Monday, March 15, 2010

Beware the ides of March

It's the ides of March today, not that I'd know an ide if it punched me on the nose. As it happens, for the last 48 hours I've felt as though I have been punched on the nose: I'm depressed again.

I had my interview this morning, having last night de-cobwebbed my suit. They say that proper preparation prevents piss-poor performance. I can't say my preparation for this interview was particularly thorough, and though I wouldn't call my performance piss-poor, it wasn't great.

On the ferry into town, I spent most of my time thinking about how my life was going nowhere fast, and about five seconds thinking about what I might say in the interview. In town I had some time to kill so I just wandered aimlessly, wanting to bang my head against something but thinking better of it. The foyer of the tower block had a large stock ticker; I stared blankly at those blinking red, orange and green pixels for 15 minutes, and could quite happily have spent the rest of the morning looking at them. But I made my way up to the second floor, via the tenth (I'm still getting to grips with type-in-your-floor-first lifts) and a couple of minutes later my two-on-one interview began. "Did you pass all your exams first time?" Are you serious? "Why didn't you sit one last time?" Because I definitely would have failed it. "Why did you leave your job?" Because I was worried I might kill myself if I stayed there much longer. Of course that last question was one I had prepared for, but I still don't think I gave a satisfactory answer from their point of view. They probably thought I wasn't totally committed to the actuarial cause, and they would have been right. I think that given the chance I'd perform well in the job (they gave me a job description during the interview) but I seriously doubt I'll get that chance.

Assuming I don't, where to next? I don't like to ponder that question because it just makes me more depressed. So far I've focused mostly on jobs a bit different from my last one. Analysis-based, but outside the insurance industry. But the skills I picked up in my last job don't transfer particularly well, and companies are not as willing to spend time and money training staff as they used to be, so my chances of even getting an interview for those jobs are slim. If, instead, I looked at very similar roles, I'd be much more likely to get an interview (like the one I had today), but these types of roles don't come around every day, and I can't see how I'll ever be successful at any of those interviews anyway.

So if jobs that are a bit different are a no-go, as are very similar ones, I'm left with just one option: totally different. That's where I'll be concentrating my energies from now on. Teaching English as a foreign language has worked its way to the top of my list.

On Saturday I met up with Richard in Devonport. It was good to see him; he seemed to be coping well under the circumstances. We didn't do a lot really - we ate at the Stone Oven (it was there that I realised my latest bout of depression had set in) and Richard joined the very select band of people ever to step inside my flat. Maybe I should set up a visitors' book, or perhaps a visitors' postage stamp. Mum, Dad, my landlord, the next-door neighbour, the plumber, now Richard. They could all fit on.

Yesterday afternoon I had coffee with Phil. At the end of April he'll be shifting his life to Denmark, maybe for good.

I figure it's time I cut back on the poker again. If I was playing with real cards and real people, things would be different, but sitting at a computer screen is a very lonely existence, and I'm sure it doesn't do my state of mind any good. I'm up two Ben Franklins so I don't see why I should quit completely, but weekdays before 7pm are now officially off-limits.


  1. Getting on with it at times when others might want to quit is one of the things I admire about my brother Richard. It's comforting to know he has good friends who knew and appreciate Emma too.

  2. Yes Richard has shown remarkable strength of character to carry on working, go to job interviews, meet up with friends, take an interest in what his friends are doing, and so on, when it would be easy (and totally understandable) to be very introspective at such a difficult time. And Emma was an amazing person.