Last week we started a new, weekly blog series, “Career Champion”. This week Sally Champion continues to blog about the process of setting up her own business as a writer. She had polio as a child and after years of working nine to five, she is now, having to think differently about how to earn her living. Sally invites your comment and advice.
Episode 2: “Linked in…or locked out?”
My last job ended in mid-January and I am now receiving a benefit. I get $259 a week.
I am somewhat immobilised by this sum of money.
Part of me is tempted to take to my bed. I figure moving any part of me is likely to incur expense.
And I do need to rest. I’ve been working full-time for two years.
Still I know the polio. I will accumulate energy again. Slowly, slowly, it will come back until I’ve built-up a reserve again.
Then I need to use that reserve judiciously. I need to work 20 hours a week instead of 40.
In the meantime I must stop my intelligence trying to find ways to live on the amount I get on the benefit.
To conserve my funds I could join others picking up cigarette butts off the street to re-roll, or forever pretend I’m on route somewhere and ask other well-dressed people if they could spare a few dollars for the bus.
These are practical options, but at odds with my present middle class sensibilities. And I fear if I adopted such activities I may not ever be able to comfortably return to the way most New Zealanders live.
I have developed a mantra. I say, “This is my country. I have the skills to earn my own living and contribute to the welfare of others. I have a belief in my own ability and my worth as a person.”
Hey, I know it’s just self-massage, but it’s a lot cheaper than the real thing and it seems to have a similar tranquillising effect.
Thank God I have a small amount of money in my Kiwi Saver.
When I was working I put my money in there so I couldn’t get it out. Now I am storming the Bastille trying to get my hands on some of it again.
I’ve spent the last week filling out the lengthy financial hardship form. I have done many depressing calculations, and collected much evidence of my own misfortune.
I realise I need some of that money because it will take time for me to find the right work. And, to find it I need to stay connected to the world and not let it drift away.
As well as eating, having somewhere to bunk down, money for electricity, etc, I need stuff like an internet connection and juice in my cell phone. I need a decent haircut, petrol in the car, and a bit of cash so I can ask old colleagues if they want to meet up for a coffee. Then I can ask them, very casually, if they need any help with anything.
I need to be remembered and then thought of again when the work starts.
To find the work I need to keep the lines of communication open.
After all, it’s no good having a presence on Linked in if you then get yourself locked out.
Sally says a friend urged her to start using Linked in and she is finding it a great way to network with colleagues. She’s still keen, however, to hear any suggestions readers might have about other ways she can market her writing services.