J. O. B.

These boots were made for driving

People say ‘job’ like it’s a dirty word. Career is deemed acceptable but job… Oh, well that demonstrates a lack of ambition/aspiration… Or even a selling out… A whoring of your soul…

People say a lot of things and people who say such things are on the whole dicks…

Around 2 years ago, I decided it was time to get a job. Having been self-employed for the previous 6 years, this felt in part to be giving up on my dreams (even though I wasn’t entirely sure what those dreams were…). All I knew was that I couldn’t go on as I was, scratching around for income, taking on gigs I knew would suck just a little more joy from my soul and drip in a little more loathing for the cesspit of humanity out there… Busting a gut, giving it all, to people who think that being self-employed isn’t real work as you get to do what you love all day with no boss… Emails offering exposure in lieu of payment… Emails wanting freebies or knockdown prices… Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’ve got canned responses to all of that nonsense. The tipping point got nearer via emails from my agent demanding refunds for bogus complaints. The actual tipping point when a very happy on the day Hen decided nearly a week later to bombard me with texts and messages to contact her… Her complaint? I wasn’t psychic enough! I drilled down into it, getting her to expand and enlighten me… Until I said OK… Let me just recap what you’ve told me. I’m a nice lady, everything I told you was accurate even though I’ve never met you? I don’t get it? What’s the issue?

She spoke again… I felt my body trembling and building to blow… What? You’re upset because I was right? What did you want me to do? Just make up random fairy stories?!

Ah… Yes, yes she did… She confirmed that she would have much preferred me to lie to her…

It’s all a bit of a blur after that, I know I dragged out her soul, shredded it, reduced her to tears, schooled her, picked her back up, dusted her off and ended with her laughing, dropping the complaint and thanking me for the lesson…

I was angry. Not with her… With me! With me… Because fleetingly before the remorse kicked in, it felt good… A little too good…

No! Stop! Time to leave the game…

I sat for about 2 months… What was I going to do? What would make me REALLY happy? I made a list…

Driving a big new car…

Listening to music…

Having all day to play with crayons… Or just maybe stare out of the window…

Hmmm… But how the hell would I get paid? Who’s going to pay me to daydream and sing all day…

The Google Oracle eventually called to me, I saw the words:

– Can you drive? Tick!

– Have you got a big smile? Tick!

– Willingness to work? Tick!

An impromptu application fired off, followed by making a complete clown of myself in an interview and soon I’m in a J. O. B. allocated a flash motor, fitted with DAB radio and the bulk of my day to myself everyday…

It’s a special kind of magic to apply for part-time work, wangle full-time hours, and bag a work/life balance where most people don’t realise I have a job…

But more pivotal for me, was that the J. O. B. came with a very lengthy contract… Speaking to other staff, I may be the only person who has read it, but I take such matters seriously. Buried away in the voluminous pages was a line that said I would be under contract to look after my health and be fit for task.

That sparked my brain… Time to get proper routines… to eat breakfast… To eat breakfast as a meal in celebration of the start of a new day… The self care began in earnest. I was exempt from uniform, though I bought work clothes. Fabric doesn’t necessarily tell you who I am, but it focuses my frame of mind… Though my sensible clothes have lapsed into wearing whatever floats my boat… Leather boots and now in lockdown, my cowboy hat because hey embracing eccentricity is bang on trend…

Then other things started to happen… Saying ‘no’… Nope… Nope… Nope… Nope to anything that didn’t elicit an immediate yes! If I have to pause and consider it for more than a nanosecond then it’s probably because I don’t want to do it!

The J. O. B. has been very healthy in establishing the nope. It’s a job where you have a clear defined role and anything beyond remit is always tendered as a verbal request with a preface of – Just say No, if you don’t want to do it. I rarely say no but the times I do, it’s fully respected.

The J. O. B. It is just what the Doctor ordered.

Occasionally people say to me that they couldn’t do my job because it is so boring…

I smile to myself and think that there’s no such thing as a boring job, only boring minds but I mind my manners and tell them, that’s OK, it’s my job and I can do mine and you can do yours.

Often people complain about long hours and low pay… I just laugh and think about how now I’ve quartered my hours and quadrupled my income… Then I suggest that they maybe avoid self-employment…

The J. O. B. It’s the commute out of and back into my lounge so I can get down to my real work, without the worry of wondering if the bills will get paid…

I get paid to play all day and the best bit is that my colleagues think I work hard at the job… When I started, I was just the driver, now they call me confidant, counsellor, joker, agony aunt, Mom, DJ, storyteller, mimic, happiness, babe, mystic, sunshine… Sometimes they say they only come to work to see me… We all know that’s a lie but I’ll let that slide…

When lockdown started and they proposed 3 weeks, I weary sighed… Oh, that’s not long enough… I’ll never get through all my unread books in that short time… Then I thought fuck it! ALL I’m going to do is go to the job, sleep, eat, repeat… I will not get sucked into starting any new projects. I’ve been sleep deficient since 1992! Surely a woman can have a nap?

You know what happens when you give yourself permission to do nothing… When you take the pressure off of yourself to achieve…?

You catch up on your sleep in a couple of days… And then before you know it… Mojo is moving… And more importantly being enamoured with humanity is restored!

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