I’ve realised I’m still on a steep learning curve when it comes to dealing with unemployment.
I’ve prepared for my interview, planned the day and tried to focus on the potential of actually getting a job and getting out of this mess. I’ve done what we all do when faced with a job interview.
It’s only when I start to plan the essentials that I realise that unemployed people start from a disadvantage.
My latest job interview includes a presentation for which I should, ideally, provide handouts. These handouts should be in two forms, for three panel members at least. I would also like a copy of the person spec and my application to re-read on the journey.
I have to make my way from the station to the interview venue within 20 minutes and have calculated – using various online maps – that this will take five minutes by car.
I have to leave home at 5am and get to the train station in my city. I will arrive at my destination by 8.30am and have to get to the interview venue by 8.50am.
The interview is a day-long process: my presentation is in the morning and my interview after lunch at 2pm.
None of this is a big deal, is it?
Well, not until you start thinking about the cost.
It’s so easy to forget how much it costs to find a job.
I have to print 10 sheets of paper – the presentation, etc – at 20p per sheet in my local library: £3
I have to buy a day saver bus ticket to get to and from the station in my home city: £3.70
I need taxi fare from the station to the interview venue: £3 min, approx. I could walk but risk getting lost or being late.
I currently have a total of £19.28 to last me until Tuesday. This means I have £9.58 left.
I also had to buy a tin of tomatoes, cat biscuits and a loaf of bread at £3.03 to feed me and Chaplin for three days.
I also have to put the heating on to dry some underwear for the interview – one can’t arrive in yesterday’s undies – and this is an additional cost. I have £2 left on my gas meter and adding the £6 emergency costs extra in the long run.
So I now have £6.55 to last until Tuesday and to cover any costs I’ve not taken into account. What if it costs more than £3 in a taxi?
This also means I’m dependent on the lunch provided. I will have breakfast (hence the loaf) but will have been travelling for four hours before I reach my interview venue: I simply can’t afford a brew or butty on the train – on the way there or back – and it’s a 12-hour round trip.
This added pressure doesn’t help one perform at one’s best.
I’ll have clammy hands – but my Joe Pasquale squeak should be drowned out by my rumbling tummy. I’ll have to pretend I’m not starving hungry, ignore the fact that my presentation could’ve bought me a brew and not spend the day dreading the walk back from the venue to the station because I’ll be hungry and weary.
I am, without any doubt, making the effort to find a job but always starting at a disadvantage.
I wonder how many other candidates will be long-term unemployed. I just might have to ask …