My partner excels at romantic gestures. This year he bought me a book, wrapped in the prettiest red paper, with the magical word ‘Love’ in the title. I know what you’re thinking. Is it ‘Love in the Time of Cholera’ by Gabriel Garcia Marquez? Is it ‘Love’ by Toni Morrison? Well no, it isn’t either of these. Great works of literary fiction only claim to change your life; my partner has bigger ambitions. His gift was a self-help book that will change my life for real. A book called ‘How to Get A Job You’ll Love’.
You see, for a long time now, I’ve been worrying that all this pissing about raising my kids is below me. I’ve longed for a book that will help me get off my fat, lazy, stay-at-home-mummy ass (covered as it is in oozing bedsores from sitting down reading stories to my kids) into the world of REAL work.
Even as I write, there are tears of gratitude welling up in my eyes. So moved am I by his gesture that I feel compelled to share with you a list I’ve compiled in response to one of the book’s first exercises; which is to create a ‘cathartic’ list of all the things I have disliked about work in the past.
So here goes:
1. I don't like meetings. For a start, no one listens to me. My partner reckons it’s because I speak at a pitch audible only to whales, elephants, or supernatural beings blessed with the power of super-hearing. And yet, on the rare occasion that I do say something interesting, it’s funny how one or other of my colleagues (usually a male) will make EXACTLY the same observation a few minutes later. As if by magic. Lately, I’ve been secretly thinking (though it’s not in the book) that the only way forward is to attend meetings equipped with a massive strap-on cock and shout my ideas really loudly into a fucking megaphone. See if that works.
Alternatively I could get my tits out. Which brings me to the second point…
2. Recently I have read reviews of a book by sociologist Catherine Hakim called ‘Erotic Capital’, in which she argues that women should be using sex appeal to get ahead in the boardroom. My feeling is that Catherine Hakim’s strategies might work fine until you’re 30. Taken to extremes, you might even find that fellating your boss on the boardroom table gets you a mini-promotion (although never his job). By the time you reach 40, however, you will have realised that wearing a short skirt into the office is more likely to provoke violent gag reflexes. Suddenly you have to draw on other skills, like the ability to assert yourself. So, Catherine Hakim. Listen with mother. I know I sound a little crazy, a little emotional, even hormonal (*gasp*) - but what I think I’m trying to say is this: shut the fuck up, you tedious reactionary.
3. I don’t like inflexibility in the workplace. For instance, I drop my kids off at school at nine o’clock in the morning. This is what I do. I like to give them a kiss and a cuddle, and see them off into the world. I'm such a fucking wet. Just because YOU want me to be in the office by nine o'clock in the morning for no other reason than because someone in the 1950s said that business hours constituted 9am until 5pm, it doesn’t mean it has to be that way forever and ever. PS: I’m not lazy. I'd be there if there were a meeting, or something important, but I don’t get why I have to be there at 9.00am sharp, just so that I don’t miss the critical life-or-death moment when the kettle boils, and everyone makes their morning tea, and stands around for absolutely aeons discussing the tele.
4. I don’t like leaving my kids in the care of other people all day every day for the whole of their childhood.
Anyway, as you can plainly see, I’m making progress. I’m thinking positively. I’m all psyched up. I’m supposed to write approximately ten points before I move on to the second exercise, then, I’m supposed to read the whole book, but hell gals, I think I’m ready! I’m growing balls as I write. I’m crushing up all the maternal bones in my body and making lines of cocaine from them. I’m even thinking I should share this blog post with my contacts on Linkedin? What do’ya think? Fuck, I’m even thinking I’m going to burn that soppy po-faced Oliver James’s book ‘How Not to F**k Them Up' this very minute, and phone the child-catcher in 'Chitty Chitty Bang Bang', see if he's got spaces ...
It’s gonna be great.