Tuesday, 31 January 2012

IWSG: I ain't got no job singing the blues:

First Wednesday of the month don'tchaknow and that means its again time for the Insecure Writers Support Group.
It isn't much about writing this month but instead it is something that has been on my mind for a little while now.

See I quit my job this year. so that I could go on a graphics course which, don't get me wrong, I'm still super excited about but it's just that for the past five years I've been employed as a security guard and now, relatily speaking, I'm not.
There's a part of my brain that can't accept this. “You've got a good job” it pleads “you're getting older. You're not good enough, not smart enough. Not. NOT NOT

I've been wrestling with this part of me every time I'm filling out another form and my heart was in my throat until I finally got the courage up to hand in my application.


I think that it's less the fear of the unknown and more the part of me that's comfortable where I am. Job, real life friends, internet friends [1] all the things that a body could want in life [2]
The absolute worst case scenario is that I fail everything and wind up collecting the unemployment benefit forever but since I'm going to put everything that I have into my work on the course I am pretty certain that this isn't going to happen but there's still that little niggly naggly seed of doubt there.

I detest the unemployment benefit because its money that hasn't been earned and some people see it as a right, doing everything they can to stay on the lists for as long as they can [3] however it's a sweeping generalization to say that everyone collecting the benefit is like that because once you're in the clutches of Work and Income it can be very difficult to get out again.

Sit down and let me spin you a tale.

Once upon a time I went on my OE and returned to NZ healthy in mind and body. I signed up at the unemployment offices with bright eyes and high hopes.
Find me a job merry receptionist” I said, and swept my hair back for effect “for I've no wish to collect the benefit and I'm motivated enough to try anything”
That's the attitude” she smiled and handed me the job list

I went through the job list and applied for anything that I was remotely qualified for [4] and made a point of going in each day to apply for something new or to check on my applications.
Well days turned into weeks and my own pavement pounding had netted me nothing but holes in my shoes and a new understanding of the phrase “Don't call us, we'll call you” Eventually I moved into into Petone and received a new case officer who called me in for a meeting to discuss how things were going.

I didn't have a good feeling for this meeting because I'd more or less become one of the no hopers who didn't care that they don't have a job as long as they have money for whatever they need.
When the meeting came around we had a bit of a talk about this and that. I let him know about my own work seeking efforts which were, at this stage, sadly lacking and also the jobs that I had applied for over previously.

He tapped away on the computer to bring up my file.
That's funny” his brow furrowed
What is it?”
You don't go by any other names do you?”
No. None at all”
According to this you haven't been registered with us since May of 2002. It says you cancelled your benefit because you found work?”
Yes I'd started working at the Woolworths Supermarket. Look I've been getting the benefit regular as clockwork, what about all those jobs I applied for?”
He shook his head “I'm not seeing them anywhere in the system”

It's a testament to the power of words that I remember those words as clearly as anything. It's been 5 years and I remember them so very clearly.
I couldn't believe it, all that time and effort had been totally wasted and it felt exactly like someone had slammed a large tree branch into my chest [5]
Well, do you have any jobs available?” I finally asked with tears in my eyes

Yes, tears, it was that much of a blow. I had been able to accept that nobody wanted to hire me but to learn that I hadn't even been on the list? Yeah, there were tears.

He retrieved my old friend the job list and I didn't even bother to look at it before handing it back.
All of them”
I can't just put your name forward for everything. Give it a proper read through”
It's just that I really need a job. I'm sick of this benefit and want to work”
He tapped away at the computer again “I can get you a cleaning job at Mcdonalds”
I have to take it”
It's in Porirua”
I'll take the bus”
You haven't got a car?”
No” I wondered if he'd listened to a thing I'd told him “I'm poor”
Wait there” he went off and talked to a few people before returning “how do you feel about security?”
Alot better than I do about cleaning Mcdonalds” [6]

To cut a long story short I had a quick interview over the phone and a proper one was soon scheduled.

That day I left those offices on the biggest high ever. Birds sang just for me and the sun shone down with a smile on his face. If there had been more people around we would have broken out into spontaneous choreography. I was that level of happy.

But now I'm leaving a steady job in a thriving industry to go and do what? Paint some pictures?
In part. It is a graphic design course after all and this is a field that I've wanted to explore for quite some time, I was going to do it last year but thanks to another guard quitting at the same time and the schedules suddenly being changed every week I decided to put the studies on hold until now.

I end this badly written angst fest of a post by saying that the silver lining in all of this is that the hours of the course are 0900 – 1500 monday – thursday with fridays set aside for study.
After 5 years of 12 hour shifts this is going to feel like luxury and it means that I'll still have time to do the blog! play computer games! write the book!
Look for work naturally

  1. Who are like real life friends only with more lol's it's all in the accent I understand.
  2. No girlfriend, in real life or on the internet. I am le sigh
  3. The technical name for this kind of person is bludger
  4. As you do.
  5. Which is something else that I know from experience
  6. Apologies to any Mcdonalds workers who are reading this but I've put in the hard yards under the golden arches and have no desire to return.


  1. Might be a little scary, but I think it will prove worthwhile in the end. Graphic designers are pretty much always in demand, and there is so much you can do with that. Besides, life is short, and you should do what you're passionate about while you can.

    Besides, when you finish your series, you're gonna be a mega-famous author anyway and make people like J.K. Rowling cry with jealousy. ;)

    And yay! More blog time!

  2. Hi Mate - Just stopping by from IWS.

    Look just follow your dreams - oh,right, you are.
    Life is short - you only go around once and all that jazz. Looks like you know that.
    Let those insecurities fly, then take aim and blast them out of the sky.
    You're gonna make it,if you try.

    OK that was a little silly. Just fasten your seat belt and hang on. You just might be in for the ride of a lifetime.

    I'll be back.

  3. I'm sitting at the threshold of possible career changes too. They are exciting and scary at the same time. Hope things turn out well for you - new follower :)

  4. Hang in there! I'm sending support from the IWSG!! :)

  5. Best of luck to you! It sounds like you are going to do just fine. :)

  6. 4 Varmit:
    I was actually going to do this course at the beginning of last year but one of the other guards quit very unexpectedly and was never spoken of again in that special way that suggests he didn't leave of his own free will. What it meant for the site was that the schedules were all stuffed up and it would have only been throwing propane on the fire to put my notice in then.

    4 farawayeyes:
    Thanks for the reassuring words and for being a new follower. I'll send out the official Jabberwockerykiters uniform and information pack when they come back from the printers.

    4 Tasha Seegmiller:

    Nice to have you! official uniform and information packs to be sent out when avaiilable.

    4 Margo Kelly:
    Support recieved and welcomed!

    4 RachelMaryBean
    Thank you for the good wishes

    and thanks everyone for the positive feedback, both my heart and my head are in agreement for this course but this is just the appendix of doubt flaring up.

    I'll keep on with the blog of course. it's therapeutic and keeps me sane (relatively speaking) some of the posts might get a little artsy from time to time but we'll deal with those when as they come up.

    Anyway, enough of being maudlin. The course doesn't start until the 27th and I remain employed until the 24th so its business as usual! I promise that my next post is going to be alot more upbeat