I have been looking for a job. Not a career, I have two of those already. I am past the age of ambition. I just don't care any more. All I want now is for the rest of the world to piss off and stop asking me for money.
A part time job just to cover the background bills when the day-job is silent. Something in the evenings, something that won't follow me home like my day-job has throughout my life. Something I can maintain when the projects are running because projects end and then there is silence again. Benefits? No. Absolutely no. Been there long ago, felt the jaws of the trap and heard the pompous and exultant cries of the Righteous and I'd rather live and die in the woods. No, that benefits trap is not for me. I will not be owned.
I don't want to be a manager. I could do it, I have managed academics and that makes you envy cat-herders. I have dragged at least one unworthy student through a Ph.D. and hammered a few more useless drongos through M.Sc. Only just, but they made it despite themselves.
Not one of my students has ever failed because they knew if they did, their heads would be on spikes as a warning to others. I learned the technique from my school English teacher who also recorded no failures. No violence, just verbal humiliation. It works really, really well. My best one was to tell a Ph.D. student I didn't expect her to be able to complete an experiment because she was 'only a woman'. That produced one of her best publications ever and she gave me the silent treatment for three days, which was a bonus.
One job I considered was part-time warden at an old folks home. I mentioned it to some friends.
'Do you think I could be a carer?'
I have never seen so many people say 'NO' so emphatically and so quickly. If the buggers had reacted like that to the smoking ban, there wouldn't be one. Their reasoning was that caring requires patience and I don't have any, it also requires caring and I don't. Their objections to 'cleaning up incontinence' I brushed aside. My entire career has seen me elbow-deep in shit and not the nicely-formed healthy lumps, the horribly infected runny stuff. That shitty part would be no problem. It's the 'giving a shit' I'd have trouble with.
There was also concensus that I would be instantly in trouble with the Righteous because the first thing I would demand is a decent smoking shelter for the elderly in sheltered housing. Sure, the residents would be happy with me but the bosses would have contract killers on my tail by the end of the first day. So that was out.
They were right. I was once course tutor for a (ahem) course. One student was hated by the staff but he wasn't a bad guy, just a youngster trying to look hard. I pushed him to appeal his unfair third class degree, we won, and I wasn't course tutor the next year. I put principle above money which is why I am utterly skint and the likes of Tiny Blur are loaded. It means I would be doomed in any council job.
There was a job in the Apple iStore in Aberdeen but there is the small matter of ethics. Apple have declared their warranty invalid for smokers. I can never buy their products nor can I encourage anyone else to buy them. Even if it means going back to living in the gutter, I won't do it.
So it's supermarket or cleaner jobs. Evening work, low pay, enough to cover bills and I don't have to ditch the part-time stuff when the contracts come. I really don't want a day job because I'd have to drop it to run a project and that means when the project ends, I'm sitting on my arse doing nothing again. Once you drop a job they don't want you back.
There are many cleaning jobs around. Unsociable hours - no problem. I am inherently unsociable. Pride? That's for the rich. Cleaning is something I do a lot of anyway. No cleaners ever enter my lab because I use deadly bacteria in there. Cleaning is my problem and since I don't want to die a horrible runny-bottomed death I am merciless with the cleaning. You want me to clean your house? Prepare to be sterilised. It's all very... dirty.
It's not even a job, it's a vocation. Thirty years of microbiology makes you paranoid about cleanliness. I know what lurks in the little bit of damp dust in the corner and I kill it before it gets me. You won't believe how much disinfectant I get through. Oh, the cheap bleach works as well as the posh scented stuff, by the way. The kill rate does not depend on the floral scent.
My kitchen is entirely painted white. I have often heard 'But white shows the dirt' to which I reply 'Yes. That's how I find it'. It's a bit nasty on a summer morning if I haven't closed the curtains and the sun is shining in and there's been whisky but... I have never had a serious gut infection even though I've worked with them all.
Too much cleanliness is as bad as too little. Don't worry about garden dirt, worry about kitchen dirt. Garden dirt contains almost nothing to worry about. Kitchen dirt contains it all. You do need a little bit of dirt in there to give your immune system practice.
So yes. I am thinking 'cleaner'. I have been in places I'd have cleaned for free so why not get paid to do it?
I have also been told I'd make a good barman but 'fox in charge of the chicken run' comes to mind there...
All I need now is a light green suit and I am ready to be terrifying. Who says you can't have fun on minimum wage?
Might inspire a few more tales too.