Eating my Middle Daughter’s Lunch

I suppose technically my lunchtime has already finished, but given that I’ve been answering co-workers questions, responding to emails, and doing whatever else occupied me for the last hour, it doesn’t seem entirely unreasonable that I stop for a while, and empty my head.

I have one of my children’s lunchboxes today. She appeared in the kitchen at 8am this morning with it hidden behind her back, still filled with yesterday’s entirely untouched packed lunch. I didn’t hear everything my other half said to her, but it can’t have been good. In an effort to appease the breakfast-time mayhem gods, I threw the lunch in my work backpack, and said “I’ll have it – better than throwing it away”. I then walked away, quietly celebrating that I wouldn’t need to find anything for lunch.

I won’t go on to describe what cheese wraps taste like after festering in a lunchbox for 24 hours. I didn’t dare even try the peeled Kiwi fruit, which had turned into a kind of Death Star made of snot.

This week has been a little bit mad. On Tuesday I was in London for the day, standing in conference rooms of big companies, pretending to sound clever. I always find it interesting that the bigger the company, or the closer to the government you get, the more guarded and political the staff become. Small companies seem to be populated with enthusiastic, “can do” attitudes. I might be wrong of course – I’m basing my opinion on a tiny sample.

Something that has struck me a few times recently is how much I miss working inside a normal company. For years now I’ve been working as a consultant – building and delivering IT solutions to fairly big organisations – but it’s not how I started out. I began my career working for a manufacturing company. I designed, built, and supported several pieces of software that the business essentially relied upon to do their work. I got the chance to evolve the things we used, to extend them, to refine them – I really miss that.

During 2007 and 2008 I was subcontracted into London – commuting in and out almost every day aboard trains. It meant getting up at 6am, and not getting home until 7pm each day – somehow I also managed to do freelance web development during that time to make pocket money too. Of course those were the days before we adopted the children though, which partly explains how on earth I managed to do it all.

I miss working in London. In-between meetings earlier this week I sat on a park bench with a co-worker, in the middle of St James Park in central London. He volunteered that he could never imagine living in London. I could. I could quite easily live in one of the big cities. Of course the reality of living in big cities is very different than the rose-tinted view I might have. I imagine the level of crime, and distrust in strangers would be the biggest changes. I have never visited New York, but would love to one day.

Anyway. Time marches on. I have another conference call to prepare for. Documents to read. Emails to digest. Wish me luck.

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