Fear and Loathing of Follow Through Farts

The funny thing about work is how backstabby it can be. Many of the people I’ve worked with, when I first met them, their first move was to have a whinge about a colleague. The first thing I think when someone does that is “Whoa! This person’s brain must be the size of a teacup!” Then I think “Guaranteed, this person will be bitching about me eventually. If not in the very next conversation they have with someone else who would also prefer to gossip instead of doing what they’re paid to.” Then I think “This is fucking boring.”

I once witnessed a blow up between someone I worked near, but not closely with and another I worked not near, but more closely with. Directly after their argument the latter engaged me in trying to criticise the former. I interrupted him by rhetorically saying “We’re having a good day aren’t we?” Which didn’t really make sense, but I just wanted to shut the miserable bastard up before I had to hear another word of his hissy fit. Obviously I understand his political reasons for not wanting to go to the boss(eseseseseses) about it (assuming he didn’t), but I’m not sure what he expected me to do about someone I avoided dealing with as often as possible because of his barely restrained anger problems.

It’s shit, really. And I mean almost literally. The bosses dump it on each other down the chain of command. Colleagues throw it back and forth between each other. Subordinates throw it back up to their boss, but only through people they’re sure will hold on to the shit and not pass it on. The floors are thick with it. The roof is dripping with it. The walls are smeared with it like reeking brown adult-sized finger paintings. It’s all over every employee to varying degrees, and you can see it weighing down those excessively burdened with it. While some so afflicted carry it with a smile of masochistic pride.

And it stinks. So badly I can’t help but unwillingly mingle my regurgitation with it.

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Unemployment Reflection

If it’s so important that I work, why is it so difficult to gain work?  This is the question that featured most prominently in my mind while unemployed, and it remains prominent even now since I’ve gained full time work.  It also feels difficult to keep a job – however simple the job.  And mine’s bloody simple.  I’m now doing menial work, in a blue-collar environment, 45 minutes away from home.  Ironically, I might lose the job as a result of writing this blog post because it’s now 10.44pm and I have to be up at 6am to get ready.  I’m having trouble sleeping because I was chastised by my big boss and his second in charge (I have about five bosses) this morning over what I will refer to only as a trifle.  My big boss referred to it as a problem with communication, which is ironic as when I first went to see him after being told to by my fifth-ranked boss, he didn’t know why I was seeing him until I sought his second in charge.  Confused?  I still kind of am.  Communication problems, indeed.

Photo by my brother

Photo by my brother

Back to the question.  I still have no answer for why work is so important yet so difficult to gain.  Perhaps all important things are (difficult to gain).  I sent somewhere between 100 and 200 job applications while un and under-employed.  Too many people told me during that time and since that I should have been more proactive.  I should have gotten out there face-to-face with employers, and called them again and again after applying.  But why?  If I’ve made the effort to register my interest in working for them, most often without them having even advertised a position, then haven’t I made things easy for them?  It seemed to me that by simply emailing them my resume and cover letter, from that point on, the ball was in their court.  And if I was to hassle them repeatedly for work then, to continue the tennis analogy, all I’d really be achieving was running over to their side of the court and hitting the ball back to myself.  A waste of their valuable, and my much less (or so it felt) valuable, time.

I gained my current job through my employment provider, which is a non-government organisation nonetheless employed by the government (Centrelink) to assist people to find work.  But I was with them for about two years.  Two years of monthly then fortnightly meetings which seemed to achieve little but babysitting of my efforts to look for work.  I yearned to ask them: “Why, if there are jobs available, are you not, as an apparent ‘job provider’ at least putting me forward for positions – if not gaining me interviews?”  But I never did.  I just went through the motions.  Negotiating the bureaucracy with long-forgotten purposes that reminded me a lot of working for a large supermarket chain a few years ago.  Until all of a sudden a new consultant had an interview for me.  Then the interview turned into a job.  Then with about the equivalent of a day at high school’s training, I was working my mind-numbing yet twice as lucrative as the dole job.  I worked two other casual jobs while under consultation by a job provider – neither of which they assisted me to get in any way.

It angers me that people put down on the unemployed or lowly-employed.  I recently went to a social function at which someone I normally respect for his empathy asked me what I’d been up to.  I replied: “Working.”  He replied: “Not very hard, from what I hear.”  He was probably joking, but said nothing else.  Hence my general aversion to socialisation.  At work itself I’m consciously far down the pecking order.  A large bloc of the blue-collar – as opposed to administration and oversight (bosses) bloc – have clear contempt for my position as they often flick me work that comes after theirs is finished with much too little time for me to complete my necessary tasks.  I have a girlfriend, now, miraculously.  She’s supportive.  Her parents, not openly, at least to me, disapprove of my job.  What am I to do?  My only “career” ambition now is to write a book.  In the absence of that accomplishment or even a genuine process of its attainment, I don’t mind what I do for money.  But I wish not to be ridiculed, to be excessively maligned, put down or subverted.  But I have been.  And I fully expect to be again.

And that makes it hard to get out of bed in the morning, not to mention sleep in the first place.