I’m trying to keep my chin up, I’m trying to carry on in the hope that things will get better, but right now, I feel a lot of pessimism and regret — and, perhaps thanks to cold remedies, anxiety.
Here’s the situation: I’m still unemployed, though admittedly I am being called frequently by recruitment companies, and I’ve even been put forward (several times) for jobs that would be excellent for me — 1st line tech support with training prospects, based in central London. However, I’ve got my first follow-up Jobseeker’s Allowance meeting tomorrow, and even though I’ve printed out about a thousand job application e-mails as evidence of my activity, somehow I feel like it won’t be enough and they’ll find a way to screw me out of my money — especially since reading that Mirror article (yes, I know, but still), which indicates they’re actually trying to make us fail so they can take us off their lists without having to actually do anything positive for us. It’s certainly true that they gave me two completely different dates for my original interview, though if it was trickery, they screwed up and had me come a day early rather than a day late!
Perhaps I should stop worrying about tabloids and feel optimistic: I’ve applied for so many jobs, including admin ones (like one down in Hammersmith for as much as £30,000), just like they want me to, I’ve sent my CV to every agency I can find, and I’ve sorted out my e-mail and mobile phone issues, so I’m constantly contactable. Maybe things will be all right — maybe they’ll have enough genuine deadbeats to bully and won’t trouble me, and thus I’ll get my JSA and housing benefit after all, and be able to hang on here until I find my “dream job”.
(And if not, I’ll quit the dole in a very public manner, expressing my disgust at their unethical behaviour, and maybe sell my story to a, er, tabloid…)
I actually had two good employment-related things on Friday: a job that might turn into a week’s work, and a phone interview for a job in Edgware. This enabled me to sleep nicely on Thursday night (even though I was coming down with my mother’s cold, and had spent much of the day outside in cold drizzle), and I got up on Friday feeling like things were actually getting back to normal. But no, couldn’t have something positive happen to me, could we? It turned out the job was not what I had been told it would be (floorwalking to help people rather than installing Windows 7), and that it would definitely only be for one day instead of a week, and even if it was £100 for a day, I’ll be losing a lot of it as tax and that stupid “umbrella company” fee they charge contract workers. The final straw? The guy told me to get a hi-vis vest to wear, and it turned out they supplied their own!
Furthermore, the job in Edgware (a place whose existence I only tolerate because it contains the word “Gwar”) would have been another shift-based role — not as bad as the one from November, but clearly I was reluctant enough on the phone that they decided not to take my application any further, though they said I’d otherwise done well. It would have concerned bespoke software as well, rather than troubleshooting Microsoft products for users inside the company, which is what I really want. My mother told me not to feel obliged to take a job I didn’t like, but still, I wonder if I could have made a go of it.
(I could have gotten the Northern Line down to Camden Town and back up again — it would have cost more than getting the bus to Golders Green, but it’d have given me plenty of time to sit and read, and maybe watch South Park, which I intend to be my next purist watching-from-the-start thing!)
About the only things to keep me going these days are the things I’ve enjoyed in London, such as personal training and going to the cinema with “best mate”. In the former case, my personal trainer said he was more impressed by my resolve to continue through this crisis period of my life than by my ability to lift weights (which had been affected by my cold), and pointed out that I’d realised what makes me happy and thus need to preserve; and in the latter case, we went to see Paddington and pig out, which was nice. It’s things like this that I want to be able to continue — the past two years of my life were probably happier than any other time in my life since, at the latest, 2003-4 (when I first came to London and made new friends in Astrophysics, such as “female best friend”), and I want more of this before I move on with my life.
In any case, I have to stay in London somehow: once I have a proper job, my mother wants to move up to the Home Counties (the mortgage would have to be in my name, which was the plan anyway) and escape from Worthing forever. However, if by some tragedy I have to go home again before this happens, I’m determined that it won’t end my life: I’ll keep applying for IT jobs in the Greater London area (perhaps Croydon?), stay in hotels during the week if I have to, and find a way to come back to London again and carry on doing the things I enjoy, such as climbing at the Castle and attending meetup groups.
I just need that first proper IT helpdesk job — not another “customer services” job regarding specialised stuff that can’t be transferred to another role, but proper tech support in a reasonably big company (or local government), where I help people with their computer issues over the phone and maybe going to them in person. That’s what I want, that’s what I need, and that’s what I enjoyed in September to October during my unpaid placement.
If I can’t work in IT just yet, at least let me find a temporary admin job so I can get some money coming in and not have to worry (and indeed, not have to be on the dole, which has been stressful in and of itself). I truly want to work, rather than sit around at home applying for jobs — I want to be useful and to use my intelligence and skills to help other people (in return for a living wage), even if it’s just data entry like I used to do in 2005! Indeed, a generic admin job might be just what I need right now, some stability and the prospect of turning my brain off during the day, so I can still study (I really want to pass Windows Server 2008 some time before it goes obsolete) and do the things I enjoy, while I continue my “dream job” applications.
The problem is simply not knowing what’ll happen next — that’s what keeps stressing me out and making me anxious — but if I can endure Monday (we’ve also got a man coming to replace our electricity meter, but hopefully he’ll arrive before my appointment at the dole office), I think — no, I believe things will get better…
And hey, by the simple expedient of actually turning on the heating, this weekend hasn’t been too cold in my room — something to try during the week, perhaps!