I’m nearly at the end of my first week of temping. They’re lovely people and I’m vaguely qualified to do the work (I had been a little concerned that fourteen years in radio might have made me ineligible for pretty much anything other than talking and playing records) but, my goodness, it’s a shock to the system to be doing the 9 to 5.
It is a fair sign that you’ve been out of work too long when checking your website’s visitor statistics becomes your big task for the morning most days. That said, it beats sitting in front of an old episode of Homes Under The Hammer that you’ve already seen three times. But only just.
The main reason it’s less desperate at the moment is that every day at least a couple of people are finding my blog by typing words to the effect of “where is Jim Coulson from Viking FM” into Google or, on one occasion, Yahoo! Who uses Yahoo? I’d be less surprised to find out that one of my visitors had found their way to my little corner of cyberspace by asking Jeeves.
But whichever search engine they used (and I am a little suspicious of anyone that doesn’t automatically go for Google) the fact that they are missing me from their morning commutes is actually quite heartening in very much an egotistical way. If you indeed have arrived here looking for an explanation, click to see why I left Viking FM.
Of course my enforced “career break” has allowed me to spend plenty of time with my baby daughter Elsa. I can’t afford to clothe her or buy her nappies but I’ve had plenty of time. Unfortunately this last week it finally dawned on me that I might not get that job in radio any time soon (media jobs are so often just a massive waiting game) so I really should go out and at least attempt to make my hunter-gatherer forbears proud. I had to get a job.
I worked hard at Viking FM, 2BR, Kerrang! and anywhere else that has seen fit to employ me in the radio industry (stop sniggering there at the back…honest I did!) but the hours are often quite adaptable. It’s obviously pretty tough to negotiate flexi-time on the actual show bit of the job, other presenters might be a little peeved, but when I chose to complete my prep and research was really up to me. For the month after paternity leave and before permanent leave I was up early for the Breakfast Show but I’d often be back for 1pm and then would have the whole afternoon with my little girl.
We’ve fallen into a lovely routine since I lost my job; Elsa would wake about 7am, I’d take her downstairs for a couple of hours so her tired Mum could catch up on some of the sleep she lost due to night feeds. However this week I’ve managed about twenty rushed minutes in a morning and I return home just as she’s entering her ‘winding down to bath and bed’ grumpy time.
When I was spending whole days with her, I could make her laugh just by making kissing noises (because the idea of daddy kissing her is so hilarious to Elsa) now I’m struggling to stop her bursting into tears.
I realise that I’m actually quite lucky; I’m a temp and although I’m putting a decent effort into my work, realistically I’m straight out the door at 5pm. Most working Dads and Mums don’t have that luxury. Despite what the Daily Mail would have you believe about workshy scroungers in fact we’re a nation of who spend far too much of our time at work and I could completely see how some parents wouldn’t make it back home to see their kids if, like Elsa, they have a 7pm bed time.
Being a dad truly is the greatest thing but the fact that the very necessity of earning cash just to provide for your family means that you don’t really get to see them seems like the cruellest twist. Even when your daughter has the second cold of her four-month life.
And yes, I have gone above and beyond the call of duty again as I did last time.
Anyone fancy starting a lottery syndicate?