Monday, 3 August 2015

Blaugust 3/31: Working Life

This post represents part 3 of our 31 day attempt at Blaugust, as envisioned by Belghast. The Leaflocker editorial team endorses a more relaxed approach to Blaging, but likes to try to win prizes for themselves.

When I first started the job that I'm just about to finish up, some seven years ago, I also started a comic that I updated three times a week for a few months. It was a fun experience learning about and working around the limits of my artistic ability, and I greatly enjoyed it for the period that I wrote it. Since it's disappeared from the internet, I thought I'd re-post it here to see if any of those lessons sank in and if I can build on some of that past enthusiasm to finally get the overwhelming project that is Habemus Papas off of the ground. I'm pretty confident that this counts as 'new content' to all but one regular Leaflocker reader, so I don't feel too bad about recycling. My only regret is how low-quality these scans are...I'm sure they looked better back in 2008.

Apart from 'the dark period' that shall never again be spoken of, I've never had any serious trouble getting jobs, but this was the most egregious example in my admittedly limited experience. I turned up for what I thought was an interview to be told by the receptionist that my desk was "in that room over there". That was it. I'm pretty sure it was a significant factor that my mother was one of the managers there, but it was still a very strange experience indeed. I dislike the smell of nepotism, and it's been something I've had to constantly deal with in my work, particularly in the periods where I was working closely with mum; but seven years later, I'm one of a very small pool of employees still there from that period, so I guess against all expectations a hiring method like that has some merit to it after all.

For some reason, although I was employed as a spreadsheet monkey, my first few days of employments was devoted to clearing a back-log of filing. I'm pretty sure that I'd been dumped on the department and they had no idea what to do with me, but I have a pretty good working knowledge of the alphabet and by this point I was finally tall enough to reach the top shelf (this would continue to be an important attribute in the job), so it was easy work that was fine to get into a rhythm of doing. But those papercuts, or manillafilecuts, anyway, really STUNG! Still, if you compare it to the horrible conditions in the bakery where I'd been working before, ducking between hot ovens and the freezer section, I counted myself lucky. 

Throughout 'Working Life', and with other comics I've dabbled in over the years, I had to balance the ideas that I wanted to express with my complete lack of training and ability in the art of drawing. I'm pretty sure that this ongoing ineptitude stems from a lack of patience which prevents me from doing the hard yards to actually learn anything, so instead I've always just muddled along with my own "unique" style and tried to work within those constraints. I like this one, though, I was experimenting with what I could and couldn't do in the three-box comic format and that this one came so early really felt like I was taking the reader (let's call her 'Gladys') along with me on that journey. I feel like it's a good strip that really defines what Working Life was, a VERY amateur slice of life comic that was happy to poke fun at itself and to play with the the fourth wall.

As part of either the department's not knowing what to do with me or as an elaborate hazing routine, my next task was the compilation of an IT asset register, a busy-work project that I've never seen hide nor hair of since. This involved the manual collection of product serial-numbers from each of the machines in the office while they were in use, and proved to be a somewhat delicate operation that I could really only get away with because I was a fresh-faced, cherubic, obviously oblivious kid (the kid part also helped with the crawling into tight spaces). It was definitely made a creepier exercise by the use of a compact mirror, though...thank heavens they didn't want me to photograph the tags or even I would never have gotten away with it. 

Well, that's if for this little journey into the past. We'll revisit the pages of Working Life again next week. Tomorrow, if all goes to plan, we'll re-enter into a Great Conversation together. See you then.


AristoWan said...

Should've drawn or physically applied blood to the paper cut strip

UnwiseOwl said...

In a far future, people find my comics and clone me from the blood spilt on them.

I am not as funny as they'd expected.