Sunday, October 26, 2008


In 2003, in between teaching jobs, I worked for a couple of weeks recycling rubbish. We'd drive around Newcastle and North Tyneside, two of the younger blokes would run around collecting the boxes full of paper, tins, and plastic, and pass them into me and another bloke in the back of the lorry, where we'd sort the contents, and send them back out. It was really hard work, a long day.

Anyhow. The first day, there were three or four of us new starters, and I got talking to one bloke. He told me that he had to do this sort of thing twice a year or so, to keep the dole off his back. He didn't like to work. I was impressed that he was so dedicated to not working that he would manage on £55 a week and a load of hassle. I asked him why he did it. "When I'm at home, I can just please myself." Sure enough, he managed a few days, complained of feeling unwell one morning, and was sent home and told not to return.

I can just please myself...

I knew what he meant. These people who say they love their work either have desperately unhappy home lives or they're lucky enough to be doing something really interesting and empowering. Most of us are treated like shite.

I really enjoy teaching. But I hate going to work, where the staff room features several examples of socially inadequacy, (not all of my colleagues, I hasten to add, but it only takes one person cutting your "Good morning!" to spoil your day, doesn't it?)

And the management. Don't get me started.