In April 2008, almost as if hit by a mid-life crisis, I decided to leave a successful jet-setting career in international publishing sales to try my hand at something I had always dreamed of: a diploma in journalism.
Everyone groaned when I resigned but no one asked why. My colleagues and friends told me they were jealous. Everyone has a secret dream, but how many really pursue them at whatever price it takes?
In December 2008 I became certified as a journalist by the NCTJ.
In May 2009, after five months of fruitless job hunting in the thick of an economic downturn, I decided to officially certify myself as unemployed too. I threw my middle-class pride out of the window and joined the dole queue at the JobCentre. I’m now a government statistic, one of the 2.4 million.
Unemployment sucks. There is no joy in being on the dole. But being a journalist means I can write about why and how it sucks and what you can possibly do to make the best use of this time.
This blog is a record my thoughts and experiences as an unemployed journalist-in-the-making. I am hoping it will resonate with others in similar situations and give inspiration – and hope – to those who are struggling in the recession as I am.
I have in mind all new journalism graduates trying to get their first foot in the door but also any “mature graduates” for whom journalism was, as for me, a new career choice.
I certainly have enough to share with anyone who cares to read: my laughable dealings with the JobCentre, discovering how to use my free time as an unemployed constructively, tricks that worked in turning fate to the right direction, etc. The (as yet unwritten) last chapter of the series will, hopefully, be a happy-ending one.
I will be including links to articles, blogs and stats as are relevant to each topic, but the series is as much about the “soft” side of unemployment, the human aspects of it, as it is about hard facts and figures.
I also blog on Blogger on random subjects, which tend to be philosphical: lessons of love, gratitude and mortality I derive form my daily life. I often write about my blind dog Binks, who is my spiritual teacher. Like Pooh Bear. Sometimes I get very serious and comment on topics such as assisted suicide. Occasionally I even rant about erm…boobs – in every context imaginable: breastfeeding, sexuality, cancer, even…Jordan.
If you’re curious, you can see some of my previous musings here.
I hope you enjoy my musings in On the Dole, On the Ball.