I ride past this building every night; a Leeds office block. I wonder every single time; what do all these people sitting at all these desks actually do? Are these the people whose telephone system is routed through Ulan Bator? Will the people who work here spend the next thirty years in these Identikit desks, planning Christmas parties? I understand small offices - you would know your neighbours, maybe be part of a community. But I do'nt understand these monoliths. Admittedly, the people working here probably do not understand a work history that either the Red Head Boffin or me have had( my personal record in one job was 2 years, 77 days and 4 hours).
My brother in law has recently celebrated his 25th year working in the local Ford factory(near Liverpool). He is younger than me, and a great guy, but I realized the other day as I rode past this place how strange our life has been. As adults, we have absolutely no idea what it is like to be in one place for more than seven years. We have together lived in Liverpool, Leicester, Halifax, London(Canada) and now Hull. During this time we've worked in Coventry, Birmingham, Leeds, London(UK) and Sarnia. Nel has also lived in Windsor(Canada), Switzerland, Willenhall, Cheshire and Montreal. Between us, we've worked as postmen, telephone directory delivery people, administrative assistants, bar staff, musicians, theatre wardrobe, carpenters, managers, boffins, trench diggers, kitchen installers, au pairs, students, bank workers, shop assistants, Vice Presidents, dole office clerks, carpenters, welders and been on the dole.
I told my relative this history because for a lot of people we know, it's fairly normal - Grasshoppers was a cleaner and is now a top boffin, for example, and has lived in Arkansas, Kansas and Nebraska (not really, but basically quite a few places). My relative was surprised we were all still alive, because to him, we've all lived a life that he associates with vagrants or drifters. Conversely, I am horrified with is life - I equate it with a prison sentence. Personally, I think I am incredibly lucky to have such variation. He thinks we are crazy.
I'd be interested to know what you think - stability vs variation. That is the question.