Sunday, January 12, 2020

Post 3295 - Where Have I Been? What Have I Been Up To?

Yeah, pretty much says it all.

32 years ago this month, I got on one of those Van Pools, the overpriced van that transported folks from the Valley to Halifax, and then back home again, and began a short-term work assignment. I had just completed my studies at Acadia University. I could not graduate until May of 1988. I had the Winter term to find a job.

In theory, it was a leg up for me. I could find a gig while my fellow students were still studenting away. By the time I could graduate in May, along with them, I might be working away. That was the theory.

The practice of it was that I was ill-prepared to begin my working... let's go with the word "career". Sounds more professional and pre-thought out.

The job that Acadia lined up for me was at a government department. I barely knew where that building was, so poor was my knowledge of the city of Halifax. I can't even quite remember where the van dropped me off at.

The whole while I was working there I was applying for full time work. I would walk around during my lunch hour and try to figure out where things were, relative to where I was. The buildings all looked so tall, so foreboding, and the apprehension I felt twisted my heart and made me feel sick inside. I had never been so frightened in my life. A hick kid from the Valley moving to the big city. 75 minutes or so from my parents' driveway, but it may as well have been the dark side of the moon.

By my birthday I had signed a contract to work for a company in town. Twenty-three thousand dollars per annum. Not a pile of money, even then, but I could get by on it.

My fears worsened. The knot in my gut got tighter and tighter. And I feared for my future. That fear, that anxiety, that worry, is something I inherited from my father, who was the king of all worry warts.

I did get through it, as you know. It was not easy. But I got through it. And I have always figured that if I could do it, if I could persevere in whatever thing I happened to try, or was allowed to try as in the case of my years in government, then I did not have much patience for those who could not measure up. Call it a prejudice. Call it me being a stinker. It doesn't matter.

Well, I retired from that line of work at the end of December, 2019. I am trying something else now, which is being a writer and reporter for Frank Magazine. After this short a period of time, the apprehension is not what it was for me in 1988, but after trying something so new at this point in my life, then I know that I have a lot to learn. And not to sound too much like Donald Rumsfeld, I know there are things I don't know. The Socratic paradox, that I know that I know nothing, also applies.

All I can do is keep at it. Learn stuff incrementally. I know more now than I did this time last week. I can only expect that by this time next week, I will have learned more. In six months time, I hope to look back on January of 2020 with some degree of embarrassment over all the stuff I did not know about my new job.

As for my old job: I get my final government pay cheque this Thursday. It will contain the pay for the last days of December (seven, I think) plus the pay out for the last of my vacation. And last week Patricia and I both got a letter from the Nova Scotia Pensions Agency, spelling out how much we can expect to receive for our pension payments every month. Between my Frank income and my pension income, I will be on par with what I was making before I retired. I may even be a few dollars ahead of the game.

So, anyway, I am fine. But I do find that at the end of the day, after spending it writing and researching or what have you, there it not much tiger left in the tank to write a blog post. I do hope that this situation changes soon, but I cannot make any guarantees.

How about this, then: I will produce a blog post as often as I can. That may be once a week, or twice, or more often. But I will try harder. I miss you guys. And I hope you miss me.

See you... soon?


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