Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Job musings - rather a dull entry, I'm afraid

Life is a series of way too many options. Accepted wisdom is that choice is a good thing. But I wonder what my parents did with all the spare time that they gained through not agonising constantly over career directions.

My father was a builder's labourer. He worked for the same company, the State Electricity Commission, from shortly after I was born until it was privatised during the Kennett era, not so long ago. I don't remember my father ever musing about what he really wanted to do, and certainly the idea of being happy or fulfilled in a job - well, those concepts just didn't go in a sentence together. Not that he ever complained or intimated that he was unhappy - I get the impression that he quite enjoyed his work - but fulfilment and enjoyment weren't things it would cross his mind to expect from a job.

Not me. I keep mulling over what I'm doing, and is this what I want to be doing, or do I want to be doing that? At the moment I have three possibilities that interest me. All in Brisbane, unfortunately.

Jonathon is keen for me to continue where I am. At the moment he only has funding to keep me until October, but he's a smooth talker and fairly confident he's going to be able to find the money to keep me on. I like this job, I like having a statewide & national perspective, and I like the people I work with. I've lots of ideas of what I could do with this position if it continued, and I like the idea of being partly responsible for the transformation of the sector - which would be a bit of an accident of timing - it's all on the verge of lots of exciting change so it would be fun to be involved.

Ken is the CEO of another non-profit, with whom I've come in contact a fair bit since working with Jonathon. Ken wants me to come and work with him. I haven't talked particulars about it but I suspect that it would be financially a fair bit better than where I am now. I've never had to negotiate salary, have no idea how to go about it. I'll have to practice in front of the mirror before I see him again.

And then there's the least lucrative but possibly most appealing idea of starting up a business with Chris. I really liked having my own business, despite the stress of being completely broke for months followed by all the accounts being paid at once so for a brief golden moment I feel fabulously wealthy. I like the idea of getting out of mental health although I'm pretty much out of it at the moment - I don't want any job where I have to talk to any people about their problems ever again. (I think it's good to be clear about that. 'Ooh, it takes a special kind of person to do that,' people used to say when they heard what I did - well it does and that special person is not me) Small problems are okay, I don't mind small problems that come up as part of talking to people in the ordinary course of events, like 'I'm distressed because I had a miscarriage over the weekend' or 'my dog died'. It's more the rape/torture/flashbacks to childhood experience of watching mother kill father sort of problems I don't want to know about. I think that's okay. Is that okay? I feel selfish and uncaring all of a sudden.

Back to the business idea with Chris. We went in to see Danny at his work. Dan works for some gi-normous accounting firm that does whatever accounting firms do with multinational companies. He offered to meet Chris and I to talk about business structures.

Disclaimer: Dan has this blog address - I gave it to him with the idea that it would be a nice way to communicate when we have the babies. A bit premature (no pun intended). So he might read this. I'm going to try and be honest anyway, although it's a bit excruciating. Because I have to say to the rest of you that he really was a good find! I can't believe how generous he is given how little we know each other. Not just with his (ahem) bodily fluids but also with his willingness to really commit to the whole process. Taking on a donor is a big thing - you're really choosing a family member. If the donating thing works out, we are stuck with each other in the long term, through thick & thin, regardless of whether we like each other in that moment or not. It's a big ask. We asked quite a few people we knew to be donors - about five - and were turned down by all of them. These were friends, and people who are supportive of the idea of lesbians having families. In theory. But it's a large leap from supporting it in theory to helping make it happen, and I guess we realised what a big ask it was after being turned down time and time again. They were all most polite and serious, giving the question great attention for some weeks before saying, 'No, I couldn't help create a child and then hand over repsonsibility.' So disappointing. Then there was the unsuccessful unknown donor sojourn, before our foray into the world of online sperm donor registries, which is where we found Dan (how curious - I just tried to find it so I could link to it in case you wanted to get a donor of your very own but it seems to have gone... I wonder if they have been closed down? I know nasty Families First had them in their sights last year.)

I've gotten off the point which is that Dan very kindly offered to give us some accounting advice . And the point of telling you that is that I wanted to tell you about his office, so we can all picture Dan at work. So now I'm going to sound like a country hick, okay?

The office is on the eighteenth floor, in the centre of Brisbane. The sky was purple and red out the window, with highrises lighting up, very pretty. The waiting room is all white leather couches and white leather benches and low sleek coffee tables and one wall taken up with a stunning artwork made of rocks, suggesting a wild abacus. The receptionist was immaculately groomed. I was very happy to notice that three years with my middle class girlfriend has meant that I can be somewhere opulent like that and not feel incredibly inferior, merely somewhat inferior. I did feel suddenly self conscious about my unruly hair and the fact that I hadn't touched my make up (such as it is) since eight a.m., but I didn't actually start listing all the ways I had failed to climb the corporate ladder. Impeccably groomed women - does anyone else find them intimdating? Why am I intimidated by a receptionist, for God's sake, just because she's a size 10 with a French manicure?

Ohmigod, it's midnight. I really must go to sleep. I have two students starting tomorrow (I bet ms perfect receptionist doesn't have students)

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