a happy working song

I love working. It's kind of all protestant and ernest, but I really do. 

An old boss of mine once asked me if I'd ever had a job I didn't like. And this was before I spent three months in a Brisbane kitchen cooking for 100 preschoolers. And still the answer is no. 

I got my first job at 14 scooping icecream in the local antique shop for $3 an hour, $12 for a 4 hour shift. (And I spent it on old jewelry I admired when I was dusting. It was awesome.)

When I went off on maternity leave in 2004 I was only ever going to take 6-8 months off. I was a marketing communications manager for a big bank and damn I loved my job. Plus my boss let me bugger off once a week and go back to uni to do postgraduate medieval history subjects. How cool is that?!

Then they re-structured, and told me they'd find something for me when I came back, I'd probably only be part time right? 

I realised I didn't want to leave a tiny baby in daycare while I worked 80 hours per week. And with no dispersions cast on Adam's feminism, it was always going to be up to me to do the juggle. Actually, no, I should be honest. If I'd wanted him to work part time and take the lead in childcare he really would have. But I didn't want him too. I begged a redundancy and hung out with my baby. And it was awesome. I applied for a part time PhD in Medieval Studies and got accepted. With a scholarship. So cool.

And then Ad's work asked us to move to Brisbane (like, the following week.) Given his was the job paying the mortgage, it kinda made sense to go. I was pretty reluctant, but it was such a great offer. 

So we went. I worked for a year on the PhD before we figured out the extent of Henry's special needs. We had Tilly and I had another lovely year of making playdough and jumping on the trampoline before I decided to go cooking again. 

And now, back in Sydney, in this really cool company just doing bookkeeping and admin, and really really loving it. 

I love two things most of all:

my coffee guy…

… and the people I work with.

But damn it's a juggle, right?

Every morning, two lunch boxes, bags packed, kids breakfasted, dressed, half way out the door I realise I'm not wearing any bottoms, better go back for my skirt…and crap, I've run out of petrol. (You've heard this story.)

Everywhere I look, and I'm looking at you, there are women juggling.

You're throwing on a load of washing while checking your internet banking and thinking about dinner. You're hanging it on the line while calling to make a doctor/dentist/hairdresser appointment and wondering if you'll get the book read for bookclub this month. 

There's a present to buy for a birthday party and a skirt to hem and a funny smell in the bathroom and a dishwasher to unstack (if you're lucky) and a carpet to vacuum and children to be listened to and homework to supervise and bills to be paid and tax to be submitted and time to be taken for yourself. (Guffaw.)

Everywhere I look there are women with so many balls in the air their hands are a blur.

But damn you look good; look at you go.

Stretched thin but we see your sinews. You're made of piano wire. You can't break. (Can't afford to.) 

I tell you, you're a gorgeous ship on a stormy sea and everyone is hanging onto your mast. And it feels pretty good, right? Go on and steer. (She's doing it with her eyes shut.) You are afloat and marvellous.

Northward, gorgeous girls. There's a star in the sky to steer by: it's the collective hearts of women strung so tight they're thrumming. Beautiful, bright and boundless.


6 Comments on “a happy working song

Natalie Pulsford
October 25, 2009 at 1:30 am

This was a beautifully written post – loved it.

October 25, 2009 at 9:04 am

Wow, awesome. Even made me tear up.

October 25, 2009 at 3:18 pm

I love that you love work. I do too, though I am less successful at juggling. One ball is always higher in the air than others, causing the rest to fall occasionally.

Sarah Burkhardt
October 25, 2009 at 3:23 pm

LOVE IT!!!! As always you have hit the nail on the head!! I am SO addicted to both your and Estelle’s posts – Hope you had a great time with Tammy (assumed it was Tammy Genn and gang?)Are you going away for xmas – we are in summer hill xmas week if you are around for a play date would love to catch up?

October 26, 2009 at 9:27 am

nice one fi. can i use some of that to put a smile on my wife’s face?

such momentum in your writing…

and i learnt a new word. “sinews”. thanks.

Fiona @ Inner Pickle
October 29, 2009 at 11:12 pm

Thanks for your comments you lot – and Sarah, would love to see you at xmas but will be in Gerringong.. will try and catch you on one side or other of your visit! xxx


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