I have been unemployed now since the 24th September 2012 and obviously this has had an impact on my wargaming. Despite the fact that seeking new employment is almost a full time job in itself you could be forgiven for thinking that I must have a lot of time on my hands in which to tackle the various projects I have set myself. To a certain extent this is true - but only in that I am able to get to my hobby earlier in the day and without the hassle of the commute home beforehand. Of course, aside from the continual and ongoing job search - usually involving at least half a day on the internet, copious numbers of emails and phone calls and the endless waiting on responses - there are also a number of domestic chores to be attended to as well as a myriad of DIY tasks. Thus far I have been able to get a number of decorating tasks tackled and once the weather improves will be able to move outside for some other odd jobs around the home. Fitting this kind of task in around the working week (when I am working that is!) is usually not a great idea for me as I seem to have enough to do at weekend without spending most of it up a ladder and so being at home is a definite advantage in this respect.
As far as my wargaming is concerned it is fairly safe to say that having access to this great hobby of ours has certainly kept me sane during some of my more trying recruitment episodes. The actual hobby itself though requires regular servicing or care and maintenance which usually involves spending money. This is where the problems start because obviously being on a limited income such things as new figures, models, rules etc have to drop down the priority list. The odd tin of paint or two is not a problem but how do you service anything bigger? Well, my solution has been to look very long and very hard at what my collection is all about and what exactly it is I want to spend time gaming and how. The end result of this is that I have pared my collection back in order to finance the current project line. This cannot go on indefinitely though and so I have really thought about that which I want to do and that which I actually will do - and there is quite a big difference! I have removed all traces from the collection of those periods that 'seemed like a good idea at the time' and with the proceeds raised have been able to bolster the new projects. I have also been truly fortunate in that several of my wargaming circle have very kindly donated excess 'toys' to me - for which mere words cannot begin to express my appreciation - all of which helps maintain the 'ooh shiny' feeling.
I have managed to acquire most of that which I will need for the WW2 Middle Eastern project (at least the German and Russian part) and this weekend should see the last bits and pieces in place when I visit Skirmish in Sidcup on Sunday. I have the Stonewall WW1 1:2400th scale ship order to prepare once it arrives but at this stage do not need to spend any further money on the fleets. This will need attention in due course (the words 'battle cruisers' is etched across my fevered brow) but will more than suffice for the present. I also have a number of building projects to consider involving balsa wood which received a welcome boost this morning from a family friend who is donating a great bag full of the stuff that he no longer uses to me. Between these three projects alone I have more than enough to keep me occupied for the foreseeable future and when you factor in the Angels 20 aircraft my hobby cup is truly running over.
There are of course some big purchases that I would like to make but cannot consider until my employment situation is resolved and the finances are more readily available. The biggest single expense will be Hexon as I want to add to my collection the desert transition set for use in the Middle East. I can wait for this though as the armies have yet to be assembled in any event.
Being unemployed is a frustrating and morale draining experience and so keeping one's spirits up when searching for work is essential. By taking a long hard look at what I want to do and how I want to do it may have been forced on me by necessity to an extent but I am really glad that I have had to do it. I have trimmed much wargaming fat from my collection (most of which has been in the form of books) which has helped the new projects hugely and more importantly, has given me the funds to enjoy that all important 'ooh shiny' factor when visiting some of the shows.
I am also very pleased (actually, relieved is probably a better description!) with the fact that I was able to make as much progress with the block armies as I have done because by using them it has enabled me to tackle a huge variety of historical periods at little or no cost. Using the same blocks to fight battles from the Seven Years War to WW2 has been a lot of fun and if push came to shove I could probably get away with not needing to use figures or models for my gaming needs (I can almost hear te pitchforks being sharpened and the stake being readied....) at all - but where's the fun in that?
In closing, I can safely say that being unemployed is not a lot of fun, but by taking a positive from the experience it has served to focus my interests in a way that perhaps I might not have done had I been gainfully employed.