The last month has felt pretty slow, but has gone really fast and all seems pretty hectic when I look back on it.
It started with a short period of job hunting and interviews, which went well, I felt like I was on top of things and was positive enough about it to start making plans for the future. I started designing the van I would build and the holidays I would take with the money I earned. Although when not on a buzz after a writing a good cover letter or a telephone call from a recruitment agent the passing time did feel like time that I was wasting. I constantly reminded myself that I was 21 ‘in the prime’ of my life and all I was doing was moping around my parents house, eating biscuits, drinking tea and sending off a few job applications. Time waits for no one and never comes back.
Then I got injured by climbing on a tweaked shoulder which resulted in me not being able to lift my arms above my head and lots of moaning about my sucky shoulders and how they always pack up. After sulking I formulated a plan to fix them properly and lose the job seeking flab that I had grown.
I then had a tough decision to make between a four day weekend climbing with Rachel (although we both had messed up shoulders), earning some brownie points, getting some climbs in the logbook and saving her from solitary confinement in Glasgow or a free week skiing in the Alps with my family. I didn’t feel like I dissevered a ski holiday I hadn’t earned the privilege or the time off from job hunting. I’ve skied a lot and in the last couple of years the excitement of it has dwindled and I have started to crave sunny climbing trips more. This change in my preferences was strange for me, it felt as though I was bailing on an old school-friend in order to hang out with my new mates. After two weeks switching sides I decided to go skiing, it would probably be my last chance in a while, and definitely my last chance at a free trip!
Overal the week skiing was awesome; the snow was patchy but some stashes of quality powder could be found with a bit of effort, which made it taste even sweeter. After a day of poor skiing on boring snow in the middle of the week I was beginning to doubt my decision to come out to the Alps, the skiing wasn’t that good and being away from the UK was disrupting my job hunting which was weighing on my mind a lot. The following day brought a massive positive boost in the form of a verbal job offer from Rolls Royce! Amazing news which resulted in high psyche, fast skiing and big smiles. I could now fully relax and enjoy myself with the knowledge that I had a job waiting for me when I got home.
We returned to the UK and my parents still had another weeks holiday (they’re teachers) and I ended up geting loads of mini adventures done. I utilised the fitness boost from a weeks skiing to start my ‘training’. Monday saw me doing a run for the first time in ages; Tuesday was a big day, driving up to scotland for a ski tour up and then down Ben Lawers (the most southerly 4000ft peak in Scotland) with Dad and Gary; Wednesday was sunny so an unusual situation of walking across snow fields to a sunny lakes crag, where I climbed my first lakes E2 whilst only wearing a t-shirt (and trousers obviously), Thursday I did 30 odd miles on the bike with mum and Friday saw me running again! A weekend with Rachel climbing at White Ghyll in Langdale, exploring the banned, esoteric and impressive Lazonby crags and making excited plans about all the climbing round Derby was an excellent end to an excellent couple of weeks. It was slightly stressful having my phone constantly switched on waiting for details and confirmation about the Rolls Royce offer.
The following week was a little bit of a shock after the busyness of the previous two. With the house empty, I spent most of my time; running; biking; doing shoulder work-outs; looking at vans, van/camper conversions and van insurance. I was contacted a few times by recruitment agents and grinned to myself as I told them I had a verbal offer. Although waiting for the phone to ring with the offer details and confirmation was making me anxious, and I didn’t want to tell anyone of my success incase I jinxed it. The weekend came without the call and I headed up to Glasgow for some scottish climbing with Rachel on the sea cliffs near Stranraer. I also tried to do some clothes shopping for my new job but that is a difficult and uninspiring task so I ate cookies instead.
That brings it up to today pretty much. The last few weeks have possibly been quite productive from a short term perspective but massively unproductive from a long term perspective. That didn’t matter too much though as all I could do and had to do was wait for the phone call from Rolls and I was going to be starting an amazing job soon – I was winning really. Then three weeks after the verbal offer I emailed Rolls to ask what was going on, a phone call reply smashed me down. HR (Human Resources?) withdrew the offer, apparently the managers wanted to offer me the job but HR over ruled them saying that they couldn’t afford to hire more staff.
So now the niggling thought that I was wasting time has become the definition of my last couple of weeks. The feeling that I have lost time is greater than ever now, which makes searching for more jobs almost a sickening prospect. I have just lost 4 weeks of my life doing unimportant stuff, I had fun but it didn’t feel special or as though I gained as much as possible from that time. Why then should I strive and work hard to get a job which, yes will give me money, but at the cost of my time? I suppose that before this downer I was looking forwards to the adventure of starting a job, to the challenge of proving myself as an engineer (to myself as much as anyone else) and I even reckon that it will be fulfilling and fun to exercise my brain and contribute towards something useful (hopefully I am capable of doing this?). But will I see the process of working as wasting my time?
I guess im super confused about what to do right now. My mind is constantly pitting conflicting thoughts and ideas against each other. Having just read Nick Bullocks book Echoes which tells the tale of his desire and eventual (successful?) escape from a conventional working life into a full time climber makes this trickier as there are now lots of negative ideas about working floating around in my head. I also just read this short blog from Sonnie Trotter which I really liked but it certainly doesn’t motivate me to go trawling through CV library and writing more cover letters.
I think what worried me the most is how fast the last few weeks have gone and how little I have actually achieved. It has highlighted to me how important it is to make proper use of my time. All I have to do now is figure out what ‘proper use of my time’ actually is. I hope that writing this will help me to answer that question, although writing it at 3am may not be ideal.