Giz a job.

Cartoon of a snake coming out of a lunch box
Again this has nothing to do with the post. I promise to make more of a stab at relevance next time.

The kids are getting on a bit now. I’m not sure I can sustain this staying-at-home stuff, before I’m required to do some actual housework.

Screaming ‘Don’t you oppress me you chauvinist bastard’ every time my husband asks if there’s any clean shirts, isn’t going to work for much longer. I think I’m going to have to either find joy in providing a clean, safe and happy home for my family or I’ll have to get a job.

So I’m on various employment websites when I am once again reminded of how unemployable I am. It seems like you take a career break and you break your career.*

I used to work for BBC News Online and in the six years since I left the BBC, the technology has moved on. I had a perilous grasp on what the hell I was doing at the time, I’d be totally in the woods if I went back now. Not that they’d even give me a job. Not unless they have a vacancy for: ‘Crazy woman required to wander around the building asking people where they keep all the tapes’.

I’ve not got any contacts to expand my copywriting business from its current client database of one (she’s delighted with me) and if I tried to take on more gardening work, I’d really have to invest in tools and medical supplies (90% of my work is thorn-based), which would bring my turn-over from ‘low’ to ‘pointless’. I might as well skip the gardening and lacerate my arms while burning fivers.

So what can I do? I hate to refer to that rather patronising job description of a housewife as, Chef, Cleaner, Taxi service, teacher, therapist etc. but it seems the only way to truly asses my skills at this point.  What can I bring to the job market?

1)      I can whistle through my teeth.- I haven’t yet worked out how I could apply this awesome talent, but the fact that not everyone can do it and that it is a skill which took time to acquire (I undertook an apprenticeship with a lad named Tony during a very dull rugby match), means that the market would certainly attach great worth to it. I need to think of practical applications. Touring’s out because I get sick on coaches, but perhaps a civic role like ‘town whistler’. I shall write to the government and suggest it.

2)      Charity shopping –  I do this quite a lot and it’d be good to make it into a full-time vocation. Maybe I could provide tips and advice on charity shopping for people who can’t afford to shop in regular shops but who can inexplicably afford to pay someone like me to advise them on how to save money. Unfortunately, my first advice would have to be to sack myself, so that might not be a sustainable business plan (ooh hark at me, getting all ‘Deborah Meadon’). Maybe making money isn’t the point. Charity shops are good for the environment, the community, poor people, students and people who need to cobble together fancy dress outfits at short notice. A team of professionals like me supporting this industry should really be state funded. Any government promising to encourage charity shopping in a practical level would be bound to win a landslide election on this single issue alone.

3)      Phone sex. –  This one is obvious. The kids are out of the house and I’m doing the housework, but I’m also earning a few bob at the same time.  Dirty talk while cleaning the oven actually makes a lot of sense, ‘What are you wearing?’ – ‘Rubber Gloves and a layer of sweat’, ‘What are you doing?’ – ‘Sponging up Mr Muscle’.  I’ll stop now as I don’t want to waste all my best material on you guys (call me), but you can see why this is genius. My only issue is whether many people phone sex chat lines during the hours of 9am- 3pm. Clearly it should be encouraged, the government should do something. Support working mums by giving tax relief to sex chat lines. Come on Cameron, get on board.

4)      Humiliating myself at weddings (can be extended to other social gatherings). There are some of us who have an entirely justifiable fear that when we go to parties, we’ll do something embarrassing. That we’ll get horrendously drunk and behave inappropriately, fall over or just generally be ‘The Party Knobhead’. For a reasonable fee, I could provide a service which guarantees that I will be that person. My client can enjoy themselves, free from any guilt or inhibitions, safe in the knowledge that my drunkenness and load bawdy jokes will be far more offensive than anything they will do. I’ll start congas at funerals, try to get off with the vicar over the christening font, I only ever wear white at weddings and even Miley Cyrus considers my dance floor moves to be inappropriate. This is something I know I can do. I have plenty of experience and can provide multiple references. My lack of tact is exacerbated by major social events and it would be nice to turn that into a positive by helping others to look like less of a loser in comparison.  It’s practically a charitable service I’d be providing and should probably be funded by the NHS or some other national provider, like the government.

These are just a few ideas off the top of my head and if I say so they are brilliant. I don’t know what I was worried about. I would clearly be an asset to any organisation. Look at my skills and experience for crying out loud. It’s going to be a doddle getting a job, and I’ll work for anyone- except the government obvs.

 

* Wow that’s a brilliant slogan. I should be a slogan writer, I don’t need experience, training or relevant qualifications. As I recall it’s what Darrin from Bewitched did, and I watched that loads. I’m pretty sure that’s all any reasonable employer would require.

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Hobbies are taking over my life.

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Every day I’m busy. In the morning as I get the kids ready for school, I’m making lists of what needs doing, and prioritising tasks. I find it difficult to shake off the feeling that I’m not using my time effectively and I’m always telling myself, that once I finish this project/ get through this week/ tick off everything on this list – then I will be able to relax.

Recently I’ve started to wonder why I think I have such a busy life. If I’m being honest with myself, which is something I generally try to avoid, I have to accept that as I don’t have a job, and the kids aren’t that little anymore, I’m basically filling my time with hobbies. These hobbies have become elevated in importance in my mind to the point where I wonder, if I got a job, how I’d be able to fit it in.

By hobby, I don’t mean that I’m organising my life around cross-stitch, or stamp collecting. Probably hobby is the wrong word, but what else is having an allotment? DIY? Baking? Writing a blog?

If it’s not a paid occupation, or basic housework, then surely it’s a hobby, something which you wouldn’t do if you didn’t have the time because you don’t have to.

I don’t class housework as a hobby, because everyone has to do it to some extent. The same goes for grocery shopping, doing the laundry, going to the toilet. However all these things can become hobbies if you take disproportionate pleasure out of it and engage in the activity more than is really necessary.

I don’t tend the allotment because I can’t afford to buy vegetables, and sanding down a staircase by hand, goes beyond a minimum level of household maintenance. Therefore I guess they are hobbies.

Realising this is demoralising enough without the fact that I’m not very good at any of it. The amount of time I spend sifting and mixing, I should be a shit-hot baker, but my cakes look like something only a mother could love, specifically a mother in desperate need of some damn cake right now.

If I’m not actually at the allotment, I’m making plans for it or getting stuff ready for it, but I will never worry the serious contenders for best kept plot.

When it comes to my blog, I’ve been really late posting a blog this week because no matter how much I like doing it, it’s not as if I have hoards of followers waiting for my latest missive. I write them because I like to, and occasionally someone may enjoy reading it, but when there’s all the ironing to do, and I have to go shopping for whatever thing I’ve decided we desperately need, and I’ve got this list of stuff I have to do today…. Well the blog gets postponed again.

Which is particularly stupid, because out of all my activities it’s the one which is closest to my copywriting paid job. It could even be described as work experience. I’m beginning to wonder about the actual worth of my other daily activities, and it’s pretty depressing stuff.

I’m surprised that my husband never points this out to me when we’re discussing our respective days. He’ll be telling me about how he managed to get an important news story to air at the last minute, meaning that the world will know about the terrible events in, someplace, where people are doing stuff.

I’ll interrupt in order to tell him how I found that thing I wanted in a shop, but by going to seven other shops I was able to get it £5 cheaper. To his credit, he has yet to say, “So f***ing what? You probably spent more than that on petrol.”

Perhaps he doesn’t want to die alone, or maybe he’s somehow got hold of my criminal record, either way fear is almost certainly the motivation for his tactful silent nodding.

Ultimately this is why people who step back from work for whatever reason- in my case, kids- find it so hard to get their confidence back enough to apply for jobs, and get back into the working world. After years of doing stuff other people simply don’t have the time to do, you can begin to question what you can bring to the party, other than weird-looking cakes.