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Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The Bare Essentials (Part 2)

I went to another interview today, this time for a support role at a school. I was very proud of myself when I learned that out of the 28 applicants, I was the only one without a teaching qualification.
Along with the other 4 shortlisted candidates, I was given a tour of the school and then spent some time with the students who would be working with the successful applicant, before being interviewed by a panel.
There was such a lovely atmosphere at the school, the other staff were friendly and the students I spoke to were all great conversationalists. By the time I was called in for my interview I was feeling very enthusiastic about the job and determined to give it my all. Towards the end it was made clear that the salary equated to about £10,000 per year. I tried hard to contain my disappointment but left feeling that I had given a good account of myself and curious to hear how I had performed.

I phoned Mr G to let him know how it went and we discussed the salary. Mr G said he wished he earned enough that I could afford to drop to those wages but we really would have struggled to make ends meet and we agreed that if I was offered the job, I would probably have to turn it down on those grounds. The school were aware that the salary was poor and were very apologetic when discussing it during the interview.

Later in the day I received the call from the school advising me that I hadn't been successful but I was only just pipped to the post by a candidate who was a qualified English teacher with a PhD.
The students apparently gave excellent feedback about me, and the teacher said I gave an outstanding interview but it was just the experience that separated me from the other girl.

Even though I couldn't have afforded to take such a huge paycut, I still felt really disappointed but at the same time, positive that I had received such great comments.

I had to pop to the bank to withdraw the final £100 from my savings to pay our Council Tax, and by the time I got home it was gone 5pm and there had STILL been no phone call from the other job I'm waiting to hear about.

I told Mr G I thought I had about £30 left in the bank and was getting annoyed with waiting to hear about the other job. He advised me to "stop stressing about it", which obviously went down like a lead balloon. Moments later, the phone rang just in time for our daily sales call, which actually turned out to be someone from my credit card company.

I was advised I had an outstanding balance of £90 that needed to be paid immediately. Brilliant! It seems I had about £84 in my account so have now had to raid my lottery fund, and cash in a couple of scratch cards I found lying about the house to make sure I don't exceed my overdraft limit.

So this is it... I literally do not have a penny to my name.

Mr G declared that he was putting his beloved PS3 on ebay for some fast cash, and I burst into tears, begging him not to do it. This was all my fault. I had chosen to take voluntary redundancy, arrogantly thinking that I would walk straight into another job. I had the foresight to put back enough money to pay my bills for 2 months from when I stopped working, certain that I was being overly cautious.

Now that money has gone and we are having to sell things to pay our bills, something that I joked about a couple of days ago but has now become reality. I feel so guilty for putting us in this situation.

I called my bank and asked to extend my overdraft but they refused because I don't have any money coming in. I contacted my loan company and my mortgage company to ask if I could reduce the payment for 1 month until I can get any job to get some money coming in, but I can't do this without affecting my credit rating.

I did the sensible thing and took out payment protection insurance but the insurance company do not appear to be interested because my redundancy was classed as "voluntary"(a story far to long to go into on this already epic post)

My Dad, who works 12 hour days in a thankless job, told me yesterday that if we were struggling he would give us the money he has been saving to go on a much needed holiday.

I feel like such a failure. I don't want to be a charity case, I don't want my husband to give up his possessions because I don't have a job. I want to pay my own way, I am capable of working hard and I just feel like everywhere I turn I am coming up against a brick wall.

So why is it I look out of my window and see a 15 year old pushing a double buggy, clad in the latest fashions, seemingly without a care in the world?


  1. Em,

    The two recent posts aren't your usual sarcastic style, but I'm grateful for how you express the thoughts of the unemployed in a way that I am unable to.

    I certainly agree that being unemployed is difficult for men - a lot of us are falling short of the provider stereotype.

    It shows how desperate things are when a teacher with a PhD, who could earn £30K+ in research/academia is taking on a £10k job.

    Have you looked at recruitment jobs? I know you worked in an internal role, but there are a lot of transferable skills that relate to external recruitment. Whilst this may not be ideal, it would pay better than £10k and with the commission on top hopefully it could tie you over? I know that Hays Education and Hays Accounting & Finance have been recruiting consultants.

    And don't beat yourself up over the 'voluntary redundancy', the odds were against all the TLs and you will look back in years to come and be glad you left the way you did, instead of hearing the verdict on your wedding day. I resigned from my last job because it was a jump or be pushed situation - so you can imagine the reception I get from the jobcentre.

    In hindsight pregnant at 15 is the way to go - benefits and housing. I told Kathryn we should've realised that three and a half years ago, then we wouldn't be taking advantage of inlaw hospitality. The government wonders why we have such high teenage pregnancy rates...

  2. Sorry to hear you are feeling so down! Don't beat yourself up over this. It is very easy to feel like you are failing but you are not...the system is failing's failing all of us!!! I, like you, have never been on such a rollercoaster of emotions, and i am lucky that i do not have the pressure of a mortgage weighing me down. Hang in there, something will turn up, you deserve a good job and hopefully it will not take much longer for an employer to realise what an assett you would be to their company!!! xxx

  3. go to and put in all your details, it will tell you what you are entitled to, you never know you may be entitled to a small amount of working tax credit or something, might help ease the situation til you get a job

  4. Oh my why did I decide to read ur blog again on the bus, last time I was crying with laughter like a complete looney & today I have just had to put my sunglasses on because Im welling up & close to tears! There is an amazing job out there for you! I know it's not what you would like to do, but have you thought anymore about ann summers? You could always come along to one of my parties & see how it goes, believe it or not there are a lot of customers buying even in this climate & I truly do believe you would be fab & u can earn some cash whilst you continue seeking employment! Have everything crossed for you, take care, luv looselips xx

  5. Just to let you know a section of your blog appeared in the herald today.