Robot jobs got no balance or cadence.

I certianly think that there’s something to be said for keeping a clean, well-presented and all-round balanced home.

My parents are quite house-proud and I’m often jealous of how wonderful it can look. I suppose it’s just a matter of pride, age, or maybe it’s just something they like to do, but whatever it is I don’t have it instilled in me.

Mum generally keeps her home very clean, to the point where people often comment on how it can look like something from the pages of ‘Ideal Home’ magazine. She takes pride in her posessions, making sure everything’s either in a state of good repair or replaced before it finally breaks.  She uses special cleaning products for her, quite frankly, gorgeous leather sofa and keeps the cushions aligned when people aren’t sitting on them. She takes special care of her rugs and has them professionally cleaned three times a year; it’s good for the pile and keeps the colours vivid. She mops the kitchen floor several times a week, sometimes even once a day in the Autumn and Winter months. My parents take the family dog, Dennis, for extended walks through forests and he always manages to find a pool of water in which to swim. Afterwards, he’s hosed down in the garden but always runs into the kitchen to shake the excess from his coat.

Mum works in the local school which can run her into the ground at times, but she puts everything into it and generally works damn hard. Her job involves lots of number crunching and being self-admittedly “shit at maths” hasn’t helped. Spreadsheets by the ton, her workload seems endless and she’s always thinking about the deadline. Somehow she always manages to pull it off, but like Dad, Mum can be under a lot of stress from work at any one time. She still has time to do all the things that need to be done about the house, as well as joining my Dad with his daily Spaniel walk, going to see all the bands she and my sister enjoy, as well as all the other things she loves to do.

Dad takes care of the bedrooms, his study and the car. He’s nowhere near as anal as my Mum as far as the rooms are concerned, but when it comes to computers he’s just as bad if not slightly worse. He tears his computer to bits and uses can after can of compressed air making absolutely sure his computer is as free from dust as it’s ever going to be. He oils the fans and re-tightens to bolts that hold everything together, re-applies thermal paste to the CPU once every two months and and individually wipes each power cable with a dry microfiber cloth. He’s just as intricate when it comes to the car. Even after all this, he still finds time to build and repair computers for people in the area, walk the dog for at least an hour a day, as well as keep up to date with his hectic working schedule and spend time with my brother and sister. He even gets to go away on exercise with the Army; sailing expeditions, rock climbing, skiing, the list goes on.

Dad’s role in the Army is particularly stressful and I definitely saw it taking its toll on him while growing up. With each promotion came new, untold levels of stress. He’s handled it superbly for the most part and I’m very proud of what he’s accomplished. He’s worked damn hard to get where he is today.

Not only have they managed to keep on top of all the above, but they’ve also had to go through the hassle of raising three children which is no mean feat. I sometimes stop and wonder how they managed it all and I’m always left aghast at how difficult all this must have been. It’s any wonder they’ve not both collapsed under the pressure of it all.

Both of my parents will be the first to tell you that they don’t by any means enjoy their jobs, but while I’m proud of them for everything they’ve accomplished, neither of them are doing what they’d originally hoped. I don’t by any means respect them any less for this. Untimately, work is work. It pays the mortgage and puts food on the table and as my dad says, any kind of gainful employment is respectable. Dad spent his late teens riding, as well as crashing, motorbikes and designing posters for concerts, even designing for the likes of Elton John and David Bowie. He doesn’t talk about this very often, but when he does you can tell that he loved it. Mum wanted to be in the police, riding about on a motorbike all day. She especially loves the Honda Goldwing, and if I won the lottery tomorrow it would be the first thing I’d buy her.

When I’m older, I want what my parents have but with a twist. I want to have their lifestyle; A lovely yet modest home in the country, well kept and filled to the brim with lovely soft furnishings with wonderful pictures on the walls. I want a large study covered in bookshelves creaking under the weight of their load, flanking a desk that houses my dream computer along with three thirty inch monitors, allowing for untold levels of productivity.

I want to eventually raise my own children, bringing them up to be well-balanced, respectful, productive members of society. I want them to be well mannered, well educated and cultured free-thinkers. I want to provide for my children the way my parents provided for me and give them a comfortable, happy upbringing. I don’t think I’m even close to being prepared for the physical, emotional and intellectual challenge that raising children will bring, but the prospect certainly excites me.

I think these are the things most people would like.

But then I start to think about my professional life and here’s where the twist resides.

For the past few years I’ve been particularly directionless, flitting about from one idea of what I want to be doing to the next without any clear goals for my future. I have a tendancy to keep my head in the clouds and not really think about things too seriously. This has often been detrimental to my growth as a person but I think that in recent times I’ve really narrowed down on what I want to accomplish. One thing I definitely don’t want is to go to a job that bores me to tears.

I can’t think of anything worse than working a reasonably well paid job which ultimately does nothing but provide a means to an end. I want to do something exciting and challenging, something that requires me to put myself into what I do. I want to move people emotionally with my work and I want to be recognised for it. I want to do something that doesn’t stress me out to the point that my relationship with anyone is pushed to its limits. I want to make sure that I have something to show for the hours I’ve put in that doesn’t amount to several reams of A4 paper stacked upon someone elses’ desk. I want to wake up in the morning and look forward to going into work. I want to come home feeling like I’ve accomplished something.

In short, I want a job that I love and I certainly do not want to be part of the 95% of people who work for the sake of working.

I appreciate that this is a tall order, but I also appreciate that this is certainly within the realms of my abilities. I know that when I put effort into something I love I can succeed. It’s all well and good wanting the nice house and the expensive car, but I don’t think you can enjoy all that to its fullest if you’ve had to flog yourself in order to gain these things. I am in no way discounting the importance of keeping an excellent home, but for me it’s just as important to walk into work a happy man as it is to walk into your home a happy man. I also believe that a stimulating and rewarding career can greatly improve your overall quality of life.

Throughout my years I’ve had the privillege of watching my parents in all aspects of their lives. I’ve seen them at their highest and their lowest and I’ve learned a great deal from them. I’m certain there’s an untold wealth of knowledge they could yet pass on to me, but as it stands just now I think I’ve been set in good stead to learn from both their successes and their mistakes. I’ve watched them raise my brother and sister, both excellent people. They’ve instilled within me the value of hard work and earning your keep, but I think the most valuable thing I’ve learned from them is the importance of being happy. I appreciate that I can’t maintain 100% happiness 100% of the time and that I still have my fair share of trials and tribulations ahead of me. At times I’ll be tested and I’ll need to overcome these situations with the help of others, but it certainly falls within my remit to make sure that I’m as happy as I can be. This means raising a family whom I love dearly, keeping a home I’m always happy to return to and working a job I love.

I think that these are the three most important things a man can work for. I think that in their own way they’re all as important as each other in so much as without one the others will surely fall.

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