Another day, another rejection. I kid myself that it doesn’t matter, that it was a long shot anyway, and, that hoariest of hoary self-delusions, that it’s their loss. Like hell. There’s only one loser here, and it’s me.
Most of the time I function normally enough. I go to the supermarket, the petrol station, keep up to date with the news. I never watch day-time telly, and know that if I were ever to start, then despair would have truly set in. And it would be idle (sic!) to suggest that unemployment has no up side. It’s no bad thing to be able to do what you want, when you want to do it.
But it’s debilitating at the same time. I remember on the first day after I left my job going to Tesco at 11.00 in the morning. Morning it may have been, but it felt like a twilight world. Of course some of my fellow day-time shoppers may have been shift workers, but they didn’t look like that to me. To me it seemed that one thing connected us in our 11 o’clock shopping: that we were able to do it because we had no work. And, in my imagination at least, we were also connected by a shared sense of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even the young mothers appeared no more comfortable than me.
Every day brings a handful of similar frissons of heightened awareness. A new introduction and the inevitable question, “And what do you do?” Or in the pub with a friend, “Better not have another, got to get up for work – oh, sorry…” And worst of all having to walk past my old offices, hoping that no-one sees me.
And so another rejection brings all these unwelcome thoughts back into focus. I try to dismiss them with the reflection that I have three more applications to write, and, who knows, one of them might be the one. Even as I’m thinking this the monkey on my shoulder whispers, “More like another three opportunities to waste your time!” I administer a sharp slap, and the monkey shuts up, for the time being at least.