This week has probably been one of the most difficult 7 days I’ve experienced as an adult. Certainly the most disappointing. The company I’ve been employed by for nearly 13 years is going into administration, having failed in its attempt to secure investment from the many interested parties that flirted with the idea of acquisition and expansion. This leaves colleagues of mine, people I consider friends, some of which have been employed by the company for longer than I’ve been alive without a job. Fortunately I have been able to find an alternate means of employment, allowing me to accept a rather valuable, if not entirely generous redundancy and continue working immediately. This was my biggest concern. Not being able to provide for my family was a paralysing notion. Though only officially informed of our current predicament just a couple of weeks ago, the companies struggles to remain solvent were all too apparent, even to someone as oblivious as me. So I seized the initiative and applied for every available vacancy I felt I could do.
Encouraged by my family I persevered despite the many failed applications and vacuous responses. Job hunting is such a profoundly frustrating process that really tests your inert capacity to tolerate rejection. If you’re not being informed by some vague missive that you aren’t qualified for a job, you’re not being told anything at all. Much of the free time you get not applying for every vacant position in a 20 mile radius is spent making redacted alterations to your CV, emphasising key skills or attributes deemed beneficial to potential employers. It’s a tiring, thoroughly impotent means of recruitment that’s more concerned with the fastidious qualities of the person rather than the individual themselves.
But mercifully I’ve successfully navigated my way through the convoluted online job sites and monotonous recruitment agencies to find work that is a reduction in pay, but still keeps a roof over my families head, leaving me to reflect on a job I’ve been loyal too since I left school.
I remember the elation of receiving my first paycheck there, a meager £740 which by today’s inflated standards is comparatively poultry. But I was 17 years young. No one up to that point had ever been irresponsible enough to give me that kind of money before. That weekend was a haze of frivolous exultation, purchasing the much coveted Nintendo GameCube as well as a wealth of games and fatty treats that give me heart palpitations just thinking about it. The hedonistic excesses of preliminary employment enabled me to fully embrace the value and fleeting acquisition of money. I learned a valuable lesson about squandering money without carefully considering the implications of not having any. Eventually I began saving some of it, preserving small quantities, flourishing to an amount that finally allowed my girlfriend and I to get a mortgage. Acquiring our own little bastion to raise our boisterous little girl and live reasonably comfortable and fulfilled lives. I won’t forget that, nor the experiences I’ve shared with my colleagues.
I could never say that I loved my job, nor that I hated it either. It’s not work I’ll remember with effusive admiration, reciting anecdotal tales about a 12 hour shift where I drank 8 cups of tea and got a splinter in my finger. But I will remember the people, the jokes, the camaraderie and some of the most absurd conversations I’ve ever had and the ridiculously heady Christmas parties I’ve ever attended.
I want to wish them as well as anybody else who has recently lost their jobs the best of luck. I’ll certainly miss them.
I’ve always been sentimental and tender of heart. No, really. I once buried a dead bee and held a modest ceremony for it. Even constructing a small, ornamental cross fabricated from twigs. I nickname my Pokemon after deceased family pets. And I spend more time reflecting on memories than I do firmly concentrated on the future, a mistake I’m looking to amend. The one thing I’ve always resented though is the implication that making the most of my youth entailed drinking excessively and spending much of my weekends in states of self inflicted unconsciousness. That always seemed contrary to the utilisation of youthful vitality. I guess one could argue that gaming was a careless use of resources but let’s not argue semantics. I’m glad however that this was a lesson I’d learned at a relatively young age and maintained a group of friends equally fastidious with their drinking habits. There was only ever one reason I continued such nocturnal proclivities and that was to meet a girl. Not just any girl. I wasn’t one of those guys that would/could attract women for one night liaisons. In my romantic mind I wanted to meet a girl I could eventually settle down with. So I was doubly lucky to have met my girlfriend at such a modest age. You see in the UK the vast consumption of alcohol is a culturally accepted prelude to marriage. You’re solemnly obligated by the writ of these nocturnal transgressions as a sort of biographical heritage to adolescent infamy and stupidity. A time when you were made of magic and elastic. When the whims of sordid nonchalance can be experienced and imparted to you’re children when they eventually continue with the traditional family heritage.
It was around this time that I neglected gaming, just stopped altogether. Instead focusing on being incredibly sociable. Actually talking, conversing and laughing with real people colloquially known as “friends”. It was a strange time in my life I’ll admit. I’d get home from work, have a quick shower, get changed, if time permitted line my stomach with whatever dinner my mother had prepared and head straight to the pub. At that time of partial independence, when I could come and go as I pleased without protestations from my mother, just as long as I was respectful of the neighbours, money was an expendable commodity. I could purchase consoles without hesitation, and did! I bought a GameCube with my first pay-check with enough games and accessories to make an Asian teenager blush! Now of course I have to consider the financial implications of such frivolous activities. I didn’t spend any time playing my newly acquired utility though, oh no. I was too busy engaging in all night drinking sessions that often ended with me collapsed outside a kebab shop covered in discarded salad. Thursday through to, well Thursday was our time to drink, play pool and make terrible attempts at wooing the fairer sex, with my idea of courting attractive young ladies involved avoiding any form of contact and instead relying on the mental clairvoyance I shared with them. It wasn’t that successful.
I never had a plan, hell I never wanted one! I thought spontaneity would evoke some kind of direction in my life. That Mufasa would beseech me from the heavens and instruct me on how to proceed. And in a way I guess that’s how it was, just minus the ethereal Lion emerging from the clouds! That entire year (of being 18) was a perpetual thrift of excessive drinking, partying and headaches. It was fun, but I’m glad I got it out of my system early. I met my girlfriend when I was 19, enjoyed further evenings of alcoholic consumption, just not in the same devastating way I used to. I also reconciled with gaming, making use of my additional funds to buy any game I desired and play until my thumbs seized into entropy. And I haven’t stopped since. I look around at people my age who persist in these arcane routines when maturity should have developed, plying themselves with liqueurs while you’re walking the dogs with you’re wife and kids in the park. And you realise that gaming isn’t the most childish thing you could be doing.
What are you glad you learned early? Let me know in the comments below. Cheers.