Posts Tagged ‘ parents ’

A open letter to my employer.

To whom it may concern,

Just to let you know, I’m going to be booking a week off in Easter.

Now, this isn’t;

“I’m requesting a week off in Easter so I can see my parents. Approve or deny them according to your availability.”,

but more;

“Here is my notice to you that I will not be coming into work between (and including) these dates. I will be in Germany visiting my parents. I don’t care if you don’t have the availability, I worked through Christmas. You can find someone who had their Christmas off and deny their holidays so I can have mine during the Easter week.”

In the coming week or so I shall find out the dates of the Easter break and submit my holiday “request”. I shall book my flights the same day. I shall also book a taxi to and from the airport and my excitement levels will continue to rise no-matter what your decision. I will purchase books and music to read and listen to while flying / waiting in airports and I will tell my mobile phone provider to enable European roaming and apply an International Call Saver package to my contract.

The evening before my flight, I shall pack clothes into my suitcase and will be unable to sleep with excitement. On the day of my flight I shall get up, get ready to go to the airport. A taxi will arrive and I will be driven to the airport. I shall pay the man the £20 fare and check in at the check in desk. I shall put my suitcase on the conveyor belt and show the kind lady my passport. She will look confused as to who the long-haired, bearded, bespectacled (and notably heavier) man is who stands before her when the man in the passport photograph is so thin, square-jawed, short-haired, clean-shaven and altogether sexier. I will attempt to assure her that he is me – removing my spectacles and pushing my hair back ought to do the trick.

I will then walk to the boarding lounge where I will show my British Airways lounge card to the smiling lady (I think her name is June, or at least, it was the last time I was there) and flop myself down in the deepest, comfiest looking sofa I can find. A waiter will ask me if I’d like a drink and “maybe something to eat, sir?”. I’ll have a club sandwich and a glass of sparkling water. It will be delicious. I’ll sit and read the paper, glancing up at the 42-inch plasma television on the wall every other minute or so, and wait for my flight status to change to ‘Boarding’.

I’ll fold my paper in half, get up from my sofa and throw my hand-luggage over my shoulder. I’ll nip to the loo before the flight (I hate peeing in the air) and saunter along to the boarding desk, all the while taking in my surroundings and generally not giving a fuck about anything. I’ll have plenty of time to board the flight. I shan’t worry about that. I’ll probably buy 250g of tobacco and maybe some whisky from Duty Free. The woman will ask me if I need any watches or sunglasses. I’ll smile, consider her offer but will probably decline. I already have my beloved Casio Databank 150 (a calculator watch) and Germany isn’t exactly Belize.

I’ll get up to the boarding desk, show the woman my boarding pass and she’ll smile, say “Welcome aboard, Mr…” and pronounce my surname incorrectly. I’ll beam at her and let the mispronunciation slide. I’ll walk along the gangway leading to my plane, be welcomed aboard yet again and told to turn to the right upon entering the craft. I’ll shuffle up the plane, careful not to hit anyone with my hang luggage and find my seat. Hopefully it will be just behind the wing so I can see the engines in front of me. I’ll probably open my laptop and write something, maybe I’ll pop my earphones in and drown out the murmur of the cabin and just look out of the window. I’ll wait for the doors to close and the people to settle down in their seats. I’ll watch the flight attendants perform their little “the exits are here, here and here” routine and look back out of the window.

A little while later I’ll feel the engines firing up, roaring as they go. I’ll feel how the cabin vibrates as the engine revs harder and harder. I’ll try to guess which frequencies are making the cabin vibrate and I’d wish that I’d remembered to bring my spectrum analyser aboard, but then I’d remember how ignorant some people are and the fact that my harmless piece of acoustic analysis equipment might be mistaken by some idiot for an explosive device. The idiot would then panic and start screaming in, and about, terror. I’ll feel the plane start to move, the cabin rocking left and right and the wings bouncing up and down in accordance with the bumps on the runway. We’ll approach the runway and stop moving. Thirty seconds later the engines will roar into life and the plane will jolt forward! Faster and faster she goes, my head pressed against the headrest until…

The ground becomes distant. The houses turn into Monopoly pieces. Cars turn into multicoloured ants and I start trying to spot my house. The feeling of taking off, leaving the ground, defying human limitations and the thought of where I’m bound fills me with complete and utter joy.

My homeland becomes smaller and smaller. Towns are barely an inch long. The country is hidden beneath cloud and the bright yellow sun floods into the cabin. The texture of the clouds is that of meringue. The peaks of white fluff cast shadows and add colour and texture to the scene. The sky is an endless blue. I’ll take a picture. I’ll remember how much I love flying. I’ll remind myself for the thousandth time that I’m going to see my parents. It’s definitely going to happen. I’ve left Glasgow and all that city entails. I’m going to see my parents.

I’ll see my brother, my sister. I’ll hug them and tell them how much I’ve missed them, a smile on my face so large it hurts. I’ll shake my Dad’s hand, but we both know it’ll turn into a hug. I’ll tell him how much I love him. I’ll kneel down and hold the muzzle of Dennis, my Springer Spaniel, in both hands. He’ll lick my face and probably knock me onto my back in excitement. And then I’ll see my mum. I’ll be in tears at this point. I’ll probably drop my bags and leave my suitcase on the driveway and run to hug her. I probably won’t say anything until a minute or so later, at which point she’ll offer me a cup of tea.

What I won’t be doing, however, is talking to idiots about cross-network minutes, data allowances, 14-day returns policies and PAC numbers. You can bet this month’s wage that I won’t be telling the same person over and over again that “it’s the best deal we can do, madam” or “no, we can’t match your renewal price, sir” and I definitely won’t be getting an earful from Mr. Jones in Dagenham about how his iPhone hasn’t arrived and how utterly furious he is and how we’re “an absolute shambles of a network” or some such tripe.

No. I shan’t be dealing with any of that.

I will be found in my parent’s kitchen, laughing with my family, a mug of tea in hand and a Spaniel at my feet.
Just so you know.

Yours truly,



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.