In situations like the one I was put in by my new role, change is not only desirable, but necessary. Had I not changed, I would have died, maybe not actually, but metaphorically. I remember thinking that I could not face another ten years to retirement dreading my time in the office, and trying to work out escape routes. Could I find a way to retire early? Could I change jobs? What ultimately kept me from looking for another job was the fear that a new job would be no better and would leave me equally unhappy with no escape route.
What saved me was small changes. I consulted friends and colleagues, read stuff, particularly online articles with titles like “How to find your dream job – right where you are!”, and gradually started to take small actions. Some worked, some didn’t, but gradually things changed. I started to get a clearer idea about what I was supposed to be doing, and how to do it. Better still, other people started to get an idea about what I was supposed to be doing and how it could be of value. Like a Hercules transport plane trundling along the runway, I took quite a while to get up speed, but both I and the role did eventually reach escape trajectory and take off.
These days, my job is much more enjoyable. I can’t say I exactly head into the office with a spring in my step and a song on my lips, but I certainly don’t dread it either. Work is mostly enjoyable, sometimes extremely enjoyable, at worst perfectly tolerable. Oddly, despite the role being very different, it has a number of features in common with my old job, which, since I largely created it, probably means that I didn’t embrace change quite as much as I thought I did (that’s force of habit for you). The whole episode has, however, had one lasting and unexpected effect, in that it has fundamentally changed the way I think about work. More tomorrow.