Work days always begin in a very similar way in my modest little life. A cup of coffee, check the emails, check Facebook and then check Twitter. I am not certain when Facebook and, more latterly Twitter, became part of my morning routine, but there we have it. Then it is a jump into the car and off to work with the inevitable situation where I am concerned that I have a flat tyre or two. I don’t know why I always think that I have a flat tyre and I have no reason to think that I have a flat tyre. But I drive down the potholed roads in Northern Ireland convinced that I am listing to once side and increase my swearing vocabulary by sticking two sweary style words together as I become more amazed by the high quality of moron that has somehow been given a driving licence over here. I sometimes indulge in a little tmesis, which I learned sometime ago to be the insertion of one word within another. We have all done it. Of that I am abso-f@(&ing-lutely certain.
I suppose it is remiss of me to not actually have my tyres professionally checked when I mentally torture myself with this imagined dragging to one side. I have had my tyres checked and found there was nothing wrong at all. In fact, they checked the whole car and found all to be tickety boo. This does not stop me from visualising shreds of rubber whizzing past my window and sparks emanating from that one wheel I thought was “a little sluggish” in the style seen on Road War Police On Camera Action and other such like programmes. Imagine if I constantly visited Tyre Express every time I felt somewhat delayed when I carefully negotiate the discarded pizza boxes and skip loads of manure that the farmers distribute freely on every single road during rush hour. I haven’t followed such a large and unwelcome shower of shit since Everton brought in Mike Walker to guide us to Premiership glory in 1994. As per usual, I digress.
Imagine if I really did have a flat tyre. While I am more than practical enough to change a wheel on almost any domestic vehicle, actually changing the tyre on a wheel is beyond me. I don’t have the knowledge, technique or, more importantly, the right equipment. This is not a comment upon my masculinity, before any of the punsters out there begin. So, like you, I am at the mercy of the tyre specialist. With such a specialist role, you might be forgiven for thinking that top notch tyre fitters can be poached by a rival garage in a deal that involves agents, helicopters and briefcases full of cash. You would be right. The same goes for my breakfast.
Once I get to work, I fulfil my role as a creature of habit. After starting up the computers that will undoubtably fail and end up on the grassy knoll outside of my window by the end of the day, boiling the kettle for my second coffee, I roam around to the shop to buy a newspaper, a sausage roll and a cornish pasty. The observant among you will notice that I don’t eat breakfast until I get to work. It is this kind of dedication that ensures that I am incredibly highly thought of. I also can’t resist a hit of pastry to kick start my day. Or my bowels. But that is another story. Imagine how my productivity and single minded commitment to my duties would suffer if I turned up for a greasy meat product enveloped in an over cooked and flatulence inducing pastry wallet only to find that the best sausage roll maker in the bakery had defected to a big time Charlie bakery that was throwing the cash around? Well, I can tell you, the choux would hit the fan. The bakery world, and the tyre fitting world, are not subject to these kind of panic poaching of employees. If the person that presses the end of your shoes and says “they will let your feet breathe” chooses to take his or her foot respiration prediction skills to another high street store then they are free to do so. If the lady that artificially inseminated your best heifer elects to inseminate someone else’s best heifer then she is free to do so. She is even free to go and work in a bakery. As long as someone makes sure she washes her hands before making my cornish.
So, in short, we can work wherever we want to, whenever we want to. All that stands in our way is pesky qualifications and the troublesome task of proving to a prospective employer that we can actually do the job and not spend the first part of our day eating ill advised meat based products for breakfast. And the beauty of this freedom is that it is relatively absolute. This jumping and boarding of ships can take place on any of the 365 days that we sit at our desks with our heads in our hands muttering “there has to be more to life than this.” Granted, it is unlikely that a farmer will want to have his Christmas day interrupted by me, elbow deep in a Friesian, trying to prove how good I would be at getting his cows pregnant, but you get the drift. The fact remains, I COULD jump ship into artificial insemination at any point in the year.*
Except if you are a footballer. I am not one to hop on the envy bandwagon and begin screaming “a nurse only gets enough money to light one room at a time, while Wayne Rooney gets enough per week to hire a harem of prostitutes to set fire to! And he only kicks a bag of air around!” No. I understand that if someone offers you an obscene amount of money for following a career that you adore, you would have to be lobotomised if you turned it down. Don’t hate the footballers for the amounts that they are offered. If you are honest, I doubt that any one person reading this would honestly turn it down. The fact that they are offered it is based on many different financial benefits that they bring to their employers. But they have to be in rare company in that they cannot choose to change employers on a whim. Yes they sign contracts that tie them to one particular club for a determined period of time, but even those contracts are rarely honoured in their entirety. But if you sign a contract to play for Fulham football club and want to switch to West Brom in November, you can’t. In fact, you can only change your employers in a 12 week period in the summer, and a 4 week period in the winter. There is no “one month notice period” on the hallowed turf of our football teams.
It just seems crazy to see the furious dealing done by football teams on “Transfer Deadline Day”. Don’t get me wrong, I love it! I love the spurious sightings of Pele in the Darlington KFC, the “I didn’t see that coming” moments and hanging on until the very last second for news of my team’s endeavours to strengthen the squad. As an Everton supporter, this invariably means that the 31st of August and January end in confusion,disappointment and a 49 year old David Ginola on loan, but I love the wheeling and dealing that takes place. But thank God it doesn’t happen in every job.
Imagine a world where you cannot leave your job to accept an offer from a much more handsomely rewarding competitor. At least not until a particular few weeks in the year. There was a time when I worked for a company where my boss took exception to my not wanting to go on a date to see Batman with her and made my working life a misery because of it. This included, among many other things, sulking, questioning my sexuality, bullying behaviour and stopping my wages when I was unable to attend my shift due to being in hospital and unable to walk, all due to an injury incurred while performing my work! Work she insisted would be good for me to get involved with. But to those who are suggesting I “bottled it” and should have just gone on a date with her, trust me on this. There is no job in the World that would be worth that level of commitment. Unless you like the “rat faced yet appearing to have swallowed a Zorb” look.
I had the opportunity to throw my resignation letter on her desk, mimic her grating and widely despised whiney voice while repeating the moronically irrelevant phrases that she had learned from her “management for moronically irrelevant people” self improvement book, and walk away from the job that was made to be unbearable by this person. The same person that used to do the same job, but was “promoted” so that she was never allowed to do it again unless every other member of staff had died in a fireball incident. I was allowed to jack it in, as and when I wanted. And I loved it.
The truth is, I was going to be sacked anyway. I am certain of this and it was confirmed by her boss who told me, after his shifty apology and “thorough investigation” that he insisted upon, that he knew she had acted wrongly in lots of different ways (having seen many of them), but he had to find that I wasn’t telling the truth as his “hands were tied”. He had been told by powers higher, to let me go and keep her for reasons I can’t begin to imagine. Actually, I don’t want to imagine them. Though the good news is that he said I can put him down for a glowing reference. Erm, no thanks. I rather think that a reference from someone so morally flexible and decidedly spineless would harm my future chances of employment, thank you very much. A point made all the more poignant when that same boss was seen on a social networking site claiming how he would have sacked Andy Gray and Richard Keys instantly. No sir. You had the chance to do your bit for equality but chose to keep your head down, your own job safe and blame it on some mysterious bondage fan. I am just glad that no inexplicable ,FIFA like rules, took away my opportunity to walk away.**
So, when you see how much the Premier League footballers earn, spare a thought for them They cant just jump ship to another club at any given point. Poor souls. And I am glad of that. I might have to endure working with and for morally questionable and vomit inducing people from time to time due to my lack of specialism in life, but if the footballers can hang on to create 24 hours of nerve jangling anticipation and potentially season ruining treachery twice a year, then I think that is the least they can do for me.
*At this point I think it is only fair to admit that I hold no qualifications in insemination, artificial or otherwise.
**I am also aware that I should have let her sack me. Pride gets in the way sometimes.