We’ve all heard it said that you have to be careful what you wish for…
After a few disconcerting work experiences, I had been unemployed for 7 months until February 2010, when I gratefully took up a one-year short-term contract with a voluntary sector organisation.
I worked with some lovely supportive people, and a slightly mad, but very sympathetic, caring manager (like Tigger on happy pills). But while I initially believed in the project, the actual work I did didn’t fit well with my values or my best skills, so I had an integrity clash and was less than happy in my work.
Knowing the job would be ending, in the summer I began to look for my next position, but we all know the state of the public and voluntary sector at present and there wasn’t anything at all I could even consider applying for in the last 6 months. The recruitment section of the newspaper was getting thinner and thinner by the week. I began to get a bit twitchy about my future employment prospects.
To be honest, I wasn’t too worried about being unemployed again… I’d done it before and apart from the financial aspect… eating away into my savings was worrying… I quite enjoyed the freedom and extra time available to do what I want.
I was beginning to wish to not have to be employed ever again. I don’t mean to not work, or not contribute to society… In fact I am very motivated to make a difference in the world. But being somewhat of a rebel at the best of times… I tend to struggle with the stupidities of authority and bureaucracy and I was coming close to having enough of it all. I did not want to be in the same kind of situation, working on something that didn’t fit me right.
I had got to a point where I found that being in the employ of even the most sympathetic organisation has so many restrictions and frustrations to make me baulk, occasionally kick off and get into trouble.
I hadn’t got as far as planning what non-employment might look like… self-employment… consultancy… creative crafts??? Doing what??? But I could feel a wish burgeoning…
And then… along comes this diagnosis of cancer, relegating me, at least temporarily, to the band of disabled and unemployable.
So I feel like I’ve been let off the hook in terms of seeking employment. Not quite the way I would have chosen…
Although it may not suit everyone, this is one of the best aspects so far of my illness… not having to work. I mean, I can’t right now anyway, what with hospital appointments every two weeks, intermittent severe back and rib pains, mobility problems, medication that makes me dizzy, shaky and confused, not to mention anaemia which makes me very easily and quickly fatigued.
I delight in every morning, waking to a thought of “How do I feel? What shall I do today?” Even if all I can do is lie on the couch and stare out of the window some days. It sure beats, “Damn it! I have to get up and go to work again!”
I am hoping at some point, maybe once I achieve some sort of remission, that I will be able to consider working again, but more than ever before, this time, on my terms!