My employment of six and a half years with the London Borough of Camden came to a finish on the 1st of April. As part of the current Tory Coalition government’s idealogy-led policies of shrinking the State, my department was cut from around ninety staff to just over forty. I won’t go into this in great detail, because people far more intelligent and eloquent than I am have done so in detail, because it’s done and it had been signposted for over a year, long before the current cabal of bastards in Westminster took control of the purse strings. I could wax on about how central Government demonising local Government doesn’t do anything to improve services or the quality of recruitment, how Eric Pickles is pretty much every stereotype of a vile Conservative rolled into one, and how this culture of pitting the masses against the public sector in a game of EMPLOYMENT RACE TO THE BOTTOM is beneficial only to the multinationals that treat the majority of their workers with disdain and engender these feelings in the first place, but – hey – I was one of those dreaded ‘back office staff’, so I probably deserved it. Right?
It’s been an odd time for me recently, anyway.
Last year I applied for, and was accepted to, study planning at Heriot Watt in Edinburgh, which kicks off this September. Reasoning that university is going to make me as poor for the next ten years as a lot of my friends have been for the last ten years, I made rough plans to leave my job before the summer started, and to spend some time abroad. My girlfriend and I ended up making plans to go away together, and booked everything up – we leave May 30th for New York, and I’m not returning until the end of July.
When it became clear that the upcoming restructure/job cuts would kick in from April 1st, I put in for voluntary redundancy. I simply didn’t want to apply for a job if it was only going to be for two months, especially when so many people would be losing theres. I’m aware of how arrogant this sounds, by the way. My request was turned down, and I was forced to reapply for my own job. Let’s just say that I did not give 100% of myself to this task, and I did not receive a job. I was then processed for redundancy, paid off, and sent away.
So for the last month I’ve been unemployed for the first time since I was 19. For the most part, it’s been a productive time. I’ve been working on my little record label again, sorting out a few new releases. I’ve been teaching myself how to make the most of WordPress, and using this knowledge to buff up the label site, and now I’m quite happy with how it looks. I’ve been sorting through the vast amount of crap I’ve accumulated in the last ten years, sorting and boxing it all, so it can be safely stored in my mother’s house when I do go off to Edinburgh. I bought an Xbox 360, and I’ve completed Grand Theft Auto 4. I’ve watched four complete seasons of Daria, a couple of King of the Hill, the first season of Treme, a lot of Sons of Anarchy. Basically, I’ve kept very busy. I made a few attempts to look for work, but where I am right now pretty much all the short-term temp work is call centre based, and quite honestly that was awful enough at 18, let alone 27.
Still, there were still some moments when it just got too much. The quiet suburban house, the endless reruns and ads for no-fee legal challenges and laser surgery and SELL US YOUR OLD MOBILE, the total lack of anything constructive to do with your time. It all just gets smothering, and I say that as someone who was never at risk of losing his home, as someone who doesn’t have to try and slot his unskilled self into an overcrowded job market of a dying economy. I’m actually lucky in all this.
It’s nearly over, anyway, and I’ve got a lot of fun stuff to look forward to. But beforehand, here is a list of things that I need to achieve by May 18th, 2011:
- Finish my student finance application.
- Apply for my university accommodation.
- Cancel my Three mobile broadband account.
- Finish boxing up the vast number of CDs and the moderate number of books and DVDs I own, so they can be stored whilst I am living in said university accommodation.
- Burn one hundred 3″ cdrs, and then print, cut and assemble sleeves for 100 3″ cdrs.
- Send out a bunch more things I owe people.