#22 The How to be Unemployed Review of the Year!

In Down and Out, Homeworking on December 31, 2009 at 11:25 am

2009 in figures:

Number of friends made redundant: 13
Number of friends forced to move back in with parents: 1
Number of architects unemployed in December 2008: 680
Number of architects unemployed December 2009:1,595 (down from 2,000+ in August source: AJ)
UK Unemployment 2007: 1.7m
UK unemployment 2009: 2.46m
Number of consecutive weeks with no paid work: 7
Number of pitches sent during April-June: 24
Number of pieces subsequently commissioned: 1
Fee for 400 words on North London for Completely London: £350
Fee for 500 words for Time Out London for Children: £100
Fee for 1000 words for Times Online to promote The World’s Greatest Cities: A copy of Londoners Through a Lens
Number of takeaway coffees bought first three months of year: 14
Number of takeaway coffees bought since April: 6

Alternative careers I’ve considered this year:

Primary school office assistant (purely for the convenience)
Primary school lunchtime operative (ie dinner lady)
Taking over the local stationery shop
Taking over the local bookshop
Working in a deli/cheese shop
Setting up a facility/information exchange for the local self-employed, probably selling stationery and books. And coffee
2012 meeter and greeter
Artisanal greetings card maker
Ebay magnate
Local councillor
GLA lacky
Journalism lecturer

Best free stuff

Community centre careers workshop with fantastic Caribbean curry laid on for lunch
Local lending library
Swimming lessons at Crystal Palace, c/o swimming teacher training at London Leisure Academy
Food, in exchange for café reviews
Travel for under 16s
Evening Standard
Tate x2, National Gallery, V&A
Fountains in Somerset House
Jardin des vents et des dunes (bouncy playground) at La Villette
Fireworks in Brockwell Park
Trafalgar Square – always something going on
Swim for Life
– free swimming for under 16s and over 60s
Southwark council multisports programme
Walking. Walking from Clerkenwell to London Bridge on a balmy August evening. Walking from Bloomsbury to London Bridge (in heels) on a clement October evening. Walking from Kingston to Hammersmith along the Thames Path.
Cycling proficiency lessons
State education

George Osborne saying ‘We’re all in this together.’ I somehow doubt he’s in it as much as some of us.

George Osborne generally.

Closure of The London Paper, London Lite, Observer Music Monthly, Observer Sport Monthly, Observer Women, Arena… too many colleagues loosing their jobs. Who’s next?

The Euro-pound exchange rate. Casual coffees in Parisian cafes now a thing of the past. Packed lunches in parks it is.

The death of both my cats, from old age, months apart.

Petty squabbles with the council over a domed skylight, exactly like the ones on every other house in the area. They won.

Applying for secondary schools.

Getting rained on at Latitude, at sports day, on my birthday, at the end of term picnic, in Manchester, in Hextable (no, me neither).

Embarrassing appearance on CNBC.  The consolation was that none of my friends watch daytime financial TV – until someone posted it on their website.


Low VAT.

Sunny Paris at Easter. Sunny Fife in May. Sunny Granada in August.

Friends sticking candles in a cheesecake for an unofficial day-after-birthday picnic.

Printmaking classes. The creative outlet and sheer joy of learning something new must be worth the fee. Cheaper than therapy. Find a course via Floodlight.

A publisher returning my email.

Someone reading my blog.

Reopening of Crystal Palace Sports Centre – one of the most elegant buildings in London

Making £75 cash at a car boot sale.

Husband getting dream job. At least someone did so there’s still hope.


Things to look forward to in 2010

Van Gogh at the Royal Academy, from 23 Jan. His paintings sell for millions but the man was constantly broke.

In Search of the British Work Ethic – Melanie Phillips meets the unemployed and socially excluded for Radio 4. This I must hear.

‘Whoops! Why Everyone Owes Everyone and No One Can Pay’ by John Lanchester. The current financial mess wryly explained by the former Dep Ed of the LRB.

sunshine forecast for first four days of the year!

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