Friday Fess-up: 2nd May

Hey there!

I guess I spoke too soon last week when I said I had emerged out the other side of career crisis.  This week has been, well, pretty dreadful.  I’ve been wallowing in my own self-doubt in a most unbecoming manner, and despite all the lovely people I have met this week and things I have done, I can’t help but feel it was a bit of a disaster.

Last week I set myself one simple task — come up with a 6 month plan, nothing fancy, nothing too ambitious, just a few small things I want to have done by November.  I did a bunch of other things this week, but that wasn’t one of them.  And therein lies my big mistake.

I can’t shake the feeling that I am wandering completely aimlessly through this “career break”, and while that’s kind of part of the whole self-exploration thing, it’s also pretty unnerving.  I can tell myself that there are no goals in life, that there is nowhere that I’m “meant” to be, nothing in particular I actually need to do.  But even if the point of life is to connect with the people around you, and have as good a time as possible while not making things worse, it turns out that that process is a whole lot easier if you have some kind of goal in mind.

And there I go again with the ultimate conflict I seemingly can’t avoid.  How to have goals while also being content?  How to move forward but also be happy with where you are?  How to go with the flow but also get where you want to be?

I haven’t figured this out yet; I feel like I’m still knee-deep in the swamp and I can’t tell whether my violent thrashing around is shaking myself free or sucking me deeper down into the murky pool.  All I know is, I can’t stay still, I’m too far into it now.

Here’s the summary of the good parts of my week, the rest will have to wait!

For those in the UK, have a fantastic long weekend.


This week I have been mostly… meeting lots of people (and dogs), catching up with friends visiting from Australia, being on the internet way too much…!  [Part of that though was coming up with an awesome recipe to auto-generate a list of links for my weekly reads using IFTTT.  Love it.]

WBF Friday Fess-up 2nd May

This week I have been mostly reading

“Why Being Fired Can Be the Best Thing Ever” by @dianavkeeler

“How mcommerce will explode in the next few years” by @maudpas

“Tech CEO Dodges Felony Charge Despite Horrifying Abuse Video”.  The worrying thing is I don’t think customers really care.

Thanks to my mother-in-law for this one! See what happens when two monkeys were paid unequally for equal work.

Learning about the human side of tech. “The Kindle wink” by @robinsloan.  I would love if someone in the future winked to the technology I write about in my novel!

The Origins of Office Speak – The Atlantic.  Lawyers have their own set of meaningless phrases.  All time least favourite: “fresh pair of eyes”.  By the time of night that this is being said to you, your eyes invariably feel anything but fresh.

I’m always a bit skeptical of companies’ attempts to define and create a “culture” or “values”, it works sometimes but mostly that tends to be organic not forced.  This post made a lot of sense to me: “A Critique of “Don’t Fuck Up The Culture”  via @berkun.

Not just rhetoric, some real things men can do to beat sexism and promote women. “What Can Men Do?” by @shanley.  [Although I note the article in the Times today that maybe men aren’t sexist, maybe they’re just shy about equality.  You keep telling yourselves that, boys.]

“What I Learned Building Medium (So Far)” by @ev (co-founder of Twitter).  I love what he says here about the importance of having a deadline — I definitely saw the value of that when I was writing the first draft of the novel in January, and am feeling the lack of a deadline now — and also about the struggles of boiling down years of ideas down into a single product or idea.

Implications for corporate structure of the rise of the freelance economy: “Wait, Is The Corporation Actually Over”.  I wonder if the rise of remote working will also be a catalyst to this?

Can you increase your chances of getting lucky?  “Designing for Serendipity” by @mattangriffel. I completely agree that “right place, right time” is rarely pure luck.

This is my own post on Kitchen+Craft about The From Scratch Revolution.


Good advice for life in general: allow yourself to be “Free to Be Great” via @cap.

An interesting post on Google Glass.  Is there any stopping it? “Through the Watching Glass” via @susie_c .

And this refreshingly honest story of startup failure: “Postmortem of a Venture-backed Startup” by @brett1211.



4 thoughts on “Friday Fess-up: 2nd May

  1. I perfectly know how you feel. Some days I also feel my goals seem pretty week compared to some of the people that surround me (e.g. people with structured careers in EU institutions, law firms, international companies, etc.). The only way I feel better is to tell myself that I tried that, it was partly worthy, now I no longer fit in that box. Actually I don’t fit in any box, because I want to create mine.

    If I can give a small advice, for what’s worth, just pick something you like and forget about goals. Go volunteer somewhere (perhaps you’re probably doing it). As lawyers we are mentally trained to eye for excellence and perfection and this Gremlin rides the “find my goals/my passion”, which make us feel stuck. Keep on giving generously to people by writing and giving your time for the things you like and the causes you care the most.

    I’m reading a wonderful book this week and I warmly recommend it “The obstacle is the way”.

    Take care and persist.

    Your friend in Brussels ;-)

    • You’re right, of course :) I constantly feel the need to have accomplished something with my week, I can’t just let it be and enjoy my freedom. I am doing so many things that I like to do – writing, meeting people, etc – but I’m taking so little pleasure in it precisely because somehow I feel like it’s not enough.

      I just need to chill out really, but that’s easier said than done! And I’ll admit lack of income is totally a factor in this – if I had even a part-time job I wonder if I would be so restless.

  2. Sorry to hear about your inner turmoil. I suffer from it a lot at the moment too. This is my take on it…
    I left my job because I was stifled and had no ideas, no creativity and no enjoyment from what I was doing. By leaving I wanted to open my mind, and that has happened, but it’s like a reverse Pandora’s Box – my mind is reeling from all the ideas flooding in and sometimes it wears me out and I end up doing none of them. But do I regret leaving behind the old me? Never. I miss money and sometimes routine, but almost no other part of that life.
    A part-time job makes you feel as though you are doing something ‘normal’ again, but in my case that leaves less time and less head space for all the big ideas, so don’t rush to it unless you need to!

    • It’s funny because I used to think of myself as a very focused person – I could sit and work on one task for hours at a time without getting distracted. But it turns out that with so many ideas flooding my brain I can’t get myself to just do one thing from start to finish!

      You’re right, I don’t want to undermine any of the projects I’m working on by taking up my time with a job, but I also wonder if it might give me some focus and might also be a way to explore some directions I’m interested in going.

      I’m sure it’s a bit like when you walk of a travelator and your legs feel a bit wobbly because you’re used to the forward momentum. That’s how I feel, kind of suspended in mid-air, and waiting for the forward motion to begin again!

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