alternative reality

My CV exists online in various places and various states, a number of them probably quite outdated.  I don’t mind much; most of the spammy recruitment agency emails go straight to a junk file and the telephone calls are infrequent.  When I do receive a call it’s usually from somebody who wants to be my mate and who offends me with their simplicity to the extent I’m abrupt and not very nice.  I feel it’s better for everyone that way.  Nobody’s time is wasted on empty niceties.

Yesterday though, I received a call from a middle-aged woman and I let her speak.  She sounded a little nervous, the kind who doesn’t expect to be allowed to speak at length without getting interrupted.  So when she does have a free run she gets nervous and speaks herself down blind alleys.  I sort of empathised.  I also let her speak because I wasn’t too busy and, it transpired, what she was talking about actually sounded like it could potentially be of interest.

That was another thing.  They usually didn’t say interesting things.

A full-time permanent role which actually didn’t sound too dull.  An unspectacular salary I’d hope to negotiate up a little.  Suddenly I was flung into an alternative new life of a career; purpose and ambition and people and the egotistical “busyness” I so revile.  Would it be so bad?  Wildly premature thoughts, clearly, but you can’t help them.  Like after a good first date, of which I dimly remember one or two, once upon a time.

Despite investing a lot of time and a small bit of cash in a new venture – a thing I enjoy doing, it’s unsurprisingly not showing any signs of flowering at all.  Meanwhile the main breadwinning activity continues to shrink, my final supplementary client looking like fading out in the coming months, leaving all my eggs firmly in the one basket.

From time to time I engage in idle thoughts of a conventional career: an office, new relationships, colleagues I’d see and be irritated by every day.  Perhaps I wouldn’t really mind it if it was something that would engage me, stuff to get my teeth into, new subjects to learn about in a new industry.  I feel increasingly less towards a technology space which has outgrown me, not that I was ever wildly passionate about it in the first place.  It was better a few years ago when my knowledge was specialised and relevant, but now it feels like there’s too much to know, and everyone has an opinion anyway.  Like your secret favourite cult band had made it mainstream and was now boring.

While being standoffish and acting like I neither needed or was that interested in what the lady on the telephone was talking about, I felt myself getting seduced by the idea.

Just think about it: A Life!  Having a routine.  Not sitting on your flat on your own all day.  Not “medium filter coffee to have in please…   little space for milk…   there you go, thanks a lot” ..being the only thing you say in real life to another person on most days.  The potential to win recognition from people you might even respect.  The ability to completely disconnect for an evening, a weekend, a week.  It would be a more interesting life, wouldn’t it?

But slow down, brain.  Try not to ever hope.  You’ve learned that now.  Hoping is a horribly dangerous business which virtually always ends in disappointment for you.  This lady on the phone might think you’re a prick, your CV might not make the cut, an interview panel might think you’re underqualified or an unmanageable risk.  It’s massively likely that there will be shinier, more assured candidates who smile easily and plainly look better suited.  The same type who you constantly lost out to in your mid-twenties when performing reasonably well throughout countless interviews.   No.  You’ve no chance.

Was it really *you* anyway, anymore?  That imagined new lifestyle; having bosses?  Wouldn’t you flounder and crack under expectations and pressures, quickly grow bitter and resentful?  It would only be more interesting for a brief period before it became habitual, boring, a thing to despise.  Wouldn’t you miss all of that navelgazing time you had and complained about having but sort of liked as well?

If everything just carries on as it is, with the one main client and work which enables you to maintain this generally lazy, undemanding and wholly unsatisfying lifestyle, that’ll be fine too, won’t it?  You’ll just be opening yourself up to another fall otherwise.


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