Tuesday, December 05, 2006


I sometimes wonder if I may not be in the final stages of a metamorphosis into some grotesque Kafka-esque insect, a mutation far removed from the form and function for which I was intended. (A statement which begs the question, “Intended by whom?...)

For some months now I’ve been making a deliberate effort to become more engaged at work. Yes, I know, I’ve bitched and whined many times in the past about how work was “killing my soul” or some such, but I figured it was as much my attitude that was causing me grief as anything else – my complaint was in fact a self-fulfilling prophecy. Since realistically there was little chance of an immediate job change whilst I was feeling so demoralised, it seemed like a good plan to recover some self esteem by being more active and engaged at work; going the extra mile, getting some successes notched up, being noticed.

I may have been too successful in that intent.

A couple of years ago, as part of training I was doing in careers counselling (now abandoned) I did a simple exercise – take a sheet of flip-chart paper, a stack of marker pens, and draw a representation of “My world as I see it now”. At the time, without deliberately planning it that way, what I did at work was not represented in any form, and my picture was a fairly well-ordered collection of other activities which mattered to me. Writing, blogging, corresponding with blogging friends were key components. But I suspect were I to repeat the exercise now I’d find a much more complex situation – an incoherent jumble of overlapping, incomplete images jostling for pride of place, with the things that used to matter most being pushed aside and work taking centre stage.

The image of Kafka’s insect is a powerful and repellent one. It serves as a warning to remember that this new-found devotion to work is a means to an end, not an end in itself.

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