Tuesday, April 19, 2005

What a way to make a living

When I think back, it seems to me that I may well have had the most chequered employment history this side of Keanu Reeves (is there ANYTHING he won’t appear in? Does he have conversations with his agent that go along the lines of “look, Keanu, it’s a little different than anything you’ve done before. You’ll be playing a priest with a history of serial murder and porn film distribution, who’s now set up an orphanage and is trying to stop a major Columbian drug cartel from buying the building and turning it into a training school for teenage assassins….that ok?”. …. "Uh, sure. Can I just sort of look blank and deliver my lines with all the emotion of a coffee table? Cool.”). Anyway, back to me. I left school at 16, having realised that I was just too lazy to even contemplate doing my A levels. My first job was with a firm of accountants. It was very provincial indeed……we used to have to wait until bang on 5pm to tidy our desks, and weren’t allowed to leave until one of the partners said it was ok. Realising that it was sort of like school, and also that regrettably I wasn’t very good at sums (I got sent on a course in London and got 3% on my test paper at the end of it. Not a very auspicious start.), the firm and I decided to part company . I then embarked on ten years or so of varying and sometimes seemingly pointless jobs. I joined employment agencies on a couple of occasions over the years, and was sent on any number of hilariously menial assignments. I’ve worked in a jam factory, where the evil bitch of a supervisor sent me off to the anchovy paste department…..mmmmmm. I’ve plucked turkeys, graded potatoes (standing on the back of a tractor, chugging up and down a field throwing mangled toads and rotten potatoes at the other slaves), packed university prospectuses (that one was particularly galling – if I’d been bothered to study I’d have been at university by then; instead I was in a warehouse on an industrial estate in rural essex, packing these brochures in the company of other dropouts, the socially disadvantaged, and in at least one case the criminally insane), and bent bits of plastic to make display cases. I spent ten weeks working for a joinery firm, putting together display cases for video game consoles in the company of some of the biggest potheads I’ve ever met. We spent most of our days giggling like drains and eating many, many biscuits. I got trapped behind a load of glass unit doors as I was so stoned that I stood in an alcove and counted them towards me – who knew that twenty solid glazed cabinet doors would be so heavy, or could cut off that much oxygen? I spent two years working in the madhouse that was the Benefits Agency in a VERY rough Essex town – we were advised not to put our real names on our name badges, as in the past people who had had their claims turned down had traced the staff member through the phone book, and burned their house down……I’ve also been a motorcycle courier in London – that one was vastly entertaining in a dicing-with-death-on-a-daily-basis sort of way, and worked as a barmaid in a fabulously rough biker pub. Now I find myself in a fairly responsible position in a slightly respected (among the old and mentally infirm) travel company, and I’m really not sure how I got here. I live with a constant fear that one day I’ll be found out….particularly after a few days off. Instead of enjoying my time away I live with a constant low-grade paranoia that in my absence my boss or the IT department will have trawled my PC and found all those emails giggling about the boss’s frankly ludicrous hair or whether or not our suspicions about one of the managers having been a hooker at some point are ever going to be proved right. I suspect I’m not alone in that “I’m not qualified/motivated/sane enough to have this job” feeling – how many of us are coasting along, doing the bare minimum and funding our weekend beer habit, while constantly worrying that on some not-too-distant Monday morning we’re going to find the contents of our desks in a cardboard box on Reception, along with a threatening letter from the IT director about all those chain emails and pictures of naked fat people we’ve happily spent our days forwarding.

Well, that wasted half an hour. Surreptitious surfing for pictures of funny roadsigns, anyone?

By the way, and for reasons I'd like to keep private, have I mentioned that www.jasonmulgrew.com and it's mirror site www.everythingiswrongwithme.blogspot.com are a marvellous read? Well, I have now. Jason, you sad, sweaty,hopeless, hairy born-again virgin, I hope you can live with yourself.


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