Thursday, July 11, 2013

what good is work?

I suppose, with a title like that, that I should preface this post with a disclaimer.  I need to work as it gives us 50% of the money we need to live on.  So that is really what good work is, but please ignore that indisputable fact and allow me to ramble on as if this really is a point worth debating.  Not that you should expect any kind of debate here.  It's taken me approximately three weeks to write this paragraph, so I think I may have lost the thread before I've even begun.

Basically, I am not getting any satisfaction from my job any more.  I don't know why this would be.  It's never been the most challenging or rewarding of positions, but after my nightmare time as a teacher, I thought I was happy that I had a job where I took no work, stress or worries home with me at the end of the shift.  I think I thought I'd appreciate that even more once I had a baby, thinking I'd see work as a separate part of my life.  Instead, my feelings have gone totally the other way and my time at work leaves me feeling unfulfilled and like I'm frittering my life away/wasting any talents I might have, though God only knows what those talents actually are.

Maybe it's to do with the hours I work.  Currently I do evenings and weekends while Graham works Monday to Friday, so you can imagine our family life is pretty much null and void.  Thankfully, this is a temporary arrangement (2.5 months to go!) but it's been a long year of snatched meetings on lunch breaks etc.  This means that pretty much all my non-working hours are spent without adult company (most other adults tend to work the old Monday to Friday regime too) and I had hoped that work would provide me with a semi social life, I suppose, people to chat to now and again, but this hasn't generally been the case.  My office went through quite a few changes while I was off on maternity leave and became a much less sociable environment, with everyone working from their own little box.  For some reason, since the office layout changed, nobody even seems to sit in the kitchen on their breaks any more either.  And, again, I work quite strange hours, so the office tends to be a bit quieter.  Don't get me wrong, it is great to have a change of pace from baby life, where I can sit down, read books on my lunch break, drink the occasional cup of coffee or check my emails without having to watch half an episode of Peppa Pig first.  I just wish there were more people to chat to now and again.  I feel like I spend more than enough time with my own thoughts as it is.  A couple of weeks ago, I did a ten-hour shift where I literally did not say a single word to another human being.  That 's just wrong, isn't it?  Thankfully, I had the spider in the picture at the top of this post for company of sorts!  And how sad that I spent my break photographing it for entertainment...!

The job itself (like most jobs, I guess) is also changing and becoming much more target driven.  We are constantly getting new software that makes our jobs easier and therefore, in theory, allows us to work faster.  I totally understand why this has to be the case, but it means that the side of the job I genuinely liked, the vaguely creative side of language and editing, is slowly being removed.  I'm starting to feel more and more that what I do is getting closer to data entry and that's not what I want to do with my life.  At one time I had a brain and used it.  I want to do that again.  I think...

But what else could I do?  I don't know what sort of job would make me happy and even if I did know, it would probably be the sort of job that would be mega competitive to land and I doubt my years of data entry and baby-having would stand me in good stead against the twenty-somethings with their internships and social media connections.  Plus I know I've got it so good where I am in terms of my company's flexibility and understanding related to my health and my motherly status.  I don't think there would be many employers who would let me dictate my own hours to the extent that my job does.  Maybe it's worth being thoroughly bored and having my soul destroyed in order to achieve/maintain that.

I definitely don't want to return to teaching (not that there are any vacancies in the area anyway) but I do miss some things about it, i.e. the actual teaching.  It was really all the other stuff (parents, inspectors, discipline, paperwork, protocol) that made me hate it, so I was thinking about looking for jobs with charities that work with people with dyslexia, for instance, so I could use my skills and get a sense of worth/achievement without going back into the school environment that nearly broke me.  I haven't found any vacancies so far and, to be honest, I'm not sure that the pay or the hours (mostly the hours) would really suit my life circumstances at the moment/for the foreseeable future.  I'm also not sure that's definitely the sort of thing I'd like to do.

What can I do?  I want a job with flexible hours, great bosses, half-decent wages, nice colleagues, a sense of worth/achievement with none of the related stress, and all of this in a place that I can get to easily via public transport without having to move house.  Hey, don't we all?  I think that is the problem.  Maybe I'd feel differently about work if I could get some sense of achievement from another area of my life, but where and when and how and with what energy?

Well, if anyone reading this wants to offer me a position, bring it on.  I have more qualifications than I know what to do with, limited life/work experience and a general lack of skills and self-confidence.  I'll also have to take plenty of time off to hang out at hospital and most of the time I'll turn up brain dead after a tough day/night of toddler-wrangling.  Yeah, I think I'll be staying where I am.

And if my whinging hasn't put you off at all and you think I just don't know what side my bread's buttered on, my company are actually hiring at the moment!  Just don't mention what I said about data entry in your application...


  1. My guess is that you will be much happier with the whole situation once you are back to working in the daytime. More colleagues to talk to during the day, and afternoons/evenings as a family. Then perhaps you might even find the time/energy to be creative once in a while - definitely good for one's mental health... :)

    1. Thanks, Hilde. I think you might be right. Here's hoping! :)

  2. Hi Laura,
    Don't worry your not alone, I think so many people feel similarly about there jobs to, me included! I am today debating whether to leave one of the jobs I currently do (I have two) as I'm not happy there, so I know how you are feeling, hope it improves for you, Safxxx

    1. Thanks, Saf

      I know everyone at my work certainly feels the same at the moment! It's quite a scary thought to leave a job these days. Good luck! x


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