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a few reflections

02 Aug
18 years ago YoungB was blond and still a baby

18 years ago YoungB was blond and still a baby

You know how I was unemployed for quite a while and doing some work from home to help with the bills (I couldn’t say it actually paid any of them)? And that I was genuinely looking for work, all the while in the sincere expectation that I would never again work full-time and probably not even part-time, what with being so old and everything? Yeah, I know. How wrong can you be? When I attended that job interview the other week, I was the youngest in the room which made me optimistic; and, given my background, I thought I was in with a very good chance of matching the ethos of the organisation. And, yippee, they thought so too.

So now that I’ve been there for four weeks I can honestly admit that there have been many days when I’ve been so overwhelmed by technology problems and the feeling of having bitten off far more than I could ever possibly chew that I’ve wanted to say, “I give up. It’s all too hard.” But I’m not like that. And besides, nobody expects someone coming into an organisation from such a diverse background to hit the boards running and have everything learnt and dealt with in the first week or even the first month. I’ve been mightily relieved to discover that my predecessor floundered for a while, too. I’ve cracked some of the codes earlier than she did but I suspect her organisational skills were way ahead of mine!

My boss told me today at our weekly debrief, this one the end of a hideously busy few days where we’ve had a series of meetings and been working hard to meet reporting deadlines, that I could hardly have chosen a more frantic time to start with the organisation. I’d anticipated that it would be a busy job and I was right. But today we all downed tools and had a sit-down, civilised morning tea to congratulate some newlyweds and welcome a couple of new employees. There were speeches and laughter and nobody rushing us back to work. The only caveat was that we had to remember to change our status on the “what you’re doing” screen to “busy”!

I’d planned to knit on my long bus trips but that’s not happening. The second bus services a busy school route. It’s jam-packed in a way that’s reminiscent of sardines but actually pales into insignificance against memories of London tubes or even Roman buses, and there have been days where I’ve been one of the upright sardines: no knitting possible. Some of the other grown-ups complain about the kids. I suppose it’s because my own kid is not long past that stage that I don’t mind it. They’re kids and often clearly as tired and sleepy as I am. Also, the benefit to me (at least during term) is that, if I were to forget to ring the bell for my stop, it wouldn’t matter, because I get off at the same stop as all the kids.

And what’s my kid up to? He’s having a wonderful time in Rome with his rellies. The cousin who hasn’t seen him since he was a little, blond baby – 12 months and a couple of weeks, to be reasonably accurate; and in the photo, they’re admiring the gardens at one of the local educational institutions – said she’s finding it difficult to accept that he’s grown into this tall, dark-haired young man. She was quite emotional about it. Even so, she and her family have been showing YoungB all the Roman sites from the viewpoint of a local and that, to be sure, is something very special that I’m sure he’ll reflect on in years to come.

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