Today we have a more personal post from me. I’m not really one for gushing posts about how much I love my family and how awesome I think they are – they know how I feel about them and that’s all that matters. Today however is going to be one of those exceptions because in all fairness, I’m flipping over the moon!
It started with a mop and bucket
For a good few months now my other half – more popularly known as ‘The Beef’ – has been struggling away at a part time job that he doesn’t like, but which he humbly accepted. We’d both been out of work for so long since the twins came along, that we were determined to find anything that would make life more bearable. Let’s face it – being stuck on the dole is awful and it’s not the way we wanted our children to perceive life.
So we stuck our heads together and formed a plan. Part-time work was easier to come by and I could supplement our income by attempting to forge a career in freelance writing. The idea was that between us we would make enough to keep our heads above the water and our bills paid.
Not too long after hatching our plan for financial independence, The Beef was offered a job cleaning for 18 hours per week and slowly but surely, work was trickling my way too. Things were looking up, I was able to go self-employed and The Beef had lots of over-time available to make up some extra cash.
Then came the guilt trip
Eventually the 3:30 am wake-up calls, sounding the alarm for The Beef to get ready for work started to get to us both. In nearly four months he’d managed to negotiate about two days off from work – the rest of the time was spent being told that he was the only person available for a specific cleaning task. What started as a great opportunity for finding our feet, turned into a demand on his time, strength and mental health. I saw my laid-back nerdy man, turn into an overly stressed creature, reliant on energy drinks and coffee.
And reliant was the keyword. The Beef’s manager had become so reliant on his hard work, that he was the first person he would turn to if he needed extra help. The same manager who took time off whenever he felt like it and who was prone to angry outbursts at his staff. The Beef being a gentle soul couldn’t say no and on the times that he did, he was talked around. It made him unhappy, downtrodden and feeling as if he was right at the bottom of the food chain.
Then karma stepped in
I always said to The Beef that as long as he worked hard, did his job as well as he could and kept his head down, then sooner or later a member of staff at the store he cleaned at, would recognise his efforts. Even the store manager had commented on how well he got the job done and so I said to him, wait it out!
So we waited and watched. The Beef cleaned, got on with his work and did the best job he possibly could, while I kept my eye open for the perfect opportunity.
Over four weeks ago I spotted it. A part-time night shift job – exactly the same hours but as a member of staff for the very same store in which he cleaned under a contractor. Quickly we sat down and filled out the form – highlighted every ounce of skill that he had and submitted it with clenched teeth and crossed fingers.
We heard nothing for weeks until a chance phone-call, yesterday lunch-time offered him the chance we had dreamed of. An evening interview that very same day!
I’m pleased to announce that he got the job. It turns out someone had mentioned his hard work and he was accepted right there in the interview room. As I type, he is at the store undergoing an induction day and feeling on top of the world. When we woke this morning for the first time in months together, he asked me if it had all been a dream because he couldn’t accept that something he’d wanted so much, had actually happened for him.
It all may seem quite trivial to an outsider, but to us this is one step closer to a better life. When you’ve been stuck in the gutter for most of your life, looked-down on and scorned, it’s difficult to reach for the stars but I guess that the moral of the story is, those stars are within reach if you want them hard enough.
Photo Credit: Esther Gibbons