Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Why the long face?

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.

5 comments:

mand - big heart cheeky smile said...

A brilliant insight into your life there sweetie and can totally relate to your thoughts and feelins as I too have sat in a cold, unsatisfying work place amoungst people I wouldnt associate with outside of work and have to pretend like I care about what I am telling/sharing with these people which eventually grinds you down as you come to the conclusion that you are being "fake" and your life in craving much more. Lol, hope this makes sense.

Good work, mand xx

Female therapy said...

Hi Mand,
yes you have made perfect sense. I am lucky as work with a really nice bunch of people, it's just the job I detest. They understandably care about the business, this is what they have been trained to do. I on the other hand cry at the thought of documentation, data and anything technical. Come on I can not even use my laptop let alone teach people about system upgrades... ow.. just hit my head on the table as fell asleep in a public display of boredom just thinking about the job ;-) x

Anonymous said...

I have spent past 4 years doing a job which is so alien to any work I have previosly done. Listening to music whilst MTV was blasting was part of the norm now working in silense is another dull I have gotten used to. Finally, I changed jobs, as interesting and fun as this new job is, receiving my first month's pay today gave me a jolt! I am quietly worried - how on earth am I going to cope? Sacrificed dullness and money for fun, prospects, great, no fantastic boss but peanuts for pay!!!! What to do

Anonymous said...

Get out get out get out, nothing worse than an unsatisfying job!!

Female therapy said...

The dilemma of what to do? On one hand there's money, security and the luxuries in life you completely take for granted and on the other hand the job of your dreams! It's not an easy decision to make but I suppose when you know something is right, just bite the bullet, be happy and make friends with your bank manager x