Friday, 24 May 2013

The curse of being too into climbing

All these people desperate to work in climbing or do something to do with it for a job - don't you get bored? doesn't everything always being about climbing all of the time get to you? It's nice not to have all your eggs in one basket. When you see young punks strutting around the climbing wall, 'cock o' the wave', and they aspire to being outdoor pursuits instructors - i always think - what's your exit plan though? i mean, do you still see yourself doing it at 50? I don't know, I obviously haven't and don't do that job, so maybe its great and really fulfilling, but its not something that immeadiately appears to tick all the boxes.

Then there's roped access. The preserve of the hard core rock jock, but again - do you really think after a 12 hr day on the ropes you're gonna be bustin out the big moves on the wave? Its gruelling dirty work, often with a few hours drive at either end of a day. Malcy famously would still train after the day described above, but this is Malcy we are talking about - one of the most driven dedicated human beings, with a proven record in hard work. Certainly, rope access isn't for everyone.

I'm not saying you shouldn't do these things, or that they are worthless careers, just that you should go into them with your eyes open. Be realistic about your prospects and what will make you happy. You're a long time at work, so doing something you hate just because its not office based is a mistake. Whats so bad about the office anyway - at the end of the day, at least you're gagging for action! Of course, most of the time people slip into these things because they think that they will make them happy which may or may not be true.

I have created a chart of climbing occupations ordered by desperateness :

  1. Roped access worker L1 - the lowest of the low, grinding out the hours, being the lackey for the L2 and L3 workers. Considered by everyone to be a goon. 
  2. Climbing Wall reception slave - face of the climbing walls, to the punter you are cool because you made the choice to work in climbing, but you're bored.
  3. Climbing Instructor - see above. You stand by miserably as legion after legion of bored children come through having to feign enthusiasm
  4. Gear shop worker - you still have to talk to punters. Its hard work. You have to talk to punters again. limited scope for drinking tea. 
  5. Roped access worker L2 - still hard dirty work, but with measurably more standing around and drinking tea. 
  6. Climbing wall cafe slave - in my day this meant covered in chip fat, hung over, in a hot broom cupboard and able to see your mates having fun through the window, but nowadays it means baking nice cakes and looking at the internet, hence its position in this list. 
  7. Climbing wall manager - You get to do all the hard work the wall owners dont want to do, but there are a lot of perks. Plus, you get to boss 2, 3 and 6 (and possibly 4) about. Long hours, and do you really want to stay at work after youve finished doing rock climbs? 
  8. Route setter - Hard work, you get to be a virtuoso and some people will actively hate you because of your work! 
  9. Roped access worker L3 - standing around, drinking unfeasible quantities of tea, telling people off. Still grotty, and long hours. 
  10. Climbing film maker - Your fastidious nature means you spend hours agonising over the detail, but then the goons will scrutinise your work, so you need to. 
  11. Roped access trainer - sitting around, drinking unfathomable quantities of tea, eating biscuits, paying for Alex Puccio's internet and telling people off on internet forums. Oh, and running climbing soft goods companies on the side
  12. climbing soft goods manufacturer - you work really hard, but dont have to do too much goon liason, and besides - you are Ben Moon, so none of this matters, you were the best in the world! Go and look at that picture of agincourt again. 
  13. sponsored hero - you get to go climbing all the time, but everyone always expects you to be on it, and then you have to go to boot demoes and talk to people - Pretending that you care that they want to do their first 7a this year.
  14. Gear rep - you drive around the country in a fast car someone else has paid for, getting to go to the gear shops and burning their staff off on their projects. A young single man's job (excepting Paul Craven ;-))
  15. Climbing Wall owner - the cream of the crop. 

Right, i think i have offended nearly everyone there. Back to work

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