I started this blog as a recently redundant journalist, but, while not fully re-employed, for the past couple of months I’ve been doing shifts on the website of a national paper.
This has its pros and cons. Obviously, an income – albeit modest and inconsistent – is a welcome thing and the experience is invaluable. But the hours are irregular which makes it hard to plan when to do job applications (or write blog posts).
Working night shifts and weekends not only puts paid to your social life, it also tends to throw your body clock so that doing normal things things like buying toothpaste or keeping a doctor’s appointment become strangely impossible.
So when you see an advert for a job with a closing date in a week’s time, it’s an uphill struggle to get the application done when you might be working a five-day week with a couple of nights thrown in.
On the plus side, shift work affords you greater freedom and flexibility to take up other freelance jobs, and in the fallow weeks where you only have a couple of shifts it’s worth trying to cram in as many job applications and CV updates as you can.
The real beauty of shift work, particularly on a website where you’re expected to write, sub-edit and edit pages, is that there will be plenty of new skills to add to your CV.
Even if it feels like you’re treading water, the fact that you’re out there building on your experience will make you eminently more employable than someone who has been out of the loop for a while.
And talking of loops – as it’s been three months since I was made redundant, I’ve also decided to get out my contacts book again. It’s time to revisit all the editors and journalists I approached first time round to remind them that I’m still here and still available for work.
This is the seventh post in a series from an anonymous UK-based journalist recently made redundant. To follow the series, you can subscribe to this feed.
You can also read posts by our previous ‘Redundant Journalist’ blogger at this link.