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End is Forever
I commence yet more of that damned "paid employment" thing on Monday... But I can't really complain - these days, graduates who go into journalism can still only be being paid £12k per year after two years of experience - I, on the other hand, have a £14k/year job, with flexible hours, where I have a large amount of freedom to do whatever I like, provided that it's helpful.

I mean, a typical day at work will start at 8:20am, when I get in and go online to check my mail. Work actually starts at 8:30am, so I grab a pen, and start mapping out the relational database schema for the serial numbers. At ten, I usually take a break, and then it's back to working on the database. By about ten thirty, I'll have planned out all the design changes I want to do, and will start implementing them. The difficult bit is that I have to upgrade their system with no downtime, and no interface changes without prior notification and training. Which is fun - I have to work a load of stuff behind the scenes, and make the GUI exactly the same as before.

Then at some point during the morning, somebody will ask me to print off some labels for various components - it's my job, because a) the other people in the company have better things to do with the time, and b) it only takes me a few seconds to do. So I print off labels, take them to whoever, and go back to coding my database. Then it's lunch time, which is anything between half an hour and ninety minutes (although I try to make sure they average out at (my allotted) one hour over the course of a week), where I'll either sit online writing satire, or go to the shops.

Then it's the afternoon, which might well be spent in the test department, running tests on a Model 8000 in order to find out the permeation (in cc/m2/day) of oxygen through a film barrier, like you might get in food packaging. Then more databases, chatting to people, a few more labels, analysing results from the cell tests, updating an instrument manual or two.... Good fun.

So yeah, that's what I do. Sometimes I do research and development into new instruments and techniques (although I don't know whether the work I've done on that over the past two years has yet achieved anything on a large scale). It's all good. Then I go home, in the knowledge that I've in some way earned over £50 for that day....

Given that that's more than I could well be earning as a journalist, I won't complain too much about the job. It gives me a chance to write in my spare time, and pays the bills. This is probably how it'll be for the rest of my life - writing will only be the hobby, because there's no money in it for somebody like me - if I were better, it might be viable, but it'll just be a hobby. Hence why I need a day job.....


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