Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Work 2

I'm always interested that very few of the bloggers I read tend to write about their work. Some appear not to have paid employment - (I do keep recommending that my children marry money. They pay no attention). Some are retired. And then there's Thimbleanna, who works more or less full time but also creates beautiful things eight days a week and reads and comments on a million blogs. I think I've worked out how, though. She's twins. Ha ha! - rumbled you at last, Anna.

But many bloggers, though they give the impression that they have jobs, seldom say anything about these.

Is it because you don't want to get the sack, I wonder? Or do you not want to think about your work in your leisure time? Are you being deliberately mysterious? - not that there's anything wrong with that. (My name is not Isabelle, or at least my first name isn't. )

For all my complaining I do find my job endlessly interesting. My colleagues are good fun, the students are usually lovely and it's nice to have so much to do with beautiful young people when you're 59. Much of my work is connected with words and stories and I'm very fond of both of these. In many ways I'm very fortunate. And we do have great holidays. I occasionally wonder if life will seem a bit empty without all this. Life will be one long holiday; will I miss the heady joy of the last day of the session?

Philip Larkin wrote another poem about work called "Toads Revisited", in which he thought about retirement:

Walking around in the park
Should feel better than work;
The lake, the sunshine,
The grass to lie on...

And then he wondered if in fact he'd miss having something definite to do, with status and an in-tray, and decided to keep on working:

When the lights come on at four
At the end of another year
Give me your arm, old toad,
Help me down Cemetery Road.

Such a cheery chap, he was. In fact he died before he got to retirement, so he was right.

I would - will - miss a lot about work. The students, the colleagues, the feeling of usefulness. But I think I'd cope.

What does your work mean to you? Apart from money?


  1. I laugh every day with things the kids say or do.

    (Marking essays is also useful blog fodder!)

  2. I think those of us in paid employment (especially those of us employed by the Government in some form) are a bit cagey blogging about work - don't want to end up on the wrong end of a "doocing". For myself, as a lawyer there is also that pesky client confidentiality thing in the way too - I have some FABULOUS stories I could tell but you are just going to have to take my word for it!

  3. I have blogged about work, but I am also very very wary about students finding it....the first time I saw my institution appear in my stats, I completely freaked, but nnow I kow who that is, usually.

    I'm just not sure how the uni would feel if the students discovered they were being taught by a fish, really.

    Sometimes I miss being in a high school, but it depends on the cohort at Uni, sometimes they are wonderful, sometimes a bit tedious...

  4. My work is the source of many of my stories. But yes, there is a worry about being dooced.

  5. I too would rather that any employers or potential employers didn't read my blog. Not that it's particularly anonymous, really - if friends from university can find it, probably anyone can.

    It used to be that employers seemed to think that if you had a blog, you'd be tempted to do it on company time. These days, a lot of people are expected to blog or Twitter or use Flickr as part of their job - particularly in the heritage sector in which I might hope to be employed in future. I've applied for a job where blogging was expected and admitted I had blogging experience at the interview - though I still didn't get the job...

  6. Work - well we are in a strange situation!! After building up our own business for 10 years, we are now partially winding it down! We terminated our main work contract due to my husband having surgery. Subsequently we are now unemployed - and I'm now job hunting. So not much to write about there! Prior to this stage I wrote very little about work mainly because we had a contract and also opposition in our area.

  7. Anonymous11:57 pm

    I only work to pay for the interesting stuff I do outside of working hours. I only blog about interesting stuff. SO you see - I can't blog about work...

  8. I'm often tempted to write about work, there's certainly enough to write about. But then my blog would descend into quite a negative space I think. I choose joy.

    Although perhaps I might blog now and again about the more philosophical aspects of working.

  9. I'm in shock that your real name isn't Isabelle.

  10. LOL Suse - I had the same thought! Well, Mrs Not-Isabelle, I guess I can understand why you don't use your real name; your students would have no trouble finding you here. I started out calling myself Patracat on all my Internet dealings, but ended up using my real name here (a) so my friends could find me and (b) I don't really care who else reads my blog anyway - I've got nothing to hide and no employers to worry about. Although in my working life as an aged care worker, which I often blogged about, nobody in my work sphere had ever heard of blogs, and most didn't have a computer!

  11. You're so funny Ms. Non-Isabelle! Here's my secret: I stay up all night (posted at 1 a.m. last night) and sleep at work! Because. It's. Boring. Really, it could be interesting, but I spend my days dreaming about sewing and homekeeping and other such lovely things (like travel to Scotland.) All the bureaucracy and paperwork and processes involved with engineering/office life these days has sucked all the fun out of it. So, in short, it's the money and only the money.

    I've always thought I missed my calling. I would have LOVED to have been a teacher. Your job sounds so fun and rewarding -- like you said -- to be with kids would be wonderful. I'm very excited -- they've started a new tutoring program here at work -- one day a week, they'll bring a busload of kids from a local school to us and we'll be paired up to help one student for the year. My assignment is a little 4th grade boy named John and I'll meet him in two weeks!

  12. I loved my teaching job but I love retirement even more. I have time to do what I want and I can do it when I want. I did go back substitute teaching for a few years after I retired so maybe I don't miss it because I was able to taper off and not suddenly quit it all.

  13. I am retired but still do my house work, after retiring I raised my granddaughter, who is now 25. I am glad you enjoy your work, there is nothing like being stuck on a job you don't like. Have a great weekend.

  14. I'm just starting a PGCE. When I'm done I'll never talk about work for fear of being dooced although I'm sure the blogging potential from a primary school class will be huge!

  15. I don't blog much about work as it's not terribly interesting I suppose, doesn't take up a huge amount of my time, and isn't really what I want to blog about - I'm not actually hugely a 'people person', and I'm not specially observant about them. Also one or two of my students do look at my blog sometimes and I wouldn't want to hurt any feelings. Teachers generally are supposed to be quite cautious about blogging, I think.

    I think there's always a bit of a sense that work is a due that has to be paid. Most of us really need some outside structure and demands placed on us, and some sense that we're doing something 'out there', with at least an illusion of being vaguely useful.

    When we first came here, I didn't have any outside work, we lived on Tom's pension and there was so much work to do on the house that it wasn't as though I was idle. But after a time I started feeling a bit pointless and adrift, so gradually started doing bits of teaching, and now, though work is very part time and not very lucrative, it is regular and makes me feel a bit more connected to the world, which is perhaps even more necessary in a foreign country with not a lot going on immediately around you.

    Now I'm beginning to feel a bit bored and unchallenged again, so it's probably time to look for something a bit more demanding, though I'm woefully unambitious and a large part of me is quite certain that I'd be more than happy to stay home, look after house, husband and dog and just do pleasant things like blogging! But even if we didn't need the money, I wouldn't really feel right about that...

    But when you've had a very full working life as you have, and you've got lots of outside interests, plus you live in an interesting place with lots going on, I can't imagine you'll have any problem with retirement!

    (When Larkin died, I remember a friend who was a great admirer of his saying 'Larkin's dead. He'll be so pleased!')

  16. I enjoyed work when I had something useful to do, but for the last year or so it was very dissatisfying and I felt like I was just wasting my life. So I retired seven years ago. Since then I've only had rare moments of feeling bored, but then I go and do something and I'm not bored any more.

    One thing I did miss for a while after retiring was the feeling at 5.00pm on Friday.....that feeling of two whole days in which to do things I wanted to do. Obviously, I was ready to

  17. True, I rarely blog about work either. And it's for the same reasons you indicated. Loss of anonymity might be embarrassing or worse. Nothing much happens there. It's boring. And I'm counting the days till I retire.

  18. Love Lucy's larkin quote - spot on!

    I do mention my wrk once in a while but notice that no-one ever seems interested in it so have probably unconsciously edited it out! Will re-insert. I like it and feel it is worthwhile and, for the most part, positive but maybe being a development and regeneration solicitor for a local authority in somewhat depressed South Yorkshire is not the most thrilling vocation!!!

    Hope your workload settles down soon - it sounds exhausting.

    Lesley x

  19. I am happy happy happy to be retired!
    I will admit, it is not as I had imagined.
    I am sure you are correct about Thimbleanna, she might even be triplets!!

  20. Teuchter12:40 pm

    I've never blogged about work* for fear of being struck off for bringing my profession into disrepute. **
    That's also the reason why I use a pseudonym for my blog and on facebook.
    A third consideration is that I didn't want patients to find me online; my professional persona is somewhat different from my private one.

    * although I found my job endlessly fascinating, I doubt the blogosphere would agree

    ** that makes it sound like I get up to all sorts of exciting things which is, alas, far from the truth

  21. Work: although I'm not working for pay at the moment, I hope I will be working in some capacity until the day I die. I need to feel useful.

    If I did have a paying job, I suppose I'd find it indiscreet to write about it. My last job had an agreement which prevented one's writing about it or discussing it in any significant fashion for a period of time after one had left.

    Certainly I wouldn't want my coworkers or employees to read my blog. I think I often come across as less than professional.

  22. Work for me means sore neck,. aching muscles, wet feet. rough get the idea ?

    I do write about my work and folk seeem to be interested but as it is seasonal and repetitive I have to be careful not to bore everyone with it.
    I can't pretend it is fun; ...BUT we do grow food to feed folk in other parts of the world....welcome to you like Kiwifruit and avocados and macadamia nuts?....I may be it is worth it... I just wish it paid better. That's why is is more enjoyable to blog about quilting and gardens.

  23. I love my work, and occasionally mention it but issues of privacy and of not wanting to offend any current or prospective students keep me quiet. I think that people who wanted to would be able to find me/my business/my blog without trying too hard, because my location is divulged and my occupation is slightly unusual. Not that I would say anything negative, I have lovely students! Just I don't want to appear unprofessional.


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