Word on a Whim

What began as a blog about writing and publishing has become a blog of whatever I feel like writing. Jules Lucton.

“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?

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2 thoughts on ““And I’m trying hard to fit among your scheme of things”

  1. Hello you, I’ve missed your posts!
    It’s a tough one, knowing how long to wait before making a decision like that.
    Are there any other ways you could stay in the social care sector, but earn more? Care home does sound interesting, I suppose that would be a contracted job with fixed hours and a salary… But would it still be enough? I guess you have to decide on the moving thing at the same time – if you move, would you stand more chance of getting a job either back in IT (where you have more talent than you realise) or in the social care sector.
    You have my email address if you want a chat.
    As for the writing – I know it must be frustrating when you want to write but don’t have the inclination. And novel writing isn’t a quick process, I’m sure. Maybe you could try your hand hand poetry? Or maybe a short story or some more flash fiction? (no, this isn’t a plug for my blog :-D)
    A great post though Jules, glad you’re still around on the blogging circuit 🙂

  2. Hi Simon,
    Thanks as always for your kind words and encouragement. Much appreciated!
    I’ve been thinking about moving for ages as we really need an extra bedroom, but then the redundancy put it on hold. Care work is low paid but there appears to be a demand in all areas – but for all I know it might turn out to be the same situation as I’m in at the moment. Although this house is small, it is in a popular area, so we could get more space for the money elsewhere.
    Yes, if I stick with care work, there might be a chance of diversifying. By law, carers have to be trained to QCF (NVQ) level 2 – but that doesn’t start until I’ve been with the company 6 months, and I’m not sure how long it takes to complete but if I leave too soon after I’ll have to pay for the training. All these companies work in a very similar way to make sure you don’t get anything for nothing. So, it would be a long time with bugger-all income – but with the qualification I might be able to get a job within the NHS as a Health Care Assistant – which might open up some more avenues…

    As for poetry, I could no more write poetry that music! In fact I really cannot understand how anyone could compose a tune without existing tunes invading the process.
    Your blog does not need plugging here. It has attracted a huge following purely through its own merit – but in the event that anyone has waded this far through this reply I recommend you check this out:

    https://isimonfiction.wordpress.com/

    🙂

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