Last week I made the mistake of saying I was enjoying the lockdown. It gave me so much time to do things I always wanted to do plus relax and unwind. I am lucky enough to be in an area with green space and I have no kids to home school. I said I wouldn’t mind it going on a little longer.
Well, in a classic case of be careful what you wish for, I was out on my daily exercise on Tuesday and my phone rang while I was in a sunny field. The birds were singing, the trees were green in fact an idyllic location and to quote Marti Webb:
‘I’d like to choose how I hear the news
Take me to a park that’s covered with trees
Tell me on a Sunday please’
Ok, the pedants will point out it wasn’t a Sunday but that is unimportant. The news is I am ‘unlikely’ to be back to work before 2021. Quite when in 2021, remains unspecified. So back to job hunting for me.
I found a position displayed online looking for people to be a Customer Advisor for the government. A six-month work from home job, advising people on their financial options. This sounds great, working from home to tide me over until the day job returns. The next morning, I got an email which began ‘We are excited to invite you to complete our new behaviour-based, psychometric assessment’
It was a series of online games, ‘press P when you see an odd number’ and ‘copy the sequence of flashing lights’, that kind of thing. There were nine of these tests and almost as soon as I was finished I received an email featuring a six page psychological evaluation. Of all the industries you hear about robots taking over, psychiatry has never been one I have considered. Also, nowhere in these six pages was any kind of note about if I have, or indeed, am suited to the job.
Later that day, I saw a job advertised for people to get paid by filling in surveys. There were a few different firms and they each boasted of earnings of £200-£300, so by doing a few it could be equivalent to a proper job. I decided to set up a new email account for this, so I can keep things separate and it was a great decision because within moments of registering I had 13 emails from companies all wanting me to set up accounts, register user names and passwords, enter personal details and generally bombard my senses with bright colours and information overload.
I did a survey on various TV adverts. What did I like? How did it make me feel? What brand was it for? On completion I found I had earned 50p and had the option to earn another 5p. I also found out it was gift vouchers rather than cash. I decided I didn’t want to wait for the shops to open to spend my 50p voucher so closed the email. I have not opened it since. It occurs to me as I write this that it was never made clear what the vouchers were actually for.
That night I felt quite low and overwhelmed, a couple of wasted days getting nowhere as months stretch before me. However the next morning I got an email saying I am eligible for the self-employment income support scheme which I will be able to apply for by the 18th May and get paid within a week. I also won a free lottery ticket for the draw on Saturday (how exciting!).
So after a rollercoaster week, I think I am back to where I started. Enjoying the lockdown, with the chance to relax and unwind. I will wait and see what happens next, I am fortunate enough that I have no urgent need and also lucky enough not to need to complete our new behaviour-based, psychometric assessment or complete a follow-up survey for an additional 5p