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Beyond Pandora

Beyond simple curiosity, this is Thinking Too Much. If you're interested in philosophy and/or wild theories, you've come to the right place.

Location: Australia

Paddling somewhere between a mad scientist and an organisational artist. Indecisive, inconsistent and often incoherent.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Persona: Life On Hold

Things are difficult for my family at the moment.

My father works as a manager for Main Roads, and there has recently been a shake-up in the heirachical structure of the department. The result being that Dad's current position will become non-existent.This means that Dad will become part of the design office again. Although he will be paid the same salary that he currently earns, he will be taking a step downwards, as he will no longer be a manager. He is not terribly pleased with this arrangement.Of course, other management positions were created as part of the restructuring process, and he has applied for a few of them. I don't think they have been finalised yet, but the interviews are over and he doesn't feel he has much of a chance.
When he first found out about the new management positions, he came home to have a family discussion about moving to another town, as some of the positions are in other areas.
(For those who understand, the possibilities included Brisbane and Toowoomba)

Movement is a conflict point with the family.

Dad, I believe, would love to move if it means that he can sustain some sort of job satisfaction. As the breadwinner of the family, he works roughly 8am to 6pm, five days a week. He doesn't get a lot of time out, but that is currently okay with him because he enjoys his job. I personally can not imagine working full-time the way he does and not going psycho, so I believe that his job satisfaction is very important, as it probably keeps him functioning as a human being.

Dad also has heart problems due to heavy smoking (and we're pretty sure he's quit smoking now). He has a defibrilator installed in his body to jump-start his heart if it begins beating irregularly. Every time he needs to have a check-up or an operation to do with the device he needs to go to Brisbane. Moving to Brisbane permanently would make this situation a lot easier.

Most of Mum and Dad's family live in Brisbane, including his mother, who recently suffered a second stroke, and her father, who is on dialysis (he used to suffer from manic-depression and the medication he was asked to take destroyed his liver).

Mum had not enjoyed the time she spent here. She felt that none of the friends she'd made here were making any sort of connection, and it was only recently - when she joined a local art group and started painting again - that she began to seem like she was enjoying herself.

Mum works as a librarian on a casual basis. She is frustrated by the way her superiors minimise her involvement despite her training and experience. As an older casual worker, she had little job security until recently, when she complained as part of a small group about her unfair treatment (she deserved a pay rise and an offer for part-time work, after having been a casual for three or four years). It seems that now she has been offered part-time work but, as she says, 'life is on hold' for her until the business of Dad's own job has been settled.

So although I'm sure Mum would love to go to Brisbane, she's finally finding her place here.

My older brother, Liam, already lives in Brisbane, is finishing an Honours degree in Management (after having spent three years doing I.T.), and is considering going to Japan next year and teaching English. My parents still pay for a lot of his living costs, and that could possibly be made easier if we were to live in Brisbane as well.

I come next. I'm unemployed at the moment, after finishing a paid full-time lighting traineeship at the theatre in March. I intended then to go to Uni in Brisbane mid-year, and although that possibility was withdrawn, I still plan to apply for Uni in Brisbane for the start of next year. Because of this, I feel like I shouldn't be a factor in this struggle, even though the decision the family makes will affect me more than I like to admit.

My younger sister is in grade 10. She is mid-way through high school and is 'finally' settling in after a few years of unstable social relationships. Last year her friends were boy/clothes-crazy and she wasn't. She was all for moving last year. This year she has finally found friends she likes, and does not want to leave for another few years.

My younger brother is in grade 4, and his problems are also social. He has a lot of friends here, and will find it very difficult to say goodbye. The difference with him (compared to my sister) is that we think he is capable of making new friends fairly easily.

In addition to various family members' personal feelings, there is also financial considerations. "We can't afford Brisbane..." Houses in Brisbane are pricey - the home my mother's parents recently sold was worth almost three times what we might get for this house (which hasn't been fully paid off yet).

And the newest development is this:
Dad's been asked if he's interested in overseeing a major project in Brisbane. Although he would probably enjoy the work (though he won't be paid any more than he is now), he would have to leave for Brisbane soon, rather than at the end of the year as we would have planned. He has presented the idea that he could take the job and the rest of us could stay here until the end of the year. He would fly up every weekend...I'm sure he'd like to take the opportunity, but it would put a certain amount of strain on the family - especially because it would mean we would definitely be moving.
Of course, he hasn't been offered the job; he's only been asked about his interest in the job.

But still, it's another reminder that things could change very soon. And although I doubt the change will be easy for any of us, not changing could be just as difficult.

There's a lesson I should take to heart.


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