I think my life’s starting to suck again, not unlike late 2011 and early 2012 — though, as per then, I’m sure of the cause, though just as pessimistic about a way out…
It seems I was premature in my triumph concerning my new job: rather than providing tech support for big, important websites like Sky and Nestlé, it seems I’m actually helping perverts speak to topless women on one of those interminable late-night TV channels, or to send messages to girls on webcam (or, slightly more legitimately, to watch football highlights or consult psychics). I’m getting paid an uninspiring* amount of money to do this in shifts, including night shifts that have really screwed with my sleeping pattern (and naturally I started this job just after this news report), but I feel like I can’t escape, because I need the money, and I also need to be in work if I want any hope of finding something better — and the whole process of getting a new job, from application through interview to starting, takes a month or two!
(* considering how much money pornography brings in — I want a piece of the action! Ooh, Matron…)
Despite my misgivings, I made the decision to stay in this job for as long as I can after speaking to the guy at my IT agency, who pledged his support, and also after reading my diary from late 2004: in that period I’d just started living with my Astrophysics classmates in the Wood Green area, and was doing a job for a local council’s Occupational Therapy equipment department. I really, truly grew to loathe this job — arranging deliveries was all right, but being told I had to cancel loads because one of the vans had broken down or a damn meeting had been called wasn’t, and my ultimate boss was a pedantic witch who gave me too much to do, and didn’t like me helping the delivery men on my own initiative. However, I needed the money — I’d already had to borrow money from “female best friend” just to pay my share of the deposit (though by that time I’d paid it back) — and at least I was working within walking distance; but oh, what a dark, depressing winter that was…
Back then, my only concern was with staying with my friends in London, and not returning to Worthing in defeat; so it goes now, perhaps even more so for my mother’s sake as her working life has gone to hell, and she wants me to have a happy time here, not to be suffering as much as she is. “Best mate” is also suffering, hating the place in Manor House where he lives, and wanting to find somewhere to live with me — so for his benefit I have to stay in London as well, otherwise he’ll have to go back to Ireland. And, although I haven’t dated in ages (perhaps a good thing, considering the parlous state of my finances — and to think, I spent £2,000 on a holiday last year!), I’m more likely to find someone here than in Worthing, since I’m not interested in (ahem) grandmothers or chavettes.
However, what’s the use of being in London if I can’t enjoy it? Fatigue resulting from sleeping poorly after my first ever night shift meant I didn’t perform as well with my personal trainer last week as I could have done (though doubtless I’ll do better tomorrow), and although I don’t have any more night shifts scheduled until December, the pattern I have now mean that I no longer have any such thing as a “weekend”, just days off which might happen to coincide with Saturday and Sunday. Worse, my shifts aren’t set in stone at the moment because a member of staff is going on paternity leave just as soon as his wife gives birth (she’s already overdue), and this means everything’s subject to change at short notice.
Even when I have a free evening, it seems I’m very, very prone to anxiety: witness Tuesday this week, when I made the mistake of trying to go climbing somewhere I rarely go. I should have gone to the Castle, or gone to yoga, or gone to a Japanese meetup event, or even just stayed at home — but no, I went out on the Circle Line, a disaster area at the time, and was so late to the Westway that (a) I had to queue for ages, and (b) there were no lockers free. I wasn’t prepared to leave my stuff out (if I got robbed, I really would be in trouble!), and I got so worked up that I just had to leave and return home.
Worst of all, though, since I travel via bus and a short London Overground journey, I can’t read (I get travelsick on bumpy transport if I don’t look out the window) and have to listen to music — and I think I’m getting a bit sick of Gwar! Now you know there must be something wrong, but having it stuck in my head doesn’t help my situation (does your brain springing a leak ever improve things?) — it’s like a drug, with me listening not to feel happy, but to try and stave off misery.
It might just be the aforementioned sleep deprivation (which still hit me today, during my day shift, making it hard to take stuff in), but I may be getting depression/anxiety again, just like in late 2011 to early 2012 — it doesn’t help that other things have hit me today, such as London Overground rejecting my appeal against my £40 fine (they didn’t even seem to consider that it was an honest mistake), and an offer of an interview in Stanmore for a job that would pay less than my current one, and not even guarentee I’d be free of shift work.
I hate the idea, but I might just have to go see my doctor next week (on a day when I have an evening shift), and see about anxiety medication… I really hope it won’t come to that, though — instead, I’m going to do what my female friend advised me to do last month, and say what I want:
I WANT A BETTER JOB IN I.T.
I want a job with civilised hours, working on an IT helpdesk for a big company, helping workers there with their computer problems, in a relatively central London location (so I can sit on the Tube and read during the journey — did you ever think I’d say that?), for a monthly salary high enough that I can afford to continue living here, paying my personal trainer and doing the things I enjoy. If I have any luck left over, I also wish for a woman to come into my life (I’ve seen someone today who’s making me an “honorary” non-paying member at an expensive matching agency).
Of course, having only day and evening shifts for the rest of November (barring any further changes) means I can at least get some proper sleep, and continue applying for jobs — I’m in a stronger position to do so now than I was when unemployed. Although most of my current job is very specific, I’m at least getting experience of maintaining a server room and doing SQL queries, both invaluable for future roles, and the boss is very understanding and is trying not to overwhelm me.
Also, I’ll look to the positive in my job: evening shifts will at least mean I can get up at a civilised time and go to bed on the same day, and after my day shift tomorrow, I’ve got plenty of those coming up — and, just possibly (depending on cover), a free weekend I can use to visit my folks and go climbing with my mother, for the first time since July! Plus, even night shifts won’t be without advantages: although I had to concentrate while learning the role, in future I can just sit and read, while waiting for bits of work to come in.
(I’ll also try listening to classical music again, and give Gwar a break — don’t want to feel like I’ve outgrown them, after all!)
I have this vague notion that if I can get through the rest of 2014, things will be better in 2015, and I’ll be stronger as well (much as I was after my lowest ebb in 2011-2012). I just need to keep trying at my current job, get through the training so I can work on my own initiative, earn enough overall to pay my rent and food bills, and apply for better jobs like crazy — but for now, I need to get some sleep so I can be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for my day shift tomorrow…