This is me taking stock of my life, and it’s not pretending to have any critical value, although because I’m me it comments on social attitudes towards unemployment. Call it reference for whose opinion is that the death of the author is utterly spurious.

Trigger Warnings: None.

Content Warnings: My time dependent on the welfare state. Me being sad and me being angry, which might be touchy if you’re going through the same.

So, I’ve been unemployed and looking for work for summat over three months now. Ironically, this is hard fucking work. The job market’s currently not in the favour of twentysomethings with long varied histories of part-time work and no very concrete evidence of reliable fulltime anything. I keep coming across things no-one thinks to teach you in compulsory education, like that having a degree makes you someone to be leery of for minimum-wage crappy jobs, but that graduate this-and-thats take hours and hours to apply for with care and then getting nothing back from them is wrenching. Especially when none of the stuff you’re applying for is stuff you’re very convinced that you’d actually enjoy.

But the ways in which I can express this are limited. It’s fairly widely accepted in my social circles that Jobcentres are deeply obnoxious systems. It’s acceptable to be frustrated with applying for this and that and the other. But… there’s a perpetual social pressure to be heading somewhere, doing something, and to have something optimistic to say to friends and family and acquaintances. I’m trying: I would without any prompting, because believe it or not the prospect having an income is plenty of motivation on its own. Contrary to Daily Mail beliefs, the Welfare State isn’t all that generous. But my life’s contained a lot ‘so, what are you up to nowadays?’ and the answer to that is always loaded.

I’m mostly not feeling very happy or able to be constructive, right now. I’m trying. But I’m spending a lot of time feeling angry and frustrated and not too well and alienated from most of everything, and I’m enjoying mentally assembling critical blog posts about lots of those things, but…

I thought about leaving this unsaid. I realised I want to record all this, too, for this to be part of my critical writing about the world, because I’m writing subjective things here and I want to know where I was coming from when I look back here later.

So, as I got to the end of my degree course, there wasn’t any kind of career or job I could see making me happy, and I figured the best response was to let it be, to opt out, to do something low-key living and live with people I cared a lot about.

That wasn’t a choice I made lightly. I’m not quite sure whether I’m glad I made it.

I’ve brought some space to live with friends and garden and cook and write about feminism at the cost of doing the Normal Sensible Thing, the forward-planned graduate career. I’ve enjoyed a lot things in the time that’s passed since I left university, too: I’ve done a lot of interesting things, lots of my views and politics and opinions and frames of reference have settled into place and that makes me happy. I’ve spent a long time writing. I’ve learnt a lot about chess. I’ve drawn things and over-analysed videogames and learnt to write covering letters and more than I cared to know about tuning different kinds of TVs, and I’ve made friends with more interesting people at my volunteer-work than I’d ever have met at a consultancy agency.  I bet no-one at PWC or Accenture knows how to make their own furniture, or would be able to imagine getting through life without having been taught to read or write.

I’ve enjoyed a lot of things this year. I’ve bought this time dearly, at the expense of some very fundamental lifestyle stability. I’m not going to say I hope it was worth it, because I’ve made a choice and it can be worth it if I deal with it with grace. But I’ll need to try and do well by my decisions. I hope I’ll succeed at that.

Advertisements