It was the final straw that broke the camel's back.
I'd applied to loads of jobs. All had been carefully selected - I'd made certain that I was well qualified for each and every one:
Research assistant in Southampton
Research officer/editor in Oxford
Assistant tutor Open University
Researcher - Oxford
Part-time proof reader Thompson Local
Receptionist for student services at the Art college in Farnham
Any job: Surrey University
Any Job: Hampshire County Council
the list went on...
Result? The recycling bin every time. I wasn't even called to interview, not once.
Discouraged, but not defeated, I saw an ad for an exam invigilator at my local sixth form college and applied. Though it offered no real prospects, it would place me in an academic environment and would give me a small but steady income while I could continue my freelancing. I had a good chance of getting it; I'd done invigilating before and one of my referees actually worked there. If I didn't get that job, I thought, I'd never get any job.
We had a strong response to our advertisement for this post and the level of application was very high. We regret to inform you that in this instance you were not successful....(or words to that effect).
I was almost apoplectic. If I'd been a cartoon, steam would have been whistling out of my ears, my eyes would be popping on stalks, my face would have turned puce (actually it really might have done), my head would have spun round faster and faster until it finally exploded into many itsy bits.
For goodness sakes - what on earth would it take for me just to get a poxy job? Enough was enough: the line had been firmly drawn in the sand, the gauntlet had been thrown down and I was mad as hell.
To add insult to injury, my other resolutions had taken a nosedive too - despite what I thought were my very best efforts. My attempt to find some way of using my research data had reached a cul de sac and my weightloss/exercise progamme had stalled irrevocably and my attempts at journalism were proving fruitless. The final nail in the coffin was when I had to decide what to wear for my in-laws' Golden Wedding anniversary. I tried on garment after garment only to cast them off, rejected, on my bed. Despite my increasingly vigorous exercise regime, I had become so massive, so voluminous, that nothing - but nothing - would fit my marshmallow of a body anymore. Not even those black satin trousers that had been WAY too big for me only a year or so ago.
I was both outraged and despondent at the same time. For days on end, I railed bitterly against the injustice of it all to my friends, family, associates, neighbours, fellow forumites - anyone in fact. And I successfuly bored the pants off everybody. Some commiserated, some pointed out the positives, others effectively told me to get a grip and stop complaining.
But two people actually offered me what turned out to be a way out. One sent me a Weight Watchers book and the other gave me a lead for an article idea on my experience in the job market. My fortunes were finally about to change.