Today would have been my last day at work but because I took time off to attend Silas’ funeral, I felt I had to make up the time by going in on Monday. As a consolation, it is Omelette Day and the eve of the weekend.
I was looking forward to my last day, imagining that, though the work was as boring as ever, I would be buoyed up knowing that I was reaching the end of the tunnel and was about to burst out into the light of freedom. I shall have to wait a few more days to see that come true.
In the meantime, I have been thinking over the experience and wondering whether I have gained anything from it, apart from the money, of course. Because of the negative feelings I have towards the work, it is very tempting to see nothing good in the job at all. I have to struggle to discover something positive.
Thinking hard, I could say that the working conditions are fairly pleasant. The office is well lit and warm. In fact, it is perhaps too warm at 25 deg Centigrade and I tend to become sleepy in the afternoon. There is a drinks machine and no limit on how often you may use it. Apart from drinking to avoid dehydration, a stroll to the drinks machine can be a welcome break and a chance to wake up.
The downside of the office is that the regular staff have hardly taken us to their hearts. If spoken to directly, they smile and reply politely, but at other times they neither speak nor make eye contact. I find this annoying and slightly unnerving, wondering if they resent us for some reason. It is one more reason to be glad when the job comes to an end.
On a more positive note, I feel more vigorous. I don’t know why this should be because I am sitting down all day and the tube journey there and back is no more than I do anyway, going in to meet Tigger from work. Yet, three evenings in a row, I have walked up the long escalator at Angel, something I wouldn’t have thought of doing when the job started. I admit that this is motivated less by an excess of energy than by impatience to get home but it surprises me nonetheless.
The job has reminded me of what it is like to be a worker – not the most enjoyable of states of being in a city like London. Travelling on the tube in the rush hour appalled me the first few times but I got used to it. I also discovered that minutes can make a difference to how crowded the train is. At 9 am it is so packed that you are pressed against other people; at 9:10 am you already have a little personal space, possibly even enough to read a book or newspaper. Since I started travelling at that later time, I have even been able to get a seat after a couple of stops.
I have also discovered that even if I hate the job, I can still do it. I can still get into “work mode” and act like an employee. In the long term that would be depressing but in the short term it amuses me. I am back to my familiar state of pretending to be something or other.
So, would I do this job again if the opportunity presented itself? Definitely not. These 4 weeks have been more than enough. I might accept a more interesting job for the same money or more, always provided it was strictly temporary or that I could quit at short notice if I became fed up with it. Before, I was dead set against working at all, but now I am less dogmatic. I would take another temporary job as long as the conditions were right. I suppose that’s a kind of progress.