Saturday, September 20, 2003

Thursday 11 Sept
Spent the day making clandestine calls to my old work colleagues, trying to gauge exactly what the nature of our interviews that evening were to be about. As five of us had resigned at the same time, for a variety of reasons but the main one being collective outrage about our treatment by the woman at the top and the blatant lack of direction, focus and money in everything we tried to do, the board of trustees had noticed and were duly concerned. Hence the calls and arrangement to see us each individually for “exit interviews” to be conducted without knowledge of the CEO, to garner a clearer idea of exactly what had been going on in the daily routine.
Despite spending the whole day reassuring myself as I sat on the patio smoking and drinking coffee that this was my opportunity to tell the truth about how things had turned out in the last few months, I turned up at the Secret, Undisclosed Location in a terrible state, having tried to be clever and getting the bus instead of the tube which meant I ended up over half an hour’s walk away from the Secret, Undisclosed Location. I looked so harassed when I arrived, they had to unpack an electric fan for me and made me sit by it until I looked less like an angry Chinese tomato about to explode.
It was oddly upsetting to go over my experiences at the company and to have to describe the craziness of the year I’ve spent there; I went into the job at the same time as starting this blog and I remember being so incredibly excited about it all, I couldn’t stop babbling about it. And I’ve come a very, very long way from where I started – there’s no denying the fact that I have got a decent year’s worth of work experience in commercial, charitable, digital arts / media marketing and general admin. I’ve made some great friends who I hope to keep in touch with and remain friends with as long as possible, I’ve got all sorts of new skills and confidence and am lucky enough to command an okay wage for my age (it’s been great job searching and rejecting jobs below a certain salary – never imagined I’d be doing that at this point in my life)… it’s been a great time, doing events, making up my job as I went along and feeling like I was really carving out a position for myself within the team overall – there was no marketing department before I was offered a marketing position and there was just me, putting together whole systems and designing and overseeing a department, all by myself. So why have I left?
I tried to explain it to the trustees as best as I could without turning the interview into a CEO-bashing affair but try as I might to discuss the matter in a more general way, it really is because of her that I am going.
I don’t want to stay because work seems to have dried up and for marketing, there is nothing to do, nowhere to go, nothing to market. I don’t want to stay because the facilities were beginning to really get me down; it’s a horribly run down building and we seemed to be working in the grottiest rooms with continuously blocked drains, ant-infested kitchen area and permanently uncomfortable windowless office space. I don’t want to stay because everything I’ve tried to do in the last few months has fallen through again and again; I’ve analysed and investigated and explored all the reasons why I’ve constantly come up against dead ends and those dead ends are always her.So I have left.
And by the end of the interview, I felt really drained and upset that this job which I have really made my own, and this company which has so much potential and in an area so exciting and cool and all the prospects for myself, my colleagues and the people we work with has been ruined by the one at the top, who has disregarded our skills, our experience, our strengths and our enthusiasm and has basically driven us all away by her incompetence, her crazy, unfeasible and unachievable ideas, her total lack of respect and astoundingly unprofessional behaviour. I’m so sad to go, to have to leave my colleagues and the vibe we had between us and all the interesting, exciting stuff we got involved in working in this area of the arts, but I’m just starting out in the world of grown-up work and I’ve become so disillusioned and so fucked off with what’s happened in the last few months, I can’t stay. And I told them so in my interview and left feeling hollow and heartbroken.

I went straight to my parents’ place for dinner as My Favourite Auntie was over from Hong Kong for her annual visit and it was mumsy’s birthday so all the blue feelings of the interview were cunningly dissolved in poppa’s excellent crispy duck pancakes and multitude of other gut-bustingly good dishes. The birthday cake was wonderful (thanks Big Sis!) and I went home to Taxloss Towers feeling somewhat okay. :: sigh :: At least I had experienced closure and went to bed feeling as if I could really move on from the Job of Doom to do better next time I go for full-time employment. Like the kids in South Park, “I learned something today…”

Wednesday 10 Sept
In keeping with my new schedule, I got up in time for Little House on the Prairie and spent an hour imagining I had my own little wooden house full of blue patterned china and a really pressing need to make my own bread and darn socks. Found myself longing for the perfect pastry cutters and had to slap myself really hard to snap myself out of my domestic fantasies. After the obligatory viewing of ER, I got ready to start my long, tough day’s tasks which were: lunch with my parents and sister at a funny little Thai place Big Sis had discovered, then some shopping, then meeting Former Flatmate A for drinks, then back home for dinner with my Beloved. Oh, I don’t know how I survived this arduous, frantic day but somehow I did and have lived to tell the tale of it here, in my blog. My folks seemed to enjoy the Thai meal which was a good thing as they are notoriously sniffy about eating out – they’re always up for trying new things and very knowledgeable about international cuisine and dining out in London but more often than not, will be incredibly fussy and critical about what they trying. Not so today, probably because the stuff we were having was so similar to what we normally have at home, “with just a bit more hot stuff” croaked my dad, mopping his brow and delicately spitting out some whole chillies.
Seeing Former Flatmate A again was quite marvellous as I have missed her terribly and in keeping with a strange and slightly distasteful tradition of ours, we met under Eros in Piccadilly and exchanged some money (my deposit on the old flat, in fact) like rentboys negotiating a “job.” We drank gin and vodka in the ICA and chatted until we were breathless and promised to meet for a day by the sea that weekend. And I went skipping home through St James Park feeling enormously pleased with myself. Ahhhh.

Tuesday 9 Sept
More of the same but with even more luxuriating in my not-working status. I spent some time pondering what career I could take up that would allow me to continue in this vein as long as there is some thing good to watch on Channel Four first thing in the mornings.

Monday 8 Sept
Embarked on my new non-working schedule of getting up to watch Little House on the Prairie, then ER, then hanging around considering another cup of coffee then doing bugger all until the others come home. Had more fun than it sounds like; it’s been an absolute pleasure not getting the tube and then sitting at a desk all day. Whee!

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