Sunday, 28 January 2007

Telling the story

It's funny the things that sustain you in crisis. I have been talking to friends for some months about my intention to leave consultancy and set up my own business.

It has been like playing a role...and I tried the role of psychologist. And no one laughed. In fact people took it worryingly seriously. Go for it, they said.

So I carry on talking about it. Telling the story of my new life. I introduced myself to someone as a psychologist. And everyone says the same thing. Go for it.

When taken one by one, my cycnical brain discounts these views easily. But as the moment of decision nears, and my apprehension grows stronger, the support keeps coming.

I tell more people. 'I want to do something worthwhile'. More people support me. Go for it.

Decision-making for me is about inching towards something. It is a painful, drawn out process. You need people's honesty, above all. But to get it, you have to tell them your story. Act the part. Try on the clothes of a new direction. See how they fit.

Mine seem to fit fine.

I am listening to The Streets now, and I think I'll resign from my job tomorrow.

Its the end of something I did not want to end
Beginning of hard times to come
But something that was not meant to be is done
and this is the start of what was.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Careful what you wish for

I've been offered a really great opportunity which would be a great career move...if the thought of doing it didn't make me feel sick.

So now I am in the position of having to turn it down, without being able to give a proper reason, as I don't want to resign yet.

So tomorrow is a big day. Interestingly, literally everyone I have spoken to has just said 'go for it, just leave'. Everyone is feeling very cavalier!

This was matched by a phone in on Radio 5 today. It's funny how you only hear about the people who left their jobs and 'it was the best thing they ever did'. What about the ones who failed? Who yearn for the old security, the bad jokes, the biscuits in the tin. A place to go.

So I am feeling a bit suspicious, and a bit scared. I'm at the edge of a precipice. After tomorrow, I have less power to go back. As a champion hedger of bets, that feels wrong.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

A surprise

So having moaned about the lack of interaction at my office, I was sitting at my desk the very next day getting stressed about something appropriately worthless and IT-related.

A woman who I didn't know came to sit next to me and after a while of me sighing theratrically, she said 'would you like some chocolate drops?'

Her voice pierced the silence and tension of the open plan office and startled me. However, we then struck up a conversation (which felt awkward at first) in which it turned out she knew someone who could help me with my current project.

Buoyed, I then had to break away and join a long teleconference. The teleconference was long and boring and quite frustrating. By the time I had finished (it was over an hour long) the woman - Hilary - had left for the day.

But when I looked down I saw an amazing thing - a silent gesture of solidarity.

A handful of chocolate drops left on my desk.

Sunday, 21 January 2007

Drifting away

I work in a place where you arrive at work and sit down, plug your laptop in and rarely say hello to your neighbour.

It suddenly struck me that this is one of the most depressing features of my job.

When you sneeze no one says bless you. You eat at your desk for lunch. Make tea for one.

The other thing I have noticed after a gap of a few months is that I work in a place where people brag about how many hours they work. This week I have listened to 5 different people talking about working through the weekend - til 10pm on Saturday and into Sunday on some pointless bid.

I know what you have to do to progress in consultancy. I understand the culture. It says 'I am a machine, dedicated to my work and I cannot be distracted'. And I know what the correct response is in this situation - you nod appreciatively and tell a war story of your own.

But I've stopped doing that now and I just smile politely and say nothing.

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

Consulting...part 2

Sorry but this is what I'm talking about.

I dare you to make it your My space welcome music.

Monday, 15 January 2007


I am due to resign from my job as a management consultant in...44 days.

Why, I hear you ask? Well I don't actually. Whenever I tell people I'm a consultant at a party I can see their brain reel in horror, as their eyes scan the horizon to search for a way out. Or maybe that's just my small talk.

But seriously, it's highly paid, lots of perks, full of intelligent people, lots of variety and one challenge after another. What's not to like?

Well, given that neither you or I have got 4 hours to run through the whole list I thought I'd summarise part of it from's brilliant range of demotivators: