What a difference a year makes

lonely_shinjiA year ago I was at my lowest ebb, mentally and physically sick, thanks initially to that terrible 24/7 shift job that I regretted taking on (and which still haunts me sometimes), and subsequently to losing my job and having to face unemployment in the run-up to Christmas.

Indeed, a year ago today I heard Chris Evans on his breakfast radio show point out that it was exactly a month until Christmas, and realised that even if I got a job soon, it’d be just in time for the holidays, so I’d have barely any time there at all!

Add to this severe problems with phone reception here in Finchley, meaning I had to put my phone by my window and call recruiters using Bluetooth headphones, and the scary prospect of being on unemployment benefit, something my landlady really didn’t want, combined with having to spend all day at home, struggling to keep the place warm while knowing how much it would add to our fuel bills… all the things I enjoyed (such as video games, TV shows and, yes, the music of Gwar) ceased to raise my spirits, I developed a pathological hatred of Christmas advertising (why should they be happy when I can’t even afford to get my folks presents?), and the darkening nights grew ever more horrible…

ss_ffBut now here I am a year later, having come through that bad time and, after doing a half-decent job for six months, finally working in IT support, my one true calling.  I’m planning a blog entry detailing my average day at work, so you can see just how I seem to turn everything to my advantage these days (even my morning commute), so I won’t go on at length here; suffice to say I feel useful and appreciated.  I’ve got my best friend living with me now (after he helped me stay sane during December), and he wants the house to be warm as well, so we actually have the heating on in the evenings, and my mobile network got their s*** together and, apart from a couple of bad days, now allow me to receive text messages no matter where I leave my phone!

And, best of all, I may actually have enough money to get my folks Christmas presents this year — not perhaps a whole computer system like I got Mumsy in 2012, but certainly something nice like face cream.  Indeed, I’d better see if there’s a restaurant at which I can treat them to dinner on Saturday, something I’d originally promised to do at the start of this year when I got a job…

The only cause I have for concern right now (aside from World War III, and the Chancellor undoubtedly hiding a dagger somewhere in the Budget) is that I didn’t tell DWP about going permanent at my job, and since I had my last weekly contractor pay in the first week of this month and am not receiving my first monthly salary until the last Friday of the month, they may well have assumed I’m unemployed again, hence why they seem to have paid me over £300 in Universal Credit.  I’d tried calling them earlier in the month, only to get a snotty recorded message effectively saying “don’t call us, we’ll call you”, and so I assumed I simply wasn’t getting any UC any more… should I call them to explain the situation, or should I take the money and run?  Can I avoid the taxman if I put it in a Swiss bank account, or is that only for rich people?

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2 thoughts on “What a difference a year makes

  1. Pingback: What a difference ten years make | Dave-ros Lives!

  2. Pingback: What a difference twenty-three years make | Dave-ros Lives!

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