December 2018


I am in my late 50’s and have not worked in a bar for 25 years and have not worked shifts for 30. I am a type 1 diabetic but reasonably fit, and have done hard physical work, but not for more than a day at a time for a few years, even then it was all on my own terms.

I am also well enough off to pay income tax. I do not need to do extra work. On the other hand a small amount of regular work would help; and it would also help with the very real danger of becoming physically and socially isolated. It would take very little for me to become a recluse.

When I was asked to do bar work I said yes. I was drunk, and cannot be said to have jumped at the offer (as reflected by how little I said about it on this blog) but I thought of it as a change and a challenge which would keep me in the public houses.

I was told it was a zero contract with very few hours, but on the first rota I was down for 4 shifts in this month, which was enough for me; infant 10 hours a month is all I really need, perhaps as little as 1 shift.

On the other hand I was given 3 different sifts on 3 consecutive days, which was a concern, with the fourth on Old Year’s Night. I had concerns about my diabetes, and lesser ones about coping with the work; but decided that if the 3 shits did cause problems I could ask not have to repeat it. 

Thinking about this now I am puzzled why I was given a start on three shifts. Neither I nor they knew how well or badly I would do. Starting me with one day’s work and then a gap (as was perfectly possible) would have given a chance to assess.

As it turned out I did remarkably well, but quit after 2 days.

I am not going to go over any but one to the reasons why I quit; I have no desire to make their life more difficult than I have, or jeopardize their trade (and to that end I have, hopefully, removed all reference to the matter on my blog, Facebook or tweets).

The one issue I will talk about, and the driver for my quit car, is the fact that half way through my second shift I  was told that I would probably have no work between New Year and Easter! Because they were getting 4 full time staff.

So I was startled with 10 minutes training on a hard three day burst, brought back for the hardest day’s bar work in the year, and that’s it! I don’t often swear on this blog, but that’s taking the fucking piss! 

Even then I might have done all my shifts; but both diabetes and physical exhaustion (the work involved a lot of heavy carrying) combined with my anger yesterday, and the prospect of going to difficult work for minimum (not living) wage and getting home after midnight appalled me, and I was too exhausted to argue with myself. After I quit I took to my bed, and ended up sleeping for 12 hours.

Employing me was a mistake for them, but starting me with three shifts in a row was a worse one.

I am not proud of what I have done, but neither am I still upset. What’s done is done. 

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