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Posts Tagged ‘work’

Dead Man Walking

Summoned into the inner sanctum today, and given a week’s notice (or so it felt, anyway). The fact that it was phrased conditionally (‘if things stay as they are, we will be forced to…’) cut very little ice with me – I get the impression they regard any possible improvement in the situation as Second Conditional territory rather than First. (As you will have noticed, if I indeed have only seven days left of dealing with the technicalities of English grammar on a professional basis, then I’m going to make damn certain I make the most of them.)

Minds have been made up, I think – or at least the only mind that matters, which is the DoS’s. In the circumstances it’s very difficult to feel any kind of motivation whatsoever, but some small spark of pride and self-respect still lingers. (Wondered what that itch was.)

At least my landlady is okay with me staying on once the axe comes down (she’s less keen on my inadvertantly enabling her grandchildren to run out into the road, but you can’t please everyone all of the time). Worked out that I can hang on here for round about £15 a day – though of course that would mean eating at Burger King rather than GBK and putting the current army projects to sleep. That’s really the least of it, of course, but it’s probably in poor taste to hold the wake before the patient dies. This last week has been, hmm, certainly one of the three or four worst of my life, and it feels like it’s gone on forever. Next week will, I suspect, be about the same. In the circumstances I really can’t decide if I want it to fly by or not.

 

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Modern Hermitry

Currently getting exceptionally bad vibes on the job front – well, it seems that way to me, it’s difficult to be really objective about vibes, isn’t it? Should the worst happen – which, if we raise our eyes to consider the next few months until the new year, seems to me to be at least a fifty-fifty possibility – the question inevitably rises of What Next.

I could, I suppose, go back to flogging myself around the third world on short-term contracts for most of the year, in the hope that at some unspecified future point in time this will have prepared me for an ongoing career in the UK. But my taste for this kind of life – for unreliable electricity, rats in the bathroom, limited access to films and TV I can understand, reading almost unreadable books simply because they’re the only thing available in English, never being able to blend into the crowd – has been sated for the time being. Maybe in the future I will want to travel again. But not now.

I also really need to start thinking longer-term. I simply don’t want to spend the rest of my life living abroad, and I need to consider what I’m going to do when I do come back here absolutely permanently to live and work. Basically, if I can’t hold down this current job, there seems to be no guarantee that I’ll be able hold down any job in this field in the UK. (I may be overreacting, but once again it’s hard to know for sure.) Working here and working abroad are superficially similar, but very different in practice. Doing one can’t really prepare you for the other – if I can’t do it now, I may never be able to.

I suppose there is just a chance that I could find another job at a school round here, but I’m doubtful – as we head deeper into Autumn and Winter, places will be struggling more and more to find work for the people already under contract, not looking to take on new bodies – and there also seems to me to be a possibility that the current job will be the kind you can’t put on your CV due to the manner of its ending, and not really be an option for references for the same reason. You can’t have too many big CV gaps, and I have a few already. I don’t have it in me to bail out on a job I’m under contract for – not without enormous provocation, anyway

So I need to consider other options. Basically, being almost totally unqualified and unmotivated to do any other realistic job, it looks like temping will sing its siren song once more. I did promise myself that I would never work in an office again, but I’ve broken more important promises than that, as I’m sure my ex-wife would be happy to confirm. At least when you break a promise to yourself the injured party is likely to be understanding. Data will always need entering, post will need delivering, envelopes will need licking, and files will need… er… filing.

I think I was a good office zombie. I was punctual, and conscientious, and reliable. The fact that the whole experience left me feeling hollow and listless and desperately unfulfilled and bored very nearly to the point of despair is, in current circumstances, just one of those things I’m going to have to take a deep breath and suck in. There is of course the fact that I’m ten years older than the last time I did any temping, but I can’t imagine that will matter too much. The ongoing economic cataclysm may be more of an issue, but there’s not much I can do about that. Looking on the bright side, my current situation could be worse – my accommodation is very reasonably priced and fairly well situated in terms of getting into town, and the generosity of recently-deceased friends and family means that I will have work quite exceptionally hard on my stupidity if I want to get into debt.

But the fact remains that this isn’t the person I want to be, nor a person I could be proud of being – not with a social circle of PhDs and academic directors and professors and various bright young things, anyway. (I think ‘successful people’ covers it, at the risk of hitting the self-pity pedal too visibly and hard.) So I think that will have to go as well.

Modern life being as it is, establishing oneself as a modern hermit at least doesn’t require one to sit up a pillar in the desert living off locusts and roots. Simply deleting one’s facebook account should do the trick pretty well. I don’t have much of a social life currently as it is and so packing it up will really be a question of intent rather than a change of practice. I expect there will be a degree of ignoring emails and text messages required for a while – or at least some polite declining of requests to go out – but I forsee no real difficulties there should this whole situation come to pass.

I expect I will keep this site going though – ‘quacking into the void’, as Mr King described the situation of the unread writer. The fact remains that even through the darkest depths of my previous period of office zombiedom, sitting down and writing something once or twice a week was nearly always guaranteed to keep me on the level. I don’t want to make myself needlessly unhappy, after all, and I know myself much too well to ignore the fact that severe depression and obsessive behaviours of various unpleasant varieties tend to be the inevitable result if I’m left to my own devices with nothing better to do. I may be contemplating torching the only half-decent career I’ve ever had and turning my back on what approximates a social life, but I’ve got to stay sane, haven’t I?

And you never know – I may even cling onto this job after all.

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