Thursday, 6 February 2014

Storm Update Cartoon



I’m beginning to wonder if I actually exist. No, no, don’t start poking your fingers into the screen to prove that I’m here. This is a metaphysical riddle that has its origins deep in the Gmail intestines. I know I’m sending out articles and cartoons to different places but no bugger ever bothers to reply. Well, that’s a lie. Today I got an automated response from The Guardian, which must mean that I exist at an electrical level. Computers do respond to me, though this week that also means throwing errors my way. The laptop I downgraded earlier in the week to Windows 7 really hated Windows 7 and began crashing twice an hour. I’ve moved it back to Windows 8.1 and thought it was working fine. I handed it back to its owner who reported a critical error inside fifteen minutes. I have no idea why. I’ve scanned the disk for errors and now I’ve updated the BIOS to the current version.

But back to the question of my existence... If my emails go out and computers are passing them between point A and point B, why are the people at every point B ignoring me? Perhaps my work is just substandard but is that a reason to be so rude? Why can’t they just indulge me with a patronise pat on the head and say ‘not today, thank you’. Perhaps my standards for politeness are higher than those people in positions of authority. I don’t know… The silence is so much worse than flat rejections.

I do know that I’ve just been paid (two days late) and some strange quirk of the international banking system means that I’ve been royally screwed for the third month running. It’s making the effort I spend in doing the work completely unreasonable and probably untenable. I might jokingly say I’m working for pennies an hour but it sometimes feels that bad. It never makes any sense to me that the more qualifications you get, the less you earn. It feels like my PhD has damned me to poverty and ridicule. It makes no sense except, perhaps loving literature as I do, I have an overextended sense of individual freedom. I’m tempted to quit but there’s a huge degree of flexibility about this work. It allows me to write and cartoon, two things I’d lose if I abandoned this freelance work. That said, any reasonable person would ask: why do you do it? So, I’m now keeping an eye on all the old job websites. I should start throwing my CV around companies in Manchester or Liverpool. I should camp out outside one of those ultra-hip design companies with a fantastically skewed name, a degree of humour, and a casual dress code, about them except my instinct is to give my current people one more chance. Damn my loyalty. Damn my loving my liberty.

All of which amounts to a bad day. Did I mention that this was the cartoon I sent off to The Guardian and to which I got no reply. Was it that bad? I don't know. Guess I'll never learn...

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