I am escaping London for the week, leaving on the seven o’clock out of Kings Cross and heading north on an eagerly awaited works trip. I am looking forward to spending time with some different work mates, stay in the country Spa hotel, inhale a good dose of fresh air and take a moment to pause and feel better.
Waking at five is not my favourite way to start the day but within record time I am packed, showered and almost look awake and presentable as the taxi arrives to take me to the tube station. Opening the flat door it quickly becomes apparent that there is one hell of a storm happening. The wind will not allow me to even close the flat door and after a several minute fight, me against the gale forces, the door is firmly locked and I attempt the short walk to the cab.
The walk is comparable to being hosed down with ice water whilst walking through thick treacle and I wonder if the Spa hotel will see the potential money earner in selling a similar intense, detoxifying, fitness experience to the rich. Not feeling very entrepreneurial I only question ‘Why on earth did I not spend another half hour in bed?’ I look more bedraggled than I did when waking and now I really am miserable and ever so slightly damp smelling!
In spite of the dramatic weather there are no delays on the British transport system, and remarkably four hours later I arrive at the northern office. The sun is shining, the air is clean and already my four week miserable mood is beginning to lift. On entering the office a group of us head to a room, plug in our laptops, turn on the projector, arrange the flip charts and pour copious amounts of coffee in preparation for the two day workshop.
Sitting in the board room, reading through the agenda on data migration, suddenly everything makes sense. My bad mood, need for escapism, feeling of discontentment and general wallowing self pity is lifted in a moment of clarity. It is obvious and I am, without a shadow of doubt, doing the wrong job. I am not having a lazy moment wishing I was back in bed or on holiday with friends than be working; this is an overwhelming feeling that I really can not do this soul destroying job for even one more minute.
How did this happen? When did I stop being creative, doing a profession I love, in order to become corporate? Who uses words such as reflection, stabilisation and granularity on a daily basis? I do, and I am almost convincing when it comes to the fine art of speaking bullshit. Work colleagues listen, take advice and I get paid. The past few years have been a good experience but sitting here it is taking every ounce of my being to not stand up, calmly pack away my belongings, walk towards the exit and say ‘Do I look like I give a f**k’ and never return.
Of course I did not but it was a great thought which kept me entertained for the next few days as I sat in the hotel (without the detoxifying spa treatments) pondering my future and career aspirations. I am now back in the London office and have made some occupational decisions. Once I get out of this workshop on the ‘Stabilisation of an IT upgrade’, I’ll ‘reflect’ on those decisions and in the meantime try not to make a dramatic departure.