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Wednesday, 29 August 2018

Why is finding work so hard?

I had my first job when I was thirteen. I worked at my local farmer's market, and I liked it a lot even though I wasn't super brilliant. I was pretty day-dreamy and probably not the most business-minded. But the people I worked for were very kind to me and I worked there on and off for three years. That's the last consistent/long-standing job I've had.

Since then I have had a bunch of other jobs, none of which have lasted more than a couple months. (My work life is a lot like my dating life; hapless and in short bursts). Some of these reasons include me starting university; some are the fact that I wasn't very good at what I was doing, but mostly because I'm not someone who can work in a high-pressured environment due to my anxiety. The places I've worked in - hospitality, cafes, stewarding - demand an ability to work in a high-pressured environment where interacting with a lot of noisy people will be apparent.

Naturally this isn't great for someone with panic disorder. But even when I was younger before I started having recurrent panic attacks, I remember printing out CV after CV aged 16-19 and handing them to place after place with little to no luck. This made me seriously depressed; it would be different if I didn't make much of an effort to find jobs, but I've spent more time in the last five years searching and applying for jobs than actually working. Most people want you to have experience, but you can't get experience if no one gives you a chance to have experience. Bloody paradox.

I am also with a few acting agencies and have had some jobs as an extra for adverts and movies. But again unfortunately this is a chancy and fickle area. I started with one agency around February and got two jobs within a couple weeks, and was hoping to make it a regular thing. However, I had a bad panic attack on the second job (which was for an advert) and didn't receive anything for months.

Back in June I worked at Wembley stadium, but had to stop because it was making my panic attacks flare up. I worked the other day at Notting Hill carnival for twelve hours as a steward, and managed to get through most of the day fine (a bit of anxiety but not over-the-top). But at the end of the day I when I was queuing up outside Notting Hill station I had an attack and collapsed.

For people with mental illnesses, its hard enough to find the job but then its nearly impossible to maintain it. There's the difficult part of applying, getting a trial and then actually getting the job in the first place, which can take months of searching. London is a highly competitive and over-populated city, with hundreds of thousands of sweaty bodies competing for the same jobs. University graduates have been struggling to find work post-uni for years, with many working in a field that has nothing to do with their actual degree.

I know that I'm just not very good at standard jobs (by 'standard' I mean as opposed to specialist work that requires training/qualifications such as doctor, lawyer etc). I don't have the physical or emotional resilience to be able to stand up for ages or be around massive crowds of people without feeling exhausted or bored or overwhelmed. Most of the times I've been told off by my boss or supervisor I've stood in a corner and burst into tears.

But unfortunately, until I can make a substantial living as a musician and author which is ALL I actually want to fucking do (and what I'm good at), I know I have to work part-time to supplement myself. I have been looking for work in less-stressful areas (presuming they'll hire someone like me).
I'm lucky to be living rent-free with my mum - I WOULD contribute to the rent if I had any fucking money XD.

End Note:

I know this is a bit of a whiny 'poor me' post, but I just wanted to write a bit about my challenges finding work and how this is reflective of many people (esp young adults) in the UK right now. Let me know if you've had similar struggles.

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