I called Sydney, Australia home, until June when I packed up my suitcase, quit my job and moved to London for a change in scenery, and to be closer to travel opportunities in Europe. Like most people that move here, and possibly yourself, the first few weeks after arriving were extremely daunting. With my savings going down and the homesick feelings growing I wasn’t sure if I had made the right decision, however, luckily a friend of mine referred me to the receptionist recruitment agency, FOH to help me get onto a job path as a temp in corporate reception work
Luckily I walked out of there with a job starting the next Monday (It doesn’t always happen and I think I happened to be there when the booking came in! At first, I was nervous but it felt great to be back at work and feeling like I was settling in to this new city a little more. The first role was only for a week, but after some good feedback was passed on, I was able to obtain a 6 week role at a corporate law firm. Being there helped me learn and practice many useful career skills, such as corporate booking systems; dealing with high level clients; email correspondences; booking meeting rooms and mostly presenting a smiling, friendly face to people often having a busy stressful day. With 55 meeting rooms, and a large employee basis, this role wasn’t always easy but I was working with a really great team of about 7 other receptionists who made me feel at home straight away.
After coming to London with very few contacts or friends, working as a temp has also placed me amongst really lovely people, some of which I am still good friends with now. Most of my best memories are of my colleagues attempting the Australian accent, or being fascinated at all the ‘strange’ foods we Australians can’t get enough of (a receptionist at one job even attempted to bake me a lamington cake as a goodbye gift, and others tried vegemite for the first time). Another benefit of finding temp work is that the companies FOH Recruitment work with understand how costly living in London can be, and corporate law firms usually pay very well compared to other general reception roles, depending on whether the company is an insurance firm, bank, law firm or hedge fund. This has now helped me set myself up in a rental property and given me the routine and security I need to feel comfortable and confident living here.
Finally, for me, one of the best parts of deciding to do temporary work, instead of fixed contract roles, is that it gives me the flexibility to make the most of being right on the doorstep to Europe (and the cheap flights you can get there). Working in 9-5 Monday to Friday roles, my weekends have been free to explore the countryside sights out of London, fly to places like Edinburgh for the weekend, and I have also been able to take a 3 week holiday around 6 countries of Eastern Europe in between jobs.
I am now settling into a good routine at a long term temp role at a company I love. The people are lovely and I have great flexibility in carrying out my work and shifts. I have learnt many new skills and met different types of people at each company I have worked for so far, and look forward to continuing to work here during my two year visa in London, which I can now also call my home.
Contributed by Annelise
FOH is a receptionist agency which covers London corporate roles.
If you don’t yet have the experience for a Corporate Reception position, visit Receptionist Required…
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