One thing people assume about the unemployed is that every day is the same to them. Weekday, weekend, it makes no difference. After ten weeks, I can assure you, that’s not the case.
While you’re unoccupied, the rest of the world keeps running on a 9-5 schedule. Between those hours on a weekday, I’m constantly hoping I’ll get a phone call or email that promises some possibility of a change in my circumstances, or at the very least something interesting or exciting. 5:30-6:30 is the worst hour of the day for me: the hour between naturally winding down whatever I’ve found to do and dinner, the time I have to accept that nothing has happened that day. I’m constantly on edge during weekdays, ever-vigilant so I don’t miss some form of communication. Willing the universe to bring me some fortune, because surely by now it’s my turn to have something good happen. It’s exhausting and kind of painful.
The weekdays themselves, I will admit, do run into one. I forget what day it is alarmingly often, and am always disappointed to find it’s a day earlier than I’ve been thinking - I’m further away from the weekend, the Bake-Off, going out somewhere, than I want to be. I’m still filling the time okay - last week I went to the gym six times, worked on the mess that is my second journal article, applied for two jobs, and started the Google digital marketing MOOC - but even so, there’s an underlying feeling of boredom, of wondering if and when this transitional period will ever end.
At the weekend, though, I can just be. I can keep away from my university emails (the only ones which don’t alert me on my phone as they arrive, as I never bothered to work out if that was possible), confident in the knowledge that I won’t miss anything important. I know the phone won’t ring, and I won’t receive any form rejection emails. I don’t write any job applications unless there’s a deadline coming up and I won’t have time during the week, because if the employers aren’t working, why should I? I sleep late and revel in dreams, and play The Sims for hours because nothing clears my mind quite like it and there’s something satisfying about progressing a bunch of pixels through their lives even if there’s no progress in my life. I dread Mondays, which I never did during my PhD, when I was excited to get more research or writing done. But still, I think, the weekends would be even better if I had a job to go to during the week.