“In France one must adapt oneself to the fragrance of a urinal”
As I write this I am sitting beside a pool at a house on a hill that overlooks a small country settlement. It’s really quiet. The town I am in is around 400 kilometres from home. The morning is crisp and clear. I can see for miles in every direction. It’s also a work day. I’m outside with my laptop writing this note while on the company dime. 🙂
I’m thinking about a lot of things. It’s one of those beautiful and inspiring places that facilitates clearheaded reflection. One of the things in my head is an appreciation that I’ve probably got the most idle-compatible job in the world. Best I don’t name the company though. They might not agree. But, they pay me a pretty decent wage to solve a few problems and by all accounts I do it fairly well. I’m obviously a lot more efficient than they expect because I have a lot of time and space during the work day.
In some ways my job is a bit like being in the Army. Long stretches of tedium where you try to productively fill your time. Then the dead spots are shattered by moments of panic. At those times I work hard to scoop up the guts of the bubble that popped and stop the shit spreading from here to Timbuctoo. I contain I mitigate and I spin. Things generally work out.
I often wonder how I got into this line of work. Perhaps it chose me. My predilection for idleness and my lack of motivation for work make it hard for a guy like me to stick in an occupation (or to bother turning up on time or dressed properly or at all). With this job I get to travel to other cities. Usually only for day trips. I get to read or sleep on the plane. I have a couple of ‘what happened’ or ‘why did you do that’ or ‘you know you really aren’t allowed to do that’ type meetings. Then I go look at things and write up a report using a fairly time tested format and approach that I have devised to cut out the corners and cross the goal with a minimum of critical thought or real effort.
So my 8 hour paid work day is two hours travel with maybe 2 1/2 hours of meetings and report writing. The rest of the day is really up to me. I don’t check emails while waiting for my flight. I don’t read company memos or business documents. I might write a blog or an article or I could go shopping or go to a movie. I catch up with old friends. I sit in parks and watch the world go by. I chat to strangers or I have long lunches in nice restaurants (paid by the company). One thing I don’t do anymore is sleep. I’ve missed a couple of flights that way. It’s hard to explain to management so I don’t sleep now even when I really want to.
For a long time I’ve been thinking I wasn’t really in the right job. More frequently since they called me back to work full-time (after being part-time for ages), but his morning I’m sitting here thinking I might have the best job in the world. No not the best job. What I have done is to achieve a decent wage collector with a minimum of personal inconvenience. I’m also not afraid of being found out by management.
And that is the real lesson. Figuring out how to fit yourself to your circumstances to make them work rather than trying to change the circumstances to fit in with your own preconceived ideas of how things should be.