So on Saturday 3son and I almost descended into a slanging match whilst discussing how much rent he was going to pay. Having agreed on a figure, the fact that housing benefit decided to take £100 pw off really buggered up his calculations. I said to him multiple times that it didn’t matter if it was wrong, but he had to pay it and then argue the toss afterwards.
I felt my body racking itself up into a state of nervous agitation. It was under pressure and the pressure was literally mounting. It took all I had to not let it win and turn into a puddle. I didn’t. This is an issue that we will sort out, just as I have done before.
After a bit of raised voices we sat down and talked like civilised grown ups. Then I opened the post to discover that since they’d accidentally (or for reasons unknown) decided that I didn’t need any housing benefit and between us we could pay the full rent due then they couldn’t recover whatever the disputed figure is from the last six years or so which is somewhere over the £2,000 mark. So they sent an invoice for the full amount.
3son was proud to make a contribution towards the rent. He was less impressed when he realised he’d have to pay more and now none of it would got to me for ‘housekeeping’ let alone paying for all the extras we bought in the run up to him getting paid for the first time.
He turned sensible and said that now he had a job and 4son didn’t need looking after, maybe it was time I got a proper job and earned money that I deserved to get. I immediately started back peddling, although what he said made sense. He then offered to find me one.
3son is of course right. I have kidded myself that I can do my course for two years and then get a job related to my training and move forward, at the same time that 4son finished school and moves on to whatever he is going to do. 3son getting an apprenticeship that is reasonably paid has put a spanner in the works. I may get the figures reduced or I may not but the truth is that I can get a job.
I started looking at jobs, part time that would interest me rather than ones I could do. There are so many that I looked at and thought that I could probably do, but I don’t have the pieces of paper or the past experience. 3son wisely acknowledged that I cannot big myself up in the way he does but kept pointing out jobs that I could do, that I felt no confidence in being able to pass the interview.
Just writing that last paragraph and thinking about job hunting and interviews is enough to make me start shaking again. I have no confidence in my ability to sell my services, let alone bullshit my way into a position that I can probably learn to do but don’t quite feel qualified to. I had my therapist’s words ringing in my ears as well, that women always apply for jobs one grade lower than they should and men apply one level higher.
So my head went from lack of money to job applications. I haven’t touched my CV in some fifteen years or more. The last ‘proper’ job I had was before 2son was born and he’s 20. My CV is shit, written for another time and another area of work. I have no confidence in my ability to pass a job interview. If I could borrow some of 3son’s ability to bullshit I would.
Inevitably my head travels from job applications to stepping out of comfort zones. I can operate how I’ve operated because I have developed my own little comfort zone over the years, picking up work here and there which relied on knowing people and right time, right place. And of course, not being hugely bothered by not earning as tax credits, benefits and all that covered the bill. I knew that I would have to leave this comfort zone but I thought I could wait for them all to turn 18. Well I can’t and I have to start thinking about living in the real world where I’m an adult who can pay her own bills and stick two fingers up to housing benefits. That notion scare me shitless.
From comfort zones to personal progress: when I’m living in my comfort zone, which at least extends beyond the boundary of my house, I’m good. I’m confident, I can express myself, I can push myself a little bit. I can occasionally step out and try new things because I have my comfort zone to run back to. I could get a job in my local pub which would fit in with part time work and course. But people would know me and that just puts me off learning the job in front of them. So for all the progress I have made over the last few years, how far have I actually come and how far do I have to go?
This is what troubles me now, that after three years of private therapy, the best part of two years looking at therapy in a way that has certainly helped my personal development, I am still shaking with fear over the idea of going out into the job world and setting me up on the auction block.
Do I go for something simple that will not challenge me on the basis that just turning up will be a challenge for me, as will getting the job? Or do I push myself for something better, with better pay, that would scare the crap out of me but that I would find rewarding eventually. I think the answer is to sell myself short and go for the easier one/s on the basis that regaining my confidence matters more than the pay. I also have to remember that I need to find somewhere to build my practice hours up, not quite a work placement but something similar. That doesn’t scare me. I have no problem in asking for work that I feel capable and qualified to do, but I do struggle with going beyond my absolute definite capabilities.