The employment dilemma: self freedom Vs employed security

Yesterday I revisited my old stomping ground.  I fancied a change of scenery from my usual gym and decided to go back to the one I’d originally signed up in, the one which was close to my old work.  It was only a twenty minute cycle across a largely suburban part of town. 

Afterwards I revisited an oft-frequented Starbucks a short distance across the business park.  A barista remembered me and my regular order, said it had been a long time since he’d seen me.  I told him I’d been made redundant.  I’m not sure if he heard, understood or if it went in.  I imagine people who work in Starbucks are good at asking questions an delivering the usual lines, but when it comes to listening, then that’s not really in their remit. Reasonably enough. 

He didn’t react or respond, so the conversation ended there.  We’d always had a friendly but clunky relationship.  Just missed whenever it came to actually conversing but been easy and amiable in the initial coffee transaction. 

I took my mug to the window and gazed out at the familiar view across the business park plaza.  Now I was weathered, new and different from several months ago, when I’d spent to many lunch hours sitting here reading books.  Now I was aware, changed, moved on, matured.

I pondered the compromise of employment which I and many people have encountered of late.  That dilemma: employment versus self employment, freedom versus security, incessant raging paranoia versus calm, relaxed obedience.  You’ll get your paycheck for sure and that’s all there is to worry about. 

Perching there I was pleased not to have to return to the leering, arrogant tower block, as I did so many times.  For that moment at least, cupping the steaming coffee, I was at ease with being my own boss, happy to have the independence to be there at 4.30pm of a weekday afternoon. 

Content not to be controlled or drawn back to a high-rise desk, and all its smugly impressive views. 

Confident in sporting a tracksuit top, three-quarter length shorts and trainers in such a corporate environment. 

Pleased, despite the current day-to-day crapping myself about the future and contentious sustainability of what I’m doing.  At odds with the necessarily firm psychological self-discipline not to mentally slump: so hard when your natural inclination is towards the pessimist. 

I would not return to that tower block or that office and all the nasty people in it if you paid me.  But I’d still like somebody to pay me.


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