I've been with the same job for over 16 years now. I'd never have dreamed that I'd be looking down the barrel of sixteen-plus years when walking into that job back in January of 1996. Just couldn't have conceived it. Even 2000 seemed a long way off back in the mid-nineties. And here we are, spiraling towards the finish line of 2012..
January 1996. I hadn't heard of the word 'internet'. Paul Keating was Prime Minister. I was living in the Cross. And I scored a job at a reputable theatre training institution in which I'm still immersed, still enjoying. The aim of undertaking library work was to do something 'professional', earn enough money to pay the bills, and to have the time and energy to pursue music. Today, there's a less time for the music, but I find the job to involve a good level of stimulation or creativity nonetheless.
I suppose I had three jobs in all the time I've been there: there was the 'old' library, the move to the new library in early 2002, and the promotion to manager towards the end of 2009. What amazes me is how significant changes or events within the job or within the organisation itself reflect directly on my own circumstances. Without fail, whenever there've been periods of upheaval at work, I find these parallel my own personal upheavals. The work 'family' is reflective of my own personal journey, they are really one and the same. This suggests in a way that I will be at the organisation for as long as I'm meant to be, and when the time comes to leave, I'll leave. I like living like that, allowing circumstances to take over. It's like allowing the big hand of life to pick you up like a chess piece and moves you to the square you're meant to sit at, it's a nice thing. You meet the right people at the right time, you live at the right place at the right time.
I've met loads of terrific people at this institution. Curiously I've made no lasting attachments despite meeting so many people, many of whom I get on well with. I feel the reason for this is that I'm not a theatre practitioner, and that I'm somewhat 'excluded' from the zone, albeit on a subtle level. I find that the only cluster of folk I'm easily at home with are the 'songwriters' despite no longer taking an active interest in songwriting. The ukulele folk are a good bunch too but I sense a slight element of obtuseness when I'm with them. For me, theatre is something to enjoy and love but I've not a clue regarding the craft, training or technicalities of it, other than what I've come to learn in my job. I prefere it that way. It allows me to concentrate on my job while at the same time cultivating a cousinly code of understanding with fellow performing artists. The sense of detachment I have towards theatre serves me well as a technical employee, and tickets are free for staff. :)
Fascinatingly, I encounter doppelgangers in my workplace. I find that students 'repeat' themselves over the years. You get to observe bodily and constitutional likenesses in many little clusters of people. You notice how one student looks and talks and behaves like another student from the same course who was at the institution a couple of years ago. This happens often, and it has taught me to observe psycho-physical characteristics in people at large and learn to "read" them better. I can't help but conclude that people follow 'types' although I realise this is only a relatively true hypothesis, and not an absolute one. The same applies to the course streams as a whole where the behaviour and character of the students within these groupings never changes despite the influx and outflow of individuals, whether these be acting, design, costume, production, and so on.
Being at this institution has taught me a lot, a hell of a lot really. I've learned people skills, management skills, and a variety of bits and pieces in between. I count my blessings, it's been a good gig.
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