How to be unemployed #1

It’s been three weeks and I’m still unemployed. I realised today that I might be overdoing the job-hunting because Carole at the job centre actually looked annoyed at having to cast her eye over so many ‘attempts to find work’ (26 in the last two weeks). She didn’t know where to start, so picked one at random:

“Have you heard back from…um…South Cheshire College?”
“No, they removed the vacancy the following day.”

She scans the second page (of three).

“Where’s Marrakesh?” She’s noticed the 2-week TEFL Trainer contract.
“You’ve applied for a job in Morocco? That’s a bit extreme isn’t it?!”

Well, I’d much rather work in a country where not only are my skills needed, but where I’m taxed 7% of my earnings, than a country where, for the last five years, I’ve pumped income tax into the government’s piggy little face at the rate of 22% only to be told at the end of those five years that the money’s run out and I should probably open a school.

“Yeah, that was just a joke.”

Carole harrumphed in a way only middle-aged women with four chins can harrumph.

“Sign here, please.”

All this bad noise is not productive. Being unemployed need not be as soul-destroying as I currently find it to be. I spent three weeks doing the textbook stuff: applying for jobs in the morning, then spending the rest of the day watching Jeremy Kyle, taking catnaps, eating peanut butter out of the jar, going for the occasional run. It what society expects.

Three weeks. It shouldn’t be like this. When I finally do find a job, I’ll regret not doing something more constructive with my free time.

Next week is about applying for ridiculous jobs, long walks in the countryside, learning magic tricks, writing a short story, searching for the perfect photograph, going on a night-time bike ride, making a scrap book.

The trouble with having a work/life balance is that when either one of them disappears, the other feels somewhat pointless.


2 Responses to “How to be unemployed #1”

  1. 1 oldrope
    May 12, 2011 at 6:30 pm

    This is (apologies for the belated response) the story of my life at present. The job centre is a grim place and, leaving aside the myriad problems of endemic long-term unemployment and the socio-economic make up of the one I happen to go to, it is soul destroying for people like me who secretly believe we are better than signing on, especially when confronted with evidence to the contrary. I dont think I should be forced into a shit job in a callcentre (in truth, fat chance of that happening with the jobcentre set-up as it is) and I can see why some other poor sod doesn’t want to be shovelled into some other dead end job. But we could all be using the time more constructively, whether personally or for society.
    How long before I cave in and get a shitty job in a shitty call-centre? Cos I know I’m better than that. Not because I am better than the people in call-centres, but because we all are better than callcentres. Because so many of them, no, all of them, are socially vacuous and an insult to the human race. The Jobcentre callcentre being a case in point. But that’s another story.
    What is equally, if not more frustrating, is that when unemployed you have large amounts of time that seems devalued because of its abundance and because you are preoccupied with not having a job. Soon as you get a job, you know sure as eggs is eggs you’ll “not have time to do anything” and resent how you idled away those long dole-ite hours.
    Sorry, that comment was like a post.

  2. 2 petercharles
    May 17, 2011 at 6:45 pm

    I hear ya, brah. It took me a long time to slide back into the pace of life after spending the best part of a year abroad. Two years on and I’m still doing odd teaching jobs and contract work. The feeling of not really belonging anywhere was overwhelming, and I’ve never regained the stability I sacrificed to go and see the world. Not that I regret it one bit, of course.

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