Wow. Monday’s done and I’m happily listening to Coast To Coast (and the guest is Brian Weiss, a very interesting person whose book “Many Lives, Many Masters” I do recommend, I’ve read it). Not something I usually do unless I’m on holiday or sick. But here I am!
I’ve had 3 days for the reality of my very early retirement to sink in, and I will admit it still hasn’t quite. It’s going to feel like a holiday for a while at least, unless bills come in before money I’m expecting does. But then my credit is toast anyway so at this point as long as I have heat and electricity I’m fine with it.
There’s a huge back story to my retiring when I did, and it is mainly about money, but that was the impetus and not the final reason. The final reason was the unreasonableness of it all. I had lost all of my free time in recent months and that had a huge effect on me. It meant I couldn’t look after my son the way I need to; it meant having to withdraw from a ridiculously easy university course (and I chose it because it was that) and in the process losing $1000 and the time I had put into it up to that point. It meant waking up daily wondering what the point of ever waking up again was. When I get to that point it’s time to step back before I’m so far in I can’t see my way out.
I didn’t do that though. I refused to let my work situation or my creditors take my soul. I wasn’t put on this earth to be a cog in a rusty wheel and it was time, I realized to get the hell off, consequences be damned. So here we are, and welcome to the world of the damned. So far I’m appreciating raking leaves in the yard and sleep, glorious sleep.
I have my voice again. Now that may sound simple, but in my circumstances it wasn’t really. There’s a million things I’ve wanted to say, some things I did say and hoped I didn’t get caught, and others I’ve said under a pseudonym. There are reasons for all of these, but since I’m talking about work I’ll use this post to talk about that.
The rusty cog I got off of was the Federal Government. I have a long and checkered history with the Federal Government, one that goes back a few generations. My grandfather was an ADM, my great-uncle an editor for Hansard. Growing up in Ottawa I swore I would not work for the Federal Government. However, one failed attempt at working at a full time job after I’d had it with school led me in that direction when the business went bankrupt, my paycheques bounced, I sued, won and then didn’t when it was discovered I had sued as a 17 year old.
At the time nobody had thought to ask me if I was 18 and I didn’t know you had to be in order to file a lawsuit. This was after I had to get the Minister of Justice to reopen the file when my former boss refused to respond to the small claims court and I couldn’t believe how ridiculous it was to drop the case because the person being sued didn’t want to be sued? Stupid, and I told him so. The story made the paper – it was in the Ottawa Journal in a column called Square Deal. I have the clipping somewhere, maybe I’ll post it sometime. Anyway, my mother, who was a Chief Librarian for a government Department at the time recommended I go to a temporary help agency after a couple of months of sending out a book I’d written and getting a bunch of “wow that’s good, but do you have anything else?” letters. I did and the rest is my aforementioned checkered history.
One of the things that bothered me a lot lately is not being able have a public opinion on matters that, well, matter. I’m a tax-payer, but you don’t hear that from the assorted powers-that-be. And as a public servant not only can you not have an opinion, you can’t wear a button supporting a candidate, you can’t put a sign on your lawn in election time. You can’t defend the work you do or speak about proposed policies that you may well have an interest in complaining against as a human being because to a certain degree you can’t be that. To quote the Elephant Man, “I am a human being!”
Hee hee. So yes, you will be hearing from me, REALLY hearing from me, because you can now.
And on that happy note, I’ll leave you with a fun clip that kind of embodies my mood that comes from the movie Network: http://youtu.be/WINDtlPXmmE (the I’m Mad As Hell speech).