Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Just doing my job, ma'am

“Workin' 9 to 5
What a way to make a livin'
Barely gettin' by
It's all takin'
And no givin'
They just use your mind
And they never give you credit
It's enough to drive you
Crazy if you let it”


Who would have thought Dolly Parton would be the font of such sage words? You can feel the ample weight of their buxom perspicacity.

So, after leaving the self-immolation of the Soho animation company, I found myself temping at a number of budding dot coms, which led to my next, short-lived, permanent job:

3. I worked for one of the key movers and shakers in the London dot com scene, a household name for all of fifteen minutes, and now just a footnote in the history of stupid business ventures.

Yes, it was that dizzying era when otherwise sane, well-balanced individuals misguidedly believed that we would be set for life, with the minimum effort, but the maximum rewards. We were overpaid! We could work from home just because we felt like it! We kept our own hours! And, best of all…we had share options! Woo Hoo!

What a bunch of fucking idiots we were. As the share options turned into luxury toilet paper, dappled with Verdana and Arial Bold fonts for maximum absorption, everything crashed with lightning speed. With the benefit of hindsight, it is all too easy to see that this was never going to work. There was never, ever any kind of revenue stream. It wasn't enough to just be a dot com, with one eye on that elusive flotation that would make us all rich, rich, RICH!

An average day at work went a little something like this: Wander in whenever I felt like it. Surf the net until lunchtime. Take a long lunch break. Exchange e-mails with friends non-stop throughout the day. Go out for a long coffee break. And, occasionally, work on convoluted research projects that were abandoned just shy of completion, before being handed a different research assignment, starting the fruitless cycle once more. Now, how the fuck was that going to contribute to a business bringing money in, let alone turning a profit?

In less than a year, I was made redundant and the company imploded. Loads of people around London were in the same position. And therein lay a big-ass problem. Too many people, not enough jobs.

I was stuck in employment limbo for nigh on two years, interspersed with bouts of consultancy work for former dot bomb colleagues, full-time film journalism, and re-educating myself to expand my skill set, which finally led to…

4. The last job. The one I griped about at length in the early days of this blog. A business publishing company that published books no-one bought, no-one read and no-one wanted. The place bled money like a menstruating elephant. It was a startling coalescence of everything a job shouldn’t be. I took a massive pay cut to take the job, purely because I needed ANY job by that point. And there was no upside. I was poorly rewarded. I didn’t learn anything or pick up any skills that I could take with me elsewhere. I didn’t enjoy it. Apart from a couple of important friendships, the place was a waste of fifteen months of my life, but now I’m…

5. Here. And it’s far too early to take any kind of overview of the place.

And I’m far too distracted to formulate any more organised thoughts at the moment. I’m only blogging because Mrs. AKA has been sequestered in the local Maternity Unit, as she is on the verge of labour, and I’m not allowed to stay the night. I need a bath, some food, a cigarette, a warm bed and a book…unless the phone rings and I get summoned back to the hospital. Wish us luck.

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