You can love your job too much

I think I may be working too hard. ‘Yeah, right!’ I hear you cry. ‘An ex sixth-former and soon-to-be student who works too hard, that’ll be the day.’ But I tell you, it’s true. If only inasmuch as it’s entirely possible to spend far too long in the building in which you work.

The problem with working in a cinema is, if only for the fact that you get free tickets, you feel somewhat disinclined to watch films anywhere but the place you work. And while you’re in there you still notice those little details you’re supposed to check at work: that blob in the top left of the screen that can only mean the lens needs cleaning, or the way the air-conditioning is rattling at the back of the auditorium.

So when we had last month’s staff meeting, I found myself being in work (mostly unpaid, at that) for possibly longer than can be regarded as sane for someone who is only paid five pounds per hour. The scenario was this: the meeting took place for an hour at 9.30 on Sunday morning. I came on shift at five again that evening. I live way too far away to consider going home for the intervening time, so there I was: stuck on the outskirts of Cherry Hinton with bog-all to do for six hours.

So what did I do? I went to see a couple of films to kill the time. And when I got home at one o’clock the next morning, I realised that I’d spent fifteen hours (almost a whole waking day) in the one cinema.

It gets worse. Occasionally we get to see some films after hours when the management and projectionists feel it’s worthwhile. So one night, I found myself coming off shift and looking forward to that night’s showing of King Arthur. About ten minutes before we went in, I was searching through my locker for 50p for the coke machine when our payroll manager asks me if I’m staying for Thunderbirds as well…

A seven-and-a-half-hour shift and two films later, one of the supervisors says that it’s daylight outside. So I go down the staff corridor to the outside world expecting to see the first morning twilight. If only. The sun had, in fact, completely risen…

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~ by Scary Rob on 23 July, 2004.

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