I’m about to leave a job that I’ve been doing for 1/5th of my life

Updated: Mar 9

So, Friday last week I left the job that I’ve had since 2015, with a group of people who have been supportive, enlightening, educational, annoying yet fun to work alongside 5 days a week.

There are a few people who have come and gone, thankfully none via death, there have been new additions to our team, and its been a pleasure to watch the team at home expand (everyone loves seeing babies, and weary dads); since I started working there have been almost 6 babies welcomed, an engagement and a retirement or two, temporary or definite we can’t ever be sure.

I think it’s the term team that I love the most about this job, specifically that it is so often referred to as ‘our team’ not the man who employs us all’s team, but ours, because we make it what it is.

I know I’m leaving the team for a new role that I worked so hard to get, a role that will (hopefully) turn into a long career. I can’t help but think about what my career might look like if I were to stay here, so comfortable. How long until I outgrew it and became bitter? Would I flourish and surprise myself? Wool classing is repeatedly referred to as a dying trade, something of tired men in their 60’s. A profession that once upon a time may have taken those men all over the country with all sorts of stories to tell. I suppose it’s this aspect that I’m struggling to let go of, the ‘what if’ possibility, the casual employment life, so often leading to adventures; off the beaten track adventures, either in search of work or simply a place to unwind, and relax your weary body.

I remind myself often that I once referred to shed work as a job before I got a ‘real job’. It feels so unfair to think that now, to think that I downcast all the people I worked alongside because for the last 24 months it has been my real job. A job that when people inquire as to what I do when I’m not working, as if to ask ‘ok love, but what's your ‘real’ job?’ I get most offended, woolclassing is a year-round, highly paid, and most of all wool classing is not only a qualification but a career for many!

Perhaps it’s the physical aspect that I will miss the most. My ability to remain as unfit as I am in such a demanding workplace and yet wake up every morning sore and still keen for more lifting, running, sweeping, skirting and throwing.

Maybe it’s the mateship I’ll miss most, some of the people I work with I’ve known since before my memories began. A few of them friends of my families, and others are just damn fine people I met along the way. I’m sure I’ll find others at my new job who fit the latter category, but I doubt they’ll be as special.

These are the people who know you so well; they know not say anything to you until you’ve collected your coffee, every morning. These are the people who know the most intimate details about your life and yet shed no judgement on your life choices. Often they offer little snippets of advice, that I assume a big brother would normally provide. Sometimes they offer a insights from a father’s view. Other times they just listen to make sure you’re ok. And after all of that, they will still make fun of you and call you a pothole, because you’re FOREVER in the way.

The cheekiness of the shearing shed is a cheekiness of no other workplace, it’s a genuine cheek, to see who will crack first, who will cry and who will laugh. I, myself am always the crier. I cry tears of laughter regularly, tears of frustration often and rarely a tear of sadness. These tears, however, are always the result of said cheekiness.

When the tears are of frustrations the boys often watch intently with smirks on their faces to see when my frustration fades and I’m only left to laugh. Despite the tears of all-sorts, these are never tears of bullying, or serious taunting, they come from a place of mischievous, playful intent. (however, Aiodh, I will never forget you nastily, throwing maggots at me…)

I am scared to leave the comfort of my home. My hometown, friendly faces of farmers that I haven’t seen in six months or a year, who want to know what my brother’s been up to. Where’s dad these days? How long left at uni? Is your mum still loving the beach? Has she changed her number? That I will miss, along with watching so many of the children on these farms growing up. Particularly Mila Evans; she is and always has been a fierce young lass, passionate about life and being the boss. She’s always up for a chat and flirts with all the boys.

She’s only just started prep this year and I can't wait to return in a few years and see if she still walks with the spark in her step and the brightness in her voice. The world needs more women like Mila, in fact agriculture needs more women like her, steadfast and self-assured and sassy as all get out!

From all the ways I look at this situation, I am sad to be leaving. Nervous of my new beginnings and mourning the loss of what I’ve had.

However, there’s only onwards and upwards now!

H xx

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