Eleanor Roosevelt was Right

Did I tell you I was once gainfully employed? I used to work for a local council as an Economic Development Officer. I had a salary that enabled me to buy my flat, have a brand new car, shop for crockery at Habitat. It was employment with status, my parents were proud of me. And then I gave it up.

I was chatting to my Counter Manager yesterday, we were talking shop and trying to figure out new ways of drumming up business when a man walked by and smirked at me. He was part of the reason I left local government, a restructure would have made him my line-manager and he was a power-hungry, misogynistic bastard and I think part of our working relationship problem was I told him so. Yes, I know. How to win friends and influence people. Not.

He was not the only reason.

I hated local government structure and politics. The constant restructuring to ensure the status quo was maintained. Any hint of creative thinking got stamped on. I got told off because I kept on making unreasonable demand of colleagues: I expected them to do their jobs. When I went to bed at night I longed for sleep and in the morning I'd open my eyes with dread sitting in my belly. I was constantly unwell. I was crotchety, grumpy and vile. Boy and I didn't have much of a relationship as the only time we'd spend together was in the car as I took him to Breakfast Club and picked him up from the After School Club. Yes, it was novel to pay my bills on time and to be able to buy clothes from Next instead of the charity shop, but it was blood money.

So this guy walks by and smirks at me. I could see exactly what he was thinking as I stood there behind my counter and I smiled back and carried on with my conversation. When I walked home the brief encounter stayed with me. He wasn't shopping, he walked through the shop arms swinging. I've worked there over 18 months and I'd never seen him there. In fact, I had only just seen him recently in a local pub and he was barely polite to me then. He thought he could come into my place of work and look down his nose at me, and my choice of job and put me down.

Eleanor Roosevelt said No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

This life that I've chosen, it works for me. I won't lie, I'd like more money. But then, who wouldn't? The fact is I rarely deny myself anything, Boy and I eat regularly. The roof over our head (currently being fixed) is fairly secure. I have a solid relationship with my son. I have a healthy relationship with my Viking. When I wake up in the morning I start thinking about the things that need to be done, and I start balancing them against the things I want to do. More often than not, I do a bit of both. I have an amazing support network, both socially, virtually and through work and college. I chose to be sociable or to be alone. I like working at the PCH, my boss is great, the products fun and working 3 days a week and doing occasional full-time stints for holiday cover, means I have time to do other things like write, hang out with my Boy and my Viking. All in all, I feel blessed.


  1. I'm angry for you at his man daring to look down at you. He clearly has a very empty and pathetic life if he has the time and inclination to be going out of his way to smirk at you. At least, he has given you further proof that you made the right decision to get out of there.

  2. sanddancer ~ thanks sweetie. As I wrote my post last night, I was angry that he was such a small-minded shit, but I don't have to deal with him again.

  3. Hon, it could well be argued that by feeling angry, by dwelling on this relatively insignificant ten second interlude so long, you were consenting...

    Yes I know tiny incidents can rankle, long, long after, but are you sure this small-minded moron hasn't touched a tender spot?

    To me, it seems as if somewhere inside, there's some kind of guilt about living the life you want, rather than the one society perhaps expects...income related no doubt...

    It sounds horribly "psycho-babble" but I think you need to take these feelings out and address them before they start hurting you...

    Alternatively you could simply ask the boy how happy he is...

  4. cogidubnus ~ of course he touched a tender spot. And this is my way of venting.

  5. I know it's not always easy but you love the life you live and not many people can honestly say that. It allows you to appreciate the really important things making you a richer person.

    I know who I'd rather share a bottle of naughtiness with ;) x

  6. hottie ~ you hit the nail on the head exactly. One bottle of naughtiness coming up.

  7. We all make decisions, which at the time we feel is best for us but others might query butit's no-one else's business.

    Sometimes all it takes is a misplaced comment, look or perceived dig to make us question our decisions and I can empathise as I'm terrible for falling for this then beating myself up about it.

    But i think sometimes this is good as it enforces our belief/ instinct in the path we've chosen or might make us tweak it a bit so its better or realise the great things we have.

    So I'd say he did you a favour and anyway he sounds like a nasty piece of work if he has nothing better to do than hang about in women's cosmetic depts smirking at former employees - next time you see him I'd tell him to get a life!

  8. "cogidubnus ~ of course he touched a tender spot. And this is my way of venting."

    So...don't just vent...address it...

    Then you'll truly feel so confident you won't need to tell the pathetic little sod to fuck off will you?

  9. cogidubnus ~ i know you mean well and you think you're helping. This incident is actually part of a bigger issue, which also includes my family and my views on social and financial status.

    Address it? As in Laurel and Hardy?

    "Hello issues..."

    I'm relatively chilled about the whole thing now, the venting allowed that. You seem to be the one really wound up about it now...

  10. Hi Rosemarie - I have been reading your blog for a while. Sorry can't agree with Harry Potter opinions (but lets not go there) but have found the whole blog wonderful. I feel like I know you for the first time (after three years of dancing around each other). The writing is so honest and absolutely brilliant. On this post I too have experienced that type of job, although I was at the lowest point and made miserable and dreadfully unhappy. But like you it made me do something I really like, working for Mencap and start and finish a degree. So when they give me that smug smile I just smile back to myself. The only thing is I wish these work situations did not exist and in my case, institutionalised bullying. Is there a book in this? Have you read And then we can to an end by Joshua Ferris (funny but sad if you have been in that situation). After reading your blog I wish we could have been friends we had so much more in common than we knew. Diana

  11. I think that level of... I almost want to say job satisfaction, but it's something more than that...

    I know what it is. It's jigsaws again.

    I guess that it's an important piece in the jigsaw of your life. Changing that significant piece of jigsaw didn't just change that one thing, but allowed all the other pieces to fit in around it in a way that they could not have done before.

    ...Life satisfaction?

    I wonder, if we could see our jigsaws, how yours would look compared to this twat's.

  12. moggie711 ~ welcome, have coffee. Okay, so we won't talk about Harry Potter, fair enough. Thanks for your supportive words, it means a lot. If I wrote the happenings of that Council, it wouldn't be believed and also, it was bad enough living through that time - I'm not keen to revisit it any time soon. Friendships are strange animals, sometimes they happen just because. I wouldn't write us off yet.

    IM ~ When I think about the things I couldn't have done, had I remained in gainful employment, apart from the obvious degree. I wouldn't have been able to spend the 8 weeks in Trinidad to be with my mother in the last weeks of her life. I wouldn't have gained new friendship sets, from college, NHS Direct, work and through here. Thanks to the power of Facebook I worked it out that adds up to be 72 people! I wouldn't have met you or Viking. I wouldn't have got to Dublin or Cardiff. My relationship with Boy would be radically different.

    I haven't thought about it in these terms before, I wish I had sooner. I've taken so much for granted, I didn't realise how much my jigsaw had grown by adding one extra piece - writing.

  13. What a beautiful thing. To see so much positive change come from one simple decision to follow your heart.

    It makes you think...

  14. The kind of attitude that guy has only goes to prove that you did the right (write?) thing by getting out and changing your life. My boyfriend just did a year at county hall and found it to be full of people like that - he couldn't wait to leave.

    I can see how it would touch a nerve though. In general we are brought up and encouraged to think about money and career and happiness doesn't seem to be a part of the equation. I got out of a similar work situation a few years ago and haven't regretted it for a minute - in fact it has led me to where I am now. I think that that is a better example for my son than if I had stayed in a job that was stressing me out and making me unhappy. The trouble is since I started my degree friends and family have been nagging me about career and what am I going to do in the real world...

  15. pupski ~ welcome, pull up a chair, have a cuppa.

    Yeah, my parents were shocked/appalled what I did. I got lectures. I get 'the look' when money gets discussed (as in I'm rubbish with it).

    'proper job'? What's that?


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