I can’t write poetically about this.
I have been ill since Wednesday. Nearly half a week unnecessarily ill. I had my first day at work on Wednesday. It was to be my only day.
Context: I got scared when I moved to a different country. Unlike a lot of people I know I do not have the safety net of parental or familial support, as I am estranged from my paedophilic bully of a father, my manipulative martyr of a mother, as well as my sister, my cousins, my aunts. I have not talked to my 92 year old grandfather in a while. When he dies I doubt anybody will tell me. My boyfriend is very supportive and open minded and brave but I am not quick to trust support from anyone. I decided I needed a shitty day job, London style, to have independence.
I was told about this job by a friend who works there. I had a couple of interviews beforehand. My only reservations by this point were the criminally low wage. After insurance deductions it worked out at £5 per hour, with a commitment of 20 hours a week. They made it seem flexible in the interview and said there were 24 holiday days per year.
Once I got there I found out it was 24 part-time (half) days, they prefer part-timers to stagger their hours and so come in almost every day, they offer a luxurious gift for the colleague who recruited me (my friend said nothing about this) and the company deals mainly with advertising pretty much anything under the sun available for purchase in USA, including FIREARMS. They had luxurious offices, ticking all the cool boxes. They were out-sourcing English-speaking ex-pats in Berlin for their USA offices, working for the US but in Berlin. My email address signature would have US address and phone number. There is no minimum wage in Germany. Dodgy.
So apart from the fact that this place promoted the buying of guns the contract that I was given had such a violent effect on me I still do not think I can express myself coherently about it. So there was this pile of paper with a German column and an English column. It told me how much I would work within a given time and told me how much I would be earning. It told me I would get insurance, the premium over which I had no control. No, excuse me, EVERYTHING over which I had no control. As I signed this thing, after asking lots of questions and catching out a few “translation errors” about unpaid overtime, I felt like I lost a part of me.
My principles? My integrity? My freedom? My energy? In that one day I spent hours tagging products on online adverts. No human contact. It was so unlike the call centre for performance professionals I worked at in London for two years. No funny actors to sit next to. No incentives to do well. Nobody taking the job for what it was: A stop-gap. There was a sense that people had to pretend to care about this vacuous exploitative company. At least at the call centre our bosses knew how tedious it was and never sugar coated anything and none of the agents said a good thing about the job other than the flexibility. It was cut-throat and insecure but it was honest. I could be honest. I could be myself and we could all have a good old-fashioned British moan about everything. This American corporate sanitised shiny approach made me ill. Literally. The next day I woke up at 5 am with a terrible stomach ache. I had already talked about this firearms thing making me feel terribly uncomfortable and not being happy. I had to email in sick. I was sick the next day also. I decided to email and quit.
I had signed something and silenced a part of me. My entire being went into full rebellion. I swear I could not control my body with the power of my mind, however I tried to manipulate it. I realised what I am about. I do forget from time to time. I realised what I value. I do value security but I am not going to sell my spirit or shut my mouth to get it. I am still feeling ill and figure that if I express myself I will feel better. I do. I realise I got scared. We all do. I nearly made a long-term decision based on a short-term feeling of fear. Shudder.
I am back. Moving country, changing my living situation and learning a new language does not mean changing anything about myself or the way I have successfully lived my life in the past.
Everything worth doing involves risk. Everything is temporary. The greatest investments can yield the biggest return. I want my health and my happiness and I can’t let anyone take that away from me. Not without a fight at least.