A Curious Girl

The musings of a girl who is curious in both senses of the word. Life, God, and York. Oh, did I say York? I meant Bradford!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Employed. Yay?

All right, I keep meaning to blog, thinking of interesting and insightful things to blog, but always being too far away from the computer. And then when I get to my computer, my brain has zombified...

So I am working as a dinner lady.

OK, the job was sold to me as "kitchen assistant" but everyone knows there is only one term for a female kitchen assistant who works in a school, and that is dinner lady.

It is mostly quite boring, edging on mind-numbing. The advantage is that it requires little concentration - they got me doing boring things on my year in industry but they actually required brain power, whereas stacking plates and bowls and sorting cutlery requires only the most vestigial effort from my brain. Meaning I can think about other things. The people are nice and unlike in my last boring job, they don't insist on talking about work all the time. After work I often go and sit in the park near the school, to think and write and watch the birds. Last week I ended up getting in a conversation with a young boy who noticed we had the same phone and persuaded me into swapping music with him. He gave me a UB40 track, I gave him "Next 100 years" by Bon Jovi. I feel quite jealous of his powers of persuading complete strangers to do things. I have to wonder if the reason many adults are scared of children is that children usually aren't scared at all. It doesn't terrify them what people will think if they strike up a conversation or, in the case of some teenagers on the bus today, they don't give a crap what people think when they play their music really loudly in a public place (in the case of the latter morons, I wish I'd had the nerve to threaten them with Gilbert and Sullivan).

In the mean time, taking up my free days, I've managed to get a little support work.

Support work is different to care work mainly I think in the actual amount of work you do and the need of the people you do it for. For instance I did some support work for three women with learning disabilities who basically just get on with life and need someone around to help with things like cooking and ironing. It was cool, actually - the whole setting is very natural and it's nice to feel like I'm helping without having to be "in charge" or "in control" all the time - allowing the three of them to live fairly normal, autonomous lives, which is as it should be.

And I had an interview today for a lab position.

Oh Chemistry.

The interview went fairly well - I wasn't perfect but there were no real howlers (I went for an interview at GSK for my year in industry... the very first question was "Describe an HPLC experiment" and I couldn't think of anything... finally I said, "I think we did something with amino acids?" and the interviewer said, "that sounds plausible..."). As is the nature when you have a meagre degree like mine, the job doesn't sound particularly hard, and there are ways to progress.

I'm not sure I want it.

There are great advantages to taking such a job - the full time hours which will stay put on weekdays and leave all my evenings free, the pay is bound to be pretty good, and I could probably do a bit of care/support work at weekends and get some regular volunteering, which I've been meaning to do for, oh, the past four years.

But on the other hand, I don't want to progress in science. I love science's logic and beauty, but I don't love the thought of routinely making products that I don't really care about because it's a regular wage and I get weekends free. It's so... shallow.

Of course, if I was sensible, I could save the money up for things I've been wanting to do, and it'll come in handy if I do that Masters in Social Work I've been itching to apply for - which would start in January. Money isn't all evil, St. Paul made tents and Lydia sold purple cloth. Jesus made a coin appear in a fish's mouth. I shouldn't be so sanctimonious.

If I get this job I don't have to be a dinner lady any more, but then I can't really be a carer either. I don't want to be complacent, I hate the thought that I will settle for being comfortable when I have found a calling that I love and that benefits other people... I know that working in science can benefit other people, but I doubt I shall be making an enormous difference to anyone if I get this job. I feel it would be silly to turn it down but perhaps more foolish to accept it... I'm semi-hoping I don't get it, just so I don't have to agonise!



Living in Bradford is good though. I'm feeling very fond of this lovely city, though slightly miffed that I'll be at work for most of Fresher's Fair tomorrow (I'm sending Sophie as my proxy :) ). Thanks to my work in various places, I've toured the outskirts by bus. The countryside around here is beautiful. And the house seems to be having a pleasant minimum of house angst at the moment (alas, I feel it cannot last)... Feeling rather fond of all of my housemates. What's more, we've taken to playing Dungeons and Dragons.

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