COLUMN: November 16, 2017

Perfectly normal trousers. Nothing to see here
IF YOU have a job, there will be days when you wish you could just pack it in.

Maybe it is when you’re on the last day of a holiday, drinking something cold somewhere hot. Maybe it is when it’s seven o’clock in the morning and you’ve just understood why people have duvets. Maybe it is when your boss asks you if you can “just” do a two-hour job five minutes before you’re meant to knock off.

The fact is, if you have a job, even if it is your dream job, sometimes you will want to leave. Because no matter how good your job is, your employer has to compensate you for your time and effort by paying you, otherwise it’s a hobby.

And a good rule is that if you have more days of hating your job than loving it, then you should definitely resign. Just shout loudly, “I quit!” like an American in a film, and walk out that door before your shift ends.

But you wouldn’t do that, would you? Because it’s irresponsible. Because you know you have bills to pay. Because you know you have to eat. Because you know that when you started that job you signed a legally-binding contract that you had to give a month’s notice.

What you would do is look around for another source of income, and, when you had found that, then you would hand in your notice.

Or maybe if you found your job so intolerable that you had to resign before you had found another job, you would spend the entire notice period looking for regular employment.

What you would not do is spend the first two weeks of that notice period on holiday, and then the next week insisting that your employer will give you the same salary and fringe benefits, even though you’re not working for them any more, on the basis that you might spend some of that money on your former employer’s products.

And then, when it became clear that the selfish employer was not going to give you all of that, you would then not threaten your employer by saying, “Fine, if you’re not going to give me everything I want, I am just going to walk away with no job. See how you like that.”

Now, I know what you would say if you were with me now. You would say, “Bainbridge, have you just used the best part of 400 words coming up with an ingenious metaphor about the government’s approach to Brexit?”

And I would say, “You are correct. You are probably one of my cleverer readers.”

And you would say, “Do you have any additions to your brilliant analogy?”

And I would say, “Oh, yes, although I am aware that all analogies break down in the end.”

And you would say, “Please continue, O wise one, to remove the scales from my eyes.”

And I would say, “OK.

“In this example, Nigel Farage, Jacob Rees-Mogg, the right-wing press, and all their frothing chums are your sozzled mates in the pub who encourage you to quit your job immediately, to just walk away. Because it’s easy for them. They’re not at risk of losing their salary.

“And when you say that you’re a bit worried about your future finances, they tell you you’re great and you shouldn’t talk yourself down. After all, you managed before you had that job, didn’t you? Even though your circumstances then and your circumstances now are completely different.

“Because it’s easy when you’re in a job you’re not enjoying – because, say, you don’t like how many foreign colleagues you have, or you don’t like the health and safety regulations imposed on you – to focus on all the things you hate about that job, and not appreciate the good things you’ve come to depend on, like a regular pay packet, and the security for your family that comes from that.

“And you have to take into account what you’re going to lose when you leave that job, and have a proper plan to ensure those losses are as minor as possible.

“Because doing that isn’t talking yourself down. It’s being realistic. It’s proof that you’re a mature, level-headed person, and that you should not talk yourself down.

“And what your sozzled mates in the pub, with their mustard-coloured trousers and their ‘common-sense-don’t-listen-to-experts’ approach, are doing is far worse than talking you down. They’re talking you out of a job and into the gutter.”

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