Tuesday, 21 April 2009

There was a time when I would eagerly apply for jobs, scour the papers for opening in the BBC or some broadsheet, spurred on by people who knew nothing of the ways these things worked. You have just a good a chance as anybody, they would say. They thought it was true, probably still do now. Those times are gone, they never made it here.

Of course, we all made alternative plans. In fact, these alternative plans - before the banks went down and the sub-prime mortgage lenders slid into the sea and the car manufacturers had no cars to manufacture and no workforce to pay - were our Plan A. Plan A! Unbelievable that now, when everything else has failed, we return to Plan A.

We must have been through that alphabet of plans a hundred times, a different plan for each different day. There were those times we thought we could work as unengaged porters in care-homes, or sit in loft-apartments inventing websites, or set up niche cafes for recklessly gullible, or toil our summers away with bent backs on Northumbrian farms, or import fashionable chairs from Madras, or work as well-paid temporary office replacements in the suburbs for six months of the year, or do shifts as emergency postal workers. Those times are gone, we never made it in any of those positions.

For one reason or another, they all fell by the wayside and we forgot about the alphabets, we kept on pushing with undue realism and ambition. Eventually of course we - and by we I mean that group of us who attended various educational establishments at various, concurrent times - gave up. Or, rather, it gave up on us. The alphabet was exhausted, we went round again, signs and signifiers, trying out a different profession for size. Nothing fitted and those times are gone.

So here we are, with Plan A. The enforced fallback, the first choice that seems absurd until it is the only thing left. Then it seems perfectly alright, more than that, it seems vital and necessary. It seems what we were supposed to do all along and in fact, had Plan A been Plan Z, one might begin to believe in predestination after all.

No comments: