It is true that we go into things with good intentions but ultimately find ourselves fighting fires and dealing with unintended consequences. Relationships fail, jobs don’t work out, friends let you down. When things don’t work out it is tempting to indulge crazy escape schemes or sip from bitterness’s seductive cup. However life is about taking risks, so when those risks don’t work out all you can really do is brush yourself off and leap back in.
I left a job I enjoyed on Friday, after only two months. In the name of having some professionalism and I’d rather not go into the reasons here, but quite frankly I feel terrified right now. This was supposed to be the dream job. The start of a great new career and there was no back up plan. I could be unemployed for a week, month or a year.
Despite my left wing values, there is something deep inside of me that says unemployment is something to be ashamed of. I simply can’t imagine what I will say to strangers now when they ask that terrible question: what is it you do? I dread explaining to friends why I left my job. Part of me feels like being unemployed means I don’t deserve nice things. I don’t deserve to go on holiday, have a girlfriend or even do anything that costs money because I’m not contributing.
I feel truly lost. Every other chapter of my life was framed around supporting a great cause. When I was 16 I was building myself up to become a Vicar, promote Christianity and bring society back to the values that made it so successful in times past. At university I supplanted Christian evangelisms for a kind of semi self-conscious Leninism. Since university this has mellowed out slightly but not by much. I exhausted myself campaigning for the Labour Party in 2015. I found myself facing daily arguments and confrontations for openly backing Corbyn in an office of card carrying, centre left, neoliberals.
While I still feel an affinity for utopian politics, Trade Unions and Jeremy Corbyn, this is perhaps no longer the focus of my life. The kind of manic, obsessive drive to learn more left wing theory, knock doors and argue with people about what philosophers our society should be built upon is now faded. It could just be a temporary setback, a loss of confidence maybe. But I think it might be a turning point. The life of active socialist is exhausting. There is something exciting about stepping into the unknown with no ideological compass, no faith, but a boatload of boatload of barely repressed cynicism to guide you.