It's official, we're leaving WA! Clinton has accepted a job back at his former workplace in Canberra, and, though I do not yet have any work lined up, I won't be waiting to get a job before heading back.
Life is too short to be so miserable. I've had six job interviews in the last nine months with no result, so I don't want to stick around in the hope that I might get another job from here. Since I'm now willing to make compromises on things like accepting a contract position and taking a pay cut, I hope that actually being in Canberra will make things a bit easier in terms of employment. Plus, there's the whole PhD thing to be going on with!
The challenge for me now is to stick out the next few weeks - I'll be resigning hopefully tomorrow - without giving in to the inevitable bitterness I feel about my experience at the Prison. I could spend a lot of time ranting about the negative work culture I encountered, or my grave concerns about the approach being taken to the heritage there (basically stripping it back to the convict era, and not respecting the complexity and unique multi-layered-ness of the site), but I really just want to let it all go and move forward.
It was a little bit of an act of faith, coming over here. I certainly had expectations. These expectations were not only not met, but dashed, shredded, and destroyed. It's big-picture stuff, though - not just reflective of the Prison but of the state of cultural heritage throughout Western Australia. Nothing I can fix and totally outside my control. Also the big-picture stuff that happened in my own life since moving here, like my Dad dying, closely followed by his wife, and then the breakdown in relations with her family. Being so far from support networks during these events has just amplified how isolated I am here.
Moving back to Canberra feels like another act of faith, though I think this time I have fewer expectations. I'm shrugging my shoulders and just handing it all over to the Universe. There is nothing I can take from this experience but what I've learned, so over the coming weeks I aim to keep my shit together and focus on the positives of having been here.