Yesterday, in all seriousness, I asked my boss to please consider me for a redundancy. They're going round, you see, and I want one. It surprised me to realise that the last time I wanted anything so much was the summer I spent waiting to find out if would get into university in Sydney. I wanted it so - mostly as an excuse, a prompt, a forced action forcing me to act. I got what I wanted then. I even took a degree, eventually. I have the same kind of want now. It's the boot up the arse that I need to move on because at the moment I am well and truly stuck. I know I've been saying for years, so long now that even I can't bear to think, how much I hate my job, how awful it is, how it couldn't get worse. Ha. Well, never say never, I suppose. The last year, the last six months especially, have been repeated slaps to a well beaten face.
It surprises me, as so much seems to these days, how hard a worker I am. Give me a hobby or housecleaning or study and I will procrastinate until the stars fall from the sky. Add money to the equation and I behave very differently. I thought, really, that everyone had the same work/money mental contract as me. The years have disillusioned. Whatever. I don't suppose it's relevant now or ever will be. I'm not even sure why I mention it. A single virtue in a sea of dishonour (not mine, I assure you). A virtue whose timing is wrong. One that ceases to be a virtue as it is a barrier to my achieving my objective. I am sure its time will come again, oh one day, one day. I do work hard though. I thought I word as hard as I possibly could but every week, every day, I've worked that bit harder. I've worked harder for the same money and the same money as those who barely work. I've worked harder knowing that the people I work for hold me and my colleagues in contempt and blame their workers for the disintegration of their integration. I have worked so hard for men who cannot take responsibility - either publicly or privately (if it was private then it was very private indeed) - for their failures. I have worked until it felt like my mind was dissolving and my throat was bleeding and my chest was bursting with the tension of being professional under the pressure of blame - under the you you you accusative. I've worked hard for these not-men men and I have had enough. Were it that this was enough. Would that my will would crumble and I could ignore the work and just plod along doing not nearly enough. Doubtless I would achieve my objective then.
I climb down from my self made pedestal. I put (some of) my colleagues up there instead. They have worked so hard for so little. A small amount of money and endless criticism. They have put in hours that would make a god and every unionist in the world cry. They have worked hard to maintain and build and send profit into the pockets of the already and undeservedly wealthy. They have made men who belittle them look good, or if not good, far better than they are. Some of them will, no doubt, lose their jobs for this. At this stage none of us really mind. I do see the awfulness of this and the inherent unfairness. I see it on the faces of my colleagues and I hear it in their voices. I also see the humour that after working so hard at and for our jobs we would be more than willing to give them up for a few week's grace. All of us, really, would like to quit on our own terms but few can give up the reality for the ideal. The reality is that working like this is exhausting. It is draining on every level. To work like this is the end of a decent life outside - and there isn't even a pot of gold at the end of it. (It reminds me of a Russian woman I heard voicing her world view on the bus. The rich, apparently, all deserve all their money because they work so hard for it. People are poor because they do not work hard enough. They, in a sense, deserve their poverty. So clean, so clear, so easy, so very wrong. Her stupidity annoyed me so much but I digress.) They, and I, work so hard that we go home exhausted. The pursuit of new pastures is rendered impossible in cries of later, later, maybe tomorrow. And the next day is the same, and the next. And slowly it's gotten so bad that all of life is dragging from one day to the next and trying to hold it together. All for money and recognition for someone else.
I am exhausted now. I want my pay out. I want to go. You're getting rid of people, perfectly good, hard-working people, just make me one of them. I want to go. I won't scream. I may cry at leaving so many friends behind but I won't ever cry about the end of my slavery. Let me go. Give me the money and let me go.