Book book go (7.22)

Sleep is a precious thing On Monday I managed to get some golden hours of sleep between 3-something and 7am when the alarm went off. It was such good sleep I lay in bed longer than I should have, savouring the after feeling of all that sleep, like running a finger around a plate to capture the last crumbs of a particularly delicious cake. Sleep is a precious thing. I have not appreciated my cat waking me up around 4.30am most mornings this week, either “singing the song of the ancients” (walking through the house meowing loudly) or with a paw in my face (“Wake up and give me some attention, human.”).

Yes, good sleep is like something delicious, and it’s extra wrenching when you’re pulled out of it by your cat. So it’s a good thing that when the cat comes to sit with me after waking me up because making a fuss of him gives me something to do while I lie there, otherwise pointlessly awake. (That was probably his intention, and everytime I indulge this behaviour I’m just encouraging him to do it again.)

Countdown to change My soon-to-come departure from the team is now official. My job has been advertised! My list of things to deliver before I leave is long and I’m trying to prioritise my time. But all this week there have been long non moving hours staring at a screen. My fitness tracker buzzes at me, chirpily at first, the reproachful, then angry, then sad as I ignore prompt after prompt to get up and move.

Weather More storms have been coming in across the country this week. They seem to have picked the latest storm names from a book of Great Aunt and Great Uncle names – Dudley and Eunice this week; the next ones are Franklin, Gladys and Herman. The latest storms have come with the rare red “Danger to life” warnings. We are supposed to be heading to the north on Saturday, tomorrow, on holiday but most of today’s trains have been cancelled. And the train we have tickets booked on doesn’t seem to exist anymore.

[Saturday update: we managed to get seats on a very crowded train. Not the one we originally booked but bearing in mind the train chaos yesterday, so long as we get where we need to go, that’s OK.]

So with our holiday destinations being lashed by sleet, snow and sub-zero temperatures, I’m contemplating how many books to take. Husband says “Just buy one if you want one.” Yes, I could, but I already have shelves of books I have bought and haven’t read. So I am taking one book from my re-read shelf in addition to my International book club book.

Book Clubs Ah yes, some book club news! Local book club have chosen their next book – Breasts and Eggs by Mieko Kawakami. I’m not sure I want to read it. I haven’t actually looked for it at the library even. I’m not very invested in Local book club, but one of my suggestions has made it for the meeting after this next one (The Salt Path by Raynor Winn) so I have to stick with it for a little while longer. And Work book club has voted my suggestion (The Overstory by Richard Powers) as their book for the next meeting in April. Yay! I’m going to come prepared with some questions to promote a discussion this time.

I would go out tonight On Tuesday, we (me, Husband, and French friend from down the road) went to a Pub quiz at our local pub. We have never been before. And since we came 3rd or 4th last, I’m not sure we’ll go again. Actually I think we will. I guess our aim is to be less close to the bottom next time around. I need to listen to more modern music to improve our score in the music round. Husband is still cursing he couldn’t remember the name of the Smiths song “This Charming Man”.

But is it meaningful? I read an article this week about the changing world of work. It seemed to be saying that in The Before, office workers pretended that their work was meaningful in some way. We pinged emails back and forth. We collected signatures. We agreed on processes and texts. But then the pandemic came and we realised we were labelled non-essential and that dispersed any sense that what we did was meaningful. But then the tag “essential worker” also came to kind of mean “disposable worker” – delivery drivers, supermarket workers, garbage collectors, all those people who had to keep going out there and putting themselves in harm’s way for bugger all in the way of wages, while officey types sat at home and lamented the loss of their subsidised work cafeteria.

(I’m excluding medical staff from this – they are both essential and non-disposable.) (Posable?)

So we have the non-essentials and the disposables. And none of us are feeling particularly engaged with our work right now. The pandemic also made a lot of people reassess their life choices, so “the big resignation” makes sense in a way. Although this article said there’s a darker side of the great resignation. Women in particular are leaving the workforce, and not always to set up their own pilates studio or sourdough bakery. Some women have left the workforce because the burden of work and care has got too much – and women still are the primary caregivers – for their children, for their partners, for their parents. And while everyone who has had enough and quit to look for a more meaningful job elsewhere, the question is, are there more meaningful jobs? Or should we all just admit this idea of chasing meaning from our work is very much a 21st century construct? We contract with an employer to work for money. They don’t have to make our work meaningful. While an employer might like you to be engaged because it probably means you work harder and deliver more for the same salary, nowhere in your contract of employment is there anything about meaning or engagement. Should we all stop pretending that our work is meaningful and just accept it’s an exchange of labour for money and in many cases it’s not meaningful? Yes, we might like our colleagues, we might be sympathetic to the organisation’s values, we might have good customers we like to tall to, we might just show up because we get a subsidised lunch in the cafeteria. But should it be meaningful?

I hope that this week, whenever you are, you have clement weather and enough books to get you through.

2 thoughts on “Book book go (7.22)”

  1. Lots to think about, thanks for sharing your thought about the workforce mood on your side of the world. And congrats for leaving a job that no longer suits you! I’m sure I’ve missed some important emails explaining what’s going on, sorry. What’s next for you? 🙂

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