I made a scary decision last summer, I resigned from a role I was unhappy in. I've never done that before, and it was very unnerving to know I was putting a bigger financial burden on my partner - but he promised me it was okay so I went ahead with the resignation.
I was then quite lucky and landed a contract role through an ex-boss, it was a good opportunity, and it would have been very silly to turn down a role that I had the right experience for.
After that role finished at Christmas we got married and went on honeymoon, and it was only in January that I was officially unemployed.
My first goal was to learn to drive, so I started the new year with three lessons every week, and I passed on my second attempt on 1 May. We also bought a car so I can drive regularly, as you can't hire a car until you have had a licence for a year - plenty of time to forget everything you have learnt!
At the same time I was applying for jobs, interviewing here and there, but I didn't really push hard for a new role as learning to drive had put me in a bit of a difficult spot. I wasn't available full time to take a job immediately, but I didn't want to quit learning to drive because then it would have been a waste of money and time.
Now I've passed, I have signed up to a number of recruitment agencies to get a temporary role, but here's the rub - it isn't that easy to get a temporary role, let alone a permanent one. And now the inertia creeps in...
Trying to fill your days with productive and proactive work is difficult - even if you are learning to drive or have evening activities to go to etc. I'm very lucky that I don't have money worries, but for people who are job searching without financial support, it must be a complete nightmare, and so stressful.
It is difficult making yourself get up in the morning, if you lie in bed for a bit longer you don't have to try and fill the hours quite so much. If you mess around on social media sites you can while away another twenty minutes here and there - instead of focusing on something productive.
But I'm trying, I'm trying to use the time to do the things I didn't do when working, as I had the excuse of being too tired or mentally exhausted. I don't have that excuse now.
My day should be like this:
- Job searches and applications
- Following up with recruiters
- Contacting the odd ex-colleague or client here and there
- Adding to my LinkedIn connections
- Photography work on Flickr
- Blogging on my personal site
- Huffington Post blogging
- Choir promotion and administration
- Singing practice
- JAVA programming (a new and exciting world!)
If I get half of that done in a day it's a good day. Especially as it is very easy to get stuck in front of the television watching [instead US TV show here]. I'm very glad I have two choirs to attend each week, and that my husband has started to teach me JAVA in the evenings.
I have inputs, I have social interactions, and I have the weekends and evenings with my husband, to balance out the stark silence and quiet of the flat when I'm sat on the computer tap tap tapping away.
I'm not climbing the walls, I'm not going mad, but I have to rely on myself to achieve things. I have no monetary compensation for the activities I spend my time on, I have to get up and use my brain for the pure satisfaction of knowing I didn't just lie on the sofa watching television that day.
We live in a society that wants to define everyone and your job is nearly always the first thing anyone new asks you about. You are judged by your employment - or lack of - and it does worry me from to time that I'm not ticking that box.
It does make me question my validity as an adult, which is a ridiculous concept. The only person it should matter to is me, and any real friendship or relationship with a person shouldn't be defined by their job title.
If I discuss this with my husband, he first tells me to stop being an idiot, and he then reminds me that all he wants is for me to push myself to do something I love and will care about. He then follows this up with, "but lots of money would be good so we can buy a huge house." Cheers darling!
If you are in the same situation I hope you aren't despairing, and I hope you are using the time to do all the things you said you had no time for. I'm telling you and myself: the right thing will come along, and as as long as you can demonstrate that you used your time effectively (no-one needs to know about that day you sat in your underwear watching Come Dine With Me whilst shouting at the telly), you should not feel bad for having a break from the 'real' world and all the bullshit that entails.
As my friend and part-time life coach Rebecca would say, "you will look back on this time with blissful nostalgia and wish you could do it all again." I will definitely be doing that once the daily commute starts again...