Monday, 8 September 2014

3 things I learnt about work when I gave it up

3 things I learnt about work when I gave it up

At the beginning of this year I gave up my corporate career of 10 years in order to dabble in the unknown. Now please don't fall over with jealousy. Perhaps if I hadn’t begun to find my job so gut wrenchingly frustrating I wouldn’t have been brave enough to leave what was essentially financial stability and assurance of my worth in this world. But too many tears were shed over it and the time came to cut my losses. My initial plan to take 3 months to find something else turned into 6 months to decide what I really wanted to do, which turned into 9 months of the highs and lows that come with delving deep into understanding your own motives.

That's not to say that I truly understand anything about myself. I’m not there yet. It may be some time before I discover what it is that I really want to do when I ‘grow up’, but in the mean time I have learnt plenty about work by not doing any at all. 

My job was not the reason I didn’t get things done. Most of my adult life I’ve lost sleep over the fact that I could make something really special if only I had the time. To my surprise, months of leisure time yielded very little difference to the situation. I’m yet to read that French language copy of The Philosophers Stone, I’m yet to work my way through Delia Smith’s ‘How To Cook’, one delicious kitchen discovery at a time. Given just time and nothing else, the amount of time chores take, have filled the amount of time I have had to fulfil them. A trip to the supermarket can easily take half a day of planning, procrastinating and purchasing. An endless string of tomorrows with no plans means that the urgency no longer propels action. In the past I have learnt to sail a mono-hull in a 5 day break from work, but now 5 days could easily be spent researching life jackets on the internet with less success.

My job is not who I am. When faced with that classic question ‘and what do you do?’ I used to waffle something about IT and number crunching and analysis. There have been many times in my unemployed state I find this question even harder to answer. Where’s my excuse for staying home all day? There’s no kids to take care of, no illness to recover from, not even a lack of jobs on the market – should I want one. “I’m a stay at home dog-mum” has often been as far as I get along with a shrug of the shoulders. Perhaps I need a business card that details what I really am. I’m a thinker, a writer, a capturer of beautiful images. I’m a reader, a learner, an analyser. This is who I am now and will be whether I’m working in the traditional sense or not and learning to feel proud of that is as hard as it is rewarding.

Sometimes a routine is just what you needProcrastination. My old arch enemy. I was always guilty of leaving my homework to the very end of the school holidays. The old saying about working best under pressure could really have been my motto so when I gained all this free time, things had to change my mindset to avoid drowning under the to-do lists. What I have found to work for me is a good routine sprinkled with the occasional day off. It sounds very much like a working life doesn’t it? It will take more time than I have today to explain how I built my routine but it’s worth saying that I’m sure that employment taught me the skills I need to stay productive and happy and unemployment is allowing me to appreciate them.

1 comment:

  1. Hello. I met with ur profile on instagram and loved it. You are so beautiful person. Things u wanna do and how u wanna live ur life amazing. I am younger than you by age. But i feel like we have so many common things to share.
    wish u all the best!


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