Posted by: Corri van de Stege | May 23, 2007

Work and more work

After three days that seem to have lasted three years work seems to have taken over my life, brain and even sleep.  Once I went to China (Bejing) for five days and was absolutely and totally unable to sleep, waking up bright and cheerful five minutes after I’d dropped off (having had a couple of gin tonics or even rice wine to induce sleep), and finding myself sampling the chinese tea and slippers left in the hotel room, ready to start another day.   Only after I was at the checkout on the fifth day did I realise that I could have been even more comfortable because I should have had a dressing gown as well: they insisted I had stolen the hanger…   But that is for another story – it very closely resembles the ‘lost in translation’ experience, only this seemed even more weird.  I have never figured out why they felt it was better to accuse me of stealing a clothes peg than of stealing a dressing gown – chinese politeness I assumed.

The last few days have been more mundane if not less unsettling, you get up on a Monday morning at 5.30 or so, find yourself on a train and at work by around 10.30 somewhere in another part of England, and after that there is not that minute that you need to take a deep breath and convince yourself that you are still you, because you suddenly are told have another/new job (good!), but it’s implemented immediately whilst your diary is still full of the other as well as the people you work with now.  Also, you had actually intended to think seriously (yes, definitely this time) about the stories you were going to write.  Now you cannot of course because this new job will require another 225% of you.  And, you don’t really want to renege on your holidays in a couple of weeks’ time, do you?  You had planned that very carefully, to maintain your sanity, enjoy family life, listen to your partner, as well as giving space to your writing aspirations.  So I will definitely not renege on that.  That’s settled.  

You stay over in a hotel, do a days’ work again, get on another train, which has a breakdown (the usual ‘points failure’ that English train systems are famous for – as good as ‘leaves on the rails’ in autumn or ‘snown and ice’ in winter)  and lets you steam for an additional hour before you get to London, and then… etc.  So after more meetings and encounters and discussions you end up back home on Wednesday night, having lost your raincoat on the way (wondering why you even had it with you in the first place because it has suddenly become hot – but it really was raining on Monday morning!)  and you once more wonder why you do it.

 The point of the story: where does the next generation fit, the generation that my granddaugher is part of, how will you look at all of this?  We’ve been the baby boomers, then there was the X-generation (your parents) and the Y-generation (your uncles?) and yes, it all makes sense, these different aspirations.  Or does it?  I do hope you will be wiser than we have managed to be.  Meanwhile, sleep tight!



  1. Travelling around is good were it not for the jet lags, more than likely long waiting at airports, and the difference of behaviour among people, but the worst part of it I find in the travel itself.

    That’s why I encourage scientists to start studying “teletransportation”, we would be solving three problems simultaneously: loss of time, exhaustion and part of the bigger problem of atmosphere contamination.

    Alas! One can always dream!

  2. Am beginning to agree with you Jose – I used to love travel, but it has all become too much of a hassle on top of the increasing guilt feeling about ‘carbon footprints’. With family and friends spread all over it is difficult though to abandon all travel. For work: absolutely, bring on the teleconferencing facilities!

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