Is Alan Working?

Posted by Al | Audio,Thoughtful | Thursday 11 December 2008 4:40 pm

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Attribution:

“Quit My Day Job” by Geoff Smith

“Almost Forgotten” by Acoustic Rosh

“Big World” by The Whole Tribe Sings

Download Link

My Grandmother used to ask me every time I saw her if I currently had a job. “Nan”, as I call her (short for Nanny), would at this point always tell me the same story as if I had not heard it the 100 times before.

My grandparents, and my father for that matter, were born in Great Britain. I’m not so sure they really ever thought it was all that “Great” but England was where they started out. When Nan was a young girl her father was in and out of work quite regularly as were most working class people before and during WWII. Her family were not the nicest people around and to that end they would ask upon seeing her, “Is your Father working?” as a way to embarrass her and make her feel small. After she married my grandfather, the family shifted the question to, “Is Ken working?” My grandfather was an accomplished bricklayer and moved about the country picking up contract work until the money ran out, the boss got on his nerves or the building was finished. He did spend some time looking for the next job, and did very well once he was employed, but the family would not let her forget when he did not have a paycheck. My own father has rarely taken a day off in his life since starting work at an early age. He was acutely aware of the question on the lips of the family and I’m sure this had a large effect on him. But still the question would be asked, maybe now as a matter of habit, “Is Alan working?” And even when the answer was in the positive, I’m sure they just pressed on to the next bit of bad news.

I myself have followed more in the footsteps of my grandfather. Not so much bricklaying, but working on short-term contract. Much of my career has been in the audio and video field which, unless you own your own company and can keep plenty of clients, means you are pretty much a freelancer. And so, each time my grandmother speaks to my father or mother she asks, “Is young Alan working?” And when she asks me herself, “Are you working?” she relays the story once again. Which I find strange, as she explains how rotten it made her feel, maybe not realizing the perpetuation of ill will. How long do family habits like this continue? Even after all involved can admit it was not for the best?

Well Nan, I have a job currently, though the pays not good, and the hours don’t add up, and I have to work second job as well to make ends meet. I know you will be glad to tell the family, “Yes, young Alan is working. Now get off my back!” once and for all.

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