I flatter myself that someone may have noticed that I haven’t been updating this blog very much lately. I’m afraid I must confess to having been neglecting the needles lately, in favour of trying to find gainful employment. It’s a process I find very wearing and there have been a great many lows and not many corresponding highs, however lately I have felt my long-repressed creative juices (i.e., innate silliness) beginning to flow back now that I’m not immediately responsible for children, so there has been quite a lot of fun. Unfortunately, however, fun does not often provide a meal ticket, and I really do need to get the employment situation sorted as soon as I can.
So far, my attempts to kick-start some kind of a career have resulted in two interviews. I mentioned the first ill-fated one some time ago; the second was about a month ago and went slightly better, but still no joy. Next up is something slightly different, a post for which I am less qualified but more suited, I think. Anyway, that’ll be Monday. I’ll probably mention how it went at some point.
I took the first rejection pretty badly. It was a bit of a low point, to be honest. I failed to make it into work the day after the interview and spent most of the following two weeks feeling pretty useless. The second rejection was exponentially easier to take. If things continue like this, by my fifth or sixth interview I won’t even care any more. It seems the less you care, the more likely you are to get the job, so I suppose I’ve just got to keep on truckin’, as it were.
At least I’m getting offered interviews, though. Tonight I’ve had a friend on the phone (let’s call him W): someone with whom I worked when I was still at school, who is hard-working, conscientious, intelligent, articulate, and extremely likeable, and has a degree in hospitality; however he is long-term unemployed. W is also dyslexic, and suffers from bipolar disorder. He gave up an excellent job working for Apple in retail, because the aggressive sales environment was in conflict with his principles and was causing him an unbearable amount of stress (despite being one of the store’s top sellers of computers, his unwillingness to go for added-on sales was making the store’s figures look bad). He lost his last job because the company he worked for wasn’t equipped to offer him the support he needed for his dyslexia. He’s had a few jobs in between, but not many employers are prepared to support workers who might find it impossible to get out of bed from time to time, and now his CV is preventing him from getting interviews because he’s left so many jobs after only a couple of months. He’s been put on the Work Programme, and has to attend sessions on why it is important to have a job – as if he doesn’t know. He’s humiliated by being on the dole, exasperated by the way in which the people at the job centre see him, and frustrated by the complete dearth of employment opportunities. W is a very strong person – he draws a lot of strength from his faith and he volunteers both at his church and for the local LGBT group – however the burden he carries is enough to make anyone crumble.
He can be his own worst enemy, though – when he has his super-productive manic periods, he feels great and stops taking his medication. I’ve had to phone him and insist that he takes it, and remind him to make doctor’s appointments and to get his prescription. I do this because I’ve seen how he gets when the mania breaks – if it’s not so bad he’ll ring me up in tears, when it’s worse he can become suicidal. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve never considered ‘opting out’, but I’ve never got anywhere near the point where I’m standing on a railway bridge, literally on the brink.
Sometimes I look at the difficulties W faces every day and I’m ashamed of how weak I can be. I do have it relatively easy. But when I speak to W he often talks about things he should be able to do. I do this too – I should be able to get out of bed every morning; I should be able to go and buy something for tea when there’s nothing in the cupboard, instead of making do with half a packet of custard creams. It probably won’t come as much of a surprise to hear that constantly berating oneself for things one should be able to do is not particularly helpful. Sometimes I can’t even make a cup of tea, because I know that afterwards I’ll have to wash up the mug, and don’t even get me started on laundry … Washing requires hanging out which requires bringing in which requires ironing and putting away. So, sometimes I just stay in bed. Not so much any more – citalopram has really helped, and so has making to-do lists. But there’s one item on my to-do list that is proving really tricky …