From The Fishbowl

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Hello, and happy new year. (It’s still OK to say that on the 11th January, right?)

This would appear to be my once-monthly post. I’ll try and be more frequent in 2012, since it’s the last year of the Earth’s existance, or something. LOLNOPE.

As you may or may not know, this time last year I was unemployed. This time this year, I am also technically unemployed. Between these two points of unemployed-ness, I had a job. It was a job that, in certain areas, was pretty OK, and in others, was excruciatingly detremental to my wellbeing. In short, said job was starting to plunge me into a deep depression. I could feel it happening, sense it somehow, like I was ascending the Spanish Steps and getting more and more tired with every movement. A crash was inevitable, a crash that would almost certainly had a huge impact on the rest of my life.

So I left.

I know, it might seem to outwardly be a strange, brash, melodramatic or perhaps even foolish descision given the economic peril the world’s in at the moment. In short, I’m perfectly aware of the problems people my age have finding a job, so to leave one which was relatively secure must seem a bit, well, mental. But I knew, and still know, that it was the right decision, and I am yet to regret it one iota. Well, maybe a small iota. I mean, the money was kinda nice. But money obviously doesn’t buy happiness or even a sense of mental ‘safeness’ that I think I need to survive in this world. I’ll get back to this shortly.

Where’s this going? Well, where this is going is where I’m going.

Since the start of November, I’ve been officially unemployed, but not collecting any benefits or the like. I am intending to become a self-employed person of some description. I’ve already started my endeavours – selling a few items on eBay to bring in some cash. I also have a few projects in mind that are in various stages of readiness. I’ve worked on projects before, of course, but never with the intention of making money. Tell truth, the whole idea of making money at all – even in a standard, employed work environment – is completely alien to me. Of course I need it to survive and occasionally buy nice things, but it’s always confusing me as to why people with, from where I’m standing, little wrong in their lives (no illnesses, bereavements or anything) often seem to be quite so in desperate need of it.

Let me give you an example. A person I’m friends with on Facebook (I don’t know them personally and I’m not going to give their name) recently lost their job and is currently on Jobseeker’s Allowance. When I was on Jobseeker’s last year (the worst few weeks of my life, incidentally, hence why I’m reluctant to do it again), that equated to about £56. I think that was per week, but might have been per fortnight. It might have gone up or down since then, but presumably not that much. Anyway. It’s not a huge sum of money at all.

Now, they continually update their Facebook status like it’s a Twitter account on acid. Over the past few weeks, since they’ve been unemployed, the person has:

  • Visited the cinema several times
  • Continually talks about their journeys to the shops to buy booze and cigarettes
  • Was at one point thinking of renewing their (£9-a-month) World of Warcraft subscription
  • Talked about getting their lip pierced
  • Bought a £120 leather jacket
  • Bought several DVDs from Amazon
  • +more

Here’s the kicker – last week they posted a status saying that their card had been declined from Subway (presumably from lack of funds though I can’t confirm that), and just yesterday they said in a comments thread that they “haven’t been able to buy any games since I got made redundant”.

Am I the only person thinking that all of this is fucking nuts?!

I wouldn’t be thinking of doing half of the above list if I were unemployed and living on a pittance. My view is that if you haven’t got much money, you should keep hold of as much of what you do have as possible. For stuff like food, for example. You never know what’s around the corner. (Maybe an ancient Mayan is going to come down to Earth on a rouge planet called Nibiru and kill half the world’s population?)

The above example isn’t even a one-0ff – I’m constantly seeing people on my Twitter and Facebook accounts saying that they just bought a new car, a new game, a new dress, a new shirt, concert tickets, cinema tickets, holidays and the rest, and then in the next breath complain that they have no money! It just irritates the hell out of me. Unless you’re super-rich you’re never going to be able to afford everything you want to do, want to own, or whatever.


I didn’t even really mean to write any of that. If the person I made an example of above happens to read this (although I doubt that) and work out that it was them, I apologise, but that’s just my view.

The point is that I’m not really like this – I know my limits, what I can afford, what I need to save etc. – and I’ve never made it a perogative in my life to have as big a bank balance as possible. Obviously I now have to become a little more money minded, which I think is why I’m having a hard time getting things off the ground. All that said, I’d rather be happy living on the breadline than clinically depressed but loaded. As I said earlier, what I’m not short on is ideas – and I know that at least one of them will come to some sort of fruition soon. Keep an eye on this blog over the next few weeks, and I might let you in a bit more.

Thanks, as always, for reading.

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