My year long sick leave is over. I have been signed back for to work. This has meant an end to ESA (Employment Support Allowance) and a move to JSA (Job Seekers Allowance). This is something I want to be on for as short a time as possible. Being on benefits is a bit soul destroying although to be fair my advisor has been OK. I have to attend an appointment on Fridays and complete a diary on a weekly basis stating what I have been doing to find work, with examples of any job applications made. For someone who has never been unemployed before it’s all a bit strange and it can feel like your being treated as a child at times, though some of this might be my own perception rather than reality.
Job hunting has been an interesting experience thus far. I was initially uncertain that I would go back to teaching but equally it’s the obvious route back into work. Indeed as I have got stronger in recent weeks, this is not as daunting as I originally considered. I have scoured the internet looking at the local job market and nothing has jumped off the screen at me. Earlier this week I applied for two jobs. I have had one interview, earlier this week and was verbally offered a job.
This is fantastic news, though I am not declaring where this is. I am yet to receive any written contract and the job does not start immediately, so in the meantime I am continuing to look for work in the short term. This is best achieved through doing some Supply Teaching, so I also joined an Agency this week.
It has been nice to have other foci this week – for so many months the only preoccupation has been my health. This has been a full week with lots going on. I am pleased to say I am feeling good.
There is however one ‘fly in the ointment’.
For both the Agency and the job I need to have a Criminal Records Check. This is fine for the UK, but I also need to obtain one for the period of time I spent in Tanzania. This is not an easy process. After a couple of days of research and emails between myself and the Tanzanian High Commission. It turns out that I need to send them my fingerprints, a sum of money and various personal details. Had I not left East Africa in the hurry that followed my diagnosis this would have been done at the end of June last year in Mwanza. As it is I have needed to find a way of doing this remotely. Thankfully it is possible to get fingerprints done at specific police stations in the UK then a long wait while things are posted, checked and returned. All this puts a delay of up to a month with the Agency, assuming that the process will run smoothly. I have been pleasantly surprised by the speed of response from Tanzania – it is something which was an issue whilst overseas. So there is a barrier to work, my hope is that this will be temporary. In the meantime I will also be looking for work in the short term which does not require the Tanzanian checks.
It certainly feels like I am emerging from a long tunnel and that life is ready to kickstart – I am well aware that there will be a need to follow up on health issues, but as the medical appointments get fewer and farther between I can begin to forget and move on.
I can’t guarantee it, but this may well be the last blog post on this journey. It’s been a roller-coaster of a ride. Thank you for following and commenting but now I must be more than a man who had cancer. It’s time to get on with my life.