July 16th, 2007

Working Life

It's been over ten years since I last did a job of the kind that involves getting up at a set hour and putting on some kind of a uniform and interacting with people you don't necessarily like. I've sometimes felt guilty about not having to go through the grind, but I've never missed it.

In my time I've been- 

A clergyman (that took up ten years of my life)

A nursing auxiliary

A school's crossing attendant

A museum and library attendant

A cleaner in an old people's home

A cleaner on intercity trains.

Some of these things were quite good fun. Working on the trains was the best. I got to hang out with the guards (who are brilliant people) and rub shoulders (in an invisible manner) with celebs. 

(One of the guards told me how some bigtime football star had called him over to his seat in first class and asked him, "Don't you know who I am?" and he'd replied ,"Actually, no." )

But I've never felt  my job defined me- the way some people do.  Well, maybe when I was a parson I did. I can't really remember. Did I go round thinking to myself, "Ooh, look at me, I'm a priest"?  Maybe sometimes.

But by the time I quit that job I was so, so glad to be shut of it.  My next proper job was as the school's crossing attendant.  By a quirk of fate I'd done nothing to engineer they put me on a crossing right outside my old church. The guy who succeeded me as vicar called me to his study one day and pompously told me I was causing a scandal. I smiled at him and said (in so many words) "Sorry, mate, but them's the breaks".

In moments like that I become an observer of my life and find it all rather amusing. 

Since 1994 or 95 I've stayed at home to be Ailz's carer. I get paid a pittance for it and I'm very happy.