I was woken at 3am yesterday morning by my elderly cat, Everest. He was purring and headbutting me. I kind of reached out and petted him, but I must have kept drifting off to sleep, because he would meow, and nudge me. By 3:15am I was wide awake, and Everest, elder statesman that he is… was curled up and asleep. Little bugger! He’s funny though, as a kitten, and even as an adult cat, he couldn’t stand being held or cuddled. He would happily sit on my knee, but the minute I moved to put my arms around him, he would tense up. He’s just got that nervous disposition.
As he has gotten older, he has mellowed a little, and has even been known to snuggle up with my son. In fact the night of the Kaikoura Earthquake in November last year, Everest was fast asleep on the pillow next to my son’s head, and he didn’t bat an eyelid until I appeared in the doorway. Then he looked up at me, as if to say, “why are you swaying around like a drunk person.”
This is my darling Everest. But this year, I’ve noticed he’s a little wobbly on his feet, and I really don’t want to have to make that decision, you know, that one. But I will have to do it at some stage. It might not be this year, it might be next, but the old boy is 17, which is pretty good going for a cat with extreme anxiety and a nervous personality.
Aside from all that, this week has been very…trying is probably the best word. Yes, trying. Monday and Tuesday were good, I worked, as I do, gardening. I love working with my boss. We always manage to have a laugh at some stage during the day (often at my expense!). But Wednesday and Thursday… oh, where do I start? I had to do this course, that my WINZ case manager put me onto. She told me that this lady did the course, but that she was really lovely, and had lots of contacts so would be able to help me set up a business from home.
Last week it all started, with a phone call from a guy, who was really short with me. He couldn’t make an appointment to see me until 3:30pm in the afternoon, which isn’t that appropriate for me, as I have my son at school. He seemed really put out and he didn’t have another time to see me. Then he asked me what I had done for jobs in the past. When I said that I had been an Insurance Assessor, a teacher aide, and an alarm technician, suddenly he was backpedalling in a big way. Suddenly he was my best friend, and I was ‘articulate’ and obviously had something worth working with.
Over a series of phone calls, his tone changed, and the next thing I know I’m being told I have to attend this course. So I did.
What a waste of time. The guy who came from Inland Revenue was really interesting (if a little dull in the telling), and the Work Broker from WINZ was interesting too. But they had no idea how single parents work. There were three of us there. I was the only female, the other two were males with young kids. One had come down from the north island from a destructive relationship at christmas time and was still trying to settle his daughters and give them as much stability as he could. They wanted him to put his kids into child care and work 50 hours a week.
Hang on a minute. This guy is trying to make life better for his girls, and they want him to work long hours that will take him away from them??? How does that work?
The other guy was a qualified chef, and they had plenty of chef work available for him, but it was mostly night shift. He wanted to be at home for his son in the evenings, and work during the day so he could be there for his son after school.
The course convener told us that he had been a stay home dad and held down a part time job at the same time. But he wasn’t a solo dad. His wife was still working. They still had her income to work off. These people don’t get it. And there are a whole generation of kids growing up out there, with their Mum (or Dad) going through the benefit system, and being shipped off to work, while they are being shipped into child care…and then they wonder why their Mum (or Dad) abandoned them.
Still, shouldn’t get on my high horse. They wanted me to go back into Insurance.
No way in hell I told them.
OK, what do you want to do for a job.
Work from home.
Making notebooks? whips? writing novels? gardening?
Can you do admin?
Remote admin is a big industry and many firms are starting to outsource this.
But that isn’t what I want to do. I don’t want to work for someone else.
I have a medical certificate to say I can’t work more than 15 hours per week due to mental health, physical fatigue and stress.
So what can you do?
At this point I wanted to pull my hair out. Not once were my ideas supported (although the others thought Dial-a-Dong was a great idea…and it wasn’t one I came up with!) I wanted to find a business mentor, or be put in touch with someone who could give me some suggestions or ideas for getting my products off the ground (Notebookaholics, Flying Kiwi Services (proofreading), SnapDragon whips) and give me advice.
And no one knew what to do with me either. I stood up to them all the time, because I know what I want to do, I know I could make money from it, I just need someone who is willing to help me with advice, tips, hints, suggestions along the way.
So I think I will do a business certificate next year. The one I am looking at is free, and is a year long course that covers product development, business set up, marketing etc. All the stuff that I want to know in order to get something off the ground.
Sorry for waffling. Its been a week of highs and lows, mostly lows, but anyway, we’ll get past that.
Today is a new day.
Thanks for listening…