About unemployedhack

I used to be a tabloid hack. I’ve knocked on the doors of the bereaved, had doors slammed in my face, been chased by dogs up driveways. I’ve blagged my way into hotels to chase celebs, asked footballers who they are intimate with and attended strip shows all in the name of journalism.

I’ve been unemployed for too long. I’ve previously been a reporter, a feature writer, a travel writer, a critic. I’ve even designed pages. I’ve also been a lecturer. Oh, and a bingo operative but that was a long time ago.

I’ve seen the journalism industry decimated and many colleagues made redundant. I’ve watched the government’s public sector cuts leave more of my colleagues without jobs. I’ve travelled the length of the country seeking employment – willing to take jobs for which I’m over-qualified and those for which I’ve no experience whatsoever.

I’ve applied for work to earn as little as £15,000 and as much as £40,000. I’ve applied for full-time work, part-time work, temporary work. Still the Tories tell me I’m lazy and a sponger.

Following the many rejections I’ve wasted afternoons watching magpies attack each other over food I’ve strategically placed to create such friction. As I watch yet another repeat of CSI to pass the time – with my cat Chaplin on my lap – I remember the glitzy parties I attended, the free travel abroad staying in the poshest hotels, interviewing the quirky and annoying the powerful. I wonder if my memories keep me sane or are the reason I fantasise about killing my noisy neighbour.

I wonder if I’ll ever work full-time in a permanent post again. Here I share my memories of life as a journalist, the day-to-day existence of attending Jobseekers’ Gym (where one walks everywhere) and the benefits of Dieting on the Dole (sardine curry recipes and a love of mushy peas).

I’ll also defend the unemployed – because no one chooses to live on £67.50 a week if there is an alternative.


19 thoughts on “About unemployedhack

  1. Hi, fellow in-between-jobs, cat-loving, WordPress-using , NUJ-member hack here. Stumbled across you while looking at lefty newsy stuff on Twitter. Following you (I’m @susanfenton).
    I like your blog – a good read. Are you going to put a ‘subscribe’ widget on? Mine’s fwords.co.uk – would welcome visits and feedback and am open to ideas for writing collaborations?

  2. Hey, enjoyed your blog, it’s honesty and energy. Keep your chin up! Don’t get hung up on your neighbour, get out and about, keep pumping positive energy out there — good luck x

  3. Nicely written prose. From one ex-tabby hack to another. Although, and please don’t take this the wrong way, you could always freelance. It takes seconds to set up a newslink.co.uk account and submit stories to the nationals.
    It’s a lonely beat but it can be done, as I’m trying to prove my doubters.
    @KevintheHack on Twitter!

  4. Hi there, found you through a link you left on CiF – not only the best way ever to waste time but one that allows you to justify it to yourself in a way that daytime TV just doesn’t – and just wanted to say ‘hi’. Really enjoy your writing so I’ll check back now and again to see how you’re making out. I was recently unemployed – I’m in Australia but the dole office is the dole office the world over – I think they must have some kind of fiendish machine to clone those officious pricks, but I’m working now, seven days a week, delivering newspapers to newsagents in the middle of the night. I once spent five years working as a copywriter for an advertising agency in Thailand. Have you thought of escaping overseas? The English language press is everywhere. Oh, I got this delivery gig through a friend of a friend – t’was ever thus – so keep the pressure on your network. Anyway, it’s starting to get dark here so I have to go to bed. Love to Chaplin. B

  5. The blog’s a good read, found it via Twitter.

    Keep your chin up, something will come along, I was in your situation myself for a while.

    As Churchill put it – KBO.


  6. Found you via the link you left on CIF – enjoyed your blog, it’s an interesting read. Good luck with the job hunt, I hope something suitable turns up very soon!

  7. have been reading your blog. Not much I can say, other than keep your spirits up and keep applying for work. If nothing else keep writing here. I really appreciate your writing….

  8. Great blog – so much of what you write must resonate with the legions of journalists (myself included) who’ve been put out into the cold.
    Good luck with the job hunting.

  9. If as a journalist you were one of the few that stuck to your moral’s and considered telling the truth about various things as opposed to attempting to manipulate the public you would actually be worth your weight in gold.

    • I believe that’s what I’m doing here: I am telling the truth of how the unemployed are forced to live on a daily basis. Wanting to tell this truth is the reason I have a blog. I also want to defend journalism and journalists against the current knee-jerk attack on us all following the illegal activities of a few. (Oh, I also know that morals doesn’t need an apostrophe. Sorry, I can’t let it go.)

  10. Great stuff. I was a self employed journalist for the best part of a year, but then could not find enough work to support myself, and being under 25 don’t qualify for tax credits or any kind of help, so had to sign on.
    Due to my age I get only £56 a week (Oh lord, my plans for fatherhood scuppered!) and a severely limited amount of housing benefit – leaving me about £30 per week for bills, food (cat & mine) etc. Each time I get the opportunity to do some short term work, my housing and job seekers are automatically cancelled and I have to follow the laborious process of signing back up, whist facing a potential shortfall.

    It really is most infuriating. But a comfort to read this (now thankfully defunct?) blog.

  11. Excellent blog! I can clearly tell that you are a talented and witty journalist. I just wish that you could explode in Parliament and offer some of your insights. I’d like to thank you for exposing the ridiculousness of our benefits system. You maintain your sense of humour while relaying a clear picture of what it’s like to be ‘on the dole’. Keep it up. I look forwards to reading many more posts and wish you all the best for your future.

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