Monday, August 01, 2005

A working epiphany

It's Monday morning, the rain's keeping off (although it was cloudy to start with) and I cycled to work - and the humidity levels must be down as well, because my hair didnt end up in a frizzy semi-Afro... tra la la. I dont need more reasons than this to be pleased on a working Monday morning. Better yet, I've done what work needs doing for the morning and am now free to do as I please. In a short while, it will be lunch time. Thirty minutes of solitude to eat my lunch and read my book.

It's good to be working full-time again, and it's great to be working in a place that's friendly and where the work is interesting and fun because it's different from what I've been used to as a working stiff till now. It's also very nice to work with only a handful of colleagues instead of being one labouring ant among dozens of others. Best of all is working for somebody with whom you have a rapport. (I need but one finger to describe all my previous bosses, heheh.)

I'm not a journalist any more - I do an administrative job. I expected to miss being an editor, so I dutifully waited for the nostalgia to hit... and waited, and waited. Eventually I realised, surprising myself quite a lot, that I didnt miss being a journalist.

Any nostalgia I experienced was for the years spent in The Hindu Business Line - and even then it was mainly the cartload of colleagues (who were also good friends) that made the work fun. I dont deny that I enjoyed working in a newspaper - doing the night shift was fun, working during high-pressure times (budget, disasters, etc) was fun (hmm... that word does keep cropping up, doesnt it?) and - um, I gotta admit to this - the "wow you're a journalist" reaction from non-journo folks was fun too!

But the Hindu BL was a good 5 years ago, and between then and now, I've had the experience of working in other "journalistic" jobs. The first was in a newspaper (I use the term very loosely) in Singapore - and that is not something I look back on with any pleasure - the working atmosphere, the work place, the work ethics (or lack thereof) and most of my colleagues all combined to make the experience memorable for all the wrong reasons.

Here in the UK, I worked for 2-3 weeks gratis at a local newspaper. I tried very hard to enjoy the place and the work I did, because that's what I expected of myself... after all, as a journalist, I had to enjoy it because that's what I had always done! I couldnt imagine myself doing anything else... although, by that point, I HAD done other things like editing website content, writing a user manual for a software program written by my husband, entering invoices in the system, etc. It's just that I was so blinkered about employment other than as a journalist that all those things never struck me as something I could do on a permanent basis.

I must say I was disappointed with myself - and, again, surprised - when I realised just why I'd not seriously looked for employment opportunities in other arenas... it was because of my terminally "white collar" mindset (very likely very common to the Indian sub-continent). In theory I believed that all employment was honourable and no work below anybody's dignity as long as one was earning an honest living. But in effect, although all jobs were equal, some jobs were more equal than others (oh Orwell, Orwell) - apparently I had had a sub-conscious hierarchy for even the "educated" kind of jobs.

No longer, though. Hurrah for epiphanies and having your eyes opened to true reality (as opposed to the blinkered kind, what else)!

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