Checking in

I have found myself unusually busy of late. I actually got the job I wanted and my tenant is leaving which allows me to go home next week.

But, am I prepared for the loneliness of still having little money and no relationship? It’s at least four years since I last lived on my own….even then it wasn’t for that long.

I am still in contact with my ex and she keeps offering to help me move in. But I feel that in order to properly move on with my life there may be a point where I simply have to tell her that I cannot be in touch anymore. Its something I dread, the experience and the thought of not having her in my life in any capacity, but at the same time I feel that it is the only way I might move on without getting hurt. Is that selfish? Maybe. But I feel it may be necessary. Despite this I am not sure if I have the guts to do it. I wonder why it is so hard. I am 33 years old now, if kids of teenage years can do this why do I find it so hard to. I feel as if my emotions are crippling me and preventing me moving on.

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Dishonorable practices

My job hunting in recent times has been interesting. I note that despite writing to literally hundreds of law firms very few bother, it seems, to respond if they are not interested. What happened to common courtesy? When I used to conduct interviews for support staff I would respond to every applicant as a matter of course. These days people just don’t care. Is the recession really the excuse?

Two other things have frustrated me. As I mentioned the other day I went to two interviews last week. Both were great. I got a call back for on, which is next week. However the other, which was undoubtedly the best one, has not been in touch at all. The chap said he was going away for a few days so I emailed a follow-up on Monday. Since then not a squeak. Most bizarre. The guy was so enthusiastic, talking about business plans and what we could do. Yet the subsequent actions (or lack thereof) have been absolutely contradictory.

Another thing that pissed me off, was I emailed another firm a couple of days in advance to say I couldn’t make and interview and could I rearrange. Again, no damned response.

Finally, I had an interview today. They seemed uninterested before I even started to talk. Of course, as the meeting went on (for a rather short 30 mins), it slipped out that I was the last candidate and the had already decided who to call back. In other words, they had pretty much already chosen someone and they were just going through the motions with me. Why not just cancel the damn thing instead of wasting my time? At least the other interviews thus far have been constructive.

Oh well, we’ll see if anything comes of next week’s call back.

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The media influence – a suckered public

I find it continually astounding that the media has such control of people’s lives and thought processes.

Of course, the latest drama here in the UK is over Gamu Nhengu. She was a contestant on public exploitation show, and Simon Cowell bank roller, The X Factor. She was undoubtedly talented and got as far as the “judges’ houses stage”. The is where the show decides who is to make it to the live TV show sing off part of the competition. Well, she was overlooked in favour of at least one candidates who was unquestionably weaker.

Naturally the media has gone potty over Gamu’s rejection. Days after it emerged that Gamu and her family, being Zimbabwean nationals, were fighting a visa refusal the media is suddenly right behind poor Gamu. Well, this weekend, Simon Cowell has also jumped on the bandwagon with his lawyers.

Cowell, incidentally, denies that she didn’t get through due to the immigration issue.

Now, being as my area of law is UK immigration I have some concerns with this case. The theory in the media and with the public is that she should be entitled to stay in the UK because she is a good singer. Well, a good singer she might be, but that is not a reason to be here. I accept that Zimbabwe has many problems, and, indeed, I have helped Zimbabweans in the past because of this. However, if the media is correct, her mother, to whom she is dependant, did not come to the UK seeking protection, she came as a student.

Under the Immigration Rules, anyone who enters the UK as a student has done so on the understanding that they will return at the conclusion of their studies. The only other visa to carry this requirement is a visitor’s (or tourist) visa.  In order to maintain your presence in the UK as a student you must continue to meet the requirements of the rules, this includes attending studies, supporting yourself financially, keeping within the employment restrictions and so on. Student visas do not lead to permanent residency unless you have been on a student visa continuously and unbroken for ten years. Aside from this, the only other exception to the intention to return is if the visa holder goes on to qualify for a skilled worker or post study work visa. Otherwise if his or her studies are concluded she will be expected to go back, whatever her situation. Conversely, if an application for an extension has been made and the applicant no longer meets the rules of said application, again he or she will be expected to go back. In this case there are only five possibilities:-

1) She has been refused because she no longer qualifies to study

2) She has been refused because she does not qualify for an alternate visa

3) She has applied outside the Immigration Rules and has been rejected

4) She broke the Rules during during her previous visa’s term, such as claiming benefits,  working more than she was allowed, failing to attend classes or making unsatisfactory progress in her studies.

5) She applied after her previous visa expired, which will attract an automatic refusal unless the last application was the fault of a third party.

Now, ultimately, we do not know why Gamu’s mother’s visa has been refused. There has been some suggestion that she was claiming benefits, however I very much believe in innocent until proven guilty so I don’t think we can know the exact reason without being privy to her immigration file. What I do know is that if there has been a refusal and a challenge has merit then there is recourse to the courts, either by the standard appeal process if her refusal permits it, or by way of judicial review (which has been hinted).

Whatever the stage of the legal process, what is extremely disturbing in this case is the role the public, the media and now, especially, Mr. Cowell has taken. How ironic it is that the very same Middle England who are always screaming about immigration and its negative effects are now right behind someone because they were on X Factor and seemed a nice girl with some talent. The double standard is shocking.

However, more sinister perhaps is the sheer power of the media to have this effect on people. Cheryl Cole, who made the decision to reject Gamu from the show (or at least the TV show makes us think that she, and not Cowell, did)  has been on the receiving end of death threats and loud calls of racism. Indeed, I myself in at least one discussion about this have been accused of racism because I did not show 110% support for Gamu and her family, instead choosing to outline the legal process and advocating that we should keep our noses out of legal affairs. Hell, Cole herself used to be married to a black man and even Cowell dated a black woman for many years. Hardly the tell-tale signs of racists.

In a public that is obsessed with England for the English is it amazing that the media can stir up support for such an individual. It just goes to show you how limited the intellect of the public has become and how that are like sheep who will be fed anything. An immigrant with a talented daughter should not be allowed to remain in this country just because of her daughter, however heart wrenching it may be for some to accept.  If she were allowed to stay it would set a precedent for future immigrants that the Rules do not matter if you can get on TV. That is fundamentally wrong.

No, if Gamu’s mother qualifies legally for a visa then she should be entitled to remain. If she does not then she and her dependants should go, talented daughter or not. Therefore the media should keep its nose out and leave the legal process to the UK Border Agency and the independent courts.

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Job depression

Last Tuesday I went for two interviews. I though both went really well.

Well, so far I have not heard back from either, which really disappoints me. I emailed the first one, my favourite earlier today after the chap said he was going to be away last week. However, this far I have not heard anything back.

I’m feeling dejected. For over a year I have been trying to find a full-time salary….and the worst part is that I no longer have the enthusiasm I once did. So even to aquire a full time salary isn’t necessary going to get me a job I like and enjoy because there are so few jobs out there these days.

Worst part of it is the first interview was a for a job I would have been happy in. I feel so unhappy that nothing has come of it. The interview was so positive that I was convinced that something might come of it. That was the implication I got from the interviewer. In fact, the second interview went pretty well too. I was convinced that I would at least get call backs.

I have another interview for tomorrow, but it’s not a job I am too interested in. I feel like I am struggling to find the enthusiasm for it.

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Being my own man

Is it wrong that I sit here today, on a Sunday morning, wondering about the pressures I have had in recent years?

I think one of the failures of my engagement was that I spent years being told who to be. Everyone was successful. The father-in-law, the brother-in-law. They were successful beyond average. They were in the top 1%, the former especially so.

Should it be wrong to feel frustrated that I had to be one of them? There was no window for progression.

 

I went from being in charge of my own career and my own destiny to spending nearly four years being told how I should be.  No. Not any more.

I don’t consider myself a fool and my gut feeling is that I will die a man of wealth, hopefully through success. Many people would call me a fool for thinking so. But my instincts have not let me down yet….just as much as my gut told me things were not right in my relationship, they also told me that I would one day be the person I was expected to be, The problem was the timing. I am not responsive to being told what I must be and when I must be it.

My problem is that I am too stubborn. But that it part of who I am. Perhaps it is a confidence issue, but it’s where, ironically, my only level of life confidence comes from. I know who I am and what I need to be. My only challenge is mapping out the path thereto.

 

 

 

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Don’t sleep

One of the most frustrating things I have at the moment is lack of sleep. It is almost 6:00am and here I am lying in bed tapping away at my phone.

It never used to be like this. I used to sleep well. But I find myself unenthused in the idea of television or reading a book. Instead I sit here with my mind turning over and over fretting about my various worries.

One of my great determinations in life has been to succeed. I know longer feel I am able to do that in law. With the over population of lawyers in the UK and the advent of Tesco Law it is going to get harder and harder to progress.

I would desperately love to do something else. A business perhaps or something creative where I can generate an above average income and lead a comfortable life, but once I start thinking it like my mind goes blank. But at the same time I feel like I am putting pressure on myself to come up with something so that I can get started.

I wish I could be one of these people you see on Dragon’s Den who have great ideas and start businesses….but I feel empty of ideas.

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Who I am?

Well, welcome to my blog. Hopefully the first fo a tool for me to get my thoughts down somewhere. I started a blog years ago, but I never knew why. Now I do.

Who am I? Nobody special. I am a working class Englishman. I am 32 years old. I am single. I live at home with my parents on a council estate in the suburbs. By profession I am a lawyer, however I am unemployed. I am also very lonely.

So why am I lonely? Well, this can be best summarised in a post I made on an internet message board earlier this year. It read as follows:-

Haven’t been around lately. Basically life has been a mess.

I didn’t think I’d do this, but I feel so low at the moment that I feel maybe I have to get down some of my confusing thoughts and seek people’s’ advice.

I recently split with my fiancé. We were together until three months ago. I had to move out of her flat as she owned it. However, it was a place the we essentially bought and refurbished together.

A little background, she is 36, I am 32. We had been together for almost exactly 3 years, engaged for the last two. Over that time we moved in together and even went to the extent where her father bought her an apartment that would basically be our home together. I even helped to design it and choose the furniture. It was wonderful, and with her family in a wealthier position than me, the home we lived was well beyond what I could have afforded anytime soon. However, I supplied all of the kitchen stuff and utilities, home cinema and so on, which I had in my own apartment, which, in turn, was then let to tenants.

It was a good life and all was going well until an unfortunate happened earlier this year. I lost my full-time job. I am a lawyer and without the fulltime job I could not hope to meet my financial commitments. Worst thing was, it wasn’t my fault. My boss had breached his contract with me in a big way and this led to tension. Add that to the fact that in the current climate nobody is hiring means that as of today I still only work part-time. Things became difficult after I stopped working full-time. I could no longer pay the bills and was struggling to even meet my own standard financial commitments. Things became tense, at the same time we were deep in preparations for the wedding and her father was pushing for it to be booked and paid for. By coincidence on 3rd of October it was the third anniversary of our meeting and I made the mistake of going out with the boys for beers. I had asked her permission, but I have since learned that I should nonetheless had stayed. Anyhow, she used that as a catalyst to bring the relationship to an end.

However, I am missing out something very important here….and that is the nature of our relationship. We couldn’t live with each other and couldn’t live without. We both had very similar personalities to the extent that we were both stubborn and also very independent in our thinking. Both of us wanted to wear the trousers in the relationship and from day one that caused arguments. Now, although we had arguments, we also deeply loved each other as well. In fact I was smitten with her. I placed all of my emotional dependence in her and she was, quite literally, my life. We had both been single for years beforehand and we both thought this was going to be it. Equally, all her friends had gotten married and moved away and I was her right hand man, if it were. We would communicate by phone, text and email always when we were apart, such as at work, and we always struggled if we had to spend any more than a couple of weeks apart.

As I mentioned before, she brought an end to the relationship. However, she did so with much regret and was, and remains, to this day, in two minds about it. Her heart told her to stay, whereas her head told her that she couldn’t live in a relationship where there were arguments once a week (she had come from a family where her parents never argued). In addition, time was not on her side and she felt there was too much risk in getting married to bm with my current financial situation being the way it was. She left the relationship very much still loving me and appeared to be pretty devastated.

For me, things couldn’t have come at a worse time. Since I have no full-time job I cannot get rid of the tenants in my own home as I need the rental income to cover the mortgage. Thus I am in a fix. I have had to move back into my parents’ house while putting my stuff in storage, which is a small working class house with a tiny bedroom for me to be in – the one I grew up in, in fact. They live along way out-of-town so I am cut off from everyone and everything I am used to. Add that to the fact that they are not very easy to live with. I have not just lost my soul mate, but my entire life right along with it.

I am almost at rock bottom. If it were not that I had my own home, and that small chance of returning there once I get back to work, then I would be suicidal right now. But I don’t know if I have the energy to go and get that job…..even though I am, at the same time, desperate to return home. I fear that I will be stranded in this misery for a long time. I had a job interview this week and have been called back, but I have to give a presentation in the second interview and have no enthusiasm for it. At present I have totally run out of money and cannot now even afford money to get out of the house and do things. I am worried I will lose my flat due to a shortfall between the flat and the rent. I desperately need a job to start the rebuilding process but have no energy. Furthermore, mya parents are not easy to live with and there is tension in the home.

This was the first time I had been in a serious long-term relationship where I lived with someone and shared everything day-to-day. For me it’s like a divorce….and a divorce that left me with nothing to boot. Add that to the loss of my career, my home, my money and my independence and you can imagine I’m pretty damn down.

I’m now deeply depressed and have no energy for anything but sitting around drinking more than I should (well at least while I could afford it) and watching TV.

How do I beat such depression and misery?

This post perhaps doesn’t do it justice. It also predates a two-month attempt a reconciliation, which ultimately failed after I became ill with the effects of the stress.

See, her father was a very well-respected surgeon in Iran. He was a millionaire. As such we lead the high life. Travelled all over the world. Dined in the finest restaurants. Shopped in the finest stores, and so on. However, this also came with a lot of pressure. In his eyes any prospect husband for her daughter had to be continually successful and treat his daughter like a queen. This meant that there was no sympathy when stress got too much and the pressures of life were difficult to cope with.

I had become unhappy in my career after two frustrating jobs, both of which coincided with our relationship and once I was made redundant from the second through not fault of my own I really struggled. I was moody, depressed and would drink more than normal. I made job application after job application with no luck, such was the result of the economic downturn. There were no savings as I had plowed so much money into keeping up with the relationship there was not much left when the redundancy happened. She was paying all the bills and I was struggling with my share of the food costs. We stopped going to places since I couldn’t pay out. Of course after this went on for a little while people had started telling her I was out-of-order for just living off of her. Of course, all the family and friends were comfortable financially. They didn’t seem to grasp the concept that it was possible for a professional man to fall on hard times. I wanted to pay, I just couldn’t.

Bless her, my ex was a decent woman and had previously stuck by me on other occasions when I had health difficulties. But she had grown up with a privileged life and couldn’t face the prospect of living a financially constrained life. Add this to the pressure to marry and the fact that we argued quite a bit and she just couldn’t face the prospect of marriage. Part of me doesn’t blame her as part of me is selfish and I sometimes wonder if I would have done the same had I been on her shoes. To her I must have appeared a failure. A crumbling man who was no longer successful, walked around depressed all the time and ate and drank too much to get away from it. I was not the man of strength she had been brought up to marry.

For me, the years with my ex were years of firsts. In 2006, about 2 months before I met her, I bought a property and moved out of my parents’ house for the first time. I had always lived at home because I never wanted to spend money on rent. I considered it a waste and wanted to both enjoy my money and also wait until I had the financial ability to buy. Well I had gotten to that stage. But I also wanted to meet someone. I was always shy around women and had not really had any proper relationships up until then. By then I was 28 and I felt it was about time I grew up and found someone to settle down with. I had signed up to online dating and had been dating for about six months. It had proved unsuccessful and I was about to give up on it when I came across my ex. We arrange a first date, which I cancelled until she convinced me to go. Ironic that she should have ended up the one I built a relationship with.

Until then I had always been successful in my career. Always progressed. I had been lucky enough to work for good firms and have some very important court cases. Around about this time I felt that I had gone as far as I could in the firm I was in and decided to move. I put out my CV and was in demand. I got to choose the job I wanted. If only that was the case now. What I didn’t expect was a difficult working environment where I was unhappy. I moved a year later and, whilst the environment was superior, my contract was breached by my employer, which unfairly lead to my redundancy.

The thing is that I had never faced a serious relationship. Especially one that proved to contain a certain amount of conflict. It was a huge learning curve throughout. At the same time I was getting used to having moved out from my parents and, with her, I had moved two further times to new homes during the time I was with her. All of this didn’t give me time to stop and think. But at the same time I was desperately unhappy that my career wasn’t going anywhere. Despite this there was no financial hardship.

When the hardship came the “why me”? Questions began. Still we were together and that kept me going. When it ended, that was when the depression started. It peaked after I had moved back to my parents. I had no money and found myself without a bed to sleep on, lying on the floor. I had done it all and had been reduced to poverty. I cried and cried on and off for weeks on end. I hide inside wine bottles. I became paranoid about my ex, checking her Facebook every hour to see what she was up to. We had maintained contact and even ended up reuniting for sex several times. Not the best idea on reflection, but I was so miserable that the mere possibility of being close to her and intimate again was too inviting. It was an escape from a situation I didn’t want to face.

We carried on meeting 2 months until she signed up for eHarmony. At 36 she was convinced she was running out of time and felt that she needed to find a husband. She now concedes this was a mistake. The break up was hard for her. She still loved me, but, in her eyes, she felt there were things she could not live with. I may have been miserable when stressed, but there was also a good side to me that, frankly was vastly superior to a lot of men. I am very loving, very giving with my time and my money and always go that extra mile to try to do things that I thought would make her happy. I am also very much in touch of my feminine side. A lot of this was taken for granted as she was used to a life of material privilege. Yet I knew in her heart of hearts she had found qualities rare in many men and she realised this very clearly when she tried to date others. As a result she never got past the initial dating stage. She ended up breaking down at work and it was this that lead her to revisit the relationship in February this year.

The two months we spent together this year were great. But we still argued and my financial situation was dire and I was becoming ill with the strain. She had made it clear that her family would not entertain a reconciliation if I was still in a financial mess and jobless so I still felt pressurised. Plus, whatever we tried we could not help bickering. I had also been travelling a considerable distance. We had been living in Richmond and my parents live in Hertfordshire so in was a huge schlep all the time. When I told her I needed rest the relationship came to its natural conclusion. But neither of us really reacted to the end the second time as we did the first. it was as if we had revisited it and we knew in our hearts that whatever we did there was always going to be some level of frustration, be it my frustration with the added pressure, hers with the stress and financial situation and the bickering. I knew that even if all the rest were ok, if the bickering remained we were doomed to either a miserable life or a future divorce. It was hard to accept but I think it was from this point on that I began to feel acceptance that it was over.

Of course the months have been hard. Acceptance or not, it is very hard to be without her, I loved her and I had not experience that level of emotion before. I think about her every hour of every day. I feel sad when I am not with her. I still can only think of her sexually. Half of me still wishes we could turn the clocks back and start all over again.

Also, without being in work I find that I have no distractions. I also haven’t had any money for a year to be able to get out there and find new friends or hobbies. All of my old friends are coupled off and have either moved away or pretty much gotten on with their lives. I was not one to make casual aquaintances so the few friends I had were good, but once they had found partners the dynamic changed. Of course, my Ex and I had found friends through her sister’s friendship circle, but once that ended so did my contact with them (despite them being my “Facebook friends”).

My home life has been difficult. I have a very fractured relationship with my father. He has helped me financially to keep my property, which I hope to move back to. But to live with he is horrid. He is, and has been for years, perpetually miserable. All he does it moans and argues. He never smiles or says anything positive at all. I do not respect this kind of behaviour so I have been conflicted with gratitude for his financial help and resentment for his behaviour.

For months I just could not find a way to motivate myself. The reduced contact with my Ex has enabled me to let go somewhat and look back on who I used to be. I used to have confidence. But that was replaced by an all-consuming feeling that I was doomed to failure. It was just one bad thing after another and I went from wondering when it was all going to end to thinking that it was due to get progressively worse until the end of my life. I just couldn’t be bothered anymore. Well, recently I have a little of my old self back and so I have plowed my energies into getting a job. I have given up on employment agents and for my efforts I have thus far secured myself three interviews. I hold positive feelings that I will have a job by the end of November, which is when my tenant leaves my flat. The prospect of going back to my old flat has given me hope. By going back there I will once again but myself in a frame to get out there and meet new people.

But, I am not the man I was. I have conflicted emotions day in day out and I feel conflicted emotions in a way I never used to. It is my hope that perhaps I can attempt to articulate them by writing them down. I don’t intend to just focus on that. Indeed, I am also just going to use this as a diary, somewhere to put my opinions and thoughts down.

Today marks the 4th anniversary of my Ex and I meeting and, ironically, Tuesday is the first anniversary of our initial break up. I just seemed the right time to do this. To help myself move on.

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