Job Search Hell

That’s where I’m at right now.  One of Dante’s lesser-known circles.

Possibly the worst bit is that I actually already have a job- one that I love and don’t want to leave.  So why am I looking for something else, you ask?  Good question.  The answer of course, is money.


Turns out that working seven hours a week as a library assistant, and about fifty hours a week as a ‘writer’ pays…well…pretty close to nothing actually.

I’m aware we’re not supposed to talk about money- that in doing so I’m breaking some weird universal taboo, but honestly- who is this secrecy helping?  We all need to eat and somewhere to live, and I’ve yet to find a landlord or supermarket that accepts poems in lieu of payment, (not that I’d do much better even if I did, since I can’t write poetry for shit).

So, with a heavy heart I find myself looking for other options.  I spend about half of my time feeling really MAD about the unfairness of the situation, and the other half telling myself to STFU and stop thinking I’m some special snowflake who isn’t subject to the same economic strain as almost every other working class person on earth right now.

In more dramatic moments I hear Jim Broadbent, as Harold Zidler in Moulin Rouge:


(just change love to live)

In less dramatic moments, I tell myself that I’m no different to anyone else and that I’m lucky to at least be (vaguely) employable.

One thing that is really pissing me off as I trawl through job search results, is the demand on applicants to not just be willing to do the job for the pay, but the requirement to declare it your life’s ambition.

Seriously, if you’re looking to employ someone as a neurosurgeon, or helicopter pilot perhaps, I can understand you wanting the role to be one of that individual’s defining characteristics, and for them to display a real passion and significant dedication to the field.  But when you’re looking for a cleaner?  Isn’t it enough that they’re capable of doing the work, and that they’ll show up and give a shit, at least within proscribed working hours?  If you want someone to display AMBITION, ENTHUSIASM, FLEXIBILITY AND PASSION about cleaning a toilet, you’re possibly going to need to offer more than £7 an hour, and appreciate that you’re appealing to a very niche audience.

Ehhh…I don’t know, this could just be me having a surly attitude and poor work ethic, but when I stumble across yet another minimum-wage job that not only wants me to spend forty hours a week away from my children, my partner, my home, and my writing but also wants me to demonstrate that I will treat it as my #1 priority and life’s work, I find myself getting a bit ‘Braveheart’, yelling at the screen.


It’s times like this I wonder if leaving nursing was a terrible terrible mistake.  But, when I (briefly) went back to it last year THAT felt like a terrible mistake, so how can that be true?


Regardless, I should probably get back to it.  Incidentally if anyone knows of any kick-ass jobs that would allow me to keep my Saturdays at the library, and pay me enough to feed my children who basically never stop eating, then HIT ME UP.  As you can see, I am totally AMBITIOUS, ENTHUSIASTIC, FLEXIBLE AND PASSIONATE etc etc etc 😉


45 minutes

That’s how long my return to nursing lasted.  I stood on a ward for 45 minutes and I knew, without a shadow of a doubt that I was making a terrible terrible mistake.

Actually, there were seven days previous to those 45 minutes where I sat in lectures and workshops and wondered if I was making a terrible mistake, but it was really the 45 minutes on the ward that did it.

Sometimes you really really want something to be right, and to be true…but it just ISN’T.

It would have been so impeccably timed, just weeks after our foster baby moves on, for me to throw myself headfirst into an intense and demanding program of study along with a 30 hour a week job.  Financially, it would have been a welcome relief, after so long on one income, to finally be able to pay down some debts and relax a little.  Practically, it seemed that the boys both being in school now would make everything that had previously been so difficult when the two of us were working, suddenly so much simpler.

But it just doesn’t, wasn’t and isn’t and I just can’t.  There were a few days there when I kidded myself that I could, but reality and my heart tell me otherwise.

I won’t lie- I feel like I have failed, like I am disappointing people, like I am letting my family down, and making a big mess of things.  It’s all well and good being able to identify when something isn’t right, but dealing with the ramifications of that decision are invariably much harder.

On the other hand though, I am feeling strangely positive.  I say strangely because positivity is not really something I am known for, and on the face of it right now things seem kind of bleak- in the sense that everything I had been throwing my energy into for this year is now in pieces.  Although I believe that according to physics at least, that means the energy now has to go somewhere else, and maybe that’s where my weird buoyancy is coming from.  I have been trying to give this return to nursing my all, and now it’s clear that isn’t what my future holds I’m left with all this drive and determination to wield in another direction.

I am aware that I am currently following a similar trajectory to a pinball at this point, just flying wildly from one thing to another and I don’t want to ping, or pong back in any direction from which I’ve already come, because as nursing has clearly demonstrated, if it didn’t work out then, there may be good reasons why that is, that are still relevant now.

So although I loved being a nurse at times, and still am a doula technically, and loved fostering Squishlet, all for very different reasons, when people ask me if I’m going to revisit any of those my answer for now at least, will be a resounding no.

I do need to find a way to contribute financially, and I am not someone who revels in the idea of being stationary for too long.  But for now I am trying (really trying, very hard) to embrace the fact that I basically have no idea what the hell I am doing with my life, and resist the urge to formulate a plan (any kind of plan) just to resolve that.  I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know what I’m going to do, and yes it’s terrifying, but it’s also fine for now, and more honest at least than pretending I have a clear strategy or ‘faking it until I make it’ which I have attempted in the past, and only ever makes me feel rubbish about myself.

And as always, I’ll be writing throughout, since it’s the only thing I seem to be able to do consistently and never quit, so you can look forward to more ramblings in the coming weeks.