My Week in Joblessness (17): How to be jobless and sick

Published 8/10/2013 on GoThinkBig

My week in joblessness: How to be jobless and sick...

Happy Tuesday, readers. To be polite to you, I’m not going to put a sneeze every seventh word, a cough every fifth word, or a “Waaah!” at the end of every paragraph. But you can assume them for the rest of this post.

Yes, jobseekers, I am sick. Some obsequious little virus has charged its way into my system, made itself comfortable, and isn’t even paying rent.

I’m sick and jobless. What a perfectly hideous combination.

This will happen to you at some point in your job hunt. It happens to everyone with a nose. Honestly, those noseless people get off Scott-free. (Or do they? Maybe they just have much more terrible, inconvenient colds? Oh god, I bet it’s horrible. I feel bad. If you’re noseless I apologise if I’ve caused offence. I could just delete the potentially offensive comment, but I’ll just apologise…)

It particularly sucks to be sick while you’re jobless

How much more can you indulge? 

I’m jobless. I already act like a sick person every day. I sit on the sofa, tapping away at the internet, intercept CV-tweaking with Curb Your Enthusiasm, complain, and eat treats whenever I damn well please. Being sick just means business as usual, but wrapped in a blanket with a bunker of tissues on standby.

Also, the standard indulgences, the ones that stood you in such comforting stead when you were rejected or said “Girl power” in an interview, often don’t work. The person with whom I share a flat – the person who probably gave me the cold in the first place, who made a miraculous recovery while I lie singing “Now the light, she fades…” – bought me some Ben & Jerry’s. Such a sweet gesture. I didn’t have the heart to admit my taste buds are on strike until the troublesome tenant leaves.

Everything tastes like chewy temperatures. Chicken? Chewy hot. Ice cream? Chewy cold. Soup, the same temperature as my mouth? Can’t feel a thing. So with Ben & Jerry’s I’m basically just shovelling fat, sugar, and probably some kind of excellent crack into my face, for none of the delicious benefits.

“At least…” 

Joblessness is all about the “at leasts”. You constantly have to review what’s good in your life so that the bad stuff doesn’t crush you like a Skittle under a boot. But sickness takes those away. You don’t get to say “at least I’m meeting up with Elli later, that will be lovely”, because you like Elli too much to infect her with your plague. You don’t get to say “at least there’s ice cream in the freezer” because a tub of chewy cold is about as exciting as the prospect of staring at a white wall and being told to guess if it’s painted “Magnolia” or “Soft peach”.  And you DEFINITELY don’t get to say “at least I have my health” when you’re sitting on a cloud of tissues looking like a red-eyed, sniffle-nosed spoof of Zeus.

You don’t get paid for this, either

Whether you call yourself jobless, freelance or a serial intern, the fact is your employed friends get paid to be sick and you don’t.

Anything you don’t have starts to look exotic after a while. Palm trees, goblets, and even jobs look exotic. Ooh, he has a desk. With legs, and everything. I want the desk, the fob, the salary and the stress of whether I’ll be able to survive month to month to be replaced with the stress of a few deadlines. But the sick pay is the most exotic aspect of employment I can think of. It’s almost sexy. “Hey,” says your employer, all smooth and suited, with a voice like velvet, jazz in the background, and in an American accent for some reason, “we hear you’re under the weather…don’t sweat it. This one’s on us.” Then they fade away and invisible hands wrap you in blankets.

That’s how it works, right?

This is when things go right

You could see this as a positive, or a manifestation of Sod’s Law, but that first hit of a headache, that congestive sneeze, that cough that feels like a stab in the throat – these are all signs that something good is about to happen. You WILL get called to an important interview, or get a freelance commission, which you will now have to complete with cotton wool for brains. These things always come along when you’re least able to do them well. But a win is a win. [achoo!]

If you have any tips on indulging while you’re sick and jobless, be a love and tweet them at me. So far, all I’ve come up with is more of my mildly psychotic “revenge on the employed” ideas, but I already went to the front of the Starbucks queue at 8:54 and asked for the ingredients in a latte today. I might go bigger and use my illness. I’ll charge into the offices of a publication that rejected me, and sneeze repeatedly until all the employees have to take their sick days, hopefully costing the company thousands. Mwahaha. (I think I really just want to meet that velvety-voiced boss with the jazz playing in the background.)

Until my taste buds come back, all I can say is this: at least I have a nose.GoThinkBig

Check out the rest in the My Week In Joblessness series for yet more jobless musings…

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