Not having a job is really annoying. It is incredibly frustrating and there is nothing to do with your day. No matter how hard I try to keep myself busy and to maintain a certain amount of energy expenditure every day, sometimes I get so pissed off and frustrated that I can’t really do anything.
I mean, I’m not exactly sitting about on my hands doing nothing. I have been actively looking and applying for work for over a year now. Unfortunately, I am a resident of West Belfast which is in the top 5 in Britain and the North for levels of unemployment. There are very very few jobs where I live and it is a fucking nightmare. I haven’t even got an interview in almost 18 months.
I started looking for a new job and for work when I still worked for my previous employer. I worked in a high pressure, target based retail environment and it was soul crushing. I hated every single person who walked through the doors and I started resenting my colleagues and my manager. My manager in particular. I mean, he was an incredibly nice guy and me and him had an awful lot in common with regard to music, film and TV. We always had in depth conversations about stuff we both enjoyed and I really liked him on a personal level, I still do, but Jesus that man was a terrible manager. He was a real company man, all he cared about were the facts and figures and he had very little compassion for his employees. He had no man management skills and constantly tried to do things and implement things that he thought were great ideas but actually went against everything the company wanted to do for their employees. He was also incredibly lazy, so our assistant manager did his job and I did the assistant managers job, only I didn’t get paid for it. For about 2 years he badgered me to apply for assistant managers jobs, in fact he implied that if I applied for the vacancy in our shop I would get it. I couldn’t have thought of anything more depressing.
Not to take away from my friends who still work there, it was a good job with good money and good security, but I could never have imagined being a manager of a retail shop. I didn’t want to get stuck there, enjoy the money a bit too much and be there for the rest of my life. I didn’t want that to be my main skill set. I went to University and got a degree in Irish and Celtic studies and didn’t want that to be a worthless piece of paper as I toiled away in a shop. Not that I can get a degree specific job, there are little to no Irish jobs here and I don’t know if I want to be a teacher or not (not to mention I don’t have a teaching qualification as of yet).
The job itself was making me miserable, to the point where I dreaded going into work every single day. I was so unhappy, and this place and job were multiplying my unhappiness exponentially. One morning I woke up and told my mother I wasn’t going in, and that I didn’t want to go back. So I didn’t. It was and is the best decision I have made in my recent life, granted I didn’t have any money but the relief of not having that place on my shoulders every night when I left and on my days off was amazing. At first, I was really struggling with the depression and anxiety. My mum had just had a heart attack, we soon found out she had cancer, my own health was shambolic and my relationships weren’t going well. The realisation of my parents mortality brought a lot of memories rushing back, ones I suppressed and am only dealing with now (as I have previously mentioned). I couldn’t go out on my own, I couldn’t talk to anyone other than the Girlfriend. She was brilliant at this point. Always there and always trying to help me.
When I got better after a few months I began the process of job applications. I didn’t tell anyone for completely counter intuitive reasons. I always viewed myself as a failure and the constant rejection or ignorance from potential employers made this worse. I didn’t want the girlfriend, my family or my friends looking at me the same way I did, so I didn’t tell anyone. I blamed myself, whether it was my ability to fill out applications, my lack of qualifications or just that I was a dickhead. It turned out that some of those around me looked at me as if I didn’t care and as if I was some sort of waster because they assumed I wasn’t looking for work, even though I was. This left me absolutely heartbroken, that some of the people who I loved the most looked at me like this.
I didn’t want a temp job, due to my health issues and disability I get looked after much better by social welfare than most (although it is still absolute bullshit and no where near enough to exist as a normal human being). I wanted a job I would have wanted to do and I would find fulfilling. A job that could make me happy. I applied for a lot of jobs, a lot of admin work because I liked the idea of getting paid to get on with work and not talk to anyone, a refreshing change from my previous 7 years of employment in the Retail and Service industries. I think I got 3 replies. All of which were rejections. I couldn’t understand, I have a lot to offer in skills and experience to almost any potential employer and none of them could see it. Every rejection or case of ignorance I was on the end of just chipped away at me. My view of myself as a failure compounded, supported by views of some of the people around me.
I got little bits of occasional work with my cousin, who owns a management consultancy company. It was great work, I taught myself how to use Excel and Photoshop to do what he needed me to. I got given work and didn’t get bothered until it was done. It was exactly what I wanted. He had this amazing model that is beneficial to any form of Government, be it central or local, and things were looking incredibly positive. I was working under the promise of a great, well paid full time job once everything was signed off. Unfortunately, the pitfalls of modern democracy and the bullshit bureaucracy that follows it seem to have pulled that carpet out from under me. It’s all heel dragging and non-commitment, which I have learned is par for the course when dealing with any Governmental Department. Filled with incompetent and/or lazy fuckers who know they will get away with rarely doing their job properly, if at all. I have no idea how Western Governments can run if this is the standards with which they work to. Even though every body My cousin has met loves what we have to offer and has said it needs to happen, including MP’s and MLA’s, there is still little to no movement. I’m annoyed because I felt I was part of something great, I felt I was helping to build something that would not only benefit me and my cousin financially, but would provide a excellent and necessary service to people in The North of Ireland. Now it seems to be getting taken away from me.
I’m still applying for jobs, there are a few that have just came up in my local health trust that really interest me so I’m going to apply for those. I’ve worked for the trust before so hopefully it’ll put me in good stead, plus I know a lot of people who work there who are in important positions so hopefully I can get a good word or helping hand. I know I can’t give up. In counselling I talked a lot about my failings, about how looking for work made me feel like a complete failure and completely useless. I’m now starting to accept that the current economic situation, and the competition for these small number of jobs, is what is affecting my chance. It isn’t me, I’m not useless, I’m not a failure, although I have to reaffirm these sentiments to myself every single day. I’m still trying, that’s the most important thing.