Over the past few months I have gradually teched up; obtaining a new laptop that stays on when unplugged, an intertron friendly phone, and a cool tripod that can wrap itself around things should the need arise. Slowly but surely I have read and returned most of my library books, the total receding from over 40 to 17 (technically staff are allowed 20 so this is a genuine result). I have completed the paperwork to register with two temp agencies, Pertemps and Blue Arrow. And today I received a letter confirming that the council have noticed my resignation, and will duly not be paying me for my last three days on account of the fact I’ve already taken my annual leave for the year.
Yes, after 20 months of bewildering daily abuse - punctuated by regular outbreaks of therapeutic team alcoholism - I am leaving my job.
In some ways, this is a monumentally stupid thing to do. If there were no jobs about when I graduated, then the market must be into minus opportunities now. Scaremongering from all over the world indicates that the situation doesn’t look like improving drastically for a couple more years. And what industry is it I am trying to claw my way into? The totally stable, always expanding, not at all panicked world of journalism.
Staying with the council would mean I could work my way into middle management and sit there with a regular income, gradually doing less and less to earn it, until my retirement at 75. I would be financially able to get on with doing all the things that people generally do to distract themselves from the fact they have a job in middle management – going to the pictures, gardening, and improving myself in various ways (learning Spanish, maybe, or taking up golf). It’d be alright, and anyway, how many people do you know that actually enjoy what they do?
But it is not to be. I’ve just turned 25 and for some reason it feels like the time to get aspirational. After all, when else will I have the opportunity to walk into something so potentially ruinous with my eyes open all the way to eleven? If I continue the way I have been, before I know it there’ll be things like mortgages and dependants to think about, and I’ll be sitting in an open plan office reading the mass emails about the new bins and wondering whatever happened to that plan I had to be a journalist from the age of 9. Grim. It’s time to give freelancing the time and energy it deserves, and myself the opportunity to make it work.
And if it all goes tits up I can always go back.