Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Granted, I am lucky to have my writing to tide me over, but I do miss the routine of an office environment and to beat the monotony I have been indulging in lots of free activities to keep me busy. Overdue visits to family, a free check-up at the dentist and helping my Mam feel better about her own recessionary woes by decluttering her wardrobe, took up my time last week. I refuse to spend my days sleeping myself into depression.
For me work is more than making money, it's an extension of my identity and my career was something I worked long and hard at breaking into, involving four years in college and various unpaid internships before landing my first position. I’m attempting every day to view this time off as an extended holiday, a time to enjoy, Luckily I have racked up a number of interviews and meetings as well. I've surprised myself too how well I am faring in reigning in my finances. Quite the resourceful recessionista, I hauled two boxes of paperbacks to the local book shop and earned an impressive €65 for my efforts.
Helping Mam clear out the house inspired me to reorganise my own wardrobe and I was surprised to find I had at least nine dresses yet to be worn! This has forced me to promise that even if I can't shop again until 2012 I will survive and teach myself to be more creative with what I have.
I offered to help a friend organise his club night in return for free drink and, by hunting around all the supermarkets for different offers, managed to drastically reduce my food bill without compromising too much. The only thing that is still costing me unnecessary spending is actually looking for jobs. Dry cleaning and hairdressing ensure I look picture-perfect for interviews for that all-important first impression, and I have reluctantly hopped in far too many taxis these past few weeks so as to avoid the torrential downpours and not turn up as a drowned rat. The more meetings I manage to secure, the more broke I become!
Fingers crossed something comes along soon.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
If being unemployed is a short-term blip, I’m lucky it’s happened in July, rather than in the depths of Irish winter. Our recent heatwave has been perfect for lazy days in the park and lolling about town while others have had to endure sticky afternoons at their desks.
It’s many years since I enjoyed the perks of a summer off. As a child and teenager I spent summer roaming the streets of Skerries, cursing the town for its lack of excitement, not yet realising how lucky I was to grow up there.
During school holidays we got to experience endless hours of hanging around with friends, funded by pocket money or part-time work. My jobs of choice were babysitting and, later, waitressing, earning just enough to line my pockets for trips to town or to rent videos on drizzly summer evenings.
My days now are strangely reminiscent of these times, listlessly attempting to fill my afternoons with frugal but fun activities. I have now become queen of the coffee date, wandering around waiting for excitement, forced to be creative with my dwindling finances.
Plenty of friends are currently free for meeting as well. One of the lads is painting a fence as a favour, while another is enjoying the heady weather, his only interruption being some pizza delivery work.
Nice to spend time together but still the thrill of being free loses its appeal when it becomes the norm and most of us long for the return to a challenging routine and work that will afford us the money to finance our free time.
The difference is we aren't teenagers any more and my friends with the part-time jobs aren't just using their positions to fund some seasonal fun. The fence painter is an engineer and pizza boy has a degree in aerospace physics.
My coffee companions are an ever-growing group of experienced and eager, yet currently unemployable, professionals. And the little money that any of them has scraped together is not for ice-cream or day trips … it's for rent and bills. There is a heavy cloud looming over their otherwise stress free summers.
As teenagers it is typical to moan about the summer holidays, the common chorus of complaint being that there is 'nothing to do' and 'nowhere to go'. But when September came we always returned to school wishing for more time off.
Hopefully my friends and I, will have somewhere to go this September, only, unlike the kids currently on break, we won't be moaning about getting back into a routine.
Monday, July 13, 2009
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
When working I would always hit the snooze button for a final hour of snatched sleep, drifting in and out of a light slumber, the stresses of the day ahead plaguing my mind. I never really enjoyed the snooze button time but rather awaited anxiously the final shrill of the alarm that signalled the last possible minute had arrived for me to get up and face the day.
Now I can enjoy endless sleeping in without worrying - every cloud and all that. When I finally rise I can take my time getting ready, preparing wholesome breakfasts. I remember to take my vitamins every morning and have time for a second cup of tea. The mornings involve channel hopping, reminding myself how many stressed workers would love to spend a morning like this and I should be grateful now for the chance.
However, after two weeks the novelty of the leisurely lie-in is starting to wear thin. Rather then fretting about emails and meetings, my thoughts centre on wondering what will Phil and Fern include in the holiday capsule wardrobe segment after the break.
I wonder is today the day that Jeremy Kyle reveals the lie detector results to show if Scott from Barnsely did get Tracey's sister pregnant even though he was in prison.
I wonder which of the irritating Loose Women will make up today's panel and which former Emmerdale hunk will be the guest star to keep us stay at home women entertained. Of couse my daytime TV habit is coupled with stalking companies for a chance to meet and impress them. Lunch times are more varied and depend on which unemployed friend is available for a coffee or a walk around town.
Time off is all very well but, despite still being paid for these next few weeks, a strict monitoring of every penny is needed. Luckily I was only unemployed for three weeks the last time and knowing I had a new job to start meant I really did enjoy that time off and was refreshed for my new position.
Hopefully I will have similar luck this time round, because if I'm still unemployed in September and the return of the Afternoon Show, I'm in danger of not getting dressed at all!
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
You really couldn't make this stuff up.
After apologetic explanations about cutbacks, I left in a rage. I had heard it all before.Unfortunately for me, and my chosen industry, it really is a case of day-by-day at the moment. I had a choice of two jobs back in February and hedged my bets that this was a safer choice, boasting as it did an impressive portfolio of long term clients. But no one and no where is safe from the evil recession, like a wildfire spreading and damaging lives at all cost.
As a victim of the 'last in first out' syndrome I just can't seem to get a break. I had just settled in, learnt how everyone takes their tea and how the printer works.I had sensed no warning that this was about to happen again. In my first job there were whispers of impending cuts for months before any of us were shown the door and on the day I finally received my notice my overwhelming emotion was actually relief, relief that I hadn't after all been paranoid during the previous months.
The knots in my stomach were justified and although I was devastated to leave somewhere I loved, I was ready to start a clean slate.But now my clean slate has been muddied. I was completely caught off guard and hadn't suspected that my call to the boardroom would deliver such a blow. One minute I was stressing at my lengthening ‘to-do’ list for Monday, the next I was running up the canal in shock.
It's been a few days now and I have regained my usual positive disposition and 'glass full' perspective.
Everywhere is experiencing cutbacks; all clients in all industries are clawing back and slashing budgets where they can. I know it's nothing personal and I am lucky to have worked for these two great companies and learnt a lot from both.
Now I am ready, yet again, to fight another day and not let the recession get the better of me.