leg-iron (leg_iron) wrote,
leg-iron
leg_iron

A non-Righteous interlude. 3. Work.


After the degree, I took a one-year contract as a research assistant because I hadn’t decided what to do with myself. It was an income, not a great income even by the standards of the day, but far better, in relative terms, than my father would have made at that age. So life was good, money came in every month, money went out every month. I bought my first really-good SLR camera, on credit. I rented a room. I ran a car, a mark 2 Cortina which I have often regretted selling. I borrowed because I could, and spent because I had it.

 

The job was in the radioactive suite and I had the labs to myself. Nobody visited. Ever. There was no danger, there was heavy lead shielding around anything seriously hot, but nobody wanted to go in that room. This was before ‘authorised personnel only’ signs. They weren’t needed. ‘Radioactive’ was all the sign anyone needed to see.

 

The work was dull and repetitive too. So I was more bored than a mountaineer in Norwich. Not even the Righteous bothered me. In fact, I forgot all about them. There was only one incident I recall, when a pompous oaf informed me at coffee break that I should give up smoking. I told him I fractionated carcinogens in the radioactive labs. If I was prone to cancer, I’d already have it. He shut up.

 

When the chance came for a PhD I took it. Even though it started in April because nobody else had wanted it, even though it meant a massive drop in income, I took it. It turned out to be a very interesting experience indeed, and was mostly untouched by Righteousness because it was pure science with no social implications at all.

 

By the time that PhD ended, the credit I had run up when employed had hit home. It ended in March, academic jobs start in October. My bank cards had been recalled. I had a PhD, no income, huge debts, and at least six months before I could even hope for a job.

 

It was all my fault, but the Righteous never see things so logically. I was out on my ear, a long way from home, too proud and too embarrassed to let my family know how I had screwed up, and I had nowhere to turn.

 

That was when the true face of the Righteous became clear.

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