Washed up at 43?

It’s a Saturday night, July, 2014. It is almost 5 and a half years since I last held a full-time paid career job.

Five and a half years!!!

Where did the time go?

It’s not like I’ve been permanently sat on my arse though, contrary to the popular opinions of some family members…

About this time 2 years ago I completed the final exam of a full-time History degree. During the preceding 3 years of the course my wife gave birth to our daughter; I went into counselling when my ex-wife announced (by text message!) that she was taking my son to live in Australia and, I discovered I suffered from chronic perfectionism when it came to writing academic papers!  Not the best circumstances then.

However, I managed a first, much to my own surprise but not to many others.

The degree was a means to an end. I needed a career change for the sake of my working sanity.

During my second year I spent a week as a mini pupil in a barristers chambers in Leicester.  It was dull but I met two lovely, friendly barristers who gave me valuable advice and encouragement into the possibility of a career in law.

I’ve also worked for nothing but the experience in a criminal defence solicitors for 7 weeks reading reams and reams of paperwork and creating complex evidence schedules on a horrific joint enterprise  murder and a serious drug conspiracy.  I enjoyed that immensely.

For a total of about a month I assisted a OBE holding, blind, Muslim barrister and part-time District Court judge maintain his busy practice by ferrying him to and from court across the country.  In that month I read out and replied to all his emails and letters, but principally I massaged his rather large ego ooh-ing and ahh-ing as he recollected, in a plummy upper class English accent, his exploits at the bar and behind the Bench.  (He was a lovely chap though, overall.)

Since my degree I started but subsequently withdrew from my Law conversion when my mum was diagnosed with cancer, dying in terrible pain 6 months later.

I subsequently trained for and completed a half marathon for a cancer charity a few months later in her and my late dad’s memory.

The remainder of my time up until January this year has been spent in 4 principal ways.

1) Searching for jobs to apply for, mainly on the internet. A laborious, painstakingly frustrating task.

2) Applying for said jobs.  A time-consuming task consisting of writing reams of cringeworthy bullshit about how great you are mixed in with endless recitals of educational grades and career history. Such fun.

3) Cooking, cleaning and playing house-husband.  Something akin to living in a prison I imagine.  Stuck inside 4 walls day after day performing mundane tasks that go generally unnoticed by the rest of the family and earn neither special privileges, cigarettes or class A drugs, unlike being in an actual prison!

4) Languishing in a state of perpetual self-pity, self loathing and malaise when I fail at interview, presentation or paper sift, only made worse when told, “brilliant interview, unfortunately you were up against an exceptionally strong candidate”‘ or, “You probably don’t want to hear this but there was a cigarette paper between you and the successful candidate”….or worse still, “you were second but there’ll be a job for you within 6 months” only for said job to never materialise…. AAAAGGGGHHHH!!

Since January, however, I have taken the bull by the horns and been….<drum roll>

Painting and decorating.

Not that there’s anything wrong with painting and decorating. It’s an honest days work that requires a reasonable level of skills and I enjoy the craic on site (apart from the latent racism and xenophobia espoused by UKIP’s core voters from the working class)

It’s just not really where I saw myself when I started my degree in 2009 as a 39-year-old widely experienced former Project Manager and police officer.

Most of all, there’s the constant nag of, ‘if only’

If I’d stayed at Law school I could have been prancing around the Midland Circuit courts in full regalia, significantly poorer than I am now due to the extortionate course fees I’d have paid to get there, but still, I’d have attained a position that few with my background do; (my paternal line back as far as 1740 is filled with agricultural labourers and miners.)

So what has Fate got in store for me I wonder?  Am I to spend my remaining working life in dirty white overalls listening to repetitively shit commercial radio, expanding my waist with mid morning fry-ups and copious post work ‘light refreshments’ or is there really, as everyone (annoyingly) keeps telling me, a job out there with my name on it?

Watch this space….