So. The time has come for me to seek some kind of paid work, and like the little chicken shit I am, instead of grasping the nettle and looking for something that I could love and/or where I could do some good, I emailed my CV to a marketing agency.
They called me.
Without even thinking, as soon as I knew who it was, I stood up (adds energy to your voice y’know), paced the room and, as if possessed by the ghost of Steve Jobs, this….this wanky tone of voice emitted from my mouth and I started banging on about prestigious companies, transferable skills, FMCG, blue chip whatsits, marketing sweet spots, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, bleugh.
My poor, horrified soul drummed its little fists against my brain crying ‘Please stop, please for the love of God, who is this person!’ but I’d started so I had to finish lest the entire industry find out that I’m totally loopy; that said I did vaguely register that something was wrong and curtailed the call as soon as respectably possible, and then, realising what I had done, sat down clutching my head in my hands with horror.
All I could think was ‘I HATE myself!’
I had spent more than a decade pretending to be someone I’m not, to the point of being pushed to total breakdown by some psycho middle management tosspot, and then what do I do when money gets a little tight? Hurl myself back into that persona, like someone who had just been rescued from a blazing building, diving back in through a ground floor window, still smouldering, heels alight, hair afire.
Please don’t misunderstand. There’s nothing wrong with working in marketing <cough, ahem, splutter> or sales if you’re in the right environment. It’s when you are forced to behave in a manner that you are not comfortable with and/or when you are required to do things that put you at odds with your moral code is when the cracks will start to show. If you are human, that is. I can sell/promote/market with the best of ’em, but from now on, I will only sell that which I am passionate about, and not for kudos, promotion or, of course, mere money
Then, just when I was about to limp away and get myself a comforting glass of wine, my little ally from my old company sent me a message via LinkedIn.
‘Hi there’ it said ‘saw this job and thought of you. Hope all is well!’
I looked at the job spec. It’s exec level, situated just outside the M25, tons of responsibility, average wages.
Did I think ‘Nice of her to think of me but I’m not going back into that world.’?
Or ‘Bless her, she’s trying to encourage me to ease back into the workplace gradually.’?
I’m livid. How dare she sell me short?! Does she think that just because I had a near breakdown that I am willing to take a demotion, work in the back of beyond for a pittance whilst carrying shitloads of responsibility for the fun of it, so that lickarse, mealy mouthed spin masters like her take all the credit? FUCK her. I could have done her job easily had it not been for the politics, bullshit and lack of autonomy at that place! And they’d just love that wouldn’t they, seeing me in a measly exec role, the oldest in an office with a load of 20 year olds, well she knows where she can shove that! I’ll show them, I’ll get a better role, director level, and show them what I can handle with the right company!
Do I loathe myself that much that I will push myself willingly to my own destruction for the sake of proving myself to people that no longer matter? Am I going to pass on my ‘get out of jail free’ card just because things are a bit tight and go back to a miserable 9-5 existence?
If nothing else has come out of this episode, it’s the realisation that I need to have faith in myself and get out there and do something before the time comes that I have to go back to that grey world because I no longer have any choice in the matter.
And, if i fail? Well at least it will have been an adventure.
So, I’ve decided. Even if the agency come back to me with a position, I think I will have to politely decline.
Otherwise ‘I could be an inmate in a long term institution’.
And that would be a waste.