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8 September, 2008

Impressive memory

Returning from Liverpool last night, I spotted a vaguely familiar face at Lime Street station.

I couldn't make the connection immediately; I briefly suspected he was a (evidently now retired) teacher from the school I left eighteen years ago, but by the time I got 'home' I'd recalled he was the head of the council division I worked for in university summer vacations 1990-93; my bosses' boss, with whom I only ever exchanged a few words. The 'waking edge' of first consciousness this morning brought back his name, too, though I'd have struggled to remember it months later, never mind after fifteen years. Did I mention I have a good memory for faces?

There is a point to this posting, beyond self-congratulation: don't work too hard, and don't live for your career.
I remember this person as a rather pompous manager, overconfident in his self-importance. Though generally considered ineffectual by his staff, he'd risen to become the director of a county council division (though it wasn't of anything as meaningful as Education or even Highways but merely Supplies), with the associated status.

Yet as soon as he retired, that would all have vanished: all that was left was a small man on a railway platform, with jowls and a pink shirt. Who cares now that he was once Director of Paperclips? Was it worth all the effort?

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