I’ve had over a year off work now. Primarily it was to see my son through his two big spinal operations, but also, I’ve had the time to write two manuscripts – one of which will be published soon. But now, with funds running low I’m having to look around in order to contribute to the household income again.
This is my third spell of being ‘unemployed’ and I’d forgotten how dispiriting it is. The endless polling of job sites, tweaking the old CV and writing cover letters is wearing and to put a tin hat on it, I’ve got to go to the job centre this week in order to have an interview for job seekers allowance.
Ironically, the first chapter in my upcoming novel was inspired by a visit to the same government office the last time I was out of work. Perhaps it’s all changed and I’ll be pleasantly surprised by what’s in store. but my memories of the experience are so depressing that I’m not feeling good at the prospect. Ideally I’ll be able to land something where I can work from home – perhaps editing or copywriting – but I can see myself having to do the old dreaded commute again if nothing comes of that.
Most depressing of all are the amount of jobs out there that either just sound tedious beyond belief or that want applicants to be the best in the world at something but then only want to pay peanuts for your efforts. Either that, or the positions a bit further up the salary scale are wrapped up in such cheesy recruitment jargon that they put me off trying as well. I have now come to hate the word ‘proactive’ and refuse to countenance any advert with this in the person specification!
The problem is that having a year of setting my own agenda and primarily writing for big chunks of time, I’m now spoiled. ‘Til recently, my working day has involved spilling my imagination onto the page (or the screen) and having the satisfaction that comes with creativity. Unfortunately none of this has resulted in a penny earned yet and so I’m having to be realistic about what I’m going to do for the time-being.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m not expecting anyone to shed any tears for me when they read of my plight – and I’m not in dire financial straits by any means. It’s just that Mrs A is working full time as a teacher and I don’t want to be carried by her while I indulge my fantasies of being an author.
Still no publication date yet from my publishers, but at least it’s there on the horizon to look forward to…