After six of the most rewarding months of my life, I came out of my journalism diploma in February feeling optimistic about 2020. I even had an interview with a local newsroom lined up.
But when the government announced national lockdown restrictions back on 23 March, I remember myself on the phone to my boyfriend, crying. “How am I going to get a job now?” I never heard back from the newsroom, and all my other job applications were put on hold.
Unlike so many others, I was lucky enough to be able to move home and not fall into debt, but the worry of my employment status and what it means for me long-term has been a constant weight on my mind for seven months now.
At the beginning of lockdown, my news feed was filled with stories of people complaining about being on furlough, and my instinctive reaction to this was one of anger. How could people possibly complain about getting paid to do nothing?
Inside, I knew not everyone was fortunate enough to have the comfortable – or even safe – home life I had. And I understood too that while they were at least employed, there would be thousands worried about their finances and whether they would have a job to go back to. But, to me, they were worrying about something that hadn’t happened yet – I was already unemployed, and suddenly my chances of finding employment were reduced significantly.
Relying on my family and partner to get me through has been difficult, but the hardest part of being jobless is not having a purpose. It’s difficult to feel helpful when you’re the one that needs help.
I’ve been ignored and rejected, and given false hopes by some companies. I've applied for local key-worker jobs, including supermarket and temporary retail roles, and was rejected by all of them.
In the heat of summer my mood swings were intense. I would pick up a book, an activity I usually found solace in, but after five pages I would begin to feel restless, angry even. Not sure where these feelings were coming from, I...