#11 Get a job (any job)

In Get cash, Jobseeking on November 16, 2009 at 11:47 pm

Ok, so the whole point of this blog is that getting a job (any job) is not so easy right now. But a friend has been kind enough to offer me a few weeks of part-time admin work in his office and with the wolf:door relative proximity getting narrower every day, it seemed like a good idea.

Although it isn’t the work in which I spent the past two decades building up expertise, it is straightforward to get to on public transport, offers a creative environment, comes with flexible hours, and pays the same as devising and editing a major book title for Time Out. It will cover Christmas presents.

I know plenty of people who, when times have been hard, have swallowed their pride and their CVs and taken on jobs such as: columnist for a self-build magazine; ‘blobbing’ (pinpointing exactly venues on a map) for Time Out; acting in a daytime TV soap; part-time childminding. Personally I was considering applying for  the job advertised in the butcher’s (an organic fair trade butcher’s, mind).

It’s been a while since I was last a commuter and now I can’t remember what to do. I’ve no idea what to wear in an office setting. I haven’t bought clothes since Easter (excluding a pair of jeans and an impulse-buy pink beret). There’s a threadbare Cacharel skirt at the back of the wardrobe, bought in Paris when the Euro was low and I had places to be. Tights feel funny and shoes (ie not Converse) look weird. I use the iron on my own clothes for the first time in months and send my children out in crumpled polo shirts. I invest 90p short of £100 in a Travelcard, make some complex childcare arrangements,  push my son through the school gates, and run.

As it turns out that very little has changed.

* the 9.15 train still comes at 20 past

* in spit of the demise of both the London Paper and London Lite, carriages are still littered with free papers full of stories about people I’ve neither heard of nor care about

* people still have far too many meetings

* however central your office, your colleagues will claim ‘there’s nowhere round here’ when you ask where to go at lunchtime

* sandwiches still don’t react well to being chilled

* offices are still freezing at the beginning of the week, and tropical by the end

* your office computer will still be slower than your home one

* I’m still fit enough to run up the slope to catch the train

It doesn’t take long before I’ve reverted to my old ways, calculated where the doors open on the Tube platform, lost track of my children’s whereabouts, and eaten a ready meal. However I’m frugally avoiding breakfast stalls, and am bringing in packed lunches.

By the end of the week I’m congratulating myself on being able to interchange between train and Tube without breaking step, when I find my path blocked by an artisanal bread stall, shattering my routine (I’ve never been able to pass a crusty bloomer without at least pausing to show my appreciation). Nearby is a stall selling real coffee. I cave in and buy my first latte in months. And it’s fantastic.

There’s a law  – you probably know the name, I don’t – which determines that if someone has money, that money generates more, but if someone’s skint they’ll slide into further poverty. So it seems with jobs. Though the phone hasn’t rung since Easter, in the past week I’ve had  emails from three separate contacts asking me if I want to meet to talk about potential projects, and one bona fide commission paying hard cash. Whether anything will come of these ‘talks’ is almost immaterial; the silence has been broken and things are looking up.

[If you can beat blobbing for Time Out as a desperation job, do let us know. And student jobs don’t count. Only ‘proper’ jobs.]

  1. The unemployment scene is indeed bad. but some how there is still people around harrods

  2. good for you for resisting the coffee stalls but wow, I bet that first one tasted good!

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