Image via ethnicwords.blogspot.co.uk.
It’s January 2nd, people, and as another period of festive merriment and family-enforced-via-threat-of-death writing hiatus draws to a close, I return to my day job in reflective mood.
As a person who juggles the mind-numbing multitasking complexities of a low paid admin gig and the thrills and spills of a glamorous writing career, my nose is perpetually pressed against the wire fence surrounding the compound known as ‘total meltdown’. Whether I’m looking for a piece of paper that someone else has told me is crucial to the continuation of life as we know it, or frantically surfing the internet on company time looking for story ideas, I’m always one cup of coffee away from throwing a deskful of unreconciled bank statements at a passing colleague and walking out, vowing to rely on my beloved trade to sustain myself.
That will never happen, mostly because I’d die of malnutrition before the month was out. But as always at this time of year, one ends up considering the options. I could, theoretically, concentrate more on my job, thus making it more enjoyable and ultimately more satisfying. Then I could earn more money. I would be less stressed, my boss would like me more and maybe I would resent him less. Sounds a bit more appealing than my current lifestyle.
Except that every fibre of my being is trained to answer the phone while fine tuning a story, to wrangle words into pleasing sentences while filling in forms, to be Queen Bitch of All She Surveys when someone has the temerity to ask me to do something work related while I’m in the middle of a piece.
It might not be ideal, but I’m happy. The feeling of arriving at my desk with a vague idea in my head that needs to be patiently untangled and presented in it’s most persuasive form is, for me, something akin to stepping into the warm, clear waters of the ocean. It’s unlikely I’ll fail to do it, given the amount of practice I’ve had and how bloody minded I can be when it suits, but failure is all I think about. Just like my chances of getting savaged by a shark the size of a London cab may be less than suffering fatal injury during a transaction with a vending machine, but the blood and teeth are all I can think about.
Given this thought process, it’s no wonder I’m surfing an adrenalin (and caffeine) wave every time I hit the ‘Publish’ button. I may hate my job, but it affords me a freedom I would be unlikely to find elsewhere, and at this time of year, amid the endless days of practicing Tiger Woods PGA Golf Tour 2011 on the Wii and internally resolving the passive aggressive conflicts that extended exposure to family members bring, it’s good to think about what you’ve got, not just what you want to change.
I’ve built my stressful, paper-strewn, shark infested bed, and now I’m going to lie in it.
Happy New Year!