Is the cliché that all good things, or bad things, come in threes? Never mind, I can’t dictate it for you and you’re likely to take my question as rhetorical. Beginning a blog post with a cliché aside, I figured it was time to update my journey through joblessness. This will be my third and hopefully final post on the subject, unless you count my Gold Coast amendment post made after some criticism I received in relation to comments I made about my dear city in The Year of Living Idly – The Negatives. It will also, which I thought was appropriate, be my third and final, for a while at least, phone blog (or “phlog”). And I’ll presume any criticism of those previous two to be either withheld or still pending.
I have actually worked since initially becoming unemployed in July 2012, but have remained on the dole, even if at times I did not receive payments, ever since early in 2013 – after I returned from three months’ glorious yet aimless travelling. Technically, I am now working but I don’t count it because it is only for two days per week, and it is work for the dole. I spend my Wednesdays and Thursdays or Thursdays and Fridays helping cook crisis meals for the disadvantaged and maintaining an about an acre property run by a Christian church. With other unemployed people. Depending on my mood, I either think it’s great or loathe it – just like real work. And my best prospect for some paid employment at the moment is blueberry picking, which was mentioned as an opportunity by my work for the dole supervisor. The system works. Or at least, it might. Such is life.
Otherwise I spend my days watching various TV series such as Misfits and Breaking Bad. The latter of which I’m literally half-way through the end of the final episode as I tap away at my phone’s somewhat cracked screen. Next up I think I’ll hit up the local library for the first season of the ABC’s Rake (it’s about a roughly-hewn inner-city Sydney barrister trying to keep his life in order. Similar to David Duchovny’s Californication, only with more wine and less Jack Daniel’s). I also, weather permitting, daily head to the local basketball hoop to wile away a full or half-hour trying to nail three pointers; while thinking about life and how difficult it’s always been for me to get what I want from it usually but not always because such aims require cooperation with or outright bribery of other people. I also help out my parents and grandparents with various chores they need attendance to around their properties.
On weekends I’ll generally do little else but spend the hours between 6pm and midnight sinking piss down the local sports club with my brother who is also unemployed and, thankfully, attracts all the attention of local footy boys looking to recruit and, ruefully, also attracts all the attention of any of the few attractive women who patronise it. Though for a change this weekend I’m headed to Melbourne for celebration of my best mate’s 30th birthday. He has a (rental) house, a girl and a good job. Not that I envy him of those specific things, but they are types of things I not only want but am expected to have by people (including him) who are happy to give advice they expect to see acted on but are less willing to offer practical assistance – probably because they’re busy performing the miracle of keeping their own house/job/partner thing going. Strange how a paragraph can end so differently from its start.
I had two jobs late last year which helped recover my bank account from anorexia but couldn’t permanently rescue me from the dole on account of their short term nature. The first lasted for almost six months, 9 to 5, Monday to Friday, with a two or three week break in-between stints I was recruited for. I was surprised to gain the second stint, as the first ended suddenly when the editor/owner (it was a business magazine) suddenly thanked me for my work and said she’d call me – which I felt she wouldn’t as I limped from the awkward atmosphere in the office. Considering how anti-business (or making money for the sake of making money at lots of others’ expense) I can be, I’m glad I wasn’t called back a third time. Just another notch on a belt which could do with more notches.
The second job randomly appeared in my Facebook private message inbox one day just before I’d ended my time at the magazine. Another guy and I were simply to re-write some online course descriptions for a tertiary education institution. The recruiter had been a contact of mine during my newspaper 18 months. The other guy had got me involved in the business magazine so I returned the favour by offering him half the course description job – which gave me more time to work it around the office job a few weeks before it shut down for six weeks over summer. I spent all of that job sitting alone in front of my computer at home in my undies and listening to my own music while taking drab, outdated and boring course descriptions and making them engaging. It was great, though my humour with some of them apparently went a little too far. Can’t make an impact without pushing the boundaries.
So yeah nothing really since then, but it’s only been a few months. I can’t be sure whether people reading this are thinking “At least you don’t have to work you bastard” or “Stop taking my tax dollars, you bastard”. Well, to the first I’d say yeah, it’s relaxing but you can’t exactly plan for the future at all and it’s not great for self-esteem. And to the second I’d say, screw you. There are some incredibly rich people in this country who haven’t necessarily worked much harder than you or me for their wealth. So I think they can afford to assist with, and I doubt your tax burden would be easier without, my $250 per week plus an extra $20 because of work for the dole. To be honest, while I am earnestly looking for work, all I really want is a girl. And just one, at a time and in particular at the moment, girl. It’s not like I ever did much better with those I fancied when I had a job and didn’t live with my parents and had tens-of-thousands’ pre-travel dollars in my bank account. So why not now? Well, I’m sure some heartless, jaded or cynical people out there could suggest plenty of reasons why not now. But I’m sick of people bringing me down. Tired of unconstructive criticism. I want, no, need the fruits of my past suffering, sacrifice and hard work to start ripening.