Saturday, 4 August 2012


You’ve heard about the round peg and the square hole? 

Yes, i cant emphasise enough how this euphemism represents a day at work for me.  Every day, in fact.

I’m a secretary (an admission I still find slightly embarrassing – for me it conjures up images of a power dressed nerd herd) and I’ve discovered, through the company’s new programme of annual tests and appraisals, not only do I not really like what I do, I’m actually quite crap at it. 

When the latest round of testing and appraisals failed to produce a pay rise or promotion, I demanded a meeting with my supervisor flaunting the three paragraphs of positive comments in my appraisal, skilfully layering paper over the less complimentary remarks….  My supervisor patiently explained that the company pay a salary superior to its competitors (grudgingly true) and that everyone was having to “up their game” and “reach outside their comfort levels” in order to perform to their absolute optimum (oh, and just so one does not become complacent and continues to stretch oneself, each year the bar will be raised).  

But what if you peaked on in month three of your employment (roughly about the time your probation period is up) and were quite happy plodding along in the shadows of this bright new era?  I mean, I get the job done, I show glimpses of pro-activity at a push (well, more a hefty shove).

Clearly this is no longer enough.  Its a jungle out there and monkeying around is no longer tolerated.  My years of blagging a career at this lark are over because its only a matter of time before I’m rumbled as the fraud that I am.  I have been playing at dressing-up secretary for 15 years my costume is threadbare.  But, enough about me because it seems I am in great company – I mean – I don’t actually know a single soul who enjoys their job, for whom Monday morning does not bring the most immense dread (until that large skinny latte and commiserative croissant at least). 

So, what exactly is stopping us from getting off the career carousel from hell?  For me its twofold: I have always wanted to be a writer but the fear of failure is crippling, not least because the competition is immense.  There is also the fact that this is a dream I have nurtured since my teens and if I discover I’m also crap at this then what dreams do I have left (apart from a lotto win, natch)?  

Finances are also a contender, I have a family and debt and don’t think my partner would be delighted if I were to throw the office suits, 5000 denier tights and polished shoes in the rubbish in exchange for a boho penniless neurotic writer get-up.

I’ve thought of a third, so we are now on threefold and this is possibly the clincher which will resonate with you all. I guess this is the professional equivalent of a biological clock.  I don’t want to look back at my life when I’m 65, on the cusp of retirement and think……what an utter waste of life, when you knew what you really wanted and you never even tried.  Why didn’t you take that leap of faith and follow your dream?

So………why didn’t you?

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