I returned to Canberra last year after six years of living in Christchurch, NZ. Earthquakes brought me back – believe me, terra firma is much more conducive to peace of mind.
I ‘ve spent all my adult working life in Canberra (apart from baby breaks and the above) so of course I began seeking employment here. I thought I had a great resume of experience, honourable work ethic, enthusiasm – all that great stuff. Combine that with a local unemployment rate of around 3% and I had no doubts about successful job hunting.
Enthusiastic optimism turned to bewildered dismay over the course of a few months as I failed to find *any* employment in the public sector. I registered at temp agencies, government temp registers, applied for jobs, scoured the online APS gazette – writing up what I thought were reasonable applications. I had employed friends look at my resume – was it up to date? Not too waffley? Acceptable format? Enough information? Yes, yes, yes were the responses.
Still no success. As my savings dwindled I came to the soul destroying realisation that I would need to apply for a job seeker benefit, something I have not done since I was 18 – and then only for 5 weeks. That was waaaaay back in the 70s. I’ve always worked. I don’t want to be on a benefit. I have a good brain, a lifetime of experience, a yearning to contribute productively, yet still I fail. I refuse to accept that over-45s are not employable. Maybe I’m wrong about this?
If anyone can tell me what I am doing that’s wrong – my approach, my expectations, whatever – I can fix it and hopefully get some success. It is all incredibly depressing to contemplate that there may in fact be no hope of being employed. It is terrifying to realise how quickly I have moved from employed, comfortable, single woman to unemployed, broke, unemployable middle aged woman no one wants. I see Ainslie Village looming on the horizon – but wait, I’m not eligible for that accommodation because it is geared towards the mentally ill. Perhaps I will qualify sooner than I think.
Any thoughts, suggestions, ideas, criticisms will be gladly received.