Saturday, 15 May 2010

Can't win for losing

Balls. It's been so long since I wrote anything I'd forgotten that my last entry was a whinge. That's annoying - this one's a whinge too. "Can't win for losing" is a thoroughly self-pitying phrase and that's normally enough for me to avoid it but right now I'm at work, tired, angry and wishing I was asleep instead so I'm indulging myself a little.

When is a 3-month contract not a 3-month contract? When you only get regular shifts for the first month, nothing for the second month and then a total of 11.25 hours in the third month. I'd been looking for another job for over 14 months and in that time had had a total of three interviews but no new job. Having asked for feedback from a few applications where I hadn't even been shortlisted I aimed a little lower so as to get my foot in the door of library-based work. It worked - I landed a temporary job as a library porter where the work was to be done overnight in short (4.25- to 5.25-hour) shifts in Plymouth. The odd hours meant reducing the hours of my 'day' job so that neither role was adversely affecting the other. It then became very obvious that it'd be more convenient to live in Plymouth, thus making the journey into the 'night' work much easier and all the real commuting could be done during those few short days I had at the shop in Exeter. I moved in two stages: one large car-load on Sunday followed by one small car-load on Wednesday. That Wednesday I also came back to Exeter on the train to collect my bike. On the train back to Plymouth I got a message from the temporary staff bank at Exeter Uni offering me some temporary work in their library to help with the usual summer book-movement. At the time I thought the irony of that was quite funny. A day later, when I discovered the truth about my 3-month contract, the joke died.

Meanwhile I'd just committed myself to sharing a new house with a couple of friends who of course have chosen a bigger house than they otherwise would have had and won't be able to afford it without me there. I'm pleased to be sharing a place with good friends I've known for years but now I can't just drop everything and disappear back to London where jobs are much easier to come by. I've already begun job-hunting even though I'm currently working two jobs and have been in Plymouth for less than a week as I'm now consigned to asking for more hours at the Exeter job and commuting up there every day at least during June. How funny is that - by moving house to reduce the amount of time and money I'd spend commuting I've inadvertently increased it instead.

So, the initial idea that three months of library-based work in Plymouth to give me some initial library-based work experience, get access to internal vacancies and of course to earn some extra money to help me claw back some of my debt has basically collapsed and now I may well be a lot worse off by the end of June. I know a change was necessary as I was stagnating in Exeter but would have preferred it all to be a change for the fucking better. Maybe next time.

I had a despondent moment earlier when I thought about all the bad decisions I've made in terms of jobs, places to live, and girlfriends, but that's a whole entry by itself and there's been enough bleating for one night. Let's just end with a nice little quote from Fight Club: It's only when you've lost everything that you're free to do anything.