I’m being made redundant.  At least I’m about 90% sure of that.  We’re still, technically,  in the consultation process.  In many ways redundancy is not a bad thing for me, I need a boot up the backside.  I’ve been complaining for years that I’m not happy, that I’m creatively unfulfilled and intellectually bored but I have done precious little to rectify this.  Being made redundant should be an opportunity, it’s terrifying but it’s also exciting.  My husband and I can, if we’re careful, live on his salary so I am free to take my time and find the right thing for me.  My heart tells me the right thing is writing,  my plan is to take a time out and work on my writing, I accept that I may fail but I know I have to try.

The redundancy process has heightened my awareness of my political views.  There is a conflict in the company between having to follow the redundancy policies of our government, that are left wing in many ways, and the instinct of the capitalist organisation to get the maximum from their investment.  There is also a conflict in me.  I would be happy to tell anyone that I am a bleeding heart liberal,  somewhere to the left of Nelson Mandella, but I am increasingly aware that to be socialist is to be dependant and dependancy feels uncomfortable.

In the UK, if you do not know, the employer is required to give notice of redundancy that can be as long as 12 weeks depending on duration of employment or to pay the equivalent sum of money in lieu of said notice,  they are in addition required to pay a lump sum, salary and duration of service driven, up to a ceiling of £5400.  This is to give support to the worker while he seeks new employment. In the US, I understand, there is none of this, as in dismissal, one day you can just be sent home.  As much as my bleeding liberal heart sees an injustice in a employer showing so little regard for an employee as to turn them away with nothing at the same time I do recognise the freedom in that.   The process in the UK binds the employer and the employee in layers of responsibility,  I must stay and work and they must continue to pay in spite of the knowledge that our relationship is soon to be at an end.  Like a separated couple living in the same house, this relationship is now awkward, we are living in conflict.

As I have been unable, this far to settle into a career path,  as I am, in honesty, a malcontent drifting in search of a cause or a sense of belonging.  I cling to those ideas and institutions that make me feel safe while simultaneously wishing to be free to explore my aspirations, I feel confined by the very things  that have used to bolster myself.  I stand here contemplating my freedom, finally having the courage to take my own path and yet I feel every force turning me back toward wage labour.  If I wish to have a pension when I’m old I need to pay my national insurance, my national insurance relies on a wage or signing on for job seekers allowance,  but I do not seek a job, I do not wish to seek a job I wish to seek for challenge and reward and these may not be the same things.

It is odd to think that I see more freedom in the ultimate capitalist culture of the US?  A capitalist culture by definition is controlled by those who own the resources, those who do not own can therefore never be free, they are at the mercy of the power holders.  There is however a glorious isolation in the knowledge that if it all goes wrong you are truly on your own, dependant ultimate on yourself and your wits.  The telling word however is isolation and in this isolation where is the room for spiritual and emotional growth?  You must work to survive.

Freedom is in many ways an illusion, we are bound to each other by duty and responsibility and love.  Mankind was not built to live alone.  The welfare state upholds this, the stronger support the weaker, we live as one.  We work for ourselves but also contribute to the state and the support of the weaker members and when our time comes to be weak we will in turn be supported.  The responsible citizen therefore works to contribute, works for their entitlements, works to earn the rights and privileges of the welfare state.  The individual is given little room to opt out.

Where does one find oneself in the maze of all that one must do, all that one must give and all that one must be?  What is freedom?  What is passion? And can any of us afford it?

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