I've come to a startling revelation now, I am becoming that which I fear most.
You see, when I left uni, journalism degree in hand, the world was a wonderful place, full of promise and potential. Of course, it wasn't. It didn't take long for me to realise that unless your uncle is editor of this, or your Godfather is friends with that chap, the chances of getting a proper journo staff post are next to nil. As a stop-gap I took a job in the civil service.
Fast forward eight years. Here I am sat a desk at ten to two in the morning in a government office in Kent with absolutely fuck all to do. Nothing, nada, zip, etc, etc. And YOU are paying for me to be here.
I don't want to be here. I want to do a job where I can go home at the end of the working day and feel I have accomplished something beyond moving some papers from one tray to another.
No problem, Wolfers, I hear you say, you seem to be a fairly erudite chap with his head screwed firmly on, this shouldn't present a problem. But here's the rub; after eight years my skills have gone. I have nothing, nothing, to offer private industry, my work history and skills are either irrelevant, obsolete or so job-specific that the only place to which they can apply is where I am sitting writing this. I have sent off numerous job applications all of which are ignored or attract the standard 'thanks but no thanks' reply.
So it seems I am doomed to become one of the useless, slapdash, lazy, grey, unambitious, obstructive, officious and parochial civil servants that are so rightly lambasted in the Libertarian blogosphere.
It gets better. It is now almost impossible to transfer out of my civil service department, such are the pressures on staff figures. It's not that we don't have enough, there's hundreds of us in this department's office in Kent alone, it's just that our management are so feckless and stupid that they are incapable of deploying the staff effectively. Of course our equipment doesn't work properly, our annual reports are politicised, our accommodation is laughable and our management hostile, such is their desire to clamber and shit over everybody else to get noticed and perhaps (gasp) get a job up in the smoke. But that's all OK, as we have a bloody great big list of diversity courses, management questionnaires and staff surveys to take. Let's tick another fucking box, it doesn't actually mean that anyone wants to DO anything. We used to want to do things, but they make it so bloody difficult it just isn't worth the hassle. Minute the file, stick it in the pending tray for the next person to decide it just isn't worth the hassle, who can then minute the file and stick it in the pending tray for the next person to deci . . . well, you get the idea.
The most sickening thing is, I can't afford to leave. The wages in Kent are shit. I live in the most populous county in England, certainly one of the most expensive, and yet the wages are a pittance. I'm mortgaged to these buggers, and they know it. I am earning above the national average by some considerable distance, not stellar cash, but a decent whack. Nothing in the area comes close to matching this, I simply can't afford to drop down.
I could work in London, but I'd only be earning the same as I am here, and would have to factor the cost of travel up to town (damn expensive) and the time it takes the train to cover the 60 mile distance to town - almost two hours. Even then, the application process is a bloody joke. If you want promotion, you have to 'evidence' (I didn't realise it was a verb) the skills and experience needed. Of course you don't have them, so they have an assessment centre where you jump through hoops labelled 'diversity champion', 'synergies', 'change agent', 'cock-gobbler' and the like, there's no actual assessment of your ability to do the job. I'm afraid that I am just not politically acceptable to those making the judgements at these centres, I don't get their language, it's all Emperor's New Clothes stuff.
I work shifts, they are quite flexible, but it is impossible to commit to any outside training, because you just can't be sure that you'll be able to attend classes or courses due to their random nature.
Once again, I point out that YOU are paying for this. Actually, thanks, you've enabled me to do what I went to university for. I'm getting paid to write this.
Seriously, any suggestions most welcome. I am terrified of being sat here in five, ten, fifteen years time - a bitter old dinosaur who delights in frustrating proper and constructive change, ideas or work.