Yesterday I lay in my bed, durag and sleep mask on with soothing bed time meditation music playing , wide awake. Even in an ideally peaceful situation my mind wouldn’t switch off as one thought dominated my brain – I need to find a role.

I should start by saying I am grateful to have a job period. I am even more grateful to have a job in the middle of a pandemic where so many hardworking people have lost their jobs due to no fault of their own. Nonetheless I must honestly say my job is not for the faint of heart as it can take a toll on your mental. Let me explain.

I work in consulting and without going into too much detail (I hope my employer doesn’t see this), the name of the game is being billable. What that means is that a client is paying my employer for my time on a project doing work for them. I work for company A, who sells me off to work on a project for company B who pay company A for my time – simple. What you don’t want to do is find yourself on the bench for an extended period of time, that is working for company A with no company B paying for your time.

*Takes deep breathe* I have been on and off the bench since March.

It started when a company I was working for had to very rapidly downsize operations due to COVID. This made sense and because I have been on the bench before, I almost welcomed it in the beginning. Normally, bench time between projects can almost be seen as a mini holiday. Key word almost, as there is always work that can be done. We had just entered a lockdown, so I saw it as an opportunity for development and threw myself into all manner of online learning.

As the days turned into weeks and weeks to months however, what started as a little niggle of uncertainty morphed into pure unadulterated dread. I have thought to write about this several times, each when I was about to secure a long term billable role because it is nice to discuss an issue you have gone through. Each time however, (and there have been a few) something will fall through sending me spiralling and eroding my confidence in my professional abilities just that bit further. Truth be told I live a lot of the time in a state of ignorance, not thinking about it because when I do it consumes me.

You might be wondering about my abilities at this point (I also do from time to time) but whenever I am in a role or deliver a piece of work my contribution is always valued and I’m spoken about highly. As a fellow consultant you might wonder about my ability to network to find work and although you can always be more proactive, things just feel different. When I have been on the bench in the past my emails are full and the phone rings incessantly about potential roles. Recently everything has been quieter.

So how am I managing, the grace of God mainly. He is keeping me sane while I busy myself with anything. I mean I haven’t been completely idle as there are always initiatives to help out with, bid work to gain new potential clients and employee giveback to do. I have specifically thrown myself into the company’s BAME network to try and support our employees, specifically in regards to mental health, with all that has been going on (and still is) in the world. I am also supported by a great manager and loving family and friends. But it can be hard, a friend will in jest ask me if I even work when they see me going to the gym on my story and in response I’ll outwardly laugh but internally hold back tears. I just thought I’d be a little transparent because it is hard having a job but not having a job, feeling (rightly or wrongly) that you are squandering your potential. Again I know I am lucky to have a job in the current climate but this situation is clearly costing me my peace, so I write. I don’t know what will help the situation but hopefully this can’t hurt right?

Peace and Love,

Aharoun the Author


One thought on “Peace

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