Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Female, 34, GSOH, seeks vocation

One of my old friends who I caught up with at the weekend was telling me that he is finding the career break he has embarked upon something of a challenge. He is struggling with the concept of being paid reasonably well for a menial job that barely strokes his brain with a tiny feather, let alone taxes it, and allowing his nervous fibres to gradually cease their twitching and have a lovely rest.

This is a man who has been grafting away in local politics for about 15 years with little break and scant reward because he thinks it matters, not because he wants power, status and shinier brogues. Prior to this, he felt compelled to pursue a career in the church. Now that he is actually taking a break from relentlessly working for the benefit of others, he finds himself unable to settle into what the rest of us might call an easy life. Apparently, in his world, there is simply nothing to be done but help people. Even now, when he is trying his very best to submerge himself in a restorative daily routine of drinking tea and making necklaces out of paper clips, he hears the calling to good works over the jangle of the workplace radio.

What is this calling? I listen for it everywhere, but I only hear train announcements, other people's one-sided mobile phone calls and the bubble of fluid in my ears (I have had a cold). I am a procrastinator and a ditherer, and envious of anyone who feels with utter conviction that they must heal/preach/sing/dance/rescue/sculpt/build/other. I mean, I get annoyed when people punctuate poorly, but I can't say I'd lay down my life in order that the world could finally learn the difference between its and it's. I like to write, but I'm not one of those from whom the words pour out with all the force of molten lava heading downhill to Pompeii. In contrast to my friend, I believe I could quite easily make a career out of taking a career break. In fact that is precisely what I've been doing for two and a half years. 

Perhaps, on my way home one dark evening, I will suddenly notice an old-fashioned streetlamp lighting my way to a vocation. Perhaps I will not. Still, I continue to listen and look out for it. And last night, I dreamt that I was being sold a ukelele by Len Goodman, so perhaps there are some clues there from which I may divine my path.

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