After 3 months of rest, recuperation, holidays, spending money and general enjoyment I am now back working for the NHS. Note the word ‘for’, since I am not actually part of it. I am now an independent contractor working on a project that was left unfinished. I am back with my ex boss and her small team. I am back in the same office, in the same building I left at the end of March. I have re-instated my nhs.net account and hopefully in the next few days I will be able to log onto work computers again. Yesterday I went into the office; it was to say the least surreal.
I used to look at the invoices of contractors and discuss with colleagues that they seemed to earn a lot of money for what they did. I am not sure that the rate I have negotiated is excessive, since I will have to pay my own tax and national insurance, but it is a reasonable amount. I am going to be working 3 days a week for the next few months and hopefully that will put me on a footing for more work in the future.
The building now contains several organisations, where in March there was one. I heard that the staff working in the CCGs are not always pleasant and friendly to those working for the CSU. I heard that already people are leaving, jobs are becoming vacant. I heard that a number of those who were made redundant, are like me, back working. I heard that those working in the CCGs are still trying to work out what exactly they are doing. I guess that is no surprise.
I found yesterday in the office a little claustrophobic. It is 3 months since I sat still for so long, since I sat in such a small office for so long. I think that 3 days will definitely be enough in one place. Mind you I will be out and about a lot, my job is to try to sort out the clinical groups so that they are fit for purpose in the future. I am going to finish off the job we couldn’t do last year and which predictably there currently are insufficient permanent staff to manage.
Still it is nice to be back in the world of work even if I will now have to juggle it around my expanding social life. But, I do still have some bills to pay even if I am now completely debt free!
No one doubts the need for deficit reduction. If I think about the difficult decisions I had to make 5 years ago or so, when I realised that my personal debts meant that my monthly payments to creditors practically outstripped my income. Something had to give, and that something was my credit cards and loans. The experience was painful, and sacrifices were needed. But today I have just a small amount of remaining debt (other than the mortgage and every month I have money to spend. Christmas, which used to be a time to dread has come and gone and I owe no more today than I did last month.
The nation’s debt is thankfully much greater than anything I could conceive personally, but the principles are the same. The causes of this are well written about, but in my opinion not worthy of mention since it can’t help us now. The Government takes an interesting approach to trying to balance the books. Reducing the size of the public sector I can understand; it hurts me to say but a lot of jobs were created and money was wasted. You need to be careful about the ways in which you cut services and with them jobs, it creates uncertainty and fear and leads to risk aversion. More jobs are lost and less created because of this. If jobs and services don’t spring up elsewhere then some of those people become unemployed or else take lower paid, lower status jobs. This in turn means that those who might have taken those jobs are shifted further down the pile. The most vulnerable in society suffer most from this approach.
In turn the Government has taken a look at the growing benefits bill and decided that this can and must be reduced. dependency on the state needs to be reduced (even as someone who believes in the welfare state) I can hardly argue with this desire. But by starting with the most vulnerable in society this Government risks the label so often given to the Tories of the past. It feels nasty to target benefits to disabled children and those with cancer. Especially in a week when Cameron has said that he would like to see the 50% tax rate for those earning £100k to be abolished even though it is bringing plenty of tax revenue into the exchequer.
Tonight the House of Lords has shown it’s worth and voted for changes to the Welfare bill associated with these elements of cuts. It is a shame that they haven’t shown the same approach with the Health and Social Care Bill!
So we have made it to the end of another year. In 7 and a half hours (GMT) it will be 2008, traditionally at this point in the year we look back at what has been achieved and forward to what we might do in the coming 12 months and beyond. For me this always feels kind of scary and exciting all in one. Often we don’t fulfill our expectations, our goals might just have been a bit ambitious and we are left feeling a little deflated. This year though has been quite challenging, but actually has turned out pretty well. A year ago, I didn’t have a proper job as such (having just failed to secure my own job on 18 Dec), I had just faced up to a large amount of debt and generally I was feeling none to positive about the future. A year on, I have a new job (which ok, is not actually the answer to all long term prayers) which I am am enjoying and I today received a debt management statement which says I have paid so far paid £16,000 off of my total debt. Now those two things alone are not to be sniffed at. Mean time we have had 2 wonderful holidays (one paid for by my in laws), our son has grown into the most amazing young man (and passed some GCSEs and looked handsome in his prom pictures) and we still have our wider family around us. Things are not always easy, and only time will tell if we can afford the grand trip to the US that hubby would like for his 50th in October (San Francisco, Las Vegas and Memphis are all in the frame)! I think I might need a part time job, and am now torn between making it something involving nursing or just getting a regular ordinary type part time job to help pay for it. But while I have my health, my family and friends around me, then it can’t be bad.
Happy New Year to all who happen upon this post, because I might tell you some very bizarre phrases bring people here, but that is another topic entirely!!
I wrote last week about my financial difficulties and how it would potentially affect my ability to buy a new car on finance. Well yesterday, I received the news I had feared, the finance company have turned me down. The idea of a new car to replace my existing one was a nice one, but I am forced to wonder if I actually need such a thing. If the current deal resulted in me actually owning my current little car then all would be well, but it doesn’t. I need over £3000 to make this happen. My job is county wide and I am expected firstly to have a car and secondly to use it as part of my job. I do try to plan my diary so that I am not crossing the county too much, but sometimes meetings are set by others and I have little control over where they happen. The choices we faced yesterday evening were that either my husband stands as guarantor for the planned purchase, or that we ask my inlaws for a loan and that I pay them the current car payments until that is paid off (about 15 months) or that I send the car back and buy an old runaround type car. After a pretty sleepless night on my part I have decided on the second option and hubby has phoned his mum to ask. Thankfully she has agreed and so she now knows the shameful truth.
As I have said before, I take full responsibility for the situation I am in. However there are some factors that contributed. I took all the debt myself personally, so that hubby didn’t share it, I was persuaded by banks to borrow more, but then continued to spend in a stupid way. Now I am paying the price. The good thing is that I have paid off a fifth of the debt in just over a year, and will be debt free in just over 4 years. The inability to obtain more credit is I believe a blessing, because who am I kidding, I am still the same person and I can still happily live beyond my means and hubby is great at doing that too if it involves my name on the dotted line. I am not an alcoholic, or a drug addict, but I believe this is a problem along the same lines. I have a problem, but I am trying to take control of it, I just sometimes lose sight of the reality of what needs to be done.
The above is the reason I am struggling to think straight when it comes to normal blog posts. Hopefully normal service will be resumed very soon as I have some quite interesting things going on at work and in the NHS in general right now!