The Unbearable Lameness of Being

Going slightly mad...

Unemployment does not make me anything special. According to the latest depressing UK statistics, I am only 1 in 2.57 million. I am the plankton of society. I try and take it one day at a time. Some days go well – my blog gets a new comment, my Mind Body Green article gets another response, an editor agrees to give me a chance (more to come on that soon…)

On other days, however, I will self sabotage my productivity to the detriment of myself and everyone around me, usually while snacking. Here is a day in the life of someone who is being driven slowly mad through lack of work. Why not join in and try it out for yourself?

The night before: set alarm for crazy early hour, like, 7. Because, as Dr Phil says, if you don’t have a job, your job is to find a job. Thanks, Phil. If you get up at 7, you can then fit in a quick 3 mile run before the serious 9 – 5 business of finding work.

7am. Your alarm goes off, disturbing everyone else in the house. Press the snooze button. At ten minute intervals. FOR AN HOUR.

8am. If you’re feeling motivated, this is the time to hit the pavement. If, as so often seems to happen these days, you’re not – this is the time to forage for breakfast.

8.30am. Consider making a healthy egg white omelette with fresh veggies. Give up, and fill enormous soup bowl with Coco Pops and full fat milk, because you just don’t care anymore.

9.00am. Spend 5 minutes checking emails.

10.00am Realise that 5 minutes turned into an hour of checking Gmail, Hotmail, Google+, Facebook, Twitter, Glamour (UK site) Glamour (US site), and clicking and clicking through blogs that are depressingly more entertaining and well-subscribed to than your own.

To overcompensate for such an unproductive morning, sit yourself at a desk and write out an elaborate to-do list including categories, subcategories and colour coding. Write ‘drink tea’ at the top, for motivational immediate crossing out.

11.00am. Brunch time! Consider slicing up some veggies to dip in low fat hummous. Open family pack of Aero Mint Bubbles. Decide to watch 10 minutes of Scrubs. Watch an hour and a half.

12.30pm. Sit down at computer to write. Become terrified of your WordPress dashboard. It is too much pressure to share your thoughts with the world. Faff around with themes for half an hour instead.

13.00pm. Actually write.

13.30pm. Phew! Writing!

By now you will be either (a) seriously chuffed at what you’ve written. Why didn’t you do this sooner? Enjoy the next few hours of productivity and bask in the joy of a day well-spent.

On the other hand you might be (b) experiencing some nasty a$$ writer’s block.

If so, check out some of your favourite websites ‘to clear your mind’. Catch up on the blogs of people you know and feel wave after wave of envy because they seem to be productive members of society.

14.00pm. Begin researching alternative careers. Apply for some teaching jobs. Click over to Dave’s ESL Café and search the Korean Job Board while reminiscing about how much more fun life was back when you were a teacher then. It was a simpler time.

14.45pm. Decide that what you really need to do is launch your career as a travel writer. Simple. Trawl through your hard drive searching for pictures from that time in South Korea/ Thailand/ The Philippines.

15.00pm. Become overwhelmed by emotion. The best years of your life are over. At 26. Stick ‘Places I remember’ by the Beatles on your iPod. Continue to stare at holiday snaps in catatonic state.

15.03pm. The song is over, but you’re not quite ready to perk up yet. Time for Sound of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel.

Life would be better if I had more turtlenecks.

15.07. Meditate on gloomy lyrics.

15.15pm. Snap out of it. Snap the laptop shut. Snap your fingers. Just be generally snappy. Decide to begin a new, artsy project. Dig out old canvases, papers, paint and brushes that haven’t seen the light of day since your A-levels.

16.00pm. Realise that you’ve made a tremendous mess. Make an extravagant online purchase to make yourself feel better. Double points if it’s expensive AND productive (helloooo driving lessons! True story). Experience immediate feelings of nausea and panic at spending money you don’t actually have. Double the search for a job. Send CVs to everything on your local job website, including Book Keeper and Heavy Ton Lorry Driver.

17.00pm. Well. That’s the days job hunting complete. Congratulate yourself. Well done.


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