As this deal is done I have to start thinking about what comes next. I’m not sure if my current situation makes for clarity of thought, but there are no shortage of ideas.
I learnt a few things from this episode. For a start, that while I can slip into a pleasant neighbourhood like this without too much trouble, I don’t really belong here. I moved to this neck of the woods initially because it’s where the vacant house was. It was convenient though in that it was close by to some of my best friends. At the time I also figured it would be good for me to rub shoulders with the grown ups. I’ve lived an independent and occasionally irresponsible life mostly. My it’s been fun. Mostly. I figured it was time for me to settle down. If I moved to a suburb of respectable families then perhaps some of that wold rub off on me.
I realise now that you can’t force these things. It seems an obvious conclusion. I still want that life – family – but I’m wiser letting it come to me. I don’t fit into this picture, this area, pleasant and friendly as it is. Reality is that even in good times I’ll be the outsider, and that’s true with my closest friends. Until I join the family club I’ll always be looked upon and treated as an oddity. I feel it, and it alternately pisses me off and discomforts me. There’s a lot I get excluded from, either literally or simply because I don’t speak the same language. Until the time comes, I’m better off sticking with my own kind.
What is my own kind? Independent, perhaps a little bohemian, hedonistic, sensual, opinionated, self-aware, ambitious, and so on. My habitus is the inner city suburbs I miss pretty much – good coffee, Sunday brunch, a bar and possibly a pub down the street, a tram running down the road taking me to the city. It’s nights out during the week at a bar or a restaurant, weekends of footy and drinking and leisurely breakfasts out and heavy flirtation. It’s conversation about politics and culture and current affairs and Buddy and the state of the Australian cricket team and the latest cool bar and great meals and cool music. It’s life in a different register.
I’m a Melbourne boy and can’t resile from that. I love this place, and it’s very much a part of me. I accept that.
It’s going to be a while till I get back on my feet again, but when I do I’ve made my mind up. I either return to the inner city, or go out, to the bush or the beach that rings the city. Red Hill sounds good. Or south to Tassie (not that far from Melbourne, and culturally similar). A bit of land, a vegie patch, some nearby deli I can get life’s essentials – coffee and cheese – and maybe a spot where I can write. I can dream, can’t I?
I’ve got to get back to that point, and of course that’s the tricky part.
Last week I had conversations with two recruiters basically telling me the same thing. Both these guys were the rare breed of professionals. They were both a bit cynical and sour over the state of the market and employers recruiting policies. Both of them told me it was a crap shoot applying for work the old-fashioned way. The odds are stacked against you. Sucks, but it’s true. Both said the best way of getting a job these days is through people you know, referrals and networking.
I’d pretty well figured this out months ago, but kept on turning the knob just in case it opened. I may get lucky, but the chances are I won’t. I don’t think this is going to change either. I think this is the way its going to be from here on in. That means basically you’re unwise to leave a job without one to go to. And when you’ve got a job, hang on to it.
I’m not in that position, clearly. I have to look at other ways, and given my circumstances, need to be a bit daring if I am to recoup some of my place.
I’ve been researching the possibility of working remotely. Overseas is an option, though less likely. I got an email from Qatar overnight for a job I’m not qualified for, but I’m sure there are others I am. That’s an option, but I’m looking closer to home.
Mining jobs have a bit of a mythic quality in Australia. You go off for 6-12 months to work in some hot, dusty and remote location with a bunch of other men. You get paid big time and come back with a tidy package. That’s the idea. I’m sure it’s not as simple as that, but mining continues to boom in Oz, and there’s a lot of money going around.
To do that means I have to sort out Rigby. I can’t take him with me, but nor do I want to leave him with my sister.
The other thing is the shop. I can’t leave it as it is. I could sell, eventually, find a partner, or get a manager in.
Though it’s been a tough road I remain convinced that the thinking that brought me to buying the shop is sound. I can’t rely on others for work, for the reasons I listed above. I need self-sufficiency. The shop does not give me that, but there is potential for it. My ideal scenario would be to find a partner willing to tip in cash and work in the shop as manager. In time I think it will develop into a good money-spinner, which can then possibly be further developed.
I also have to look at other avenues of income. Consulting is one, but very erratic. My writing perhaps is another, but needs to be marketed. Is there anything else?
In time I hope I will find some security and be situated where I can grow my own family. I can move on then, and join the club perhaps – should I choose to. In the meantime I need to scramble a solution, starting now.