Covid19 caught up with me. Thankfully I’m yet to contract the virus itself, but its claws have taken a grip of my career and smashed it to pieces. No international travel means no international students means no work to do means no job.

For the first time since I was 16 I am now (unwillingly) unemployed. I started 2020 as a second time mum on the brink of returning to work following maternity leave. Both my husband and I were at a crossroads in our respective careers. I wanted out of my job and to pursue something new, but I didn’t realise that it wouldn’t end up being on my own terms.

So what to do next? International education has been decimated, and I was losing my passion for it, so I think, as the dragons say, ‘I’m out’. So higher education? Perhaps. It is all I know and would be the easiest way out of unemployment, but I’m not sure my heart’s in it. A related industry like general education or charitable organisations? The few I’ve applied for and thought ‘I could definitely do that’ have clearly not been as open to transferable skills as I had hoped. Or something completely different. Floristry? Children’s book publishing? Local Government? Something outdoors? Plumbing? The sheer number of options is overwhelming, as is the knowledge that starting again at the bottom would bring significant financial strain.

I want to work. I need to work. Being a mum has taken its toll on my mental health and sense of identity. I need something for me for the sake of my health, my family, and my bank balance.

My 20-month-old daughter is a victim of her older sister’s Elsa obsession, and loves to sing ‘Into the Unknown’ with joyous abandon at the top of her lungs. Consequently it is an inescapable earworm for me. But what better song title to be the soundtrack to my life as I close out this ridiculous year?