As you may have guessed, I drive a van for a living. This is a relatively new life development and a pretty dramatic departure from my background. I originally took this job as a temporary measure after leaving a fairly pressurised office post, and to be honest it sucks on so many levels it's untrue. I make specific reference to the pay, which would struggle to support a single man with modest tastes in Mali.
All that said, however monotonous loading and unloading foodstuffs onto an LGV is, I have found more than a few advantages to making the white/blue collar switch. Primarily, the 10.30 a.m. finish gives me all day to myself and some welcome 'alone' time to organise my thoughts, pursue previously unpursued hobbies, and chill. I've also found the blue collar environment to be more genuine and open. No more management issues, no cliques, and no 'career people' queueing up to place a well-buffed size 9 on your head on the way up the ladder to an inevtiable ceiling of middle management. Oh, and no more venetian blinds or EU regulation tube lighting.
I should point out that I'm 25. It's not like I've made my fortune and decided to recede into some sleepy corner of British industry to keep myself busy until I have to retire. I've turned my back on years of work in finance and later management before it's actually paid off. I'm selling my sports car, I'm scaling down my social life, and I'm curbing my luxuries. But y'know what - thefeeling of liberation is unbelieveable
. Most people need to endure a mid-life crisis to arrive at this juncture. Think of all these years headstart I have in finding what's really important in life.
This has been a bit of a ramble - but while I am the sole reader (this blogging lark is just like looking in a f'ing mirror) I can indulge myself.
One thing I have noticed is the shift in people's attitudes towards me. I've never really taken much notice of how I've been perceived by strangers, but the re-alignment of where I now sit on the social scale (i.e. back to the working classes) has been pretty obvious.
Here are a selection of my observations so far: -
- Fellow workmen in similar menial jobs give me sympathetic and knowing 'yes, I also have a shit job and am skint' looks, rather than completely failing to acknowledge my existence
- Women check me out because I'm now the man she dreams of having meaningless sex with while her increasingly podgy husband is away selling sanitary-ware in Norwich
- Even commis chefs treat me like they have finally found someone lower paid, more pissed off and less respected than they are (which they have I suppose - I'll dedicate a post to this later)
- People talk to me a lot slower and make sure they don't include the dreaded third syllable in any words so as not to confuse me
- HGV drivers are arseholes to everyone and would rather plaster you over the central reservation than let you join a motorway
OK, I've fleshed out the bones now, so I think the next post will be an attempt at something observational. I'm looking forward to it.