Oh, January. You are so very unkind to us. This week is the first week back at work for most. We are fatter, poorer and experiencing what seems to be some sort of Wizard of Oz style hurricane in the south east of England. The Christmas lights that once welcomed us through the streets are rain swept, clinging on to buildings, endless and sad reminders of the fun we once had. Our resolutions to quit smoking and eating bread have fallen by the wayside and we’re beginning to hope that Spring will come earlier this year.
Still, we are bombarded with advertisements for how to reduce our waistlines and unrealistic celebrity exercise videos from women who have no bums. Rail fares have increased too, of course. Let us not forget that. Even the daily hassle of getting to work is costing us more and we’re suddenly sacrificing our prêt a manger sandwiches for the unrivalled joy of a delayed train filled with sweaty strangers.
And then there is the small matter of me being jobless. Again. Yes, 25% of graduates are unemployed and I’m back to being one of them. The news was broken to me earlier this week in a cold conference room that much resembles the setting of the 2001 film ‘Conspiracy’, in which it depicts a dramatic recreation of the Wannsee conference in Nazi Germany. Only this room was in a seaside town and no-one was wearing uniform.
Ok, so I’m being overdramatic. Having done the hard slog of actual grown-up work for three months, I thought that at the end of it I might be lucky enough to gain a permanent position. Nice try, no cigar. I was marched out like an X-Factor evictee, disappointed that I would never get to sing a cover of Snow Patrol’s ‘Chasing cars’ in the final show, accompanied by a black and white photo montage of my career-seeking journey.
It turns out that unemployment is much like meeting an old friend. It hasn’t taken me long to get used to it again. Indeed, it is much like we never parted. There are some things that haven’t changed whatsoever. There is the familiar tune of Vivaldi’s ‘Spring’ when put on hold to the job centre plus. The usual ensemble of greying pyjamas and blanket with sleeves, accessorised with a blank stare and twitch of the eyebrow. Most importantly there is the welcoming smile of Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby at ten thirty each morning. Things could be a hell of a lot worse.