We’ve got C’s mum staying with us at the moment. We were chatting as I prepared dinner last night – C. being in London – and the subject of my job came up.
“Well, you enjoy your job, don’t you?”
“Yes, you certainly seem to be a lot more positive about it on your blog recently”
When I speak about my job on here, it’s usually to poke a bit of gentle fun at what a ridiculous way it is for anyone to spend their time. I’m sure that this isn’t something that’s unique about my place of work, but I rather suspect it’s true of most people’s jobs. It’s an absurd way to spend a third of your life, isn’t it? (Or as one of my motivational posters says: “Meetings: because none of us is a dumb as all of us”).
I’m probably not as driven to be managing director as I was when I first started work, but that’s not the same thing as saying that I am unambitious. I take a lot of pride in my work and I’m very keen to do as good a job as I possibly can. Why else bother turning up to work? I perhaps choose to display that passion differently to other people, but that doesn’t mean the passion is any less real. My boss was having a bad day the other day, and was displaying a certain amount of cynicism in front of some of our business customers. When this was remarked upon by one of them, he gestured at me and said that he had been learning from the master. I didn’t say anything immediately, but after the meeting I called him on it: I ask a lot of questions of people within my own department and challenge decisions and processes that I believe to be ill-thought through. This is often – I think – incorrectly called cynicism. I’m not trying to pull things apart with no constructive alternative suggestions, but people seem to find it easier to assume that this is the case and that I’m just mocking without bothering to contribute. I know that’s how people in my own department see me, and although I think they are wrong, I accept that it’s my own behaviour that has led them to draw that conclusion. In front of my customers, however, I behave differently. With my business customers, I try very hard to be positive and helpful but also realistic and I believe that as a result, they regard me very highly. For my boss to suggest to one of my customers that I was cynical is to be grasping completely the wrong end of the stick and also to show that he doesn't read me very well at all.
But anyway. Have I been more positive about my job recently? Perhaps I have. It remains frustrating, but I suppose it’s fair to say that I derive a certain amount of satisfaction from it and I continue to put my energy and enthusiasm into it. It pays the bills and it passes the time, but actually I suppose it’s time that I admitted to myself that it’s actually a bit more than that too. C. and I do ok financially, but even if C. earned twice as much as she does, I would have to think long and hard before I packed up my job entirely as I think it’s more important to my self-worth than I might previously have admitted, even to myself.