Monday, September 13, 2010

Snappy September - Day Thirteen - Tears

With the work I had scheduled with my most favouritest newspaper suddenly slashed to a quarter due to budget cuts it means that the three articles already researched, interviewed people for (whilst seeking permission from their respective media units, boss or publicity department), written and submitted won't be published and I won't be paid. Isn't it nice to know that a huge international media organisation had saved roughly a weeks' salary equivalent to a junior bank clerk thanks to me, marvellous me?

I spent last week in a bit of a panic about it. No, my income was half a sheet of loo paper compared to Love Chunk's sixteen squares neatly folded and ready to deal with diarrhoea but it sure as hell helped and with scheduled articles it was easy to predict when my 'salary' (if you can call it that as a freelancer) would arrive. Not any more.

My writing income would cover our weekly grocery shop and maybe Sapphire's viola and tennis lessons, but it made me feel as though I could justify saying - out loud, to other people - that I was a writer and that yes, my public embracing of the polar fleece and scruffy jeans was just part of who I was - a 'writer'.

It was time to get onto Seek and look for some jobs. One appeared as though it was designed just for me. Part time writer of press releases, website information and newsletter for a dog shelter one suburb away. Preferable to have knowledge of blogging and a genuine love of dogs. Hello.....? Blew the dust off my CV, wrote a killer cover letter and sent it off.

Got rejected (via email which was automatically sent to the spam folder) within twenty four hours.

Ah well, life goes on, keep my not-inconsiderably-sized chin up, see what else is out there..... Decided to do their online test that asked many in-depth questions about qualifications, years of employment, industry sectors worked in, skills gained, on-the-job training opportunities, key achievements etc. Made a coffee as the magic box ticked over and said, 'Your suggested jobs will be coming soon.'

And there it was - data entry. Data pharking entry. What?

There's no cancer ravaging my body; our home is warm and safe and my husband, daughter and dog always seem happy to see me, yet I spent the day sobbing and trying very hard not to slide down towards the self flagellation I'm known for.

What value do I really add to this family?

My inability to do a 'real' job without being burned or burned out means that LC is trapped into working hard all the time, with no freedom or options. Shouldn't I be putting my energies towards something other than looking after my own needs first?

What about Sapphire? What kind of role model am I, when I can't even hack a 'real' job and aren't making much headway with such a namby-pamby form of work?

Dad rang me with a query. "Um Kath, there's this big basket of flowers - well, they're not flowers, but chocolates wrapped up to look like a bunch of flowers, so I think some chocolate company has made a mistake and they should be sent to you. They're pretty fancy, so I see that you're hitting the big time there, aren't you kiddo?"

"No Dad, they're for you."


"Because you never let me get you anything for Fathers' Day and I wanted - just for once - to give you something pretty - it should be in Crows' colours - is it Dad? - that would say that you've been a wonderful father to me and I love you."

....."Dad? Are you there, Dad?"

He was. And apart from the two times he found me in hospital, broken and hopeless, I heard him cry. And it made me smile and gave me more than just a little dollop of strength.


Romana said...

I'm not going to give you the old "when one door closes, another one opens....blah blah blah", but I want to thank you for reminding me that strength is there to be gained from unexpected sources. Cheers Kath.

Lidian said...

Oh Kath - I am sitting here thinking: yeah, me too. Me too. I am just starting to try and write some stuff for money. Am a didn't-make-it-in-academia, middle-aged, has-been-at-home-with-kids-forever type with a couple of blogs. Sigh. Will carry on, anyhow...

...And what a lovely end to your post, BTW. You are SUCH a fabulous writer - that newspaper must be mad to let you go!

Elisabeth said...

Oh dear Kath. It sounds tough, such a talented writer as you, and so little work available.

I wish I could help, but I'm hardly out and about at the moment. Have you checked out places like the writers centre for leads. No doubt you have. I'm not trying to tell you to suck eggs, but there must be a way.

Word of mouth is most often the best. Something good will happen.

And your father is lucky to have you for a daughter.

River said...

"What value do I really add to this family?"
Kath, I think you're making a mistake by thinking only in terms of the monetary value your work brings. You bring so much more.
Love, passion, compassion, smiles tears and laughter, strength, wisdom, your curiosity about all things surrounding you, all these and more. I bet if you asked the same question of Love Chunks and Sapphire their answers would surprise you.
Data entry?? I'd love a job in data entry, but they all want thousands of keystrokes per minute, and I'm so definitely a hunt and peck person.

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks Romana - it's often the writing of the blog itself that gives me the 'window' sometimes.

Thank you Lidian - the paper haven't let me go (yet), just drastically reduced what they'll now print.

I'll keep trying, Elisabeth - I'm a big believer in keeping at it, tapping any leads and - reading the new editing of the Writers Marketplace from cover to cover.

River, your words are true - sometimes it takes me a while to remember it.

drb said...

Unlike China, UAE did not ban your blog :-)
Utterly shocked and appalled that the dog shelter rejected your application!! They made a HUGE HUGE mistake! It's the tiger year, almost over, only 4 more months to go.

River said better than I could. My mum has always been a full-time stay-at-home mum and we kids would not want it any other way. In fact our peers thought we were very lucky to have our mum at home when we came back from school. No childcare or nanny can replace mum's care. So, never question your contribution to your family, it is not to be measured by income.


Deep Kick Girl said...

If you start believing (and fretting about) what an online employment "test" tells you is your perfect career I really will start worrying about your mental health.

You are lucky to have a family that love and support you (everyone in that position is, because it is dumb luck I think) but that doesn't mean your contribution to your family isn't valued (in other terms rather than just $$$$$).

There are plenty of people I can think of that are a waste of oxygen but you my lovely friend are not one of them. Your heart and inner strength and community spirit and... well lots of other wonderful qualities... make you a wonderful person.

You will find a job to suit you if that's what you want. But I think it's important to seperate yourself from your job; work to live, blah blah blah.

Keep smiling!

Kath Lockett said...

Thank you drb - I feel like contacting the dog place and being one of those annoying rejected job seekers and asking, "Can you tell me why I didn't even score an interview?" But on second thoughts, because the job was only advertised online and not in the paper, maybe there's already someone in the role and they're ticking the administrative box that requires them to advertise the position for 'externals' as well?

Thanks DK Girl - I'm hoping to milk the last few drops from the paper for as long as I can and then will put more effort into GoneChocco and maybe-just-maybe a novel....?