It’s gone nine a.m. and I’m in my dressing gown; I’m sort-of fixing breakfast for myself in the kitchen, behind me, sat on his high-chair, is the little fella. He’s worked out that the spoon is good for getting oat-based cereal out the bowl but hasn’t quite figured out the correct angle for the food to remain on the spoon as it approaches his gaping mouth. I discreetly watch him for a while, if I get busted the likelihood is that spoon and the bowl will wind up on the floor earlier than usual. The spoon and bowl always land on the floor. It’s the law.
I’m having another one of those ‘the fuck?’ moments. I get between ten and twenty a day when I suddenly see myself remotely doing stuff with my boy and wondering if it’s actually he and I: in nanoseconds, I’ll find my current predicament wholly unimaginable so my mind will attempt to imagine reality before actual reality returns with a ‘the fuck?’. It’s a wonderful feeling, sort-of like when you wake up thinking it’s a grey Monday when it’s actually a beautiful Saturday, sort of.
These moments aren’t just the product of my having a son, that I’m a dad, let me just write that again, I’m a dad (the fuck?) it’s also to do with the non-effective pressure of a nine to five world.
Thanks to technology most of us (note ‘most’, not ‘all’, so don’t write in) don’t need to be in an office anymore, most still get the job done despite spending the best part of their working lives dicking about with their mates on social media. When I was working the nine to five game I reckon I could’ve done my whole weeks’ work in a day and a half at most, so why was I wasting my time for the remaining three and a half?
From a very young age, our lives are structured around the nine-five-monday-friday model. Of course, there is nothing wrong in this per se but in the last twenty years or so it could be argued that this structure isn’t beneficial to an unspecified number of industries and could even be detrimental to them. I’d argue that being fresh and vital is of far greater benefit that winding up jaded and angry because you’re having to spend precious, spirit-sapping time with people whose lives are wrecked as much as yours… allow me to quantify that if you will, if you don’t like your job it’s not over the hill and far away to assume your colleagues aren’t exactly enamoured either. And if they are (i.e. do like crying in the loo) it’s fair to assume that, as far as you should be concerned, you’re spending valuable time with morons doing a job you despise. At some point I concluded that this wasn’t conducive to self-betterment, irrespective of the cheery salary, so I got out of the office game and began a working-from-home-job with a U.S. Employer.
I thought working from home as an employee would be a happy compromise but it’s almost worse. You may be working from home but that nine to five sod knows no bounds. Robert Frost said that, “home is the place where, when you have to go there, they have to take you in” but if you’re working from it (home) that simply reads ‘your home is a place where they can spy on you, you can no longer shut the door and leave’.
A few months after my son was born my U.S. employers gave me the boot. They’d started to monitor my work with such intensity it became effectively impossible to work for reasons cited aloft, but because I’d not breached any code of practice (and made them a considerable amount of money, I hasten to add) they had to pay me off. On the one hand, you could see this as a quite appalling act of barbarity bearing in mind my son was brand new, or an opportunity to take the writing work to the next level.
I don’t get paid for writing this, I do it because something within compels me to do so, but I do get paid writing XYZ for others, and it’s something I thoroughly enjoy. Better still, I just have to work off a deadline so I can manage my time as I want so, most importantly, I can manage time around the boy so we get plenty of time to hang out.