Being Young, Smart and Unemployed: A rant against the current state of things

I’ve decided to take a break from the silliness that is The Adventurous Time Adventures of Doctor When and talk about something else for a moment.  This is something that’s been on my mind a lot lately, so I thought I might as well just get it out.  It is:

Being unemployed.

As I’m sure most of you are already aware, or could easily ascertain by my posting habits, I’m unemployed.  Have been since July, in fact.  “Oh how nice for you, like an extended holiday!” someone might say – well that someone has obviously never been long-term unemployed.  It most certainly is nothing like an extended holiday.

Maybe for the first couple of weeks it feels delightful, and you can sleep until whenever you want and go shopping during the day or just sit around – but then the months drag on, and it gets harder and harder to motivate oneself to even get out of bed at all.  I mean why would you?  There’s obviously nothing for you to do.

So you start getting up later and later, feeling at once guiltier and more helpless about the situation unfolding itself before you.  But you can’t help it, your body betrays you with unwarranted exhaustion (how can you be tired? you do nothing all day long!).  And the days begin to blur together, and nothing separates one from the other apart from the changes of weather and what’s on the television.  You begin to lose track of days of the week, or when the weekends fall.  Trips out to the grocery store become the only highlight of an otherwise uneventful day, and this time of year you find it hard to even work up the motivation to do that before the sun begins to set, when darkness will dampen all your hard-fought enthusiasm.

And yet.

If it weren’t for a select assortment of variables I think I would have easily given into all that, would have become the sort of person that sleeps until noon, only to drag myself over to the sofa to watch Jeremy Kyle in a stupor until hunger forced me to go boil the kettle and eat another Pot Noodle.

These variables are as follows:

1) The Husband.  I’m nothing if not a lazy, self-destructive, angst-ridden overgrown teenager if left to my own devices.  And so is he!  Ha!  However, together we’re confronted by those aspects of ourselves and it makes us want to be better than that.  This is why we work so well as a couple – we’re identical in some of our faults, but also equally stubborn about allowing ourselves to be overcome by them.

Plus we can call each other out on those very faults when one or the other is giving in to them.  But we both hate being told what to do/not do, so that’s not always helpful!  Regardless, we’re a good team.  And The Husband is generally better at being motivated than I am, and does stuff like sets the alarm for 8 am (which we often ignore until closer to 9 but hey, at least we’re trying) and goes out running even through the snow and does the dishes when they overwhelm me (which is a lot of the time, let’s face it).

He is the #1 variable in my list of “things that make my life pretty damned good”, because let’s face it – we’re young newlyweds in love.  It can’t be all that crap, and truthfully it isn’t.  It’s merely frustrating at times.

Anyways, onto:

2) We live in a lovely little village in Fife.  The last time poverty threatened to overcome us, we lived in the poor, downtrodden town of Lynn, just north of Boston.  So we’re able to say from experience that it makes a huge difference where you live when times get tough.  Here, we can take our minds off our problems by taking long walks and seeing beautiful country vistas.  The people are friendly, often walking with boisterous dogs who come over to say hello, and it feels like a true community.  Unlike Lynn, where we felt like interlopers in our Russian-dominated apartment building, where we didn’t stray out late at night for fear of violence and the anti-social behaviour rampant in our neighbourhood.

But this variable wouldn’t have been possible without:

3) Edna the tiny purple car.  Edna was the best investment we made in our life here, which The Husband bought for a mere £500 (best gift ever!) and despite her age runs amazingly well.  Without her we wouldn’t be able to live in a small rural community, for the need of such things as buying groceries, nor enjoy the lovely drives through to neighbouring towns.


4) The internet.  It’s easy enough to lose contact with people who all live at least an hour or so away by car (or at most 7 hours by plane!) but without the internet I’d never get to do so at all.  Nor share all my nonsense with the world, as I do in this blog!  Being unemployed is a lonely business, so connectivity becomes priceless.  Especially in the job search, as most things are posted online.

So those are the variables keeping us from turning into the stereotypical unemployed loser, for which I’m entirely grateful.  And after my next visa arrives I can pursue jobs with the same gusto as The Husband’s tireless efforts.

It’s ridiculous that someone as smart and amazing as The Husband (and honestly, this isn’t me being biased – he’s actually just awesome) with his two degrees can’t get employed within six months.  And don’t think that he’s feeling too good for general labour because of said degrees; he’s applied to call centre jobs, a position on an oil rig (!), working at a local convenience store, and pretty much every major bank in the area offering an entry-level position.

Nothing.  He got one interview for a call centre job, but the competition was something like 50 people applying per position so he didn’t get it.

This is the current state of things (against which I’m ranting): that of the plight of the young, smart and unemployed.  If one of us gets a job soon it’ll likely be more out of luck than anything else, because we’re both at the bottom of any prospective employer’s list in terms of employable skills, qualifications and previous experience in this current climate.  The sheer numbers of better qualified applicants, many recently laid off from long-term positions, put us there – where in a different economic situation we’d be considered pretty damned awesome applicants, the bright future of this country.

And that’s just shit.

We are pretty damned awesome.  And we shouldn’t be in this situation, forced into poverty and unemployment by circumstances beyond our control.  When we went into undergrad we went with a couple of expectations in return for the degrees we hoped to obtain: 1) the essential bettering of ourselves, which we certainly got, but also, 2) that after the hard work and money spent on our education (quite a lot in my case, as an international student) we would end our time with a higher qualification to recommend ourselves into gainful employment.

That’s what we were promised and the real world, with all its financial fucked-uppery, has failed to uphold that second half of the bargain.

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