Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Choosing a path

Despite being a confident, capable person, I am finding that looking for work whilst unemployed is particularly challenging. It is not just the feelings of failure - not being able to provide the income to keep my family in the way that I want to, being "passed over" in preference to others by potential employers - but a larger issue around life choices.

On the one hand, I am trying to stay focussed and targeted on finding my next role. Spending hours every day networking with old contacts, trolling job sites for suitable opportunities, building relationships with Recruitment agencies / talent managers / key decision makers in potential businesses  keeps me busy and focused on a clear goal, which I can measure simply as success /failure (depending on whether I get a job or not)

On the other hand, I am at home every day, am finding time to exercise, relax, catch up on missed films and books, and spending loads of hapy and fun quality time with my wife and kids.

This raised the really challenging issue of whether I SHOULD be looking for another full-time, corporate, rat-race role, or ought to consider using this opportunity to do something completely different, that maintains a much better work/life balance. The reason that I say challenging, is for the following reason:

Am I thinking that a change in approach to life is the right thing to do because it would provide more quality of life, or is it a cop-out, and an excuse to not have to keep submitting myself to the risk of rejection and failure at every job interview? It is far too easy to end up going round in circles, and arguing both sides of the issue, and the real problem is that ultimately I am greedy, and want to both have my cake and eat it - to have a great corporate job that is stretching, interesting and fulfilling, whislt still having the time to exercise, relax and have plenty of quality time with my family...

As an aside, have you ever noticed how most of those who choose to leave the rate race and down-size to live in the country, always had jobs such as Investment Banker, and are walking away with mllions in the bank? I've always thought that it would indeed be an easy choice, and significantly easier to implement, if the two sides of the coin were:

a) Keep earning a filthy amount of money every year
b) Retire to take up full time hobbies such as Ferrari driving and holidaying in Monte Carlo, whilst watching your accrued savings rack up huge amounts of interest to fund your lifestyle.

So very different from:

a) Keep working tremendously hard to just about keep your family in food, clothes and a holiday once a year
b) Down-size and live in a commune where, although you get to spend quality time with you family, you worry yourself into an early grave from always wondering where the next paycheck is going to come from to pay the food bill, and you can never afford to take your kids on holiday...

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