If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts, but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties. Francis Bacon
A strange thing has happened; after working hard over the past six months to exit all my work commitments and create a blank canvas for new opportunities to emerge, I’ve now been overcome by panic and am working flat out to refill my diary.
So today I am forcing myself to combine action with reflection and ponder the source of discomfort that is driving this behaviour.
And discomfort it surely is. The question of what I DO has become even more nebulous; so what does that say about who I am? It’s all very well wearing different hats for different people but now I don’t seem to have any head wear at all. When people ask me, I feel somehow ashamed about circumstances that I should be celebrating. As my neighbour who now goes fishing rather than working in his business said to me this morning – I’ve deliberately made myself self-unemployed.
Yes there’s a dark corner – or maybe a gaping hole – inside me and maybe most of us, that needs to be filled by some sort of work achievement if we are to feel valued.
If you do want to create change in your working life, and you have created space or had space forced onto you by redundancy or illness, what’s wrong with floating a little in that space? Floating is nice, floating is good – but endless floating become suspiciously like bobbing helplessly, drifting this way and that with every passing tide or gust of wind?
So if you’re looking for a solution that allows you to enjoy your unexpected work vacuum without rushing to fill it, I have an answer. It will let you combine floating with a need for action and boy, is it worthwhile.
Because actually you have got work to do. You want to make sure that when you do take action you strike out for the right shore or even step aboard the right yacht rather than grabbing onto the first bit of flotsam that crosses your path. And it can be very tempting to grab out just to fill that horrible emptiness of being unemployed. So – message to self – don’t do it!
Your work whilst you’re floating it is to identify what Work it is you do want, work at building relationships and networks and work on play projects that let you try out new ideas. Doing these things create real value for you and can be a source of genuine satisfaction and joy.
Above all believe in the value of what you do each day, hold up your head when asked the inevitable and what do you do question and be delighted that you’re lucky enough to be self-unemployed.