TEMP(t)ing LIFE - I DON'T THINK SO
LIFE ON THE THE LOWEST RUNG OF LONDON'S UNDERGROUND
been down-on-my-luck for a few months now, I will, almost without question
accept any placement that my agency finds me! Having spent the past
couple of weeks working for none other than the ever-so-unpopular London
Underground, my heart is sinking fast.
Prior to this, I have done the odd day here-and-there and a few weeks
at an Architectural firm. What can I say, it was good when it was busy,
and like most other places, Im sure, a tad dull when not. My tactic
used to be turn into a smiling tea & coffee making fool and people
would appreciate this and therefore not notice that youre not
doing too much! Although this worked out quite well for a while there,
what I perhaps forgot, is that I noticed and really, I dont like
being bored, sitting restlessly waiting for something trivial to come
And although I left that job much to the annoyance of the agency
sympathetic bunch that they are! the situation has all but repeated
itself, once again. This time for those lovely people at London U/G!
Why am I still here I keep on asking myself, I mean I argued that it
was a moral as well as morale issue before! I cant help it, but
I hate taking money, when I havent really done the hard-days-graft,
but I doooooo need the money! My overdraft is huge and I have just discovered
I have passed that three-year graduate mark and have to start paying
for these kinds of services
oh boy! And dont get me started
on the credit card bill!
But even with all those arguments spinning round my mind, both pros
and cons I cannot help but turn-up to work, (sometimes on time,
others not quite!) because, no matter how dull it is, I am getting paid
to do so.
God, its not a wonder that the entire U/G network is in a mess, believe
you me I have heard a few stories that would make your hair curl! But,
I know that as I sit here, that somebody (maybe even you) are paying
my wages, and it just feels awful!
But the ray of sunshine, of hope: is that theres at least one
chap here, whos older, wiser, more experienced my view of him
is that he represents the new, whatever that may mean! I think hes
definitely old school, in the sense of background and what have you,
but hes new in the fact that he does not resist change, even when
its not necessarily for the better!
Having witnessed a couple of chaps argue against the whole new scheme
of things, the whole middle management as a whole waste of time, the
political backdrop is becoming more clearly apparent to me. I can see
that it is permeating its way through to every possible outlet
but there are a few people that can see that things are a-changing,
and rather than fight it, they listen and learn and work around it.
Not that I think that the passionate anti -management chap is wrong,
a lot of what he said seemed to make very sound sense. The only examples
that I can think of, (and please I am paraphrasing, so dont sue
me) is this new method of hiring in maintenance people to do the work
that the usual teams or gangs would normally do, why? Because, I dont
know, its cheaper or some such nonsense. His point, was that these
guys get taken to a track and make repairs as directed, as if on automaton,
so unlike the chaps here for life, they simply dont care, theyre
sloppy for want of a better word.
So the usual teams have to still go out there and tidy up and probably
fix the problem again, properly anyway. Plus, the actual permanent boys/teams
would also use their heads. If they saw another problem, even if it
wasnt their area, well theyd fix that too seems to
make perfect, common-sense to me; but youd never get a contract
group to do more than they have been asked to do, that too makes sense,
as unfortunate as it is! (I won't tell which is the least safe station
in the system, needless to say I have to use it everyday and it scares
So here I sit, being paid to do very goddamned little. And yet there
are guys here, people with knowledge, experience and ideas. No ones
listening to them. No one seems to give a damn. Its all tick-box, check
the figures, make sure that a bunch of people have got safe jobs, dishing
out prosperous tasks to more experienced staff. A vicious circle line?
Im not sure what will happen. I have heard rumours that other
lines, ones that have better figures, have really crap safety records.
But the feeling seems to be others will go that way too. Again, I admit
my own shortcomings I dont really know the ins and outs of this
system, both historically and politically. But I fear for this fantastic
network of lines, tracks, trains all underneath your feet, your homes,
your offices. I fear bureaucracy will ruin it; it will view profits
over people and like most big companies side-line those with age and
or experience for fear of the old, for a want to embrace a new image.
But what will happen? Therell be another accident. There will
be public outcry. There will be people shaking their heads. And I know
therell be a bunch of chaps across the entire U/G that will know
it could have been avoided. And I bet you the long-and-short-of-it will
be, management or whomever, still wont listen to these people. In fact
they have probably, all but been silenced, beaten down and kept in their
rightful place, somewhere along the way. And yet, as I started this,
the thoughts on my mind were justifying taking money for nothing, something
that really sickens me. And then there are all these wider implications,
something that doesnt really involve me at all. And I just cant
help but think the whole place is doomed. I cant help but think,
Its all a bit daft really.