I don’t have a job. I haven’t had a proper job – what you could call a living – since June 20, 2011. I have work, for which I’m grateful, but work is not the same as having a job. Even a job you hate is better than not having a job, or at least it is for me.
I read a lot of things about the ‘hardworking’. Everyone is hardworking. Families are hardworking. Men and women are hardworking. Couples are hardworking. Children are hardworking. We’re all hardworking nowadays. But I know and you know what the term is there for – to draw a line between the deserving – the hardworking – and the undeserving – the shirking. Hardworking people are Good because they do the Right thing; shirking people are Bad because they don’t, and the Hardworking should be look at them for a source of anger, rather than those who pull the strings, ensure there aren’t enough jobs, that wages don’t keep pace with the cost of living, and so on. Fight among yourselves, but never against the people who really cause the pain.
I suppose I am hardworking, and I’m better off than many. I earn two or three hundred pounds a week, and I don’t pay tax because I haven’t earned enough and I don’t earn enough. It keeps me afloat, but nothing more. There is nothing but work and home and work and home and work and home and weekends and work and more work and work. That is all there is and all there will be for some time, it seems.
I’d give anything for a job. Just a job. A job doing something I’ve good at – what I retrained to do, but that seems impossible. People say something will come along. They mean well, but they can’t know it will. People say that I’m bound to get something because, in fact, everything is discriminated in my favour. But it doesn’t seem that way when your interviews are in double figures and you’ve failed at every single one. Again, I’m sure they’re trying to help.
Give me normality. Give me the everyday. Give me a week of knowing where I’ll be working and what I’ll be doing. Anything, anywhere. Give me meetings and appraisals and tedium and getting nowhere. Give me frustration and all the tiny sadnesses of having a job but not getting anywhere. Give me all of that. It’s all I want. I just want a job.