It comes upon you like a bank of rolling storm clouds. A murky darkness. A creeping malevolence. At about 7pm every Sunday, you begin your slow descent into a helpless funk, at the depths of which you’ll wallow until 9am the next morning when you grit your teeth, roll your eyes and step through that door. Your friends beg you to make a change. Your long-suffering mum is sick of your whining WhatsApps. You feel abject dread at the thought of doing it every single day. Yet still, you cannot leave.
Unfulfilling jobs are all-encompassing. They shatter our self-esteem, stifle our creativity, monopolise our relationships and have such a vice-like grip on our lives it can seem like we’re being kept captive by our own position. But many of us feel unable to take a stand and leave the roles that are making us so miserable. It’s a malaise of recent times. Our jobs themselves haven’t got worse over the years, yet our levels of satisfaction have (studies show that we like our jobs less than we did in the Sixties, even though opportunities for women were actually far fewer back then). We are in the middle of what UCL professor Tomas Chamorro Premuzic calls an “epidemic of disengagement”. Brought about, in part, by the fact that we are constantly bombarded by visions of what a ‘perfect’ job looks like on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook (ie. the woman you met once joyously negotiating her lucrative new book deal over a swanky champagne lunch at the restaurant you’ve never been able to get a reservation at)...
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