Back to life…

It was Wednesday morning when Snowboy’s ’24 For Betty Page’ started playing. As it’s the ringtone for my phone I thought I’d better see who was disturbing my melancholy stupor. A quick look at the screen revealed that the call was coming from the local council. I answered.

Two minutes later, pending HR’s various machinations, I had a job. Can I tell you how I felt immediately after disconnecting the call? Probably not, words can’t do it justice.

Following redundancy from my housing officer post I’ve been unemployed for 6 months now. The first couple of months were spent pretty fruitlessly before I eventually discovered the various ‘tools’ available to me in my quest for validation as a sentient being. Then I started getting interviews; I’ve had three, the last being the successful one. Judging by the thwarted efforts of others to find work it was indeed a case of third time lucky.

The first interview was just for ‘ a job’, no real interest in the work, but it was near to home and it was something. Then I had an interview for a role in housing in an Arms Length Management Organisation (ALMO). I had doubts about this as I am opposed to ALMOs, a device brought in by Blairite Labour which is essentially the first step to privatisation of council stock; it was also not the kind of housing work I would prefer to do and am good at (he said modestly), but it was a housing job. Anyway, my doubts proved unnecessary as I didn’t get it, but I was told I had done well to reach the last eight out of two hundred applicants. That’s right, TWO HUNDRED applicants for one job. An indication there of just how difficult it is to find work and, perhaps more pointedly, how difficult it will be for public sector workers to find work in their chosen field.

My third interview was with the library service of my local authority. This one I wanted. It wasn’t housing but it was working for something I passionately believe in. The first part of the interview was a role play (eep!) wherein I had to recommend a book to a ‘punter’. They gave me a choice of three and five minutes to prepare – I went for the Hunchback of Notre Dame and proceeded to natter on about themes of love and acceptance, Quasimodo being a prime example of the grotesque in literature etc., and got through it. I then waffled on about how great libraries are and about my excitement at getting my very own library tickets when I was seven. I say ‘waffled’ but it was all genuine; I do think libraries are great, to the extent that the panel must have thought they were interviewing a hyper enthusiastic over sized teddy bear. Or something.

And it worked! I got the job!

I’m under no illusions that there will be a certain amount of shelf stacking and other such dreary tasks, but I had to do a lot of filing as a housing officer as well. Such mundanities are essential to the running of important services. I was proud to be a housing officer, and I’ll be proud to be a librarian. My grin is as wide as that of the Unseen University’s head librarian.

Me, on Wednesday

Despite my own good fortune, my thoughts are with the countless number of people who are suffering and will suffer the consequences of our neoliberal leaders and their financial follies. Cameron and Clegg tell us we’re all in this together but it’s not them or their corporate and finance friends who are paying the price, it’s us. That’s why one of the first things I’ll be doing is joining the union, and one of the next things is striking on November 30th. We must continue to show our opposition to the unfair and unwarranted attack on our society by government and its global paymasters. I may soon be back at work, but I’ll never be alright, Jack, while injustice and inequality exist.

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  1. Mary
    October 7, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    Soooooooooooooooooooooooo happy for you xxxx

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