Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hubbub and Hubris

It's been an interesting year so far.

I've been called a loser and a slut when out picking up litter;
A racist in the Letters to the Editor page of the Sunday paper;
A bigot by a Facebook friend;
Quirky by a interview subject;
Kind by a stranger on a tram;
Disrespectful by a fellow local; and
Lucky by a chocolate retailer.

During that time I've picked up 14,000 pieces of rubbish that I meticulously recorded in a little notebook, spending late into Saturday night collating into data comprising the top ten most-littered items in my neighbourhood and:

Published thirty articles;
Had a beer can thrown at me by a stranger;
Yelled at - and chased - three teenage boys;
Demanded several refunds;
Done three public speaking sessions;
Survived a term-long teaching session;
Received a second cholesterol reading of 7.4; and
cried more than a few times.

Now it's time for a change. Freelance writing has been fun and amazingly fruitful but ..... increasingly fraught. Deadlines adhered to by me aren't adhered to by the publisher and payment is only when the article is published. Savings for Fairfax means no fortnightly input into the family coffers from me. Two years of writing about a field in which I published a book three years ago means that, to me the topic feels like it's been mined to the blooping hot magma underneath the crust.

I went shopping last week and decided that it wasn't worth 'dressing up' in jeans and a clean jacket, but was okay to go in man-sized tracksuit pants and matching polar fleece. Clearly it was time to remind myself that not being interested in fashion is fine but dressing like a early-onset dementia patient most certainly is not..

So I started looking at the job ads again. It had been the first time since 2006 and the memory of Bulldog at the end of 2007 had faded enough to even consider administering in academia again.

Two days ago I was offered a job. Originally advertised as three days to full time, in reality it is full time. I accepted it.

Sapphire will need to go to after-school care every weeknight and her tennis lessons will have to be held later or not at all. Milly will be walked at 6.30am as opposed to whenever we both feel like a stroll to the post office, school yard or corner shop and the housework will now bleed into the weekends.

It feels right to me. I'm not wildly excited and that's a good thing. It's taken me a mere forty two years to figure out that a big salary and fancy job title isn't worth losing my teeth, sanity and sleep for. The position is do-able, sounds challenging but not stomach-ulcer-causingly so and is only about 2km or a nice walk from my front door.

We'll be able to see our mortgage move instead of stand still and think about crazy things like, say, saving up for a car that's younger than fifteen years old or maybe even an overseas holiday (apart from NZ, our last venture overseas was to Malaysia in 1998 and that's where Sapphire was made) and just to not to have stop, suck in my breath with concern and think hard before handing over my credit card.

Now all I need to do is smile and nod, smile and nod, smile and nod like we all do until our faces ache during our first few weeks in a new job.


Jilly said...

Congrats again Kath!! But.... what will Milly do????

Kath Lockett said...

She'll be worn out by the long walk we'll take first thing in the morning, then she'll lie on her hammock bed in the sunshine (which is where she is now - she declined my offer to join me inside in the study), or on the lawn in the shady bits when it's hot, or her kennel which is packed full of blankets or ...

... by the front fence, waiting for the parcel delivery guy and the postman (they all love each other) or 'telling off' a few high school kids as they pass by.

The Man at the Pub said...

Yay! Good for you Kath. Moving 'onwards and upwards' can take shape in a plethora of disguises, and its not always about high powered, highly paid jobs. I have a realtively low stress job, below-average income and have lots of family time. I'm the richest guy in the world!

I just wanted to use the word 'plethora'.

franzy said...

Dear Kath,

I'm all emotional. I'm full of pride for you and also sadness for writing in general. Sadness because this is exactly the same decision I made (although perhaps under a little more duress - BABY ON THE WAY GET A JOB) two years ago.
Kath, your writing is important. More important, I'm sorry to say, than your paying job. Because writing isn't a skill you develop and have forever like riding a bike, it's an art and a fitness, like gymnastics - you work bloody hard to get as good at it as you are and if you stop training and exercising and practising, you'll lose it.
Don't lose it.

Anyway enough heart-to-heart bullshit. Hoo-bloodyray for secure employment. And double-'ray for working in a uni! There's nowhere more secure!

You can email me from your edu email with stories and hilarious pictures.

lc said...

I doubt there's many that worked as hard as you have whilst not holding down a paid full-time job.

I don't care what others call you - You are the best person I know and I reckon the sample from which that statistic is derived is heavily biased to very good people - and, in addition to that, the majority of those we know because of their attraction to you.

I ask only one thing: now that you've developed this habit of credit card hand-over reluctance, why dispense with it?

Kath Lockett said...

Thanks PubMan - everyone should use the word 'plethora' at least once in their lives. Or add 'quasi' to a few words to spice things up a little.

Franzy first you hardly comment and I start worrying and think, "Oh sheesh, my standards are dropping because my cultural and intellectual writing barometer, Franzy is no longer," and then, when you do comment, I read it and cry! In a good way.

lc - you've made me cry too and your cheque is in the mail :)

River said...

Congratulations!! Paid work is a lovely way to get out of the house, and you'll meet new people who I'm sure will appreciate you.
Can I ask what the job is?
Will you still be ninja-ing the litter?

Elisabeth said...

Now at last at the end of the day when I get time to read your blog I see you have a new job, a properly paid job, wonderful. Congratulations.

Helen said...

Wow, congratulations! I hope it goes well!

nuttynoton said...

well done, another step on your life's journey and new people to meet and analyse

good luck!!

Deep Kick Girl said...

Good luck Kath. Of course there'll be an adjustment period for the whole family with new routines, etc but everything will work out fine. Hopefully you won't get a nutter for a boss again.

Kath Lockett said...

River, it's at Melbourne Uni. It's pretty well doing the exact same job I did for the Bulldog but with a few (distinctly better) differences:
* there's no official Director yet, so the new centre won't be based on an individual being a 'star' or thinking that the kingdom can be run according to their rules
* IT folk are fairly relaxed people and as long as I do my job - when they start work they have a log on, working PC, pens and know where the toilets are etc - they'll be fine
* It's a subject area that I have no expertise in, so apart from taking minutes, organising committees etc I won't be threatening anyone
* It's close to home and
* It's MELBOURNE UNI - best in Oz!

Thanks Elisabeth - I can see how my facebook page might have seemed as though Bulldog happened yesterday. It was 2007 but I changed the date of the blog to 2000 because her henchwoman, Turdkey, was starting to read my blog at the time....

Thanks Helen. I'm really looking forward to it but know too that it's not the be-all and end-all of who I am or what I can do. It's a bloody good opportunity though.

Nuttynoton - ooh yes, more people to 'watch' and think about but I'd be wise, therefore not to tell them that I'm a blogger...??!!

You're right, DKGirl - this past week has seen me pushed down with a few lurgies whilst also arranging after school care, later tennis lessons, suitable work clothing, taking old books and clothes to the op shop, finalising a few Age articles, catching up with friends, doing a few Flemington Association things that can only be done in the day and, next week, posing for the local paper for my latest Litter Ninja story!

R.H. said...

I agree with what lc has said. Your easy-going generosity is what I'd mention as well.


Sasha SA said...

Congrats for your new job! By the way I recognised the picture you posted a story on a while back on on somebodys wall on RE.com, and had to laugh (I love the picture though, I just thought the way you wrote about it was funny)


Benjamin Solah said...

Welcome back to the working world. We can exchange witty groaning status updates about work.

Lidian said...

Congratulations, Kath! It sounds like a great job - look forward to hearing all about it. And I dread my shopping-for-clothes trips, too. They take place just before going to see family in NYC, who have a 50s idea of what Visiting Female Relatives ought to look like, and are oh so unafraid of telling you - as in, telling you off. Good thing they cannot see me in my vintage Marks and Spencer mom jeans and hoodie ;)

Kath Lockett said...

Thank you Sasha SA - I hope my silly comments didn't shake the foundations of the South Australian Real Estate Industry...? :)

Thank you RH. I'm grateful that 'easygoing' is just the one word and not. "Yeah I know Kath. She's easy. And going...."

We shall, Benjamin, we shall. The role is to support a huge IT project so I'm hoping that I'll have free (as in no restrictions) access to my blog, FB and oh, the university stuff too.

Thank you Lidian. I found a couple of tops for work but no shoes and didn't have the energy (or inner ear balance) to contemplate trying on any work trousers in a pongy little change room; maybe next week.

Helen` said...

She...LOVES the postman? What kind of dog is that? Oh, you mean "for breakfast." Yes, that must be it.

Welcome to the wonderful world of weekend housework _ I think I've done a good eight hours today.

The Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

Well done and good luck!

I hope it all works out for you.




ThirdCat said...

congratulations, Kath...it's a big move, and the weekend housework does suck, but I loved being back at full time work and I was sad that my strange living situation made it a bit impossible in the end. The housework was a drag, but somehow the weekends became the most lovely days I'd had for many years.

You'll keep writing, won't you? Because Franzy is right.

Kath Lockett said...

Helen, no she really truly loves our postman with every wag of her furry orange tail and beat of her wildly friendly heart. And he loves her right back.....

I hope it works out for me too, PlasMan but suspect that Bulldogs might be few and far between when it comes to me providing admin adn writing for them as a 'non-competitor'.

Thanks ThirdCat. I'm stoked that you've 'visited' because, hey you're a REAL writer and I put up comments on your blog and then later think, "Oh that sucked and was so lame, as if she'd come over here to visit your stupid little attempt at blogging"..... How's THAT for eloquent writing?