Until recently, like many others, I viewed unemployment as a temporary thing – A welcome break from the drudgery of the rat race – A chance to reorganise your life and reassimilate yourself into a more productive, worthwhile human being, that will, as a result of intelligence and qualifications, return to the workplace happy and rejuvenated.
From recent experience I can conclude that this isn’t a true reflection of what my life has become. There has been no reorganisation or reassimilation, just boredom and gradual deterioration.
In fact, somehow my daily activities have taken on a monotony and robotic banality that I thought was only possible in a production assembly line. It seems we are all creatures of habit after all, even if that habit leads us into sterility. In order to illustrate my point I will run through a day in the life of me.
8.30 – 9.00 Wake up. Switch on the TV to Lorraine Kelly’s grinning Scotishness. Lie in bed for a while watching items on credit crunch fashion. The word ‘haberdashery’ features prominently.
9.30 Get up to escape the discordant yelps from the latest assortment of human detritus swept on to the stage of the Jeremy Kyle show.
9.45 Eat breakfast, do the dishes.
10.00 Have a shower and get dressed. Walk up to Roz’s brother’s room to switch on his computer.
10.30 Open my email account, and while it loads, split my personality into two polar opposites that will define my mood for the day. The first is a diligent and happy go lucky child, with the unbridled hope that waiting for me in my inbox is an email offering me a dream job. The second – and if I’m honest the increasingly dominant personality – is the bitter cynic, sneering at the very notion that anything positive will come from being awake, let alone opening my email. Undoubtedly my hotmail will be host to an array of fake banking emails encouraging me to update my security details and about 50 woefully inappropriate job matches from telegraph jobs, who seem to have disregarded any of my job preferences and feel it is their duty to transform me into a Primary School Teacher, Engineer, Fire man, Prostitute, or any of the other spectacularly inappropriate matches to the keywords of ‘writing’, ‘journalism’ and ‘journalist’ that their system keeps producing. By this point it usually become fairly obvious that personality number 2 is going to dictate my movements for the rest of the day – just as it has done every morning for the past 3 months.
11.00 Check through the 12 websites I have bookmarked for their potential to alert me to employment opportunities and list any jobs worth applying for (of late, due to Christmas and the pesky but insistent recession, that list is currently receiving about 1 job a fortnight).
11.30 Attempt the Guardian Crossword with Roz and perhaps have a go on ‘Linkudo’, a new and exciting game of word association from the Independent. These two activities constitute the high point of my day.
12.00 From this point on my day will follow one of two possible courses. If there are any jobs, I will begin to produce covering letters, example work etc and email them off. If however, in the likelihood that there aren’t any jobs, I will read through the day’s news stories on the Guardian, Independent and Times websites and decide if 1) there is anything that warrants writing about 2) if what I plan to write will be potentially publishable or if it is destined for this blog.
13.30 Eat lunch, do the dishes.
17.00 Take a break to eat peanut butter on toast and drink a cup of coffee.
17.30 Read through the fruits of my labours and decide whether the last few hours have been a waste of time or a stroke of Shakespearean genius. Send off any material that falls in the later category to appropriate sources that may potentially publish/not spit on my offering. Anything else may – with a bit of editing to bring down the tone and raise the animosity – end up here.
18.00 Go somewhere in the house to avoid Hollyoaks and read a book.
19.00 Eat dinner, do the dishes.
20.00 Sit on my bed and peruse the TV guide for something that might maintain my interest for more than a nanosecond.
20.00 – 22.30 Watch a mixture of informative documentaries and reality TV, whilst making notes on any programmes that deserve praise for their brilliance (this is a rarity), or anything that strengthens my notion that we are definitely living in a grim dystopian nightmare (this is a regular occurrence). These evening sessions constitute the majority of my blogs.
22.30 – 00.00 Lie in bed pondering what I will do tomorrow, knowing full well that this all too familiar cycle will ensue.
. . . unless of course it’s the fortnightly Wednesday when I must make my presence known at the jobcentre, for some ‘help’ and ‘advice’ on escaping this tragic existence.