Tuesday, 10 September 2013
Nine to Five
It is a common enough question, "Where do you work?". Since I was fifteen I always had an answer to that. My first official job was as a hostess at a Chinese restaurant where the kitchen staff only spoke Cantonese and the waitresses were surly and complained bitterly when I sat some hungry family in their section. As a bonus they let me take home the broken fortune cookies for free. Now in this time, simple things like being asked for my phone number at work inspires something akin to panic. What if this complete stranger finds out I have no position and heaps all sorts of judgements upon me as it is clear, I believe, from looking at me that I am not an heiress nor do I possess that haughty air of the independently wealthy. If work defines us, as it so often does in our society, who are we when we are not gainfully employed? What are we but a drain on an otherwise productive landscape where everyone is busily getting ahead. Struggling to identify what remains when that critical piece of our identity is shelved is a puzzle I continue to try and piece together for myself all the while wistfully dreaming I might return to that place of certainty - that costume that may be ill-fitting, but familiar nonetheless.