“And I’m trying hard to fit among your scheme of things”
The care work is going well and I feel I have bonded nicely with the people I care for, to the extent that if I ever do get back into IT I would still wish to keep in touch with some of them. I like being out and about instead of chained to a desk and I love the instant gratification of the job – knowing I have made a positive difference to someone’s day; although not every day is gratifying. There is a lane I drive up frequently where a young lad has been building a dry stone wall for the past few weeks. Sometimes I think how good it would be to be working with stones instead of people.
Yesterday, I applied for three IT jobs advertised by different agencies – although two of them looked remarkably similar so I suspect they are the same job. I asked one IT agent why jobs I had applied for ages ago were still being advertised; haven’t they found the right person yet? He explained that in quiet times some agencies tend to put the same jobs out repeatedly to attract as many CV’s as possible to add to their database.
So why do I want to return to IT? A regular income is the most obvious attraction. As a care worker I have a zero hours’ contract but also signed something to say I was prepared to work in excess of forty hours. I started the job at a busy time when carers were on holiday and off sick. Now the work seems to have dried up, in addition to students joining us for the summer break. Other carers I have met on ‘double-ups’ have said they have never known it so quiet. I guess it will even out again, as carers will move to other agencies if there is not enough work. Having less calls makes the job more enjoyable as you are not against the clock and therefore have time to do extra little tasks if required or time to simply sit and listen to them talking and learn more about the person, but it’s disheartening when you get home after a seven hour stint to work out that you’ve only done three and a quarter paid hours and earned a grand total of £21.45. On a couple of days I’ve only had one hour’s work; divided into two half-hour visits at different times of the day.
I also yearn to rejoin a workplace that is run with some competence. The care agency’s management and administration is shambolic and I seem to spend a lot of time phoning to query details or emailing to ask for records to be updated with the correct information. When I first met my boss, she said; “You look great for someone who’s nearly sixty!” It might have been a compliment if I hadn’t had to tell her she’d got my date of birth wrong (off my birth certificate, passport and driving licence – in addition to my application form) and when my first payslip finally arrived it was thanks to the post office folk that it reached me despite the random address on the envelope.
Writing novels seems to be a thing of the past now that my mind is unsettled – not just with work but with wondering whether or not to relocate, and of course each time I apply for a local job the relocation idea is set aside. I used to drive to work on autopilot, complete the day’s routine and then write for an hour or so most evenings. Back then, in an introverted job, I was on the outside of life and looking in. Now that I am part of the outside world, there is less inclination to write about it. I switch on the PC to write but end up just looking at jobs and houses. Maybe I should try to get a job in a care home, where I will actually get paid for the hours I work? I have a recurrent internal lament; “Life is a lemon and I want my old job back.” If I’m not lucky soon I will have to stop looking for IT work and fully commit to being a carer. I guess that’s the only way to eradicate the lament, but how long should I wait?