And just like that, I went back to work. You couldn’t make it up: after 51 weeks of unemployment and job searching, I got multiple freelance contracts in a single week.
And I am very much back at it:
Stop number one was Parliament, where I was invited to witness a panel on the Online Safety Bill’s spy clause:
Looking forward to being back in the UK next week w @amnesty, @stonewalluk, @citizenlab, @libertyhq, @OpenRightsGroup et. al. for a closed door, real talk discussion on the issues with the Online Safety Bill's spy clause, and how to move forward. https://t.co/i2gX9fnwm7 pic.twitter.com/B9oXdDhkdQ
— Meredith Whittaker (@mer__edith) August 31, 2023
As Parliamentary process goes, what happens behind closed doors stays behind closed doors, but I can say hand on heart that I had never seen or experienced anything like it in the over four years I’ve been dealing with this Bill.
I returned home from London yesterday, precisely 365 days after being let go from a total joke of a company (it was the day Liz Truss came to power – talk about bad omens), feeling more professionally valued and energised than I have in years, and that includes the full-time professional experiences which came before it.
As for what that means for my blogging and writing here, who knows? Work means my blog doesn’t have to be my battlefield. Just because you don’t see anything here doesn’t mean it’s not happening.
I’m still ambivalent about further socials, for the same reasons I previously discussed. Professional obligations may change that, though. There’s no rush.
As for what I’ll be up to with these various freelance gigs, the bottom line is that I am full up for the rest of 2023. If you’re thinking ahead to 2024, keep thinking and get in touch then.
On that thought, and on a personal level: I can now begin to wrap my head around the fact that I just lost an entire year of my life.
That was a whole year of doing nothing but job searching, which was as physically and emotionally exhausting as actual work.
I squeaked through that whole year on my last paycheque, a kind benefactor, and ultimately Universal Credit (the UK’s unemployment benefit, which is a whopping £300 per month). The financial loss of income was easily managed.
The personal loss of friendships was not.
You do find out who your friends are, as the saying goes, and being jobless for that long apparently makes one radioactive.
I’ll recover from the first loss quickly.
I’m struggling badly with the second.
Anyway, next stop Brussels. I have work to do.
By the way, see the massive header image on this post? Normally I make them small and black and white to go with the blog’s minimal aesthetic. This time, I’m keeping it full size and technicolour, because that’s not just how Monday looked.
That, for the first time in a very long time, was how it felt.