of money for just one hour’s work. I had never been paid this type of hourly rate in my life before and I was really excited about this. My luck was about to turn. I took the job on, it turned out I was a natural teacher from day 1. The rest is history really, I did a good job with my first student and within 2 weeks I now had 3 students. I was able to pay my rent money just from tutoring. Soon I was off benefits and on my own two feet. Things improved for my family too, my sister’s radiotherapy went well and she leads a healthy, normal life now.
I now blog about tutoring on my own tutoring website where I also mentioned my 10 years of tuition. I am so glad I found this profession, and every year has just gotten better and better. I have made such amazing friends with students, families and other tutors. I have earned more money than I ever did and I have become an independent, self assured person. I have many many tales to tell of amazing people that I have met, and place I have been to. You will have seen some of these in my blog posts over the years. Here’s to another 10 years!