nothing new

Haven’t posted here for a few months and there’s unlikely to be anything new. The same old neuroses and fears wheeled out in a different set of words.

The other week I made the associated Twitter account private. I’d seen it presented by Twitter as a suggested account to those who follow my two professional accounts, which scared me – the idea that professional contacts might put it together. Although I’m fairly sure none would, that hardly anyone would care.

While I have prangs of fear like that, there’s also a conflict. In my view, this blog contains some of my best writing. That is, amongst my scintillating content about the elegant sleek sophistication of taps and bidets, business critical enterprise software and essential felt roofing materials. Part of me would like to use and promote this place more. But it’s scary because it is so personal. But it being so personal is what makes it good to my mind. Round and round we go…

Work and finances are the constant nagging neuroses. Now is a time of huge global uncertainty, of continued economic uncertainty. It can nudge you into panicking and make anxiety worse. If Donald Trump can become the US President, then literally anything can happen. You can spin this in positive and negative ways. That dream job you think you could never get?

Still I regularly feel like I’m cheating, like I should feel guilty for not doing more.  I am doing everything I can think of to drum up business but business is not flowing freely. Jobs and work are bitty, stop-start, dribs and drabs. A lot of totally speculative work where the chances of making a few quid are stacked against me. Come the 2016/17 end of year accounts it wouldn’t surprise me to find minimum wage levels of annual income.

Without such worries I could exist perfectly happily. With a life-changing cash windfall these concerns could be snuffed out. I could happily occupy my days walking the dog (I could occupy days doing this alone), doing a little housework, reading books, watching films, drinking coffee and whisky, watching seasons pass, being a loner dreamer fool, perhaps writing in this blog thing from time to time. I feel guilty because these are things I already spend time doing because I am not that busy.

I could spend even more time sitting at a desk generating self promotional content which makes me look like a desperate dickhead, or frittering away cash on advertising, or attending networking events, or any number of things. Which is why I beat myself up when reading a book or walking the dog. But I do do these things as well. They just seem ineffective, as much as I continue to hack away in an attempt keep visible. Which is how I can just about manage to forgive myself when I feel guilty, and like I don’t quite deserve this life, wife, house or dog.

It feels worth remembering that I have never, at any point in life, felt that busy. Not consistently, not in the way I see other people are, dashing around on train platforms glued to smartphones, busily flapping and flustering and talking fast about meetings and how much they have to do. My wife is one of these people. And I think perhaps I was never shaped to be that frantic person everyone looks to. I never needed to be needed quite so much, or maybe I just wasn’t needed. I never stayed anywhere long enough or fostered enough loyalty in anyone. I alienated way more than I invited. I was moulded into being a wallflower who might step forward now and again, who abhors exhibitionists and needy loud theatrical voices. Like my brother.

And yet all humans do need to be seen and heard and valued. (Someone somewhere used that combination of words and it chimed with me). We need recognition, professionally and personally. That’s how self esteem survives. Without that, everything is harder. And that’s what I find tough: the idea nobody gives the faintest shit about you, and the hard brutal evidence that that is the case. You are professionally of no use to anyone, sorry. There are hundreds, thousands of people just like you.

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We still talk about kids occasionally, but agree that now is not the time, not with work the way it is. Not with me being a woefully inadequate provider and a useless businessperson. She hates me talking like this but I feel it is not untrue.

All of the things mentioned in previous posts still hold true. Part of us thinks we’d be ok with never having them, we’re occupied enough, fine with being slightly selfish. Then you see the smallest thing in the street, or in a film, an emotion pipe cracks and something starts leaking out which leads you to question everything.

We love our young dog, possibly too much. We wonder how much of a surrogate child she is, our baby, and if this is alright. Being a morbid idiot, I think not infrequently about all the possible horrible things that might happen to her, her dying and how hard it will be. Even though that will hopefully not happen for over a decade and we could all be dead in the Trump apocalypse by then anyway.

working dumb

Your buffoon of a main client has grated more than ever in recent months, despite a pleasant supplementary contract which deflected the attention for a while.

For over three years you’ve largely had him and his northern software company to thank for your solvency.  Over three years.  Part of you feels and knows that you should be grateful, it’s part of a trade-off which allows you to live like this, with such relative freedom, no shackles of having to get up at a certain time every day, travel to an office and tolerate colleagues, the ability to take three-hour lunchbreaks encompassing gyms, saunas, jacuzzis and coffee shops.  These are hardly dire straits.

You still have to tolerate him though, which is no easy feat.

The man is capable of staggeringly majestic idiocy, a blundering immature insensitivity both in-person and more excruciatingly online, a casual bigotry, the professional focus of a young vole.  You imagine the business partners, who he genuinely believes hold him in such high esteem, cringe as he enters a room and wither as he sits at a boardroom table, confidently rambling inanities.

Yet you act, several times a day on telephone calls, conference calls, through emails and when you visit him.  You see the pallid drained faces of his colleagues who endure him every single day.  There’s a reasonable churn in semi senior staff.  You idly daydream about snapping, about having an argument, coming clean that you have very little respect for him, or about his business suddenly dropping you – which of course they could do at any time.  This would force you to act, to try again, to hit the jobs market with urgency.  Would that be a bad thing?

It’s not all awful.  The ghosting of social media for a young athlete who will shortly compete at a big upcoming sporting event has been interesting.  But that will end soon.  And even that has been hiding, helping a handsome young man with a strong following to appear more interesting than he probably is.

Not unlike how you help the buffoon.  His unfiltered drone is widely and confidently broadcast for people to know that he is a somehow reasonably successful idiot, but occasionally he shows uncharacteristic glimpses of insight and style.  Glimpses which are down to you.

Over three years, and now you are wilting.  You have occasional supplementary clients and contracts but supplementary is all they are; nothing you could live on.

These past few months you have experienced a person you like and value, liking and valuing you. You feel a bubbling up of dormant, well-rested ego.  You feel you want to be recognised, to try to be recognised.  You feel vaguely happier and more positive, as much as you’d like not to because it doesn’t feel very cool, British or comfortable.  This all does things to the fascinating world of the ego, to esteem; it makes you feel differently about yourself.  Ego is needed to get up in the morning and it’s critical to practically all types of success.  First you have to believe, which is a sacrifice of sorts itself.

Do you believe?  Will you believe?  What does that mean anyway?  What more can you do to be happier in your work?  Following any “dream” in this oversaturated little island seems increasingly futile, as much down to luck and who you know as any real ability or personality.   It’s much easier to dumbly sit tight, indefinitely accepting this absurd man and the spirit-crushing work he offers you.

You suspect that’s precisely what you’ll do.