Opinion: ‘I’ve been looking for a job for seven years, don’t tell me the economy has bounced back’

Irish Mirror

  • 09:26, 16 DEC 2015
  • UPDATED 12:24, 16 DEC 2015

Anne Heffernan has been trying to find permanent work since the crash hit – without any success


Michael MacSweeny/Provision

Queue outside the social welfare office in Cork City

Photo – Michael MacSweeney/Provision


Seven years is a very long time to be hoping and longing and yearning for something… and for all your efforts to fail.

I’m talking about my seven-year search for a job – any job.

Since 2008, when the recession hit, I have been searching for a job, because the business I was then trying to run went further and further downhill, until caput… it was gone.

The problem, as I see it, is not that I am unskilled, inexperienced or unemployable.

I’ve spent the past four years up-skilling in the digital arena, having completed a conversion degree in Digital Media Production, a City and Guilds Diploma in Social Media for Business and am now just at the end of a nine-month internship in Social Media.

Everyone knows digital is the way of the future – so, as far as I’m concerned, I’m good to go.

I’ve also worked in retail, customer service, administration, publishing, journalism and copywriting and have run more than one business.

On top of all that I’ve fostered more than 20 teenagers since 2010 in an effort to pay my way.

There must be some transferable skills among that lot – No?

Until I get a job I can’t believe the economy has improved, despite hearing report after report indicating jobs growth, an upturn in the economy, new jobs announcements and recruitment agencies spouting growth figures in their monthly Irish Employment Monitors.

I’m sick and tired of hearing it when I don’t feel it.

And I’m convinced almost a quarter of our population feel the same way (that quarter, with whom I share my unemployed status – those who lost their jobs since 2008 along with the 10% of our young people who have already left to find work).

As an unemployed person, who has spent endless, sleepless nights scouring the internet and endless days tweaking my CV and writing up decent cover letters, in my attempt to secure a job – any job, I can take no more rejection.

If it’s true, Minister Bruton, that you have 220,000 jobs in the pipeline, as you announced last month, please can I have one, just one will do? I’ll even relocate (I’ve already moved five times in the past two years, since I had to sell my home.)

The problem is the isolation, the despondency, the never-ending exhaustion of trying and trying and getting nowhere, of thinking and worrying where this will all end.

It’s the effort involved in trying to choke back the tears, the feeling of uselessness, of failure, feeling no one cares, not wanting to get up in the morning (sure what’s there to get up for?) not wanting to meet people, not having the money to socialise, not having the energy to go out, taking all day to manage one simple task, having no one to really talk to about it and not wanting to burden other people with my problems, knowing my mental and emotional health is going downhill and feeling powerless to change things.

But I’m not powerless. I won’t let my situation get me down any longer. So, last Tuesday, in desperation, anger and frustration I dropped in to my local TD and Minister’s office to explain my circumstances and seek help, support or advice (I’d been threatening to do so for some time – although I fail to see the purpose of these offices). Wrong move.

It was obvious from the outset I had no business being there.

They wanted me out, they felt threatened by my passion for fairness, equality and justice.

Nothing could or would be done for me and it was already past “home time” for the lady who had said she was only there to answer the phone. I left that office feeling worse than I had going in. What a complete waste of time.

Once again my needs are ignored, as are those of many others.

I don’t even qualify as a statistic in the system, much less a human being with needs, hopes or dreams. I’ve simply fallen through its cracks.