Wednesday, 15 February 2012

How to Cope With Short Term Contracts

At the end of March, my current temp contract ends. Having been in the same place for a year (“I’m taking the ‘temp’ out of temporary,” I joked to my peers and oh, how we laughed), I’m a little bit on edge about what I'll do to pay the rent next. Still no joy making enough cash from pitching articles to go full time self-employed, you will be amazed to learn, and when Captain Tact signed up to my agency recently they said they’d probably be able to find him a few hours here and there, but there’s not a vast amount of stuff about and for goodness sake don’t rely on them.

The papers continue in a similar vein, which is a little insensitive given the people who have the most time to read the papers are the unemployed, nicking free wifi from outside Britain’s cafes. The Guardian is probably the worst for this – they keep conducting case studies that actually make me want to cry. The constant commentary on unemployment figures (still pretty high, who knew) is enough to strike fear into the heart of any human and I am terrified by the prospect of joining their ranks once more.

So what is my solution to impending employment tragedy? Well, I am going to leave the country. That’ll show ‘em.

As regular readers may already know, I’m not one of your London based journos whose parents can bankroll them to intern unpaid at a broadsheet for as long as it takes for someone to give ‘em a column; I’m a freelance/office temp in Scotland who struggles to get commissioning editors to reply to the most basic of queries (frinstance ‘do you accept work from freelances, Y/N?’). This means that when I say I’m leaving the country I don’t mean in order to travel around the world for a year, to spend some time writing my new book in America, or even to TEFL for a few months in Asia. Instead, my many months of scrimping and saving equate to having almost enough cash to go backpacking around mainland Europe. For a month.

Still, whilst it might not measure up in terms of distance to the travels of my friends and family (who have variously TEFLd in Thailand, Chile and China, volunteered with animals in Honduras/South Africa and orphans in Sri Lanka, not to mention worked their way round Oz, New Zealand and Canada), it’s likely to be the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. My gap year, lest we forget, was spent working for the council whilst I tried (and failed) to get work as a hack in exotic Dundee.

Captain Tact has been prevailed upon to come too, and assures me he’s looking forward to four weeks of sleeping on trains to avoid paying for hostels, walking everywhere by day to avoid paying for transport, and reading the same book four times to avoid paying extra money for the privilege of taking two books on a Ryanair flight to Berlin. It is the sort of once in a lifetime trip dreams are made of, I’m sure you will agree. I don’t know why all those pesky JSA claimants don’t just save up for an austerity gap month too.*

In the mean time, though, I will keep perusing the job adverts and crying quietly to myself. Hooray!

*other than the fact that if you tried to save up for it whilst on JSA it’d take you about twenty years.

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