For the past 11 or so years I’ve been gainfully employed as a printer. We predominantly manufacture labels with various designs and colours depending on the customer’s very acute specifications. They range from simple, plain rectangular labels that can be applied to sandwich packaging or something intricately decorative with multiple layers, resistant to cold temperatures. The job entails a great deal of studious concentration to ensure that plates, cutters, and slitters are aligned with perfect synchronicity. You’re required to scrutinise the quality of the products being produced to ensure a level of consistency, which is crucial to maintaining individual label standards. Efficiency is essential, necessitating diligent judicial scrutiny to minimise the risk of blemished merchandise. It only takes one smudge, one solitary indentation of a bar code for an entire supply to be rejected, costing the company thousands in reparation. The constant delegation and subsequent retention for prolonged visual observations means that I’m prone to headaches. Nothing severe, but enough to know that a dark room and solitude isn’t without is retributive benefits. Have you ever tried to focus on a moving object, one that gains perpetual momentum as you try to observe the slightest change in a text movements, that is only millimetres in size? It’s challenging, requiring significant mental exertion as opposed to the physical labour, but not overbearing when moderated. The job is largely simple once you understand the complexities. Like anything it’s about repetition and adapting to any issues that may arise. Yet the job, specifically the way the company operates as well as other bureaucratic functions has greatly diminished my interests in continuing to work in this environment.
The last couple of years has been especially challenging, with many colleagues leaving or retiring. The introduction of a new hierarchy that endeavours to run the company in their own laboured fashion has only compounded the issue. Yet the managerial shuffling and staff resignations are just symptoms of as yet undiagnosed ailment. It’s difficult to really isolate precisely what’s made my contributions so apathetic, as I’ve never really loved my job anyway, but there’s an atmosphere around the place that has drained any enthusiasm I had for this profession. It’s provided a solid if not lucrative wage and affords me the opportunity to spend additional time with my daughter as I get every other Friday off work. But it’s not really a career, more of an arcane occupation that’s eminent prestige, once yielding a substantial revenue is reserved for its more prosperous 80’s heyday. The trouble I have is that I don’t really know what else I want to do!
Most people my age have either determined a career to pursue or are actively training towards some specific project. I’m 30 years old and I’m still unsure what I want in a career. I’ve never nurtured an ambition for a prospective career and I’m envious of those who have. People that know precisely what they wish to achieve and have the conviction to go for it no matter the result. For me it isn’t just a case of searching for alternate means of employment, as I don’t simply want to walk out of one job a dislike for another equally dissatisfactory occupation, but instead establishing a direction. Ascertaining an appointment with prospects befitting of my many inert talents.
Money has never been of great value to me. It’s never something I’ve craved. It serves its purposes adequately and any surplus capital available to me once bills as sundries have been sated for another month is used sparingly but affectively. Whether that’s to purchase a new pair of shoes for my daughter, a second-hand game or something altogether less extravagant like a shower fitting. The trouble is that bills and food aren’t getting any more affordable, and the money generated by my girlfriend and I simply doesn’t stretch as far as it used to. So though I am perhaps not comfortable working for a company that equates the loss of employees and increase in business as a positive inflation of financial productivity, my motives for wanting a change are more a little more pragmatic.
There’s no certainty that a vocational adjustment will ameliorate the growing austerity that has only been perpetuated by the UK’s decision to leave the EU. But I’ve spent too long waiting for something to happen and it’s long overdue that I did something, however risky it may seem.