Working On It

You join me as I try to drag myself out of an unprecedented hiatus in bloguing. Yes, the blogue’s been on hold for a little while, but the masses (as is their wont) have been clamouring. Truth be told, my mind has been awash with blogue-fodder recently. Yet, somehow, putting finger to key has been something of an effort.

I’ve lived my life on the computer recently. You see, I am in the final throes of a thesis, which needs to be submitted on the 1st of August. You’ll know all about this, if you’ve been keeping up. It’s not going too badly. Today I managed to address (i.e. better conceal) a few methodological concerns. Yesterday was spent trying to shoehorn some new findings into a pre-written discussion. You should try it sometime.

Anyway, all this thesis chat will be boring for the likes of you. I need something to snag your interest.

Nothing’s coming.

I’ve been spending a bit of time refurbishing the cupboard under the stairs. From here on in, this will be the place from which I will update the ‘logues. So you can picture me at it, if that’s your thing. I’ve been in here for most the past week.

the-epicentre.jpgI’ve been thinking (as I do whenever I have a lengthy break from work) what it would be like not to have a job at all. To be terminally and voluntarily unemployed. If your plodding imagination needs a hand with this, why not imagine that you’ve scooped a preposterous windfall. A lottery win perhaps. Or maybe you’ve found some treasure. Go with what works. Now, imagine that you are now possessed of a suitable amount of wealth to sustain you until the end of your days. What do you do?

People probably fall into a couple of different camps here. You get the idealistic chumps who say it wouldn’t change their life, and they’d carry on just like before. That’s because they’re not doing their job for the money, they’re doing it for the satisfaction of developing themselves or helping others, or because it’s a pleasant way to pass the time.

Then there are those who’d leave their jobs in a shot, probably taking a moment to moon their colleagues on the way out.

As a contrary sort, I tend to number myself amongst the latter group when I’m at work. There are times when I can imagine nothing better than to live a life of unfettered leisure. I’ve been reading some poems by Philip Larkin recently, courtesy of line manager, Larkin-enthusiast, and some-time ‘logues commentator Wee Gorbals. Larkin was of the view that work was like a toad squatting on his life, polluting six days a week with its sickening poison. His poem Toads perfectly encapsulates his distaste for occupational activity.

But what’s the alternative? All the time I’ve been off this week, I’ve been fairly busy with my thesis. But what would I do once it was done? I suspect that I lack the imagination and drive to lead an interesting life of unemployment. I’d probably get up most days. Read a book, maybe. Ah, lunchtime. A DVD for the afternoon, perchance, followed by a walk to Tesco’s? Maybe tidy up a bit. Of course, there’d be no one around to talk to, since they’d all be at work. There’d be no excuse for leaving the blogue to lie dormant, I suppose, but would it be the sort of life that might make for a happy death-bed reminiscence? Not that that’s the be all and end all either, I guess. No one stays on their death-bed for long, after all.

Where was all this going? Nowhere very significant, really. I was just thinking out loud. My conclusion? Work is probably a good thing for me, because the sort of life I would lead without it doesn’t bear thinking about.

Give me your arm, old toad;
Help me down Cemetery Road.

Explore posts in the same categories: Blogging, Psychology

3 Comments on “Working On It”

  1. Neebs Says:

    I believe it was Oscar Wilde who said… “Work is the curse of the drinking classes” – hoorah Mr Wilde, your boldness shall ever be and suffer no vicissitude. I remember Larkin for his frank analysis on the role of parents in shaping one’s personality; at least I think that’s how he put it…

  2. Doug Says:

    Yes, I like that one. The last verse is especially poignant:

    Man hands on misery to man.
    It deepens like a coastal shelf.
    Get out as early as you can,
    And don’t have any kids yourself.

    There is another post needing to be written, I think.

  3. Wee Gorbals Says:


    Your acceptance of the toad work as a good thing for you will sit well with future employers. As a Larkinophile, I love his metaphors…the ‘Toad’..the sickening poison of bills dropping through the letterbox…. I recommend his short accessible poems to your readership.

    Work does appear to be closely and positively asociated with mental health according to psychological surveys of recent years. However it must be a complex relationship. I believe that whilst contemporary employment levels are pretty high, depression rates are also going though the roof and set to rise. Perhaps the working world is a less aimiable companion down Cemetary Road than it used to be. Has the toad become a demanding salamander or a rapacious lobster? Or is something else behind the rise in unhappiness?

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