‘Work-Shy’ Series Part 1: The Numbness of Unemployment

Some call it ‘the chase’. But it no longer resembles a race. Imagine if the city is filled with loads of doors, a bit like beehives. Yet slowly but surely, those holes keep getting plugged in.  And your navigating around and you don’t see many open hives anymore. That’s what looking for work felt like for nearly two years. Now I’m at it again. I say felt, in the past tense because it no longer feels like that. Perhaps there were moments in that other period of unemployment where it did. But since the feeling is quite raw – rawer than I initially considered it to be, I can’t help but describe it, barely anyway.

On Thursday, the culmination of a job application for a bank after nearly a week ended up with a telephone interview. One could say that it was the interview itself  was when my luck ran out. I refuse to believe that. It was a time when I got candid. Too candid. And too honest about my actual inspirations. As it was the interview, I got pressed on about it over the line until it got very uncomfortable, and I eventually hung up – then turning the phone off for ten hours. Fortunately, because my life is such a boring one, nobody called. If anything, more often, it’s the other way around. But through that day, I came towards a realisation. If I were to be more honest when applying for jobs like these, I’m probably not going to find work. But at the same time, I’ve reached a point where I’m, quite frankly, sick  of engaging in the pretenses. After reading a list of possible answers that I could have mentioned in order to clinch the opportunity to take it further (yes not even a guaranteed job yet), I figured that I could probably apply again next month. But later, I wondered, is there any job that our generation engages in to get by in this nation, that I’m going to be happy with?

I apparently have the skill set required to be a tutor if I wanted. Or at least that’s what I’ve been told. But how fair is it to spend time with children if your heart isn’t in it? Children need guidance, attentiveness and yes – nurturing. If someone can’t provide that, then what’s the point in being a teacher?

I’m just very uncertain about the rest of my twenties, and apparently, rather ineffectual about finding work. Even volunteering is becoming miserable, and reminded me of those ten uncomfortable minutes over the phone. This doesn’t mean that I don’t want to work. Or that I’ll stop altogether. I’d rather not give any reason to justify the idea of the ‘work-shy’ unemployed, popularised by former Minister for Work and Pensions Iain Duncan Smith. But ‘working’ in these roles literally depresses me. It’s probably the old job that has come to inform my feelings towards it. I detest the idea of being overwhelmed again even more. A shame that it has to get in the way of earning an income.

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#anxiety, #depression, #jobless, #mental-illness, #the-rat-race, #unemployment

New Year’s, Old Fears?

Instead of getting plastered with friends out in Central London (or Clapham as I was invited to) like a regular 25-year old, (or maybe the one’s that I see in VICE magazine), or at least trying to salvage the other invitations that I received, I instead went to bed trying to sleep, and tossing and turning for several hours. Forgive me for not being the most optimistic about New Years’ Day 2017, because many of the same problems that I had 24 hours before in the previous day, have a bad habit of bleeding over to the next day. And becoming a walking black hole of misery to suck my friends into (which is, I believe ultimately what I became online) is not how I intended to celebrate and/or kick-start the new year. It’s a weird form of damage control, but damage control it is. Regardless of how miserable someone feels, it is unfair to deliberately take away someone’s happiness, or guilt-trip someone for being happy, or not paying attention to you simply because you’re  not Mr. Sunshine or Lady Joy of the Bliss Kingdom.

If there’s anything that I’m guilty of, it’s the idea that I might’ve made other people feel guilty for having a good time. Or in the process of having a good time. Right now feels really rough, and my therapist can’t be there 24/7, so I try to reach out to my friends, or at least the ones that I trust, but I also don’t want to drag them down, or emotionally exhaust them with my problems. People don’t see New Years’ as a time to be airing out problems, but problems I do have. It would be wonderful if every horrible thing that happened in the past year could be wiped clean as soon the clock strikes 12, but that doesn’t happen.

In the end, I have my own cross to bear. And I, and only I alone will have to deal with it. My situation with the job that I previously lost will have to be dealt with by myself. I’d like to thank everyone that gave me advice on the steps to go by, and I hope that they’ll get a chance to read this. But it’s for me to do the heavy lifting. The holiday period has not been the most encouraging time to get these things done.

I suppose that my fears for the New Year are these:

*That my (ex-)boss will get vengeful and try to screw me over. It’s this fear that started my latest round grappling depression. All the things that I was excited to take part in last month and this one, and my relationships or perhaps my perception of them, have been affected simply because he wouldn’t accept my resignation, and told none of his staff that I left. I took steps to defend myself by asking for employment advice, and contacting the HR, but so far, they’ve been unsuccessful.*

  • That I could alienate all the friends that I currently have. I don’t have that many friends. Certainly not a lot of ones that I regularly contact, or anything resembling a large social circle. Or a lot that I consider close (which I suppose is the point). Or much of a social life. I know a number of them have been helpful to me during this period, but I’m afraid that I might’ve taken it too far, and used them as crutches. These people have contributed a lot to my life, but I don’t know if I’ve done so in the same way to them. And so I isolate myself. I initially viewed it as I quite painful, but necessary. I was told other things to the contrary, and I believed them, but now, even with the possibility that it’s the depression talking (and it almost certainly is), I’ve done it again. I don’t want to drag people down, but I don’t want to scare them away either. One’s got to give.

*That none of my dreams will come into fruition. I understand that this is not something that I can just expect to happen this year, much less overnight. But I guess the real fear, is that I’m no closer to realizing my dreams than when I started. I’ve been doing drawings for ten years. I’ve also been writing…stuff, whether they be on paper or on the net, including poems for a bit longer. If the concrete in my brain would go away, I’d reflect and be happy that having a play out, even a 10-minute one, is actually a remarkable first step.  But that might be all there is. I don’t want that to be true, so I keep at doing both, even if I get hard on myself for focusing on one and not the other. I don’t know if I can hold a job, or hold on to my friends, but I can express the pain of not having either, or at least the uncertainty around them.

Last point: If you’re some of the friends that have helped last month, and are currently reading this, you have my deepest thanks. Please forgive my depression taking a hold of me. I don’t want to be a burden to anyone. I just want to live as best a life as I can with the people close to me. I still for some reason, believe that with enough effort, it is possible.

Notes

*I was hoping avoiding mentioning that altogether until everything was resolved, but I guess it caused too much damage to not acknowledge.

#depression, #doubts-fears, #mental-illness, #new-years-day, #writing