It takes courage to get suited to face a long travel and then wait in anticipation for another negative result. It kept happening to K all too often. We had to draw a line somewhere and gave ourselves time till Christmas. We had the wall full of interviews and their status.
One day we got a call from one of the recruiters stating that K had done really well. He was sort of second best though. So in case the candidate who was numero uno did not accept the offer, the job would be K's. Well! That was something. Maybe. Maybe not. 25 interviews later it did sound good.
The number one would in all probability accept the job. We could not rest on our laurels. It was quite far from Leeds or Ipswich which meant total relocation in all respects. I could not continue my job in Leeds since the travel one way was nearly 5.5 hours long. Still we made plans that if nothing happened, we would accept it. K was not so optimistic though. He felt he was always going to be second best or there would be someone better than him. I assured him that competing against life long programmers and coming second was not bad at all.
A few days later he got an acceptance from a leading retail company. He was elated! It was closer to Leeds. The benefits were fantastic which included childcare and discounts in their outlets. We would need to relocate though. But I was not too keen on relocating to the place because I knew the locality was not up to my liking. It was predominantly populated by Indians. I did not want my kids to be brought up in a ghetto. I did not want the pressure of attending janmashtami and diwali functions else neighbouring lady would not let her kids play with mine. K furious at my stance. But I felt since we had taken such a risky step, we should make a move for the better. Not just better for the best. I asked him to accept the offer and dabble with the joining date. People did that all the time. It was not a natural thing for K to do. But with much persuasion he took the step.
Meanwhile the company which had placed him second came back with an offer. There was an opportunity to expand the team and they were eager to get K on board. But we politely refused the offer. We had moved on with the decision that we were not going that far geographically.
In a couple of days he secured another job in place which literally took me within arms reach of Leeds. The place was also highly rated, coming third as one of the best places to raise a family in the UK. But it was a very small place. Our next move and especially K's next move seemed murky. What if we wanted to change our jobs in future? The place offered only a handful of companies. Which meant we would need to travel to one of the nearby cities which would raise more issues in terms of travel, child care and the lot.
Little did we expect that K would strike gold in Cambridge. He cleared some gruelling rounds to qualify for a top software firm in Cambridge. Cambridge is regarded as the silicon valley of the UK. Which made the next move for both of us not only feasible but also highly likely for the better. Cambridge comes up very high in terms of job satisfaction index and also as a place to raise a family. It is a lovely place and the place which houses the world famous university must have a lot of culture and character attached to it. To top it all the company had some amazing perks and a really cool domain. K felt like a spoilt kid during Christmas. But. There is always a but. Because of all this aura of Cambridge, it has a very high cost of living. One that is 16% higher than average UK. It was very tempting to make a move. But who would want to live in the outskirts of the dazzling city, to live in reflected glory, to just visit the city for work and claim to live there.
Painful as it might sound, we harboured thoughts of rejecting the offer. Because finally K got an offer from a firm in Leeds! It was ironical. When I had gotten used to the thin thread of limited contact with Leeds, when we were so used to the rustic and sedate life of smaller towns, when we were so sure that Leeds did not want us - K managed to get a job there. After God knows how many attempts of trying to get a job there. The timing could not have been more bizarre.