Young People Have It So Easy These Days…

07/05/2010

Live to Work/Work to Live? Is There a Choice…?

Filed under: Work — davedoyle87 @ 22:24

So I’ve just clocked off my last ever shift for my most recent employer, Homebase. All in all, it wasn’t a bad job. The hours were pretty lousy, but the work was varied and the people with whom I worked couldn’t have been more supportive. A (now former) colleague seemed genuinely surprised that I had turned up for my last shift at all: “I wouldn’t have bothered, if I were you” he admitted, without letting slip any hint that he meant it in jest.

And yes, the temptation was there; I could have done any number of things tonight, other than work. But instead I turned up, and by gosh I gave it my all for those last four hours. Now I’m not suggesting for a second that I was wrong to take this conscientious and self-sacrificing path. I do not, after all, take any pleasure in reneging  on my promises or letting people down. But I have to admit that guilt was not my main motivation for seeing my final shift through. It was, rather, the lasting impression that this month-long period of employment will leave on my CV. Because like it or not, an impression it will leave.

Is this really right? That it is now essentially impossible to take a job for any length of time without it having a permanent impact on our employment records? Perhaps it is; perhaps it promotes us all to shine in the workplace for the good of both colleague and customer. But there’s a part of me which yearns for the freedom that our grandparents must have had: to earn a few quid from time to time, when career plans are on hiatus for whatever reason, without fearing the potentially cataclysmic effect that some minor disciplinary issue might have on the impression that we leave with our manager, and which works it way into the less-than-commendatory reference they provide when we finally happen upon that career opportunity about which we always dreamed…

The alternative, of course, is to leave the job off our CV altogether. But then we are forced to explain a ‘lazy’, post-teenage period of feckless unemployment which was actually spent working like a proverbial resident of  Troy. Either way, the fact that I am forced to spend so much time worrying about the impression of me formed by a completely hypothetical person—my future employer, should my life not spiral into the employmentless abyss I irrationally fear these days—is pretty darned frustrating.

Thoughts? Comments? Please do leave them below, should you find the time between panic attacks…

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