Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Ordinary Life 8(b)





Tiptoeing forward then.
What reasons are there to give up a safe, secure and well pensioned job in a boom industry? Here is a flavour of the kind of thing that took the shine off…

The work involved intense scientific scrutiny of small ( the size of a cotton reel) geological samples. Recovered at great cost from deep under the North Sea. Every few months a report was delivered to a large multi national, sometimes a government. It was delivering one of these reports that persuaded me that my real vocation lay elsewhere. I took SCAL 0087 (Silver Field, turbulent flow analysis :- Hallett, Lombos) to Statoil, Stavanger via Aberdeen.
My experience of Norway was this.
We landed in drizzle and low cloud, over a grey concrete city, onto a grey concrete runway. I was driven to a grey concrete hotel serving about a thousand types of herring. Alright as long as you are fond of herring. The view from my window, through drizzle, was another grey concrete hotel. I reread the report that I had been working on for the last half year. In the morning, following a fine breakfast of herring I was driven to some grey concrete laboratories. I presented my report and answered a few technical questions. After a fine lunch of herring I was whisked back to the airfield and before I knew it the grey concrete runway was swallowed by the mist. On the plane back to Aberdeen we had herring.
I am told that Norway is a spectacular country of mountains, fjords and the northern lights.

And so I went back to college to learn to be a teacher. Inbetween I fished silver mackerel from the now long gone jetty that loaded the stone ships.

13 comments:

Tamara said...

Safe, secure and well-pensioned do not equal peace, happiness and longevity. Could that be why such employments must pay well, because there is so much about them that is mind-numbing? As a student of history, I find myself comparing today's society (esp. in America) to that of societies past. Were the rank and file less enlightened 50-75 years ago, so that they just accepted the safe and secure for the sake of safety and security? Do we know better now and realize the danger posed to our creativity, to our hope? Or are there more opportunities for our dreams today than there were before? Or do we dream too much and work too little? Do I have any actual answers----NO!! :)

meredic said...

tamara - hello there. crumbs you were quick. Well I certainly have no answers I am afraid. though I have never been afraid to dream dreams.

john.g. said...

I prefer Mackerel! But not concrete ones.

buffalodickdy said...

I like herring, but apparently you had more in one day than I enjoyed last year....

Stephanie said...

A very rewarding career. There's nothing like finding something you love and can be passionate about and making a living doing it.

Rosy said...

Herring must be your favorite fish. never knew anyone could eat so much of it in one day's time.

Fi said...

You've put me in the mood for a rollmop or two. With juniper berries. I don't think that was your intention but thanks.

I just looked through your flikr photos of you (and more you). Very nice.

DaveM said...

All that grey its enough to turn a Norwegian to drink!

Did I comment on here before or am I dreaming?

Lori said...

Maybe you need to give Norway another chance. The parts you saw sounded rather gloomy!

startare said...

Seems that your road to Damascus included a small diversion via Norway, the country of rats, incidentally. Did you find teaching proved less grey and boring? I think it is still probably the greatest job in the world, even after nearly 30 years

Sparkle Plenty said...

I like this very much. To me, it captures the precise moment when you realize that you're not doing what you need to be doing. Your eyes focus, and suddenly you see your life being sucked away from you in exchange for a very small stack of paper. Mind you, that paper is very handy for survival, but otherwise not a fair trade for hours you'll never get back. Is this part of something longer that you are writing? If it is not, it should be! The brief description reminds me of one of my favourite travel writers--Bill Bryson--you have a similar gift for creating a vivid, dryly humorous mental image using a few, well-chosen words. At least, that's what I took away. Cheers!

meredic said...

john.g. – I sort of went off fish….

buffalodickdy – I may have slightly exaggerated in the interest of a tale.

stephanie – um…..

rosy – yes, look, the point is, I exaggerated so that the truth wouldn’t ….. ;-)

fi – herring with juniper…. maybe soaked in gin? Cheers!

davem – touch of deja vue I think

davem – touch of deja vue I think

lori – I think there are better bits. I am sure that even Stavanger is nice on a sunny day.

startare – Damascus? No it was definitely Stavanger.

sparkle plenty – I am very flattered by the undeserved comparison and indeed the compliment. Still, if you happen to know anyone that works for Mr Bryson’s publisher…

Sally Lomax said...

Another great post...