Sunday, 21 February 2010

Friday: Welcome to the Edge.

Ahh, those demanding days at the office. You knowwww...when your tolerance levels are pushed and one thing piles on top of the next. E-mails constantly flood in, your day consists of you standing in the toilets, fanning your eyes and trying to pull yourself together. You eventually get home after a fatigued and lonely commute, and have a cuddle, cry or wine bottle or three, and go to bed early, feeling rubbish.

God, what I'd do for one of those.

Tell you what, let's swap. Try getting up at half past 6 and doing physical, muscle-achingly demanding work until gone 1am in the morning. Your eyes are shutting of their own accord on the journey back from Polo Practice, but getting through the gates at home doesn't mean your day is finally over. It means that 14 pent up horses will have to be unloaded and walked down the pitch black track to their various paddocks before you can even contemplate your duvet. Then there are 14 individual feeds and two bales of hay to make up, pick up and distribute. It's two o'clock before you get to sleep, then your phone beeps. It's the rural equivalent of the office e-mail, containing an extensive list of jobs and horses to sort for the next morning, concluded with the words 'go fast'. You're back down on the farm by 7am, feeding, riding, cleaning, preparing for another six hour trip to Melbourne and another two days of grooming at polo tournaments. Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

So come Friday evening, after three days of exhausting work in 30+ degree heat, legs and arms streaked with dirt and a packet of crisps since breakfast to keep me going, it's fair to say I'd reached the edge. I'd slept on my discontent the night before and instead of feeling refreshed, had woken up to an even worse day.

Not only was this the hardest physical work I've ever done in my life, but my decision making skills were coming under fire, too. Having been given more work and more responsibility this week, I found myself either completing jobs in the wrong order, or just not the way the Polo Player would do them himself. See, when you're looking after someone elses horses, the right way is their way. Not yours. And that's that. So there I stood in the horse box, my office toilet on Friday evening, making up feeds and taking deep breaths of ammonia and manure scented air. Stressed, hungry, and tired, I knew I'd be laughed at if I complained, let alone cried about any of it.

Instead, I chose Create Message.

To: Boyfriend
I'm going to lose it in a minute :(

Message Sending Failed.

In times of need, you can trust Vodafone to be on hand, reminding you that frustrated texts don't work when you're in the middle of nowhere.

When I flew back from New Zealand, I'd made a deal with myself: that I'd carry on doing this for as long as I was having fun. Unfortuntely, I went to bed late on Friday feeling like the lows were far outweighing the highs.

But my alarm was set for 7am, and there was another day of polo to get through before any decision could be made.

I had no option but to sleep on it again.


The Unbearable Banishment said...

Jo, this all sounds very 1600’s and somewhat barbaric. One day, you’ll look back on it with great fondness. Perhaps. It’s nice that you haven’t lost your sense of humor about the whole thing. More photos, please.

Ellie said...

Oh man. The grass is always greener. Thanks for the reality check. I hope it was just a moment and has passed; but if not, then time to move on. We'll be following. xx

Anonymous said...

I'm sure you'll know when it is time to move on Jo. Though in my experience it is never good to make decisions like that rashly.

Brennig said...

There are people who would pay a fortune for a workout that good.

not twitter said...

I think your "fun" rule is sensible.
And it's not like you're getting paid.
Really they need an extra body and as they're paying nothing for them there's no excuse for them not getting in an extra pair of hands.
Perhaps suggest same and then make your decision based on their answer.

Grump said...

Sounds like you are just starting to find out the super rich in Australia are as class conscious as the English Aristocracy. They work their staff really hard and often for an hourly rate well below the minimum wage. I have worked for them at times over the years in a building capacity. And apart from a very few families they have proven to be friendly to start with but soon show their true colours.

AFC 30K said...

It is character building...

I've found in my career that there seems to be no correlation between status, power and income.

I think we all want to be valued, treated fairly and adequately rewarded be that with money or something else.

If they value and respect you and provide other perks, then I'm sure the difficult times will pass soon.

On the reverse, if they don't value and respect you and are simply using you as slave labour then quit while you're ahead

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Unbearable - Ah, if only I had time to take photos! I'm trying to snap more for my own sake, but there never seems to be a chance to take the damn things. I will try try try.

Ellie - I will certainly look back on these days when I'm back in a London office, screaming at my Outlook inbox.

perp - Yeah, always good to sleep on it. I like to give everything my best shot, let things like this come to their natural end.

Brennig - I'm the fittest I've ever been. And my arms are strong! It feels good in that respect :)

not twitter - There was talk of getting another set of hands, and the Polo Player does often get someone to help if him and Matty are both playing. However, it's more effort than it's worth to have someone new around, sometimes.

Grump - Interesting point about the super rich, I'm going to write a post about that in answer to this comment!

AFC - That's partially why its such a difficult choice, as one minute you're up and the next you're down. The perks can come very unexpectedly - usually just when you've made up your mind that you've had no thank you all day and that's that.


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