Thursday, October 12, 2006

I could be a thousandaire!

As a lot of you (all 5) who tune in regularly know I work full time, (mostly to pay a nanny) clean the house, do the laundry, cook most of the meals and have a husband who occasionally cooks and frequently (by obligation and threats) washes up. That is our arrangement and it works (for the most part) very well. I like doing most of the house work as it means that things get done my way. I am not saying this is the right way or the best way but it is the way that I prefer. It also means I get time off for good(-ish) behaviour to go to the gym.

However, tonight I saw a respite, a way to live in a £500,000 house, be given £86,000 annually by the government, take exotic holidays, drive a big car, send the kids to private school AND stay at home. Our local free paper The Mercury delivered us a front page story about a local scrounger (their words) operating under those very circumsdances. I asked Rups (he who knows all) how it was possible to claim £86,000 a year. His reply was "have lots and lots of kids and claim for all of them"

Sod that, I'm staying working. It is far easier.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

What price a life?

Who knows? I would say it is priceless times priceless but that is just me.

However the British government have just put a price on asking their troops to put their life in jeopardy. A £2,240 tax-free bonus.

This is not a post on the rights and wrongs of the war. This is a post about the men and women who make up the British services abroad.

Let's do the black and white of this:
Chap(ette) A: I am a member of the British forces in a desk jockey or a trainer role paid X (minus the usual tax, National Insurance and Health/Wealth contributions) by the British army to sit (march) somewhere in the UK doing my job. The biggest dangers to my well-being are a bee-sting, being charged by an angry bull (should I be daft enough to wander into a field containing such a beast)or contracting the common cold.
Chap(ette) B: I am somewhere miles away from home, be it Iraq, Afghanistan The Congo, The Lebanon, Northern Ireland or other such desirable tourist destinations There is proven and presidented danger to my life and limb. I am to be paid X (minus the usual tax, National Insurance and Health/Wealth contributions) plus £2,240 Oh whoppee-*bleeping*-doo.

People who are sent abroad on active duty are expected to pay tax on their earnings? Talk about being f***** right over for your dedication. The Irish army get more annual extra earnings for accompanying Securicor vans to and from the banks.

It is a good job that the services are a vocation for the majority of people who join them because no-one would do it for the money.

Troops, try not to spend all your new-found wealth on wine, (wo)men and song.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Where have all the vocations gone?

What is your occupation?
What do you do for a living?
What is your job?
Do you have a career?

Do you know what a vocation is?

When I was growing up, people talked about certain occupations as being more than jobs, they were vocations. That is to say that the people did them felt a calling to that job which went beyond wages, beyond glamour, beyond any other entrapment or lure of modern employment. It was simply something that they were compelled to do.

The roles in society filled by these people with the calling were the priesthood, being a doctor, being a surgeon, nursing, teaching and careers in that permanent pensionable respectable vein. I never felt like I had a vocation, I was much too scatty for that. My educational and employment history lurch from one pivot to another (as much as one can lurch from a pivot)

I left school at 16
I worked waitressing and bar-tending
I went back at 18 and completed 2 years of school in one year despite being dyslexic. I wanted to work really hard more than I wanted to go back to wearing a uniform in state school and I could only afford one year of private sixth form college so it was complete my studies on one year or not at all. I also worked in a bar part-time to pay rent.
I took a year off and worked full-time as a receptionist in a hairdressers and a waitress to replenish my savings
I didn't know what to do in college so I did a year long diploma in media studies. I had my first term dalliance with computers. I also worked as a 'copy operator' in a photocopying shop. That was some job.
I decided to do degree in classical studies. It was a three year degree and I really got into Homer and all his creations in sixth form college so I thought "why not"
I also did a part-time evening diploma in gender studies at the same time and worked part-time as a chamber maid, door(wo)man and barmaid.
After college, I was at a bit of a loss so I did a diploma in computer studies and worked on the helpdesk in a call-centre in the evenings...
The computer studies lead to my first job in 'puter with Compaq and now I am at the giddy heights I have reached today. (ahem....)

But you know something, I still don't know what I want to do. I still find myself thinking over this notion of a vocation and wondering if I have missed the cues for mine.

Then I read of teachers seducing their young pupils, doctors murdering their patients and helping themselves to their valuables and the unspeakable acts of abuse committed by some members of the clergy against those in their care.

I have to wonder did those people feel a call to their profession at one time? Is what they did the symptom of what happens when people take up a job without it being a vocation for them?

What does/did the notion of vocation actually mean and is it still a relevant concept nowadays?

I don't know. There are just times when I cannot shake the notion that I am supposed to do more. I just don't know what.

(Who is having one of those horrible introspective nights - I shall try to shake this off and get back to being frivolous as soon as I can)