Tuesday, 19 July 2011


Just had the job interview from hell. Fucked it up in about as many ways as it's possible to fuck something up. Walked in there already knowing I wasn't properly prepared and didn't have a clue what I was doing.

Still have no job. Everything they told me at the last place seems confirmed. I'm crap at this.

Here I am, 42, no job, no career, no skills, been a while since I was any good at anything.

I used to have such grandiose arrogant dreams. I really thought I was something. Why did I think that? What was it based on?

I have lovely children. I might not conform to some people's ideals of what a mother should be, but they are gorgeous and happy and I can take some credit for that.

This is what happens. The "job for life" is a dwindling concept. Many of us arrive on this pebbled-and-cold East England beach with no idea of how we got here or where we're going next.

Most of us don't achieve our dreams.

Consoling? Or depressing.

I finished reading a book yesterday. With hindsight it was not the best book to be reading. I was avoiding the failure of not having the ability to prepare well for today's interview. The book was gripping, and well-written, and I wanted to know the fate of characters that had wormed their way into my thoughts. The ending was bleak, pessimistic, and very sad. I cried a lot, and suddenly I wasn't just crying about a young boy's suicide. I was crying because I'd fucked up.

The book was written by a friend of mine. She had her first book published at the same time as me. She got the deal I narrowly missed, or so I used to think. Her publisher gave me an encouraging "We like you, but..." rejection just as they signed her up. Our books were similar. We were similar. But she's better than me. I don't have what it takes, in talent or commitment.

I'm just not good enough.

But most of us aren't.

Here we are, not halfway through but already over the hill and slumping down the other side, muttering and sighing and nursing our aches and pains, blaming everyone/everything else for the sheer bloody fact that hope, dreams, energy, creativity... none of it lasts. And it dies with a horrible speed.

Ignore me. I have these lurches. I'll be chipper and perky and annoying again tomorrow. What can you do except look forward? Even if it's not as shiny as it once was, it's still there in front of you. Pulling you along, because time has no sympathy and no interest in your moans.


Brian Clegg said...

Just hang on there, Ms Squirrel.

Okay, the job interview was bad. But on the book writing front, don't knock yourself. You've had two books published professionally (don't forget the German version) plus published a great one yourself.

I would guess 99% of people who write a book don't get anything published, ever.

As for whether or not it's a great hit, there's a huge amount of luck involved. Don't beat yourself up. You've done brilliantly, and I wouldn't be at all surprised if there are more and better books on the way in a few years' time.

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

Yeah, but to indulge my earlier miserable self: what I was complaining about was not my lack of success but my lack of talent. I've long since given up on the idea of commercial success but that would be a lot easier to bear if I thought I was a decent writer.

I picked up DYWTPS last week and started reading it. I wasn't impressed.

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

Anyway. I'm feeling a lot better this evening. Turns out I was hormonal, and anyway it was a crap job. And I can definitely perform better. Today caught me at a peculiarly low ebb, and it really was the interview from hell. They put me into a really nasty situation. I didn't rise at all well to the challenge, but it doesn't have to mean anything for future interviews.

Queenie said...

You are a decent writer, you twonk. Any writer who was impressed by a book they wrote some years ago wouldn't be a decent writer by definition. QED. Plus you're good at interviews, usually, when they're not bastards and you're not hormonal. The difficult part about both teaching and writing is that getting really properly good at either of those takes YEARS. You're well on your way. Keep at 'em. Hugs xxx

HelenMWalters said...

You are a great writer. Sorry to hear about the interview, that does sound like a horrible experience. Hugs x

Beleaguered Squirrel said...

Aw, thankyou. :)

Karl Webster said...

Hey. I just popped by here because I have internet access for the first time in a long time and I'm popping around lots of places.

I found that blog post incredibly depressing because so very much of it chimed with my own experience (except I don't have kids to be proud of). And very well-written. It carried me along on the rapids of despair and frankly, if I wasn't sitting in a strange little community media centre in the middle of nowhere, it might have been the thing that made me slash my wrists and finally end this ceasless catalogue of disappointment and futility we call life. That would have been good, wouldn't it? If I'd killed myself and left a note saying, 'Beleagured Squirrel's bleak blogging drove me to it'.

Funnily enough, the word verification for this comment is "blekast", an anagram of Bleak St, or of course, St Bleak, whichever you prefer.

And I'm 43.

Chin up, silly! You're not dead yet.


Beleaguered Squirrel said...

Thanks for the compliment(s), KW! I would feel pretty bad if someone killed themselves as the result of one of my blog posts. Sadly the kudos of having written something that powerful would be spoiled somewhat by the crushing angst and guilt at having enjoyed the kudos in the first place. [sigh]
Lovely to see you here btw. I've been lurking over at your place, enjoying your tales of France and being a bit jealous.

Kitty Hannah said...

Are you OK out there up North???