I never wanted position or money. I used to believe that by studying interesting things one would get interesting work - what a hoot. My main alternatives were research and art. I was afraid of failing at art school entrance exams, and so only research remained. I've always been interested in history, so I started studying museum subjects. But when I realised that 'artefacts don't say anything to me', I switched to comparative religion, thinking that I could combine it with my interest in spiritual matters, and the languages and cultures of Japan and China.

In time, I graduated, and found myself to be practically unemployable. I've had to content myself with whatever has been available, which has been mostly museum work, for which I'm not qualified. My present title is assistant researcher, but I only 'assist research' by moving data and artefacts from one place to another. On a daily basis it usually isn't too bad. It's mostly independent and varied enough not to be too boring. At times it can, however, get unbearably dull and monotonous. And then I unwisely start thinking about my future prospects.

I have worked in museums for some nine years - eight years as a temp. A year ago I was made permanent. Everybody congratulated, some long-time temps expressed envy, but I heard prison doors closing.

I seem to be one of those people who spend their working life wondering what they'll do when they grow up. I'd want something that is interesting and fun, but offers also an illusion of meaning, with independence and freedom. And enough money for basic security. I like to learn new things and solve intellectual or visual problems ('art'), but I still can't see how I could make a living out of them.


In spite of my skimpy art education, I think I'm a better painter than an assistant researcher.