Sat in a Costa coffee one sunny winters day I am desperately thinking of who I can contact to get a job and trying to remain calm as I send emails to those people I know saying ‘Hi, lets catch up, by the way here’s my CV’. Then I have to work out how many other people I can get away with emailing out of the blue saying I’m an editor and, like a lot of people in TV at this time of year, I am unemployed.
It’s late January, just after the fake and fabled Blue Monday (don’t get me started) and I have already reached the point where, despite having plenty of constructive items on my to do list, I find myself sitting in my cold house thinking ‘What shall I do now?’ I am normally a very positive happy person but I find every year I am sinking into a state of depression borne out of nothing more than boredom. Sure, I’ve got a To Watch list that would take weeks to complete, there’s plenty on at the cinema as its pre-awards season, I have video games half played or untouched, in short there is plenty to keep me occupied and yet still it is difficult on most days to find the motivation and energy to actually start one of these tasks. And so I force myself out of the house to spend a few hours in the warmth with the intention to be in some way productive. I will take my iPad (and a book, just in case) and I will sit and email anyone and everyone I can think of. I’ll also just sort out that thing on my website I’ve been meaning to do for a while. And whilst I’m at it I’ll organise my PayPal account ready for the people who owe me for those gig tickets, ‘cause that’s productive right? I’ll inevitably check Facebook at least once whilst there but that’s ok because actually a lot of jobs get posted there. The problem is I can’t help thinking this is all quite useless; there just isn’t much work out there at the moment. It’s the same thing each year: January is dead, you’re lucky to get anything in February but by the end of March there’s enough work to keep going and by May you are fully booked. But whilst I know this to be true and I’ve made arrangements to make sure I’m able to live through these lean months I still can’t help wishing I had something solid booked for the next month.
LIke I say, this isn’t really a money issue. Sure there’s a little bit of me watching my funds slowly drop and calculating how long I have until I actually run out of money but it’s a long way off and even just a week’s work will prolong that date by another month. I think the main issue is twofold; I’m bored of my own company and I’m bored of not using my brain either creatively or technically. I know I can fix either individually, I try to meet friends when they are free (without spending too much money) and I try to do activities that keep my brain working, but nothing quite satisfies both at the same time and for a prolonged period like work does. And don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a complaint about the state of my career or anything, but I hope that by sharing my experiences others may feel more secure in theirs or just understand what it’s like to do this job.
A month on and there have been a few missed chances but no actual work still. I’ve managed to keep relatively sane and happy but I’m still mostly bored and this boredom produces a sort of unproductive ennui precluding me from getting on with most activities - finishing this post included. It will all turn out fine in the end. I have, in this time, been pencilled back on a big project starting in June and lasting the rest of my year, it’s just this early period of the year that’s tough and it’s tough for many. The weather is starting to pick up though, perhaps I’ll head out into the garden for a bit.