Thursday, April 24, 2014

hard work (yes, I am)

I'm writing this post from work (on my break, not on the company time!) and I'm actually having quite a nice day here, subtitling the grand final of Mastermind.  I would now class myself as something of an expert (ha!) on the Italian Front in WWI, the poetry of Philip Larkin and the first 50 years of French cinema, or I would if I thought any of the facts I've painstakingly researched would stay in my mind for any length of time.  Nope, they've gone.  All I remember is that Philip Larkin's pseudonym for illicit liaisons was Mr Crane, while his pseudonym for poetic purposes was Brunette something-or-other.

I feel mixed emotions about work these days, or always have.  Toads by Philip Larkin (a poem I didn't know before today) sums up my general feelings quite nicely, I think, but I'm sure most of us have had these thoughts.

Why should I let the toad work
Squat on my life?
Can't I use my wit as a pitchfork
And drive the brute off?

Six days of the week it soils
With its sickening poison -
Just for paying a few bills!
That's out of proportion.

Lots of folk live on their wits:
Lecturers, lispers,
Losels, loblolly-men, louts-
They don't end as paupers;

Lots of folk live up lanes
With fires in a bucket,
Eat windfalls and tinned sardines-
they seem to like it.

Their nippers have got bare feet,
Their unspeakable wives
Are skinny as whippets - and yet
No one actually starves.

Ah, were I courageous enough
To shout Stuff your pension!
But I know, all too well, that's the stuff
That dreams are made on:

For something sufficiently toad-like
Squats in me, too;
Its hunkers are heavy as hard luck,
And cold as snow,

And will never allow me to blarney
My way of getting
The fame and the girl and the money
All at one sitting.

I don't say, one bodies the other
One's spiritual truth;
But I do say it's hard to lose either,
When you have both.

I've never really placed too high a value on work or money.  I could certainly be doing a more highly paid job or a more demanding job.  I actively chose the lifestyle I have - a reasonably interesting job that I never have to take home with me, limited stress and limited challenge for a reasonable wage packet.  I have had itchy feet lately, though.  You'd think becoming a mum would make an easy job that ticks over in the background even more desirable, but I think not having the time to pursue anything other than mothering outside of work has left me wishing for a job that ticked more boxes and gave me the sense of personal achievement/progress that I'm lacking elsewhere.  Recently, I found a job that sounded great, one of those ones where you read the job description and think, "That's me!"  I even got in touch with the company and set myself up as their dream candidate.  I had a really good feeling about it, but in the end I didn't apply.  It was a temporary position and I just didn't feel I could run the risk of leaving my permanent job for it, especially since my work are so accepting of my health issues etc, but I know I would never get a permanent contract elsewhere if I had absences like I had last year.  Also, I just wasn't sure I had the energy (or confidence) to set out on my own again and start from scratch.  Am I settled here?  Shudder!  Settled can be good, I know, but I can't help hearing the undertone of "stuck in a rut" in this case.
Gosh, I'm exhausted at the moment. Actually, exhausted doesn't even come close. The physical weight of a hug is too much to bear (I vont to be alone!) and sometimes I don't even have the energy to hold my light-as-a-feather mobile phone to my ear, for example. I'm wondering whether I can sustain the hours I'm doing, whether I can afford to reduce them, whether I can admit a small defeat without feeling like it's the beginning of the end. On the other hand, being engrossed in something at work is the only time (other than while asleep) that I don't tend to think scary/depressing thoughts, so maybe being here is the best place for me.  Or maybe a more challenging job would have an even greater distraction potential, perhaps its distraction would even bleed out of office hours.  But I don't think I'll ever have the energy again to take a risk and try a different approach.

Toads...  Huh!  I think I need a plan of action.


  1. Urgh! I know a lot about tricky life situations ;) I find the best thing to do is to write it all down (everything even if it's really shitty/depressing) and just get it all out there. You'd be surprised that going back to it in a week/month/however long how much has changed and how so much is no longer valid/important. Worth a go :)

    1. Yeah, maybe. I think my job concerns are a bit of a blip (hopefully) at least, because I do know I've got it good really and ultimately I did CHOOSE the low-stress option and I chose it for a reason, because I tried the high-stress option and it made me properly miserable. That other job was just so tempting, but maybe that company will advertise for a permanent staff member some day, you never know, and maybe I'll have the energy to apply/try something new when they do.

  2. I can really relate to your thoughts about your job, I similarly would like a more creative job as well. I left a second job a few months ago and even though money is tight I feel much better in my head as that other job had the manager from hell and now I am finally free! But I constantly wish I could find a different path, good luck to you and your future plans. Don't put pressure on yourself or feel down about it, it will all work out for the best in your own time, safxxx


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