Tales of the unemployed

Steve tells me where to go. At least he’s cuter than Lord Alan Sugar.

Five weeks ago, I was told my ‘job was at risk’; it was ‘potentially to be made redundant’; and I was to ‘enter consultation’. In plain English, that translates as ‘you’re fired!’

The strange thing was, I wasn’t angry. I wasn’t sad. In fact, I was strangely excited — and a bit ashamed of being so.

I knew I should be devastated. Everyone was sympathetic and consoling. I felt odd, unsettled, a little worried, sure. But the overwhelming feeling rising in my chest was excitement for a new challenge, a fresh start, a better job — that I now had all the time in the world to find and apply for. What’s more, my boss’s kindness meant I never had to come into work again and would be paid for doing what I liked for two weeks. Brilliant!

Was it ridiculous to be looking forward to spending time at home with my (also unemployed) boyfriend? Would my happiness reveal to everyone that I was a fraud, who didn’t want my job and was glad to be leaving? I just hoped that everyone would see it as me being inordinately positive in the face of misfortune, as per usual — either that or in denial. And maybe I was a little in denial. Did I not realise that I had lost my income and a job I liked, working with people that I really liked?

It felt exhilarating to leave the office in the middle of the day, leaving a piece of work unfinished. I thought I’d treat myself to an afternoon of clothes shopping just because I could, before realising I’d feel too guilty to be frivolously spending the money I now needed to live on for the foreseeable future. So after phoning Steve to share with him my guilty joy, I went straight home to join him on the sofa. I felt as if I’d feigned illness, been sent home and was now reaping the lazy benefits of my lie.

Unemployment had good parts and bad parts.

Good parts:

  • Lazing in bed until 10am
  • Wearing my fluffy pink and white polka-dot dressing gown for most of the day
  • Making hot lunches and eating them in front of the tv
  • Going to the supermarket when it’s quiet
  • Spending time on cooking dinner and eating it early in the evening
  • Taking doctor’s appointments at any time of the day
  • Going to the zoo on Valentine’s Day
  • Going to the park on warm sunny days
  • Staying up late to watch that tv programme, because I don’t need to be up early in the morning
  • Playing Tetris Battle on Facebook
  • Enjoying short breaks in Nottingham, Loughborough and Edinburgh

One of the highlights of my unemployment = meeting a lemur.

Bad parts:

  • Feeling lethargic all day (partly due to getting up late and living in dressing gown)
  • Seeing the same four walls every hour of the day
  • Becoming too lazy to do all the useful things (cleaning the house, washing clothes, organising things) that I swore I’d do once I had the time
  • Effectively gaining a more-than-full-time job (around 91 hours per week) of seemingly never-ending searching and applying for jobs
  • Missing my friends at work
  • Missing Stylist magazine each week
  • Not allowing myself to shop
  • Starting to notice and regret the money I spend travelling
  • Going to job interviews
  • Waiting for phone calls and e-mails that never come
  • Receiving job rejections
  • Reluctantly going to sign on for Job Seeker’s Allowance only to be told weeks later I’m not entitled to anything

Two unemployed bums sat in their dressing gowns at 11am

The average day went as follows:

  1. Get out of bed at 10am
  2. Put on dressing gown
  3. Turn on TV for Homes Under the Hammer
  4. Eat breakfast
  5. Go through job alerts
  6. Apply for jobs mentioned in alerts one-by-one
  7. Stop for lunch midway
  8. Continue to apply for jobs, maybe searching for more on other websites
  9. Stop for a Tetris Battle break
  10. Continue to apply for jobs
  11. Cook and eat dinner
  12. Continue to apply for jobs (flagging now)
  13. Watch TV and have some pudding or tea and chocolate
  14. Look at the jobs I still need to apply for tomorrow
  15. Go to bed at around 1am

There were other days that ended up being incredibly busy — travelling to places as far as Windsor for job interviews, receiving multiple calls from recruiters, squeezing in a trip to the supermarket to replenish the milk, cooking and eating a quick dinner and finally going to Camden for a night out with friends. In fact, with up to three interviews a week in different places, at times my life felt more frantic than it ever had been in employment.

And then — after a spell of second interviews and waiting weeks to hear back from employers — I was offered a job within a day of applying for it. I sent off a quick application one morning (one of many) and that afternoon was invited for an interview. The interview was the next day and a few hours within returning home, I was phoned and offered the job. If only all applications could be dealt with so quickly! I excitedly accepted it.

Things became complicated the next day, when, engaged in being an extra in my friend Breezewax‘s first music video, I received an email from another employer saying they knew I’d already accepted a job, but would I like to come to work for them instead. This second employer was offering the same money, in addition to travel expenses, and another job I would gladly have taken. Being indecisive as I am, this put me in turmoil for the rest of the day and night.

I made my decision the following day — deciding to stay with the orginal one I’d already accepted. This job, as a staff writer for a set of business journals, is different to the majority of those for which I’d applied and will take me in a new direction — into writing, where I’ve always known I belonged. It is the new challenge for which I’ve been searching and I’m nervous and excited to take it by the horns; to see where it will take me.

I start on Tuesday — wish me luck!


10 thoughts on “Tales of the unemployed

  1. GOOD LUCK! I think you were enormously positive about what happened – & I don’t think you should feel guilty. I’ve been “trapped” in jobs I didn’t enjoy & went through the tiresomeness of looking for something else, applying – but to be let go, just freed, that would have been a great feeling. I totally understand it.

    You’ve bounced back beautifully – meant to be 🙂 Love your list of good and bad … “not allowing myself to shop” Oh yeah!


    1. Thank you! I’m glad you can relate and hope you’ve got a job that you enjoy now. The not-shopping thing was tough, a real test of my self-discipline – inevitably, I celebrated my job offer with a shopping spree!


  2. Good Luck Jubby! I really enjoyed reading your account – so upbeat and funny! I also loved your list of good and bad, and I love the pictures! I’m sure you will thrive on the new challenge – just what you needed! xxxxx


  3. If my estimations are correct, today is Tuesday! Hope that your new job is going well thus far and that everybody has been welcoming and friendly.
    Today is called ‘Cyhydnos y Gwanwyn’ in Celtic tradition and signifies the start of new things :-O
    Coincidence? I think not..!!


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