Thursday, 11 February 2010

Ushering in the winds of change

The latest from Wicked Steppiesville is that I am to be an ex-IT support engineer sooner than I had anticipated!

I finally hit the wall with the job that has been doing my head in now for more than half the time I have been there, cracked in spectacular style in fact, involving a diatribe that turned the air blue within the earshot of at least 2 senior managers. I then proceeded to write my resignation (in slightly less profane, more articulate fashion) the following weekend. It was accepted, but of course, they want to "talk about it". Erm, the point of me resigning was that I don't want to work for you any more. What exactly is there to talk about? This isn't a relationship, we don't have kids, we don't need mediation or ongoing contact. I.Want.To.Leave. Simple. The only thing I would like to talk to them about is their ridiculous notice period. 3 months, for an IT support monkey? Come on.

I am of course off back to university in September. I am now working for 2 hours a week for a local youth organisation, setting up and running (from March) a youth club/drop in centre in one of the most, um, charming areas of this fair city, shall we say. Tonight we had to meet with the local Neighbourhood Watch and the Police Community Support officers to assure them that we were not going to be running some kind of crack den and that we had the ability to deal with any incidents that might arise. I did have a brief moment of "what am I doing" when one of the other youth workers told me about the resident pyromaniac - a diminutive 13 year old who prides himself on his ability to, well, burn just about anything. But the local residents are apparently not that bothered so long as it's the youth service's stuff that's going up in flames, not theirs. Oh and did I mention the ADD kid who needs to be frisked for spray paints at the door otherwise literally, the whole building will be covered in graffiti tags. So far, so good then. I thought dealing with stroppy managers whose computers didn't work was tough.

Maybe I have this weird kind of masochism going on somewhere in my head, I don't know. It was pointed out to me recently by a friend "so you have a pre-teen stepdaughter at home, and you want to spend your working life....working with teenagers" and suddenly I saw how that would probably look to others. I am never backwards in coming forwards about my Issues With Step-Parenting, and in fact, my rantings often extend to "Kids These Days" (are ungrateful/lazy/rude/materialistic, insert adjective here). So why on earth would I want to surround myself I clearly sound most of the time like someone who doesn't really like kids! But I know from previous experience that working with kids and young people professionally is a whole different ball game to having them at home with you. It sounds lame, but you have a chance to make a difference, but with the benefit of a bit of distance and perspective that parents and even step-parents don't have, because they're too close to the situation.

Oh and did I mention you get to give them back at the end of the session?

So this is kind of a scary but good time. I'm not quite sure after the end of April how I will be earning a crust, but I do know that I'm not going back to corporate office life if I can help it. So long as the bills get paid and we have food in the house, even if it's beans and toast, we'll be fine. I've been offered some work football coaching at my club, and the youth organisation where I work part time is hoping to have more work for me by the time I finish up in the madhouse. So we're not going to starve or be homeless.

I've talked before on this blog about Steppie Guilt. I actually think that I'm leaving that behind now. I need to do what's best for me, and so long as that doesn't involve a £50 a day coke habit or becoming a hitman, I think it's legitimate for me to act on what's best for little old me. Why should I be last in the family pecking order, and more importantly, why should I put myself last? I actually don't think that anyone ever said I should be last on the list, I put myself down there, because I had this idea that somehow, as neither parent nor child, I somehow mattered less, and my happiness and fulfilment was not as important as theirs. Worse, I had the idea that my job was to facilitate their happiness and comfort rather than look after my own. That way lies madness! I and I alone am responsible for my own happiness in this world, and if I don't look after it, nobody else will - because they are far too busy looking after their own, having worked out a long time ago what I've only just worked out recently. Something else that made me even less comfortable was the thought that the BM has spent her life waiting for others to fulfil her needs and not doing it herself, and though she is doing this less through misguided altruism than pure selfishness and entitlement, the net effect is the same. When we have no agency over our own lives and allow ourselves to be driven by the agendas of others, we become helpless, and helplessness breeds anger and resentment. I don't want to be that person. So I've made the decision to stop bobbing along with the tide and actually take the helm and steer the craft in some kind of a direction. I hope that my family see that taking ownership of my own happiness in this way doesn't mean I don't care for theirs. It's just that I am much better able to look after theirs, that is, in the parts of it that I have influence over, if I am actually happy and whole myself. I would very much like to be happy and whole. It sounds like a nice place to be.