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 😉