Lazy Luddite Log

22.8.11

Localized Lamentation

They say that in modern mass society we have lost a sense of community. To some extent that is true but to some extent the focus of community has simply shifted from the geographic to the interest-focused form of community. Yes I have barely anything to do with my neighbours but my 'community' is defined by my interests and is scattered across a huge space (with members of that community living across a major metropolis and indeed interstate and even overseas).

In truth however I am lucky to have a bit of both. The City Of Monash is in effect a university town and one consequence of this is that I am within walking distance of a handful of share houses that are home to friends (whether former or current students and staff of Monash Uni). I enjoy the experience of living locally in that I can walk to my weekly choral rehearsal and likewise walk to the local gathering of friends who weekly come together to work on creative projects and converse. I even have a lovely creek to wander along. Shops and a station are a bit further away but still I enjoy a vigorous walk.

And then recently I had a chance at that key component of living locally - a job close to home. I was qualified and had relevant experience. I performed well in the interview. The feedback via agency was good. For over a week now I have been anticipating getting offered a job (long-term contract) at this particular utility company that is only 15 minutes walk from home. Amazing!

* * * * *

Savings from my last temp role have dwindled so government income-support has once more become vital for me and this morning I discovered that the expected payment was missing from my account. I rang Centrelink to check on the problem and was in a queue so sat with the landline handset to my ear. Suddenly my mobile phone rang so I put it to my free ear. It was my agency contact with the news that the employer had offered the role to someone who fit it just that bit better than me. They do want to consider me for some future temp work so that is something and I did say I was keen on that.

Still - there I was with one device telling me I am at the mercy of an impersonal government instrumentality and another device telling me that there is always someone better than me. I thanked my agent and that call concluded. Then a Centrelink operator informed me that the payment problem was with my bank rather than with them (checking with the bank tells me that it will be sorted sometime soon).

I made a mistake in hoping for the role. It was nice to think that things may all come together for me. My life has had too many metaphorical cul-de-sacs and I was buoyed by a sense that ones fortunes can always change. Still the feedback of experience says otherwise. This is why I focus much of my energy into my personal life - it consistently gives me good feedback which is in stark contrast to the professional sphere. For someone who lacks those big ticket items we are constantly told we have to have to be a successful person I have a surprisingly fulfilled life. Nonetheless the instant evaporation of hope I experienced today has shaken me rather. Possibly a walk along that creek will put me in a better frame-of-mind. And the sunshine we are getting today is totally free-of-charge yes?

Update

I expressed my feelings via this and other methods and my suspicion was confirmed - asking for help works. I got a lovely interstate text and other messages of support online. Furthermore I got invited to dinner by some friends and taken for a walk at Jells Park a few days later by another friend. Also by coincidence other kinds of communication were forthcoming.

I got contacted by an employer who has employed me on two past occasions to cover for holiday absences wanting me back in a few weeks time. And then I got a call from another employer offering me a longer-term assignment. This is a good thing even if the clash of offers is frustrating. Naturally I will take the longer-term role even if it is further from home. In a few weeks I will be in a position to lunch with fellow city centre workers. And overall thanks to all friends just for who you are.

Cross-posted here.

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