Two weeks ago on my last journal entry I wrote that I have the greatest intentions to return tomorrow. Obviously that didn’t happen. I also mentioned rejoining the gym and going for a workout. Now that did happen the next day, so that’s something. Unfortunately I haven’t been back since but I can claim that was somewhat out of my control.
Sunday I felt a bit off but powered through and went to the gym. I had a good workout but didn’t overdo it as I felt a little sick. I just put it down to not eating much and some apprehension about being back in the gym. Monday I knew I was back at the shit building site I’d been on Thursday and Friday so wasn’t looking forward to it. I felt like crap at work but put it down to being on that site with a colleague I don’t particularly get on with.
Tuesday I was with a lad I’d worked with in my first week and got on well with, and we were working on a hotel with less restrictions so it should have been a good day. Should have been. From the get-go the guy kept telling me about how much he did the day before and how the two of us should be able to do double that. It didn’t occur to him that he had done all the easy work the day before and had left the more difficult work for the two of us. It then didn’t help that within the first couple of hours he had to leave to go to another site to clear up some emergency. I was left alone with a list of things to do and of course job number 1 wasn’t going well so I leave that and move on to job number 2; can’t finish that because I need something from the van but I do the majority of it. Job number 3 is quite difficult but I’m pretty much finished when my colleague returns. He’s pissed because I couldn’t do job number 1 and I haven’t gotten round to job number 4 yet. Then to add to the shitshow the job I’ve just finished (number 3) he has to correct a couple of things because I was trying to rush – same issue as last week, making mistakes because I’m trying so hard to rush as per the bosses and colleagues requests. It took him a couple of minutes so no real issue. Then of course he did job number 1 pretty quick whereas I couldn’t do it. So he was a dick about that too. We go upstairs to do job number 4 and when there’s a problem of course it’s my fault because a little job we did together before his call out again I was rushing and one cable wasn’t connected tight enough. I can see why he is pissed off at me.
The rest of the day was just a mess. All he did was complain and scoff if I didn’t do something exactly as he would. He even tried to blame me for the back door of the van coming open when he drove off before I spoke up and said beyond reasonable doubt that he was the last one to use that door and he left it open. At one point I was praying he would say something out of line so I could square up to him and threaten to knock him out, and I am in no way a violent person. The best part of the day was when we got to lunch just after 2pm (started at 7am, I was awake at 5:30 and as I wasn’t feeling right in the morning I didn’t have breakfast) he wolfed a chocolate bar before I’d even had a bite of my baguette, the remainder of “lunch” he’s tapping his fingers on the steering wheel whilst glancing over to see how much baguette I have left. With maybe half left he says “as soon as you’ve finished that we’ll get back to it” and with my final bite fresh in my mouth he opens the door, jumps out his seat and exclaims “come on then, you ready?” I’m walking in the hotel door still chewing. I check my phone as I recall sending a message just before I climbed in the van to eat, the message was sent eight minutes ago. Eight minutes! Now you may not know the intricacies of my contract but we are entitled to a fifteen minute paid break in the morning and thirty minutes unpaid lunch. They will take that thirty minutes from our pay but we were sat there for eight. It may sound petty but I was pissed. The lunch situation, the work day in general, my colleague, my bosses, the colleague I worked with the day before, the site I was on the day before. Ever since that meeting six days earlier everything about the job and company now pisses me off massively.
Monday and Tuesday I had been a bit snotty and coughing a little but I put that down to all the dust. I was also tired but I just expected that was from the early mornings, the actual physical work, trying to rush and being mentally drained from this new found stress and tension at work. My time at work had been so bad from the day I had that meeting that I considered phoning in sick the following day (Wednesday) but I talked myself out of it. I knew I was on a crappy site the next day but I was with an electrician I hadn’t worked with before and that was always positive and friendly. My plan was to talk to him about it all and see what he said, do my work and get some feedback from him on how it went. And if I had a shit day then I would call in sick Thursday. As I say physically I was feeling a little rough but the sick day would be completely mental health related. So there I am Wednesday morning making sure to eat in case of a repeat of the day before, and making my flask of tea, when I check the covid test we have to do every Monday and Wednesday morning. Positive. It’s a faint line so I do another making sure to be more in depth as to say. Definitely positive.
I let work know. “Ok” is the response I get. Now I forgot to mention that at home my partner Penny has had a bit of a bad flu and has been struggling, my step-son Spencer was due to start an intense course of medication that day that required him to be off school for at least a week, and Penny’s mum had arrived the night before to stay with us as Penny’s sister was being induced to give birth later that day. It was a very eventful Wednesday before I tested positive.
Short story is I had to stay away while Penny’s mum gathered her stuff and checked in to a hotel, I had to book and take a PCR (which came back positive the next day) and Penny’s flu got worse. I didn’t suffer particularly bad, just flu symptoms but the tiredness would hit me from nowhere and I either couldn’t keep my eyes open, or my muscles would ache, or a combination of the two. After five days if I tested negative two days in a row I could end isolation early, so I assumed I’d be back in work by the following Wednesday or Thursday. Nope, still testing positive on day ten. And to add to it Penny tested positive the following Monday (14th, happy valentine’s) and Rosie (our almost 2-year-old daughter) tested positive two days later but she’s okay, just snotty and a cough. So Penny was very ill, I was very tired, Spencer was on this medication which was having some nasty effect and Rosie has this little cough that was affecting her most through the night. You can imagine the ten days we’ve had.
We’re on the up though; my isolation is over and other than some tiredness I’m fine, I had a lovely afternoon round my dad and step-mum’s yesterday and may be going round my brother’s tonight for a few drinks, Penny is still having to isolate but is feeling fine, Rosie is sleeping better and seems on the up (just to clarify during the day she has been playing and climbing and completely normal), Spencer finished his medication and was doing okay before going back to school and to his dad’s yesterday.
I’m back to work on Monday and while I feel nervous and unhappy about it I’m not dreading it as I was a week or two ago. My plan is to give it two or three weeks while still applying to other jobs just to see what comes about. If once those two or three weeks I still feel negative about the place I will step up efforts to find another job and leave. I really don’t want to leave unless I have something else lined up so that won’t happen unless my position becomes untenable and I just can’t take it. That may seem weak or selfish but I really don’t care; I will see it out as much as I posibly can but if it’s taking too much of a toll on me I will walk. There is a line and while that line is higher than it has been on previous job if it is crossed I have no choice. And if I do leave then my only thoughts over the next few days will be doing all I can to get another job. If there is fallout from my actions at home then so be it.
It’s so sad that the way things have gone have got me reconsidering not just my current job but the entire industry. At it’s worst last week I was thinking that I just don’t want to work as an electrician or in construction any more. But what else am I going to do? I know there’s hundreds of jobs I could do but while I have a variety of experience I wouldn’t have any direct or recent in a completely different role and other jobs are gonna come with their own negatives – plus none of them will pay close to what I’m currently getting.
So as I say the plan is to give my current place a few more weeks (unless something better comes up) and then if I still want to leave I’ll go back to the self-employed option and earn an extra £2 or £3 per hour on a job that may end in two weeks/a month/three months and then find another job when that one ends. That can be stressful and there may be some time in between jobs where I’ve got zero income but it is what it is. Hopefully I can start to set something up for after work and weekends to bring in some money so in those weeks where I have no work I may be able to bring in a few quid each day. It may not be much but it’s better than nothing and if I can grow it then maybe one day I can do that full time and not have to find the next job.
Back to the here and now. Penny and I had a little argument about pretty much nothing earlier after Rosie went down for a nap. Two hours of watching what she wanted on TV while I sat and wrote this whinge-piece she has decided to go for a walk and minutes later Rosie sits up so maybe it’s my time to wrap things up. I was hoping to watch something I like on TV or play a game though lately nothing seems to interest me. I just want to be doing something more, something meaningful but I don’t know what it is. I feel like such a mess and that ever so obvious passing of time counting down to my return to work is just amplifying my feelings ten fold.
Maybe one day I’ll make hundreds per day on that little side-hustle I’ve always wanted to start or maybe Ill write that incredible novel I have inside me and it will be the next biggest thing. That one sentence is surely along the lines of something said by at least 90% of the population. I’m nothing special. I just don’t get on with my actual work or take it as serious as the majority of people around me, that’s all that stands me out – selfish with shitty work ethic and zero discipline. When will I grow up?