Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Bliss Tryst

I strode past my former den of snakebite-fuelled sexual tension and realm of all that is Metal (aka The Beercart) today to enter an establishment both its polar and linear opposite – a recruitment agency. Bear with me, I can already tell you know that this description is not going to be about how useful, kind and helpful its employees were.

Actually, the lovely bouncy girl that took my ID off me to be photocopied was very sweet (with a name like ‘Bliss Pidduck’ how can you be anything but?) and remembered me from the phone call a few days ago when I first had the notion more work + more money make Karen go happy happy joy joy. I perched on the luxurious leather sofa that probably came from the DFS January sale (incidentally, does anyone buy sofas when they’re not in a sale?) and the delightful Bliss asked me what kind of work was it I was looking for exactly. I resisted the urge to tell her all my hopes, dreams and fears and succinctly responded, “Admin...part time...around 30 hours?” “Oh, of course, that was it!” beam, beam...so far I’m loving the personal touch and the pretence of remembering who I am. The country is still in a recession despite what people quoting their 0.000001 percentages may say and I’m sure they’re still fielding calls from hundreds of desperados daily.

Turning her back to me briefly to do whatever needed doing to the copier, she enquired “and why is it you’re only looking for part time?”

I shot a glance to the typist eavesdropping in the corner and stammered something about writing in my spare time. Bounding back with a flourish she cried, “oh yes, couldn’t remember!” That’s probably because we hadn’t actually discussed it before. Over the phone my words were taken at face value, whereas sitting on this sofa (or rather, sinking into) in front of her she probably correctly guesses that I’m not on the cusp of retirement and have things to do in my spare time like spending time with the grandkids and going on cruises, nor do I have the tell-tale baby vom down my top which would indicate motherhood, and unfortunately I’m not that fresh faced anymore to pass for a student.

So what’s my excuse?

I enjoy writing. I enjoy having four day weekends in which to complete housework and do food shopping and see my boyfriend and parents and friends without feeling the stress of cramming it all in. The balance in my life has switched from concentrating my energy into a full time job in which I had no stimulation yet the boredom of which was simultaneously so draining it negatively affected my relationships with loved ones, to a healthy mixture of interesting, demanding work and ample time to make amends for past crankiness. I have just escaped from working full time for over two or so years and although it may not sound much to some it was precisely enough to show me what I didn’t want the rest of my life to be like. At one point I was living at my Dad’s – in my early twenties, (which I understand is becoming the norm but to me it pricked of failure, I was meant to be self-sufficient by that age; I had been brought up hearing tales of how my Mum had to make her own way at the age of 16 and had her own flat and job fairly sharpish after receiving this news). I was commuting for an hour each way on a bus shying away from vicious, slutty schoolchildren and the guys eyeing them up, the drooling cat lady, the professional who brought his electric razor with him and would think nothing of having a quick trim whilst standing in the aisle. I had to spend parts of my early paycheques clobbering together smart work attire to sit there out of the public eye for 95% of the time (source: Recession Percentage Person) and when I moved out and rented privately I had to suck on the sad fact that my partner on benefits wielded more spending power than I, after taking into account my outgoings on necessities.

I think the reason I keep getting peeved at these incredulous “part time?!!!” enquiries is because I do feel a lot of guilt for not wanting to devote so much time and energy to a full time job. I think this was because I was brought up to believe a job wasn’t a job unless you hated it, but you did it anyway, no questions asked. I’m trying to convince myself these days to more firmly believe in the adage that insists once you’ve found the job you love, you won’t label it “work” or “job” because it won’t seem like either of those terms if you’re enjoying it.

At the moment I don’t have kiddiewinks, I don’t have a mortgage to pay off, I don’t have expensive taste in clothes, food and nights out, so I’m going to relax for a while and Bliss Pidduck can like it or lump it.