Friday, May 01, 2015

Paperback Paradise

This afternoon I went AWOL from work and took a brief trip to another town.  One with a decent second hand bookshop.  The closest thing we come to such things here in Crapchester are charity shops which have a few shelves of books at the back.  These range from the disorganised but unbelievably cheap, like the RSPCA shop, to the well organised and relatively expensive, like the Heart Foundation.  (I have a friend who frequents the latter on the grounds that he's willing to pay the higher prices for the convenience of having everything organised alphabetically and by genre, so that he doesn't waste as much time as he does in the RSPCA shop, whose bookshelves play only lip service to the notion of either).  The shop I went to today used to be one of my regular haunts, but over the past few years the regularity of my visits have tailed off.  Indeed, before today's visit, I can't remember the last time I was there.  Anyway, it was something of an overwhelming experience: they quite literally have piles of books there, ranging from crime and science fiction paperbacks to vintage children's books.  I ended up buying only a battered (and somewhat overpriced) 1960s paperback edition of PG Wodehouse's Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit (Wodehouse is my latest 'thing', I recently realised that I'd never actually read any of his books, so I'm currently remedying the situation).  Actually, prices there always have been a bit high, but they stock stuff that, around here at least, you just can't get anywhere else.

All of which begs the question as to why I was going AWOL in the first place, even if it is the Friday before a bank holiday weekend.  Suffice to say that something happened earlier in the day which not only made me extremely angry, but which also laid bare a staggering record of duplicity on the part of various of my colleagues.  The whole business has, in addition to leaving a vey bad taste in my mouth, left me in absolutely no doubt as to the contempt I'm clearly held in by some people in the organisation and the fact that my contribution isn't valued at all.  I've now got the long weekend to lick my wounds and consider my position.  In fact, I'm not actually due back in the office until Wednesday.  The way I'm feeling right now, I'm not sure I'll bother going back even then.  I would dearly love to walk away from the whole cess pool (as several former colleagues have done of late) and I'll be spending some of my time off assessing my financial situation to see if it is in any way viable.  I've only got a couple of years to go until my mortgage  is paid off and I was going to try and stick it out at work until then.  But it seems that there are those who can't wait that long and would clearly like me to go sooner.  Of course, it isn't just the financial considerations which keep any of us in jobs we hate - fear of the unknown if we leave is perhaps the most powerful thing reinforcing our inertia.  No matter how bad our situation is, the workplace provides a curious sense of security and continuity - a case of better the devil we know.  But I'm increasingly veering toward the idea that I should take the risk and step into the unknown.  If nothing else, it would provide me with the stimulus I badly need in my life right now.  I'm weary of this routine existence, serving a system I no longer believe in - I need to make some kind of radical change for the sake of my sanity, if nothing else.



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