The Christmas boom offers students the instance to swap textbooks for poorly-fitted suits, B&Qshirts or waiting pinafores. Temping.
I am an unashamed ’Temp’ (Tempest, Tempura?). But mundane jobs always come with big questions. As a proud student of nothing-particularly-useful, how do I grapple with ‘selling-out’ and what is ‘selling-out’ anyway? I could use Deloitte branded stationary, hang around Bank Station with a pint at 1pm, start buying Charles Tyrwright shirts and spend weekends on the estate, blasting away maniacally at anything with feathers. In for a penny in for a pound, if I am going to betray my values for money then let’s do it properly, right?
Perhaps it is a part of growing up, getting to grips with the idea of compromise and how that will manifest itself in our lives. Especially as a generation of university graduates reliant on their parents,perhaps the bitterness it targeting older generations. I am a self-confessing talentless pseudo-intellectual. I bitterly point to others from behind a penguin classic and often scamper down the rabbit hole of money vs happiness.
Perhaps the trick is it’s a bit of both. There are hours of monotonous work in any job. Nothing good comes without hard work, and all that. The piles of paper, the bright screens, the mind-numbing buzz of day-to-day office hours. The clocking in, the clocking out and the walk home. It’s here I find fulfilment. Cheeks aglow in the freezing cold, my hands buried in my pockets, the end of the day is more than enough for me.
Walking home through Borough Market, when those early winter sunsets seem to blur the horizon. I have realised that I want my whole life to be like those moments, buying a fish on the way home for supper, watching the light on the sides of skyscrapers. But perhaps it is only entrapment which makes us realise what freedom truly is. I wonder if it is enough simply to have experienced a bad job once, to stop myself falling into the trap again later in life.
I reserve the right completely to I know exactly when I have ‘sold out’. My time, morals and my soul are mine to manage. If I get to sixty and look back with regret, then perhaps I will be happy to accept the mantle. Until then, I intend to fall into all manner of means-to-an-end, pot-scrubbing, litter-picking, lifting and carrying. There is always a way out. Some people surrender to ‘The City’, money, office Christmas parties and season-pass rail tickets. My first boss gave all of that up because she loved working in the ski industry. If work is about balancing the things about which we are passionate, then at the moment I know that I am earning money to pursue the whims of that passion. A career suggests permanence and it is only on embarking upon one that you might use the term ‘sell-out’. Since I have no plans for anything so vulgar I am proudly a ‘Temp’, after all, it is short for temporary.