dream dying

It’s like a slow and heartbreaking kind of a death, feeling like giving up on a dream, relinquishing a long-held hope.

You sense things aren’t working and won’t ever work, it’s just not happening. The stubborn hope begins to wobble, teeter and ebb away together with the dim belief, even while you still sustain the work-rate.

Your bank balance, like a football league table, doesn’t lie. It brutally doesn’t tell the sob stories of bad luck and industriousness and how much you care.  And its power to suddenly influence mood is never dimmed. The sharp injection of panic and fear thanks to another retainer lost, income stream dented again, squeezed down now to almost nothing.

It led you to that maddening call centre where you remain penned in alongside young people who care more about strike-rates, asking those questions to the usually blunt people of Yorkshire. You feel bad on a number of levels, one being that you feel better than this sort of soul-destroying work now, except clearly you’re not.

If no other business is coming in, if no other business is showing much promise of coming in, you’re forced to reassess. A dead horse cannot keep on being flogged, however much you want it to start breathing again.

It’s hard to fend off bitter feeling towards those who seem more successful, those who have made it and are making things work. You know it is neither healthy, helpful, nor noble. But if you burn with a passion and seethe with the knowledge that something is not working and nobody cares, but it looks like it’s all working just great for others, it’s extremely difficult to keep poison at bay.

Success is magnetic and compelling and people want to know about it and how it’s been generated. Interviews are conducted, awards given, there can be broad recognition at various levels.

Failure skulks around in a closeted darkness. It is under-exposed and rarely if ever spoken of. Nobody is interested in failure or failures – unless of course it is prefaced by earlier major success, if there is a dramatic fall. That’s what media storytellers love.

Of course most people, the majority of any population will not achieve a level of success that demands any significant recognition. People happily cruise along in a comfort zone they’ve either fallen into or designed through study or hard work. And it’s fine. After a while of living, some won’t try to achieve much more than the usual to go with the steady income / vague sense of career progression: car, house, partner, family. Nothing wrong with that.

Although living in Cardiff, a city that for as long as I’ve known floats along on an indulgent bubble of public sector money, there is a top heavy management culture. This means a great number of extremely fortunate, not especially competent yet highly paid workers, in the right place at the right time when organisations began to expand. There is quite a lot wrong with that. But it simply just is. You have to accept it. Although that too can get your writer snarky and snagged up on issues of fairness. I was told very early in life that life isn’t fair, but at 33 I struggle more than ever with the length and breadth of the truism.

I digress.

A slender fraction might achieve, briefly or otherwise, a degree of success that attracts interest and attention.

It’s not this that I crave, although this post might read like it. Merely a moderately successful business, enough to confidently live on, perhaps alongside a sporadic other freelance marketing venture. That would be lovely. Alas, it isn’t happening on either front.

Which brings me to the disenchanted frustrated failures, the bitter and angry and dismayed people who want(ed) something badly; perhaps even wanted a several things a lot and were willing to work hard. Delusional, overambitious, perhaps. They went out and tried hard to achieve them. They consistently failed.

They / me / I.

Nobody ever really gave much of a shit, and they give even less of a shit when the failure is finally, excruciatingly underlined, the radio silence levels out, nail in the coffin of another goal, defeat admitted, the drudgery of a call-centre beckoning once more.

2 Responses to dream dying

  1. Brennig says:

    Last year i had six months of no income. The work opportunities just dried up; the market contracted, nobody was spending money. In the almost ten years I’ve been self-employed, I have never known anything like it – so say all my professional colleagues, because it was a time that affected everybody in my industry. It scared the crap out of me. Not eligible for financial support, no benefits, no JSA, no HB, no nothing. Even the small, piecemeal jobs that paid a few quid had vanished. Six of the scariest months I have ever known. I sold stuff. I sold a lot of stuff to continue paying the rent. A lovely friend spent hundreds of £s, feeding me via Ocado deliveries every few weeks. I looked at local jobs doing anything at all, but there were none. I looked at jobs further afield, but transport was an issue, having just sold my car to pay for the next two months rent. And then in the space of two weeks everything changed and I had a local contract I could take the bus to. Three months of that and I was back on an even financial keel. A week later I had three contract offers in two days.

    What I’m trying to say is I feel your pain. Things do change. Circumstances do turn 180 degrees very quickly. I hope they do for you. I hope you continue to do what you want to do. I hope it all just clicks in to place for you. Because I understand.

    • boshsuckled says:

      Wow. What an extremely thoughtful comment. Thanks a lot for that, Bren. Really appreciate your story and good wishes. Part of what makes it harder is how much of an uncomfortable taboo failing / struggling is. Nobody much wants to address it, and after a while there’s little that can be said that doesn’t sound like an empty platitude.

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