How To Find Fulfilling Work


Let joy be uncontained.  For I am leaving my job.  

Sweet, sweet relief! Long time readers will known my simmering hatred for my job, which grew during times of high stress and then, when work slowed, burnt out to a numbing disregard. Yesterday a younger colleague burst into tears at her desk; as she gasped through her tears that she shouldn’t cry at work I had flashbacks across the 4 floors of my central London office, remembering the cubbies I’d occasionally used for tears over the last 3 years (the solvent glue dispersal pod on the 5th being a particular favourite.) Most miserably, the memory of the morning this Spring that I hadn’t even got to work – I was still walking there – and I stopped stock still and started crying at the mere prospect of the day ahead. It takes a greater person than I to get back from that.  I could populate the most sinister novel with the number of baddies I’ve come across in my current job, ranging from the immediately, almost bafflingly grotesque to the swivelling, subtle henchmen who attack with a surprising venomous dart.  At least I know now that any future novels I write will have a wealth of material to draw upon for the less savoury characters. 

But now – now!  A fresh, shiny, different job on the horizon.  A job that has caught my imagination and which I can’t wait to start.   And though I’ll never again be as naive as I was going into my current job – I know the thrill will fade and irritations, as yet unimaginable, will fill my vision – I still feel surges of positivity that with each move I make I’m moving to something I’m more interested in and suited to.

This experience seems to be a pretty universal one for somebody four years out of university.  You get a job – preferably one you like, but frankly whatever you can get your paws on that will make your bank balance go up occasionally – you put your head down to learn the fundamentals, you feel important, you begin to grasp it – and then you realise.  The job doesn’t suit you.  Now you’ve discovered how you like to work, chances are it’s not what you’re doing.  Just when you thought you were over the early-20s soul searching of what to DO with your life, it comes round again.  And you realise this merry-go-round will revisit you forever, so you’d better get used to it.  Wave hello to The Job Crisis Wagon, and offer it cake and your best biscuits, for you will see it again in a few years’ time.  Perhaps the nicer you are to it, the weaker the crisis will be, so put away the Rich Teas and crack open the Chocolate Digestives.

The book for this post is this little offering that I bought in a dark moment of job hatred.  I only read half; a book is not the thing to read to work this stuff out.  Rather: take a holiday so you have time to think.  Look at your strengths, at what you like, at what fits in with your priorities and life plans, and what you have a chance of believing in.  It’s just as well I did as I’m not convinced the decidedly ambiguous though always affirmative advice offered to me by this little work would have got me very far.  As it is it is 6.10pm on a Sunday night, and I don’t have a shade of Dread-of-the-Week.  Again I will say, Rejoice.


PS. Book update: struggling through a really difficult one – “The Pale King” by David Foster Wallace.  It’s about the US version of the Inland Revenue.  To give up or not to give up?  I am every day tempted but have not yet given in; I will keep you updated.  But my tolerance of financial regulatory fiction is low.


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