On Monday night I went home from work for the last time, and the next morning I woke up in a new world as an unemployed person.
I’m trying to remember if I’ve ever been totally unemployed before, and the truth is, apart from a few months here and there while studying full-time I haven’t been.
I was really grumpy last week, realising that after turning down the opportunity to be a leader at a Surf Camp due to already having used a good chunk of my annual leave to do Erasmus earlier this year in Würzburg – I could have done it after all. I had enough time off in lieu and annual leave hours leftover to finish my job a day early.
I’ve applied to several jobs – all of which I am capable of and would even excel at. Jobs I have the qualifications and experience for. I haven’t got so much as an interview for any of them.
It’s a hugely humbling experience, because never have I not got an interview for jobs I’ve been qualified for. I knew it wasn’t going to be a case of walking straight into another job – but I honestly expected to at least have been invited for a few interviews.
The idea that my job hunt could go on for a really long time, that I can’t go on ‘the dole’ due to my student status is very daunting. My student status also means that I can’t look geographically further than the central belt in my search too. I desperately want to get my postgraduate qualification, and wish so badly that I was graduating this year instead of 2015.
I was ready for some serious wallowing, but lucky for me I’ve got some incredible friends. My friend Kathy is one of those who knows me really well, and she made sure that I had something to occupy me on my first day of unemployment. I’m most productive when I’m busy, and when I have nothing to aim for I struggle. As I’ve mentioned previously a lot of things ended at once. Being the end of term, I was also finishing up Girlguiding and Spanish classes last week so I went from being insanely busy without any free weekday evenings to having a totally empty calendar in the space of a weekend! We planned to use our Zoo membership and were gifted with a gorgeous sunshiney day.
And then my friend Nicola called, and spoke the words of wisdom that I needed reminding of. Rather than be upset about how my plans hadn’t worked out, and worrying about the future, I needed to look for the opportunities in my present.
It turned out one presented itself, as my friends leading Surf Camp wanted to give a commentary with photos of how it was going – only there was no internet connection available at the outdoor centre. By being at home in Edinburgh and having my smartphone and iPad I was able to do this for them running the social media page with their updates sent to me via text messaging. And so while visiting the zoo, and sitting on buses and during lunchtime on my last day at work and even wandering the Scottish National Portrait Gallery with another friend – I was busy with my social media coordinator hat on for Soul Surfers.
I’m now pretty sure that August or September will be the earliest I have paid employment again…and so I have this summer, and want to consider how I should use it. Already I’ve been able to catch up with friends that have been neglected by my busy schedule and lack of car. I definitely want to continuing doing that while I still can – I know that once university gets going again there’ll be little time for socialising. There are things to investigate and things I want to reflect on, research and write about. I feel it would be unwise to rush into another phase of life for the sake of just doing something as opposed to waiting for the right thing.
Though I won’t lie, I am fearful of running out of money before the right job is offered to me.
I have been taking encouragement from the words of wise women, and actually had found this speech from Julianna Margulies probably only days before I found out the charity I was working for was going to be shut down. That phrase ‘I realise my mission in life was to learn more not earn more‘ has run round and round my brain for weeks now. The knowledge that some of the most fulfilling times this year have been the moments I’ve been learning…through Girlguiding, taking Spanish classes and going Germany (I genuinely feel I learned more through those 2 weeks and doing my research prep beforehand than I did the rest of my year at Glasgow). I just pray that it will be used and it all does have a purpose…
I’ll leave you just now with the speech from Julianna that she gave to the graduating students at Sarah Lawrence (which sounds like an amazing school with an ethos I could get behind!)