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Washed Up at Forty??

 

Recent changes in my world – not the least of which is the speed with which August 2nd, and my 40th birthday is approaching – have led me to a lot of questions. Do I watch another episode of Criminal Minds Season 7 before bed time? Do I have coffee after 2pm or will that affect my ability to sleep? Why do my cats keep attacking imaginary monsters? Will I ever get another job? But the most pressing question I’m yet to settle on a answer for is “What does a control freak do when his life no longer has anything to control?”

I’ve been amongst the great unemployed for a month and 3 days – not that I’m counting – and in that time I’ve applied for this job, that job, this career path, that one over there too. All these job applications have 1 thing in common. After the first 2 rejection emails – in format, I know copy and paste and when I see it – I’ve heard nothing.

A friend of mine said the other day my confidence had been shot to hell. She was right. I had originally envisioned this post as being some form of angry form letter. Lots of yelling and little of anything else. I woke up this morning and decided that idea was a dumb one. I have no time for it.

What I’m struggling with at the moment has nothing to do with obtaining a job, or even getting an interview. It’s the general sense of “you’re too old” when you’ve not reached 40 yet – shush, I’m 39 till 3:45 on Friday afternoon. The general sense of “if you don’t have a degree you’re obviously too stupid to get a job.

In my day, degree’s weren’t a necessity. Now obviously, times have changed. All of my staff – the ones I hired, trained and developed into successful conference producers – have degrees. Hell, even the sales reps have degrees. I don’t understand anyone of a certain age these days without one.

I went for my usual morning stroll through Seek this morning. Apparently you now need to be qualified to answer customer service calls. When did that happen? I remember my first customer service centre. After a couple of weeks of product training, you were thrown on the phone to sink or swim. Now it’s courtesy training and qualifications. Mind you, the people I’ve spoken to in customer service of late don’t seem to have a clue what they’re doing, but then again, they’re so tightly scripted that an enquiry not worded correctly to begin with causes all manner of confusion.

I keep circling back to when I decided to follow the family routine. Leave school at 16, get a job, work. I’ve done that now for nearly 24 years – actually longer than most of my past staff have been alive *gulp* – and I’ve gotten absolutely nowhere.

I’m almost 40. I don’t have any income nor the money to cover this months credit card bill. I have no job and based on the past few weeks minimal chance of getting anything at all. For  a workaholic who devolved until his entire identity was caught up in his work, that’s a strange place to find myself at my age.

So I guess I’m having a Sea Change moment. I’m tempted to open a coffee shop, with books in it. Sort of like a second hand nook in the wall filled with dusty old books and quaint little tables tucked amongst the stacks where people can have coffee, tea and muffins. Nothing grand, just a tiny little space where people can relax, and I can be happy.

Funny, when I was 16 I wanted to be a Gazillionaire and have my own private jet, a collection of billion dollar paintings, a harbour-side mansion and a staff to answer to my every beck and call. Today I want to be happy. I’d like my own little cottage on a few acres of land – preferably a stone cottage – and maybe a couple of cats. That’s my idea of happy these days.

I want to see my name in print – even if it’s on an eBook on Amazon – and my credit card paid off. That’s all. Massive I know.

As a control freak out of his element I’ve done two things. Firstly I’ve turned my home into a shrine to the long term effects of Mr Sheen. There’s a pile of rubbish building up outside that looks like a army obstacle course. And I’ve turned inward, spent hours watching Criminal Minds – Seasons 1 – 7, and am now nervously biting my finger nails until Season 8 is released in September.

I’ve stopped writing, stopped leaving the house really. I went out the other night to the pub, our local where normally you wouldn’t catch me ever going, and got chatting to a bunch of people I’ve never met, nor will ever see again. Roaring drunk, elderly, they were a riot to talk to. I felt like I was watching a possible future and that scared the life out of me. Apparently it was pension day, and the gathering was a fortnightly ritual. For the rest of the fortnight they stay home, watch TV and potter about in their gardens, but for that one Thursday a fortnight they go out, get their funk on and play 70’s disco’s classics in a pub filled with empty.

So here I sit, facing 40 and wondering what on earth I’ve done with the past years. A friend mentioned that life is in cycles of 7 years or something the other day. Funnily enough I was in exactly the same position when I turned 33. Then I was drunk, broke, out of work and living at my parents house. At least this time I’m sober. That’s a step up I guess.

I guess the point to this post is simply to start writing again. I’m setting myself a challenge to write a blog a day this week. Today’s came because in a moment of “what will I do now” the only thought I could manage was looking up pictures of people doing the washing up 🙂

Whether I end up working in a little nook of books and coffee or back in the corporate grind the only thing I know for certain is my first eBook will probably be released by the end of the year. Second if you don’t count the mediation book I released about 4 years ago. It will be my first full length gay-themed romance novel though. I think.

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43 year old Australian writer currently working on the first of a planned three book Epic Fantasy series. When he's not writing policy discussions, or tales of swords, Gods, and magic, he can be found making a mess in the kitchen, and turning perfectly good ingredients into crimes against humanity.

2 Comments

  1. lisalday111711 says

    I am 46 and I have a degree but its not the “right one” and I too and unemployed and feeling most disgruntled about it. I too just want some simple things and a little happiness. It sucks and I am scared to death. I also cannot watch Criminal Minds ( a show I use to love) because I do not have a TV BUT…I have my computer and I have hope. I figure we are all here to learn something. I guess when I have learned what it is I need to learn my life will get a lot better…or not. I have no answers…I have no control so I am just going to go with it and see where I end up. Good Luck
    Lisa

    • I never thought of having a degree but having it be the wrong one! It seems there are definite obstacles every faces, regardless of whether they have that magic piece of paper or not. I hope you find what you’re looking for. I’ll send lots of positive energy your way to help smooth the path for you 🙂

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