Oh, I just don't know anymore. I've been doing this for 25 years and it really isn't getting any better. Incidentally, I was born two weeks prematurely. That was the first and last time I showed enthusiasm for anything.

I'm taking time off from writing an online job application, which I hope explains my lugubrious mood. Most of the time, I am perfectly functional and can move among humans without attracting suspicion. I've even learned to socialise and enjoy myself in company. But my continued failure to find a grown-up career, or, indeed, any kind of work (20 weeks and counting since a payslip came through my door), is the one thing that can always drag down my mood.

One perpetual stumbling block is the need to find two good references. I doubt most of my employers even remember me. And certainly not in a positive light. Lack of references wasn't such a big deal when I was fresh out of uni, but is now. I've read all the books and self-help guides on the subject; their advice is generally something along the lines of 'don't get into this situation in the first place.'

Ditto my CV. Over the years I've read thousands of words of useful tips and advice on writing CVs, but those all rather assume the CV actually contains anything worthwhile. No amount of glossy presentation can disguise the fact that the product itself is inferior. At interviews I dread hearing queries along the lines of 'So, these gaps on your CV – exactly what were you doing during these times?'

I don't know. I drink a lot of tea. I go on the internet a bit. I daydream. I make lists of things. I re-read my favourite passages of old books. I play records while the neighbours are at work. Sometimes I go out with my friends, although I generally run out of money and have to leave before the end of the night.

Or, the concise reply: 'The same things you do for 128 hours of every week'.

(Only joking.

 …the things they do outside work are probably far less interesting.) 


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