I returned to work a few days after the end of a wonderful cruise to a huge shock. On my first day back my boss announced, in front of other members of staff that he didn’t want me to do any of the ordering or stock taking any more and that I should hand over my file to a newer staff member immediately and then go clean the marquee. My job involves various tasks but the most satisfying was ensuring that the wedding venue didn’t run out of wine, or any of the hundreds of other items it needed to function.
I asked if I had done something wrong but he said I had done a good job at the ordering but ‘had no time to explain his decision now’. For quite some months I had been insisting on being given holiday pay, as I was legally entitled to. He had been resisting and this finally came to a head whilst on my cruise, with increasingly tense texts flying between us. Finally four months after first raising the subject, he finally accepted he had to pay what was owed. Then I came back to this and couldn’t help wondering if there was a link. He further announced that I was to accept a pay cut in real terms as he was going to start taking money off for meal breaks. Even though we never get meal breaks lasting more than 20 minutes, he said he would be taking an hours pay off each full day worked.
The final straw came at the beginning of November when, for the second month in a row, I wasn’t paid the correct amount. A very fractious meeting followed which resulted in some swearing and shouting from him and a loss of temper from me, at which point I walked out. I returned later that day for a more sensible discussion but it became clear that that neither he nor his wife were willing to address any of my concerns and expected me to do a less fulfilling job for less pay. They offered no guarantee of hours of work and wouldn’t even fix a regular pay day. So I resigned.
Now I am free again with endless possibilities in front of me. It feels exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. My sensible, security loving self has been trawling the internet for jobs; looking at supermarkets and seasonal work. My freedom loving, creative self has been dreaming dreams. I have, for some time, had the idea of writing a book about my journey from the land based, career driven, safe life I once lived, to the single handing, boat dwelling, sometimes perilous life I now enjoy. I started the first chapter some months ago but the idea of it being rejected and unread was too much for my ego. I even have a title.. “Single Steps”, taken from a quote from the Tao Te Ching “A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step.”
Now, I wonder if I should put me ego to one side and do it. I have enough savings to last certainly for the next year and I am thinking of supplementing those by offering myself as a cleaner / gardener / dog walker etc. I am not entirely decided yet, but I know that my spirit quails when I consider returning to a slave job. mind you it gets pretty shaky when I think of starving too!!