Amphibian and arachnid

“it’s my nature” said the scorpion

And so, it seems, it is my nature and, like the doomed scorpion, I can not help it. When it comes to consistency I will convince the trusting frog within my psyche that I can play ball and inevitably my true self is revealed, drowning us both. For those of you who do not know the story of the frog and the scorpion I can assume mild confusion. Relax for this is where the allegory, like our anthropomorphic friends, dies.

I was certain my last update was a couple of months ago; May or June time maybe. Then when I thought a little harder I recalled it being before I started my job wiring solar panels, so maybe just over three months ago – it must have been April. Imagine my surprise when I see my last update was February 19th. The best part of six months ago. There are women who, around February 19th would have been getting their 12 week scan on a relatively new and (hopefully) exciting pregnancy – some of these women have now birthed these little black and white, tough to decipher sonograms. That rolling Rorschach peanut is now a contributor to our planets population. I’m not sure what this pretentious, round-the-wrekin, mood I find myself in is all about but it needs to stop.

I will try to stop with the weirdo talk and just try to say what I mean from here on. My journal shouldn’t be some try-hard riddle for others to work out nor an excuse to exaggerate for effect. Great, now I have to add ‘an ailment for alliteration’ to that list.

Almost six months on I have returned and firstly it makes me sad reading my previous update and seeing how sad I was and my state of mind at the time but also I feel sad as not much has changed. I mean a lot has changed and I’m in a better place now than I was then but I’m still kind of in a mess and stuck. In fact just the other day I was recording a video and some of those feelings from six months ago were evidently still there – specifically not wanting to be an electrician, or in construction, wanting to write more and to be earning money in some online/remote/work from home way.

Now for the swift catch up on what has happened in the last six months:

  • I returned to work with the company I was unhappy at
  • Despite my plan to stay for a few weeks to a month to see how things were upon my return I found another job within a week and moved on (I’m sure I only actually did three days back at this job but can’t remember. I did however leave in a very professional manner after a good talk with my manager)
  • I worked at the new job for the best part of three months, it was wiring a University roughly an hour from my home
  • My plan was to take a week vacation with my family and then once I returned to start looking for a new job, but a full week before my vacation I received a call that I was no longer needed
  • This screwed me slightly in terms of money and left my partner and I arguing quite a bit
  • I actually managed to get a job (wiring solar panels on houses) whilst away on vacation with the agreement that after I return home on the Friday I would go for a trial day Monday
  • Monday went well and the guy I was working with, plus our boss, was happy so I continued
  • Ended up working with that guy for around a month before starting to work on installs on my own, then with one apprentice until he was well trained and competent, who was then replaced with another apprentice until trained and competent
  • At this point the work slowed down and in five weeks I believe I was only needed for five days of work, two of which were small jobs totalling an hour or two each and another day was actually at my bosses house wiring his new two-floor extension
  • In those five weeks my latest apprentice was not asked to work one single day so left which of course means when the work picked up I was on my own again trying to do two installs a day and each install is most definitely a two man job
  • After being sent two and three hours away multiple days in a row I was glad to catch a cold that kept me out of action for a few days
  • In this time I applied for 13 different solar electrician jobs, my aim was to apply for every one of these jobs I could find before applying for general electrician jobs, then working on a second CV to apply for writing jobs and remote/work from home jobs
  • Within an hour I had four automated emails rejecting me based on qualifications needed which I don’t have and also two texts and a phone call with in the same outcome, leaving me feeling a little down
  • Within another hour I had two phone calls from agencies who thought I would be perfect for a job they’re recruiting for. One is more promising and long term but has an interview process and could take a few weeks to get a start date. The other wanted me to start Monday (it was Thursday late afternoon at the time of call by the way)
  • I started the second job on Monday as requested, this was two days ago, and I have my first interview for the more preferred job on Friday. The job I am at currently is temporary and a big industrial one-off installation whereas the job I’m interviewing for Friday is permanent and will be doing the same as I have for the last three months (solar panels on domestic properties) with great bonuses and very good pay

All caught up now? Great. As with most things I am firmly split in to over the new job. On the one hand it maintains the best parts of the job I have been doing for the last three months, with great bonuses, a lot of handy processes and impeccable organisation that makes my job so much easier. On the other hand I know I don’t want to be an electrician, don’t particularly want to start at a new place meeting new people, and given the choice I’d prefer to not be going in to people’s homes to do work – they can be very messy or smelly, I usually have to install in the loft (attic) which in most homes is horrific and very hot, and as you’re in people’s homes you have to be very careful what you do. The temporary job I’m currently in is in a huge bus depot so mess and being overly careful isn’t particularly an issue and the other electricians and I don’t have to be careful what we’re saying or doing but it is much more longer hours and more physical and often more difficult work. I guess all jobs have their pros and cons.

Moving on from work and in to ‘side hustle’ territory, I have been working on a few things and while I felt the need to do them and tick that box (and I am proud I did each one) I am left with the feeling I now have a longer list of things I have failed at, or that aren’t going well, or that I’m kidding myself I could even do them.

As of right now I have:

  • This blog, which I have shared with nobody and has tens (I’d wager) hundreds of thousands of words of journal entries mostly bitching and self-depreciating, but only maybe ten thousand words of fiction I wrote
  • Four YouTube channels, of which only two have actual content. One of the two is a video diary so I’m not bothered there’s no interaction but the other is a football (soccer) fan channel and while it only has a small number of subscribers and views I still feel these are not true (if that makes sense) and I feel I’m being foolish making these videos meaning my consistency has started to slip (surprise surprise)
  • A meme page on Facebook. For those of you that remember I ran a postal service sweet shop and this had a business page on Facebook with almost 2000 followers. I recently changed that page in to a meme page and the followers has remained at around 1300. I started posting a few memes I created, and also a linked Twitter account, but again this has not had much interaction, I feel silly doing it, and consistency/interest on my behalf has suffered
  • a ‘gig’ on Fiverr; I have been reading up on copywriting as well as taking an online course and have posted a gig on Fiverr offering my services very cheaply to try to get some actual experience and good reviews. I have had zero interest. On paper copywriting seems to suit me very well – I’m creative, good with sales, love psychology in particular persuasion and human behaviour, I love to write and I believe I’m good with snappy headlines or tags that catch the eye and pique interest. My thinking was that I should post more gigs on Fiverr and other similar sites, chase work and even offer my services for free to get some feedback and positive reviews but for whatever reason I just haven’t done that

As I mentioned I simply needed to follow through and create these things otherwise my mind would not quit. And now they are up and live I’m proud and have learned from them. The downside being I now feel like I have all of these things that haven’t gone particularly well and are firmly, for now at least, in the category of “failure”. I’m not saying that in a ‘feel sorry for myself’ way, I still feel fairly positive about everything I have done. The way I feel is that each endeavour is a weight I carry and while each is fairly light I do still carry them. They would be heavier if they were still in my mind rather than out in the ether but also they would feel lighter if they were in the realm of success rather than their current residing in the aforementioned failure.

One of the two YouTube channels I have is related to my Facebook and Twitter meme page and the plan was to create a TikTok and Instagram for them two. Posting content across each medium as well as YouTube and Facebook short videos starring myself. Some days I feel more confident and open to do this but other days not so much and the thought of my friends and family seeing me trying to be funny makes me cringe. I’m maybe not as self-conscious as other people about this, most would say I have ridiculous confidence and resilience. Maybe I do, maybe it’s a mask. But I still feel wary of people I know seeing this blog and my football fan videos, never mind videos of me trying to make people laugh. I’m sure the people I love would be supportive but having them take the piss in a friendly way, or simply telling me “it’s not funny” would affect me though I wouldn’t show it.

The other channel is actually named Write to Survive and as you can guess would be linked to this blog and my writing, as well as writing in general. The plan was to put subtitled stories on there. It could be my voice reading them, or an AI. And the stories would be those I have written or one’s I have found online (with the authors permission). I think this idea is the one I have that familiar feeling of ‘need to do it’ at the moment so most likely this will be next. Down the line it could be a podcast possibly, if I were to continue that is.

I think this idea is more sustainable than the football one as the things I talk about on each video is relative to what is going on that week or even that day, nobody is going to watch them after a few days have passed, they become old news. The stories I read though, somebody in ten years time could come across chapter 1 of one of them and want to listen to the whole playlist. Also I feel this idea has more room potential in terms of scaling it to some kind of job or business than the meme page. Even though I could have funny videos go viral on TikTok or something and find myself with a load of followers I wouldn’t exactly know what to do with them, how to then turn that following in to something I could do for a living.

As you can see the issue I’m having at the moment (or at least one of the issues) is that I’m reaching a point with all these endeavours where I have dipped my toes in and I’m not quite sure if I want to dive in or find another pool. Damn I said the allegories and metaphors had to stop. I’m an addict. This uncertainty some of you may accredit to a lack of success but I don’t think that is it. If one of my videos had blown up or I found myself getting dozens of enquiries about my Fiverr gig I think that would scare me more than excite me. Initially I would focus on that and try to ride the wave but the explosion of effort I had to put in, that was no longer a choice but an obligation, would just as likely put me off as pull me in.

Theoretically if my football videos started doing well there would be more pride than fear and as it is a big passion of mine maybe I could make it work. Copywriting scares me because while it may be viable and it may suit me I am new to it and completely inexperienced, so if that started gaining traction I’d power through but my gut tells me I’d struggle and not be a fun person to be around. The meme page and potential funny shorts make me feel uncomfortable and if they started doing well the whole imposter syndrome and dread over people I know seeing would be hard to handle, plus as I say scalability.

The ideas of my stories, or other people’s stories on my platform, quotes and thoughts about writing, and the like, doing well on YouTube or social media literally fills me with warmth. It feels like out of all of my ideas not only is this the best one it’s also the one that I am most passionate about and least likely to give up on.

With more than 2500 words this has surely got to be the longest update I have given and for those of you that have read the whole thing I owe you a drink. I must say this has been cathartic for me. The release from getting all of this out is immense and my mood is unrecognisable from the one clouding me prior to writing this.

So while self-sabotage and a lack of consistency may be the sting that drowns me, alongside many frogs and scorpions that came before, it is actually only one thing; writing, that is my nature.

(see, I told you I was good at copywriting)

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