Where Did It Go?

Looking back at my start of year expectations setter, I appear to have been a miserable failure. I knew that anyway, but since this is the first time I’ve considered what I wrote in January of this year, it’s actually quite a shock to me.

First of all though, the formal business. Each year I label the previous year with a verdict on how it went. 2008 was a Neutral Year. 2009 is most definitely a Bad Year.

That’s a major disappointment to me. I had said I wanted to sort my life out by the end of February. Didn’t happen. Still hasn’t happened. I’m still fucking about trying to see where it goes.

The big event of the year on a personal level, possibly the only one, was that I moved out. Sort of. It’s the most ridiculous moving out in history. So far it’s cost me nearly two grand, and it has been an outstanding disaster. I’m currently sitting in my parents house, and will be for another 12 days, having already spent the past two weeks here. I should never have let myself be convinced by my stupid housemate that moving out would bring the successful growth of my business that I thought.

I really don’t know why I fell for it either, because he has said many things in the past that have never come to pass, usually involving job offers, business leads and so-called joint ventures. Argh. What an idiot I am.

I made a prediction at the start of the year that something big would happen. That sort of happened. But I said it in a good way, like it would finally be the clicking into place of my life.

And as I know all too well, it hasn’t, and I don’t see any prospects for it in future. But that’s for tomorrow.

So my life has been a travesty this year. Some money earned, though not enough. Lots of time wasted. No life’s ambitions achieved. No progress. At all. Fuck.

Meanwhile, my family are getting on OK. One of my brothers is in uni, messing around. I don’t know if he’ll make it to the end, but good luck to him anyway. My other brother is in his last year of school, suffering the GCSE curse, and not really doing enough revision. I offer my help, but no one wants it. I get on a bit better with both of them than I did at the start of the year, which was one of my hopes for the year. At least something has gone right.

My younger sister is funny, and we get on very well. That’s very nice. My elder sister is doing OK, but she’s in a constant battle with the father of my nephew regarding access to him. Even though my nephew now wants nothing to do with his useless father. Court involvement will continue. Either way, it’s not been good for my nephew, who is now very different to what he was even three years ago.

As for my parents, they still seem fine, and we all get on well. I just wish my poor dad would get a lucky break and find a new job. He hates his current one, and has been applying for promotion for years in all manner of departments. Gets nowhere. I feel really sorry for him.

My mum continues to enjoy her job working as a teaching assistant, and has no ambitions to do any more. Though she isn’t that content about her life. Maybe no one ever is.

Goodbye 2009. It hasn’t been nice knowing you.

The Line In The Sand

Last week I decided that the end would happen in March. The end being defined as the point at which my patience for business, and my new house, will run out.

I told this to my housemate, who was understanding. He tried to say that if I do get to a point of giving up in March, I should instead look to find a job in my new house down south. But I don’t think it’ll work.

The reason being is that the whole purpose of the move was to do a joint business venture with him. None of that has happened. We were supposed to be working on various websites, and a website design and construction business. Hasn’t happened. He has no interest in it, despite insisting he does every time. He also claims that he does have time to do it, but I’ve pointed out to him and told him many times that he simply doesn’t, and I understand.

Otherwise, every time we come up with an idea, it falls on its arse within minutes because of a lack of time on his part.

I knew this would happen, but I hoped it wouldn’t. I don’t know how many times I’ve fallen for him suggesting an idea, or saying he has something ready for me, which never actually happens.

And it has happened again lately. He’s been banging on for ages about forming a partnership with a shop in town which sells printer cartridges but doesn’t do PC repairs. He finally got round to approaching them, and told me he sounded very positive and drafted a suggested e-mail for me to send to the owner.

I did.

And nothing has happened.

Nothing ever happens. Every time I try something, the response is poor. 150 leaflets, four customers, two of which did not even receive the leaflet but had passed it on. There just seems to be no way in.

I’m not really sure what I can do any more. Short of wasting vast sums of cash on advertising, most of which will be wasted, I don’t know how anyone breaks into any sector in business.

Anyway, this disaster is why I don’t want to stay living with the current housemate if the business venture doesn’t take off. I have no intention of just having a normal life living there. It’s too weird. It was meant to be a stepping stone to something bigger. None of that has happened.

So three months to go before I decide whether to join the real world, accept that I’m just another tedious, boring person with nothing special to offer, and clog up the arteries of the world in yet another office.

Bloody hell. What a shit year I’ve had.

Where Did The Year Go?

It’s hard for me to look back on this year. 2009 has turned out to be a year of real change for me. Yet nothing has really changed all that much.

For instance, right now I’m writing this post while sitting in my parents’ house. All this in spite of the fact that I allegedly moved out of the parental home in October. I think, with hindsight, this was a bad move. So far the transition to living away and trying to make a living of my own has been a total failure.

Hence why I’m here. Indeed, the main reason why I’m back in the old home right now is that I’ve had loads of work to do this week. Work that has paid me some cash and will definitely see me through Christmas. I could have had a lot more if I’d stayed here, I’m sure.

But on the other hand, I had to go. I needed change. I needed a break. I just wish I hadn’t move somewhere so far away and so inaccessible.

This has been the biggest change this year. My life is now on its head. Split across a couple of hundred miles. Travelling all the bloody time.

And yet, I don’t really know why the year has gone so quickly. In truth, it has been a year of inactivity. With so much time to spare, and so little actually done in it, I should have been bored out of my mind, sitting here watching the clock.

There has been a bit of that, but broadly speaking time has flown by. It has been frustrating and immensely depressing, but it hasn’t mattered. Time has gone.

At the start of the year I knew it would be important. I remember saying as much to my fellow New Year revellers. But I don’t think I’ll truly know the significance of this year until I can look back on it in a few years time. Whether this was a false start, and a waste of money. Or whether it was the stepping stone to turning myself into the entrepreneur that right now exists in my dreams only.

I keep setting myself deadlines at which I need to have achieved X. They come and go, without me achieving anything. But I still don’t feel brave enough to scrap the current gamble and accept I really ought to live an ordinary life like other people, rather than sitting, waiting for customers.

It depresses me too much. That alone should make me reconsider. I once thought I was a fan of change, exciting, different things happening each day. But I also long for a bit of stability and predictability. And more predictability than being able to confidently predict that today would, yet again, be a lost day.

There’s something seriously wrong with me. I have no motivation any more. I am filled with depressing thoughts constantly. A feeling of total inadequacy.

And I don’t want to do anything about it.

2009 has been a great let down. Maybe it was for the best that it’s gone so quickly.

Now all that’s left is to hope that I’m not too down over Christmas. That would be extremely difficult for me.

In Demand

For various reasons, I am indeed a popular chap at the moment. But not in every way I’d want.

Chief amongst them is in my so-called part-time job. Because it’s shit, and no one wants to do it, and even more so no one wants to work nights, I am called upon if anyone calls in sick. Which is happening a lot at the moment. It’s resulting in me working a lot of night shifts… which is steadily driving me insane due to a lack of sleep.

But also, yesterday I was out delivering leaflets for the political party I’m a member of. People like me are always loved by local parties. We’ll trudge around for hours doing the same thing again and again in the hope that it’ll turn a few voters to us. And as we’re young and fit, we can go on for hours and hours without too much of a problem. Just as long as the councillors dip their hands in the pockets at the end of it and pay for food and beers.

Only yesterday’s post-leaflet celebration was cut short by the dreaded phone call asking me to work the night shift on my night off. I accepted the offer, mainly because I’m a slave to the wage right now. I need every penny I can get my hands on if I’m to amass the funds required to achieve whatever the hell it is I want to do.

Which is rather odd, because I still don’t know what to do. I must have delivered over 200 leaflets separately for my business only a few days before, only to get precisely no response. It seems everything I’ve tried to do has failed miserably. I don’t understand why it’s so difficult to get anywhere. All around me are people running businesses. Worst of all, the guy I work for in the petrol station empire is, frankly, thick as pigshit. Presumably dyslexic judging by his appalling written communication. A rather nasty piece of work too.

But he’s running a business with a multi-million pound turnover. It can’t be rocket science. What is it that I’m doing wrong? I could do with getting some advice from somewhere. Free advice, preferably. Because that’s half the problem. Everything I want to do seems to cost so much. Advertising. Rental. Buying stock to sell it at a profit. The initial outlays are huge. I can afford them, but at the same time do I want to? Maybe I’m just not prepared to risk enough to run a business.

Meanwhile, I get more and more frustrated with my life. I have a viable option to escape from this house and live with an old friends from secondary school. That makes me in demand there as well. But I don’t know whether it’s sensible. It could be the worst decision I ever make, because I don’t really know him any more, and for all I know he’s not a very good person to live with. I’ve learned that one through bitter experience. Gonna have to think through that one very carefully.

But what can I do with my life? I’m still no nearer to answering this conundrum. I thought I may have found an answer by running my own business, but no such luck.

Until I get close to solving it, I’m always going to remain just one step from severe depression.

Late Night Blues

In the past few days a lot has changed for me.

First of all, I have a job. Not a good one, but a job. It will allow me to earn some money while I work out what I do next.

The bad news is that the job is primarily based around night shifts. Hence why I’m currently awake as 2:35am, way past my usual bedtime.

Even worse news is that it is a job I’ve done before – cashier at a petrol station. Well, a few different petrol stations in fact. Perhaps I don’t really know what I’ve let myself in for. Only now is it dawning on me that unless I want to have to do this regularly – changing my sleep pattern by staying up late, taking regular naps, going to bed early, or a combination of all three – I’m going to have to turn into a night owl.

How long I can put up with it, I don’t know. Maybe I’ll find I like my new living pattern. In truth though, it’s unlikely to work out very well in the house I live in now. There’s no way I’ll be able to sleep very well during the day here. It’s not just the noise of the family, but the heat in my loft bedroom is unbearable at the moment.

Nevertheless, it could be the perfect excuse I need to escape from this house. Though my original plan was to get a part time job to sustain an income from which I could fund more business activities, I’m somewhat loathe to waste any money on that pathetic excuse for a business which I run, the one which has currently not received a phone call in almost a week.

So maybe, instead, I could use my money to rent somewhere. Near where I live they have just built an apartment block. A very nice one too. I could rent a one-bedroomed apartment in an excellent location for transport and shops for £400/month. It’s a lot of money, but I think I’d appreciate the freedom again. I’ve had it with here – it’s just too much. I feel too depressed here. I feel too detached from my brothers and sister because I’m more like a parent now than a sibling – because all I seem to do is moan at them or ask them to do things. Crap. I would have hated to have had an older brother telling me what to do.

The best thing for me would be to be gone from here. But I know it would make my mum and dad’s job incredibly difficult. Things are amazingly stressful around this family at the moment, due to my older sister, my grandparents, and various other circumstances. If I went it would make things ten times worse.

It’s something I’ll have to keep thinking about. There’s no immediate rush to decide, and in the meantime I can earn some money. Tomorrow will be my first night shift ever. It should be OK, but you never know in petrol stations! Either way, if I can get into a routine I’ll probably feel a bit better about it.

Cos right now I feel shit. And it’s not helped by the awful news on the TV. What a night to be up late. Poor Michael Jackson. I had a lot of time for his music. The man himself was clearly not all there in his later years. But it remains a tragedy that he became that way, partly created because he lived his entire life as a celebrity.

It’s a strange world we live in.

Out Of Joint

As usual, it’s been an odd few days.

The most recent farce has revolved around my football team. As normal. This time, after a match, a thug playing for the opposition side came over and punched my brother in the nose, breaking it.

I’ve never seen a broken nose before, despite it being one of the most common injuries people suffer. The blood was everywhere, and it took over two hours for it to stop. The perpetrator of the assault got away – but we are in the very fortunate position of having photos of him, having his name, and playing affiliated football against registered opposition, the player will be dealt with.

And not just by the local football association. No, we have gone to the police as well, and we will press charges. Might teach the fucker a lesson. No more than he deserves; he’s probably got away with it for years. A lot of these players are thugs, and they play sports as an excuse to get aggression out of their system, caring little for who they damage in the process. The whole event was so pre-meditated, and yet so cowardly, that my brother had no chance to defend himself. He was just struck hard on the nose. I saw it with my own eyes. It didn’t look that bad at first – but I can’t believe he had never done it before. Hopefully we can get him banned from football for life, because no other player should have the misfortunate to play against him again.

So that’s caused us no end of trauma in the past 24 hours. The annoying thing about it was that we had just won the game. It took a shine off everything, and now we don’t want to play any more. After the incident of the broken leg at Christmas, I’m starting to think someone is telling us we shouldn’t run a football team. We’re not allowed to have success. As soon as we get it – it’s taken away so cruelly.

Meanwhile, I’ve been desperately trying to find some work. I’ve entered into a serious lull at the moment with my business, so I’ve been looking for something part-time. No luck. I even contacted a former employer. Something might still happen, and I’m desperate for a response, but I hate the waiting. It’s just horrible.

Of course, the whole thing would be academic if my failure of a business actually did something. I’m starting to think my phone has been disconnected. Maybe it was a bad idea to only have a mobile number? Some people don’t trust calling a random mobile. Somehow the landline just looks more trustworthy. It means there’s a physical presence of some kind. I would think more carefully about that, but the cost… unthinkable. I think that’s half my problem. I’m not prepared to spend money I don’t have.

Not much of an entrepreneur am I?

Not The Apprentice

The Apprentice is one of my favourite TV shows. I’m no fan of reality TV, but I like this show in particular, not for the unique blend of arseholes they manage to bring together every year, but for the fact that I’ve always liked business, and it’s intriguing to see how people rise to the challenge they set.

Of course, there’s always an element of schadenfreude in that we can’t help but watch and think “Oh, how could they make such a silly mistake!” – and I always sit there wondering if I could do any better in their position. Probably not. I find it amazing how basic mistakes are made all the time, ones that if they had just spent a little longer to think about it they wouldn’t have occurred. But the fact that they happen all the time makes me think that it’s just part of being human to make silly errors – and so perhaps we shouldn’t laugh at them too much.

The reason this whole philosophical musing has come into my head this morning is that I am contemplating how on earth I managed to make a £58 loss from a computer I’ve made. I bought all the parts for the damn thing about two months ago, made it and thought I could get rid of it at a profit. I haven’t. No one’s interested. Either it’s “the recession” or no one likes the specifications of it. But I think it’s a decent machine and well worth £200. Unfortunately, no one else agrees.

So I stuck it on eBay and got a little over half of that. But when I take out the costs of postage, of PayPal and eBay fees, the loss is not good at all. Sir Alan Sugar would not be pleased. “You went out there and lost me money!” he might quip, while poking an accusing finger at me.

I really want to be able to sell PCs alongside PC technical support. Mainly because PC building is easy, but also because it’s interesting to me. A regular sale of just one PC a day would be enough to provide a basic income to allow me to get some proper business premises. There are 60m people living in the UK. Most of them are being conned by buying PCs from PC World, Currys, Comet or whatever. My PCs are so much better quality. The price is roughly the same, sometimes a little cheaper, sometimes a little more, but I have no doubt the components are better than the rubbish PC World, et al put into their computers.

There must be one person in the UK every day who would buy a PC off me. The tricky part is convincing people to trust me. And that’s not easy when you invite them to buy with PayPal.

The perils of business. I’m trying to fend off despair by the fact that I actually had a customer the other day, but I need to generate more to tide me over. To that end I’ve run the classified ad again, and now that the weather is improving my thoughts are turning to getting out there and sticking flyers through letterboxes in this local area. It can’t hurt.

But still I’m waiting for a genuine break. I would have thought by now that something would have turned up via my network of friends and acquaintances. Perhaps they really are as useless as I think they are.