One of those things, I suppose. I don't mean to abandon this blog to meandering about being unemployed and generally bleating about stuff - not that you haven't had fair warning over the past few months that it might turn into that - but that's how it is, so that's what I write about. I wish it could be different; you probably wish it could be different. Remember when I was funny? I think I do, just about. I'm sure there'll be a time, in the not-too-distant future, when I can just get back to blogging about funny stuff, or writing the kind of thing I used to write. But it's hard to get back on the horse, for me, at the moment. I'm still writing things for the New Statesman, by the way, and some of them are not entirely disappointing; so I'd go there and have a look if I were you.
Anyway, you reach a point, amid all the endless typing of CVs and job applications, when you start to think that you might not get another job at all. It seems likely that I will. But it's hard to convince myself of that, sitting here, right at the moment. It takes, on average, two hours to apply for a job at the moment - you have to fill those forms that want to know the exact date you started school, every subject you ever took, every job you ever worked at, and so on - so multiple applications are right out. Maybe someday someone will invent a standardised application form that you can just fill in once, that will suit every job. That might make it easier.
In the meantime, it's such a long, laborious process that you end up seeing yourself as a very specialised data entry clerk, repeating the same phrases and the same words over and over again, to meet the demands of the same kinds of job descriptions and person specifications. Yes, I am flexible, you say; yes, I can prioritise my own workload, you say. GIVE EVIDENCE. So you give evidence. And then, when you feel you've ticked every box, crossed every t and dotted every i, you send it in, hours later, having written a minor masterpiece about yourself; and you don't hear anything back at all, and you begin to think, this really isn't working out, is it?
Don't write about it, though, I can hear you saying. Don't write about it. Don't write about the fact that this is a tedious process and you're not very good at getting jobs. What if a potential employer searches you online - what will they find then? Well, what they will find is this, I suppose, and I don't have a problem with that. I don't mind admitting that applying for jobs is hard, with very little reward, and that occasionally the amount of effort required, compared to the eventual rewards you might get from the position, is pretty disproportionate. I don't mind anyone knowing that. You don't advertise for a job slightly above minimum wage (for which people nonetheless need 'substantial experience') and expect it's going to make someone's dreams come true and fulfil them as a human being; at least, I don't think you do. If you do, then god bless you.
But I will write about it. If I didn't write about it, then that would be worse. If someone can't be bothered to read a CV, if it's really too hard to pick the bones out of that, if an application form is more important, then are they really going to bother to search for me online, and find this? If you have, well done. And well done for getting down this far. I wonder how much further you might go. But I don't mind. Hello. I'm a human being. You know the bits where I said I was enthusiastic and flexible and hardworking? Well that's all true. But it's also true that I really need a job. Just give me a job. Give me a fucking job. Give me a job.
Then that is to assume that jobs are something to be given and taken; to imagine a sense of entitlement, which I don't really have. I don't deserve a job more than anyone else. I just want one. I probably want a job more than a lot of people, now that I've been without one for a long time. But maybe not as much as others. I try to imagine, sometimes, the kind of people who make it to interviews ahead of me, or who get selected in interviews ahead of me. Did they go to better schools, or universities? Are they older, or younger? More attractive? More lucky? More confident? Do they come across better? Did they lie on their applications? Are they just better for the position? I don't know, but I am curious. I wonder sometimes. I suppose I should wish them luck; many of them are going to be just like me, and the fact they end up with a job with be something precious and happy for them. I suppose I should, but I find it hard.
And in the meantime, the title of the blogpost might have given you a clue as to what else is going on. Some of you who've made it this far down - and thank you, by the way - might have read a few things in the past about me being on antidepressants. (Again, don't write about it, I can hear you say - but I must. I have to. I don't care if a potential employer knows this or not. If it meant they didn't want to employ me, then I wouldn't want to work for someone like that anyway. So it saves us both time.) Well, I have had to up the dose. The weeks of not having work have felt like a heavy load. Sometimes it's felt like disappointment, and sometimes it's felt like despair. Sometimes it has just felt OK, like nothing, like a glass of water, and that's probably the most dangerous feeling of all: the time it feels all right to be like this is the time to worry. This isn't all right. This isn't good enough. This isn't what I should be doing. I should be doing something - anything - rather than this. But mainly it has felt sad and dispiriting. I am a little broken. Not lots. Please don't panic. Not lots. Just a little. Wouldn't you be? If you wouldn't, well done. And so, I have had to do something about it.
Whether it's a placebo effect or not, I am feeling better already, and more productive - hence actually writing this, rather than days of writing nothing. Probably the main spark is that, as before, it's the admission of needing help that is the main thing. If you struggle on thinking it'll go away, there's a chance it might not go away, and it might get worse. Not always, but sometimes. So I have made a decision to do something about it, obviously in conversation with my GP, and we'll see how it goes. Locked and loaded. Maybe this will be temporary; maybe it won't. It doesn't matter either way; it just matters that it is happening.
I write about all this because I can. So I do. Looking back on the past few weeks, it's been really hard to write. Time was when I wrote three or four posts a day; now you're lucky to get two or three a week. So when I have the ability to write, I write. There will be a time, not so far away, when I won't have to worry about all this, I'm sure. Things will be better. I almost certainly don't doubt that. But in the meantime, I'm afraid it's difficult for me.
And that's that.
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