askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
 Why am I here?

I mean here, at this point in my life.

I left Brighton because I was stuck; stuck in a flat I didn't like and which vaguely disgusted me.  Stuck in a job I definitely didn't like and paid me a pittance for working really hard and getting dumped on.  And stuck getting gradually deeper and deeper into debt - a little more every month (I had nearly £500 on credit cards to pay off when I moved back to East Mids, which may not sound like much to you, but it was/is a fortune to me - more than half of my monthly salary)

So I made what I thought to be the right decision; after a little over a year of applying for other jobs (a minimum of 2 professional jobs a month, more than that if you count 'unskilled' jobs)  I decided to change my situation, move to the East Midlands and take the financial pressure off myself by living with my parents while I got a new, better job.

2 weeks after moving back, my parents encourage me to take the only job I have applied for in the area; one that offers me less than the £13,000 p/a of my previous job but involves no travel costs.  I take it with the intention of finding another job; except there aren't any other jobs.  And I don't even know what words to search for on job sites.

In the back of my mind the plan was that I would live with my parents for a short while and then, with the earnings of my fabulous new job, get a modest 1 bed, or, if I was working in Nottingham, a flat share there, and live for a year or 2 saving for the PhD.  As it is, I cannot save for the PhD now (I still haven't paid off my overdraft) I have met exactly 0 new people and have seen my old friends from the area twice since I've moved back.

Now I'm not only screwed financially, I'm screwed socially.

I'm also constantly ill.  This stomach thing means I'm losing weight, which presumably means my body isn't processing the things I put in it, so I'm not getting the nutrients I need, so my skin looks like shit, my hair is horrible and my immune system is non existent.  I am constantly tired and am currently suffering through my third major cold in 8 weeks.

I want a new job, but I haven't got the faintest inclination of where to look anymore and I am beyond uninspired: I truly believe I am qualified for nothing because I simply cannot break out of jobs unrelated to my field.  Every now and again inspiration strikes and I seek out entry level jobs in fields I am interested in or full on passionate about; they don't exist.  Or, if they do, they are tailored for candidates who have not been to university, after all those guys need an extra hand up because we graduates live in the land of milk and honey already.


I just need someone to tell me what my skills are and where I should or could look for work.  But they don't do careers advisory services for 26 year old graduates with a job.

I feel like I keep trying to make the right decisions; keep moving, keep reassessing, keep planning.  But none of them work out.  It is no coincidence that yesterday marks the 2 year anniversary of things going to shit.  In a few more weeks it will be 2 years since I graduated from my Masters course.  A few weeks after that will be the 2 year anniversary of my starting a full time job on a £13,000 salary; the job that would 'last just a few months' before I got the £20k one I was 'destined' to have.

I DO NOT KNOW HOW TO FIX THIS.  And there is seemingly nowhere to find out.


askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
It strikes me it has been some time since I've posted a 'proper' entry.  Perhaps it is time to remedy that.

I have been in my new job for a month now and whilst it does not fulfil me it is a relatively low stress environment and my manager - the school bursar - seems to think I'm a good egg and has made many efforts to stress she wants to help me develop my career in school administration which, whilst it is obviously not my career of choice, is certainly positive - in this financial climate, a manager who has a long term professional development plan for their newest employee after 4 weeks is a rare thing.  In short, my response to  the dilemma I expressed in my previous post, is to try and wait it out. My timescale for a review of where I am is set at the beginning of January, after that? We'll see.

The usual idiosyncrasies of a new work place have begun to reveal themselves to me; half the office hate the manager because she expects them to do work during the day. Instead they sit about, bitching about staff, parents and kids and gossiping with anyone who stops by.  The other half of the office work part time and do three times the work of the full time bitches.  Such is life.  I am, unless you haven't guessed, firmly in the second camp, except I have to be there full time.

And I do mean bitches.  I've never worked anywhere where the majority of the people full on don't like me, or just plain ignore me.  And that really is what happens.  As usual I find I'm getting on better with men in the school than the women and were it not for the guys in premises who pop in from time to time and always have a smile and always enjoy a brief chat and a giggle with me, I think I'd be tearing my hair out.  It has to be said that after a particularly frustrating day today were a couple of my contributions to an office wide conversation were not just ignored, but overruled/immediately restated by someone else, I came home and cried. Le sigh.

I'm finding living back at my parents house not nearly as bad as I anticipated.  In particular, I feel relieved to be back in the countryside.  In the mornings, as I am smoking my cigarette, I watch a family of squirrels play in the same tree.  Yesterday one snuck up on another and pounced....oh his tail.  Then they chased back and forth, tumbling and grabbing each others tails.  It reminded me of this scene in the Sword in the Stone.  

The other day I clambered down the river bank next to my house, as I have so many times before, and watched a vole and, later, a water rat, scramble about on the bank.  Every day my parents garden is filled with birds - just as it has always been, but you forget how much you enjoy seeing these things until all you see for 3 years is seagulls and pigeons.  We have pigeons here too, of course, but they are the beautifully purple wood pigeon.  And those guys mate for life, unlike the promiscuous city birds.  

The last two lunchtimes - partly out of frustration at the office situation, partly because the weather was so enticingly mild - I have left work and done a speedy circuit of the village on my bike in my lunch half-hour.  It's been nice.

It's not all good though. I'm aware - acutely aware - for the first time just how oppressive queer invisibility is.  There is a teacher at the school who I knew was a dyke the first time I met her.  This week a PGCE student started in her department and she is also, clearly, a dyke.  The urge to just seek them out one lunch time and exclaim "gay! you guys are gay! so am I! Can we talk about gay please?! do you know any gay bars? Can you take me to some?!"

...Which is absurd of course, and unimaginably embarrassing were I wrong (although I'm sure I'm not) and I'd be pissed as hell if someone said that to me BUT. I miss teh gays!  I miss a gay on every corner, as provided by Brighton, and I miss people asking after your "partner" instead of your "boyfriend" before they know for sure.  And I miss people not doing that surprised face/quick hide it look when you casually correct their "did your boyfriend" in your answer (e.g. "no, she.....") And I miss wearing whatever clothes I want, instead opting for clothes that won't get me heckled in on the streets of Grantham.

How I hate Grantham.

All that said? I guess I'm comfortable. Actually, I might go as far as happier. But not content.  More factors need to be present in my life before I can claim content.  And less bursting into tears because everyone at work is mean.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
The Big Move of adjusting (largely unsuccessfully, I might add) to living with my parents.  The Big Move of leaving behind the most important friends I have ever had or made.  The Big Move of quitting a job I hate, bolstered by self confidence that it was a Big Move to get a Big Payoff. All of it was, in short, Big.  Was it worth it? 

Today is day 7 of the new job.  I have done most of the jobs in the office now; filing, personnel file updating and management, purchase orders, making travel arrangements for teachers going on trips or courses and communicating those arrangements to them, shredding, more filing, delivering post, database usage, management of the school calendar.  It will come as no surprise to anyone that this is deadly boring.

I think, were it not for the fact my fellow office workers are a cheery, friendly bunch who assume greater knowledge when explaining something rather than lesser, I would have quit already.  As it is I am torn.  I am finally getting office experience - something that has been a gap in my otherwise excellent experience section on application forms - and if I join the union I could volunteer to be the union rep for the school workers and that would be brilliant experience but...

I can't help but feel I'm missing out on something much, much better.  I am really angry about the fact the job centre had me booked in for a one-on-one careers advisor session - specifically designed for 'professionals' and people with degrees who find themselves unemployed - on Friday gone but I had to cancel it as I had started this new job by then.  It might have been useless, but I really didn't feel like it was going to be useless.

I hate being unemployed, largely because there is nothing to do and nowhere to go because you don't have the money to do it.  But how is trading Brighton and all my friends therein - a place I love with a job I hate, for a place I hate and a job I hate? I explicitly weighed up no money to save for PhD/great city/terrible job against good job/money to save for PhD/terrible place to live/no amazing friends.  I feel short changed.  

And I don't like feeling short changed, so I need to act.  I'm just not sure whether quitting is the right course of action or whether I should stick it out and then quit say, in the new year claiming my reason for leaving on future application forms as being because I wanted to get office experience and stayed only until I had.  The latter is the obvious, hedging-your-bets choice, but no part of this move was supposed to be hedging my bets, it was meant to be bold and daring, and it was meant to be the shock my working life needed to get it on a decent track.

At the end of the day, I don't want to be rich - I want to be happy in the way I spend my days.  And yes, money is an excellent facilitator; house, garden, holidays, food, books, PhD; but that is all I want or need it to be.  Yes, I want to work.  But I want to enjoy my work.  And I want to feel like I am doing something appropriate to my needs; which are, quite simply, to be engaged by my work. 

Either way, I need to make a decision.  I haven't slept since, well, since I started really.  No more than 5 hours a night.  Feel like the living dead.
askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (November the 8th)
 Now, I'm not one to overreact, but...I'm going to die!

Yesterday I had a bit of swelling on the corner of my eyelid, near the bridge of my nose.  I also had a spot on the bridge of my nose so I figured the latter was pressing on the former, and squeezed it.  Lots of puss, all rather disgusting, but not out of the ordinary.

This morning I woke up and couldn't open my eye, the eyelid was so swollen it was forced closed.  Made my way to work and phoned NHS direct.  The advisor took my details as normal and told me call back time was 4 hours and maybe I should just go to the pharmacy and talk to the pharmacist, I said I'd rather go to the NHS drop in clinic if I didn't get a call back from them before my lunch.  A couple of hours later a NHS direct nurse phoned me.  She asked lots of questions about my eye and told me to go the NHS drop in clinic.  I asked if I should hurry there or wait an hour until my lunch break began, she said an hours wait would be fine.

My lunch break began and and I walked up to the NHS drop in clinic where I discover...they are no longer a drop in clinic - registered patients and emergencies only.  They tell me to call my doctors for the out of hours service, which I do.  I talk to an advisor again who tells me a GP will call me back.  15 minutes later a GP calls, we go through all the same questions as I did with the NHS direct nurse (is it bruised? Is there discharge? does it itch? have you sustained any injuries to the eye recently?) and got the exact same non answer - "doesn't sound too serious but someone should really have a look at it".  So she booked me in at A&E for a GP appointment for 5pm, after I'd finished work, some 4 hours later.

After work I grudgingly went along to A&E, my eye was much less swollen and almost fully open although it ached, I really truly almost didn't go.  Was seen by a doctor, whipped my glasses off and as I was saying "it's my eye" she said "oh my god", which really isn't what you ever want to hear from a healthcare professional.  I explained that it was hugely swollen this morning and was now as it was, I thought that was quite good, she said "and it's taken until 5pm so go down to this level?!" with incredulity.  Again, not what you want to hear.  And then she pointed to my burst spot which was a bit crusty and ugly looking where it had dried and asked "what's that?",
"oh, just a spot" I reply.  
"But is it? Is it just a spot?"
"err...yeah." I reply with absolutely no confidence in my tone.  The cancer buzzer was ringing loudly in my head at this moment.
"what did it look like?"
"just...a lump.  Normal spot"
"and has it always looked like that, with the golden crust?"
"no, yesterday I squeezed it because I thought it was pressing on my eyelid, there was loads of puss but....just a normal spot."
"hmmm...."

She presses and prods my eye and the fleshy bits around it. Usual questions (does that hurt? No. That? No).

"Right, you have an infection"
"Ok!" I say cheerfully.
"But the problem is, under your eyelid, you have your eye"
"Yup!" I giggle, obvious statement is obvious.
"And this part of your eye," she gestures to the area below the eyebrow and above the eyelid, which is swollen on me "is about this [indicates a space of about 2 cms, no more] far away from your brain tissue."
"Right..." getting worried again, whole other set of warning bells warming up
"I think the infection has travelled under the skin [i.e. from the spot] to the eye area. And what you have is a Very Serious infection"
"...right..." Loud bells of terror now blaring in my head
"So I'm going to give you an incredibly high dose of antibiotics"
"ok"
"2 tablets, 4 times a day"
"....right..."
"And if it's worse tomorrow morning you need to come back tomorrow morning"
"Ok.  Is there anything I shouldn't do...like tomorrow I was going to go to the beach and sit in the sun all day"
"Wear a hat and don't put suncream on your face because if it gets in then it'll be a really...tricky..situation"
"Right"
"And we'd have to take you in and put you on IV antibiotics"
"Right"

So then I took my prescription, left the building, got my bike, started shaking and FREAKED OUT for a little while.

Seriously? A 'serious' infection centimetres away from my brain? NOT COOL.

Anyway, I'm home on the sofa watching trash tv, eating fruit and realising the stiff neck I've had for the last two days is LYMPH GLAND POWER!

Go team lymph gland.  Seriously.  Go!

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askygoneonfire: Red and orange sunset over Hove (Default)
a sky gone on fire

June 2017

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