My current crisis — waiting for a job, and wondering how long I can hang on in London — is not without precedent; and I’m not talking about January 2012, I’m talking about August this year!
As you may recall, after accepting voluntary redundancy at my old employer, I had to wait for my IT agency (whose name could be expressed as the first and third words of Nike’s famous slogan) to find me an unpaid work experience placement, as I had to be available at a moment’s notice. Although that finally happened in early September, I felt anxious throughout August, wondering when it was going to happen, and noting that I was living off of my savings and redundancy money (and we won’t go into the fight I had on my hands for the discretionary, which finally made its way into my bank account in October).
So, really, what’s so different now in December? It’s likely that I’ll have an embarrassment of riches (in terms of job offers, not actual money) in January, once Christmas is over and companies are eager to take on trainees again — I certainly hope so, anyway. However, in the meantime you’ll be pleased to hear that the Job Centre has accepted my application for Jobseeker’s Allowance, and thus, as long as I can persuade my landlady to lend me the tenancy agreement (since they don’t take copies), I should be able to get my housing benefit as well, and not lose a lot of money while I wait. It’d be lovely if I only needed both for a very short time, and that by the end of January I’m in a decent 1st line helpdesk job based in central London…
(What’s wrong with me that I suddenly find myself wanting to travel on the Northern Line? Was it the two-and-a-half weeks in November I had to wait in the cold for the damn no.82 bus for a long and awful journey, and then wait in the cold for the Overground at Finchley Road & Frognal station for a very short journey? Would I have felt better about that shift job if I’d gone down to Euston and got another Overground branch across to Queen’s Park instead, and thus been able to sit down and read?)
The upshot is that I effectively have a job now, one that lets me work from home: applying like mad for jobs, which includes admin jobs as the Job Centre don’t care what you do as long as you do something you’re skilled in. Truth be told, my coach has been very nice to me (and was astonished at the number of applications I’d made, though whether her stand-in will agree next Monday is anyone’s guess), and even said I can take a “holiday” for Christmas, with this only resulting in a delay in my payments rather than getting me booted off. I’m wondering whether all the stories about JSA-related bullying and “setting people up to fail” were tabloid lies, or whether I’m just very lucky to live in an area with nice Job Centre staff… or whether they’re just not picking on me because they’ve got plenty of prey already!
I think the way I can overcome my current anxiety is to do what I did in August: re-establish a daily routine of getting up with Chris Evans and Frasier, making sure I eat breakfast every day, and being positive. Admittedly it’s harder to stay at home in December thanks to the cold (I feel bad putting the heating on just for me), and last week, when I had that one day of work, I felt remarkably better about getting up (and slept better the night before), but I’ve got to fight through this stage of my life, and keep hoping things will be better in January (when we’re also hoping British Gas will be able to give us free loft insulation).
That’s all for now — maybe another time I’ll talk about my strategies for coping with anxiety (such as filling in puzzles in a book, much like I found an old Sudoku book back in January 2012), but for now, I want to sleep — and hopefully not have weird, restless dreams…