Do you wake up on a Monday morning full of vim and vigour thinking ‘Wow, I just love my work!’ ? No, me neither and it’s getting to the point where I am going to have to do something about it.
My spiritual mentor Marion is passionate about her work. Her eyes light up and she shivers with delight as she coos: ‘I love this work SO much!’ I am deeply envious of her.
I realised yesterday that I have chosen to turn writing into stressful work. As a journalist, deadlines always loomed, I invariably met them, but the process was never without its angst. Then, two and a half years ago, I segued into public relations as the freelance journalism dried up.
When I was working as a journalist, I looked at PRs and assumed their work was easy. I was so wrong. PR is even more stressful than journalism. After 30 years writing for a range of national titles and befriending hacks of every ilk, I have a pretty good handle on the UK press. It helps, but doesn’t alter the fact that getting results for clients is really, really fucking hard.
They don’t care about that of course. They’ve paid the money and they want to see coverage in the press. It is an easy exchange for them – it’s the PR who has to soak up all the stress.
You won’t be surprised to know that many journalists smoke, a lot of them take drugs and there are countless among them who are alcoholics because frankly, it’s tough doing a job like that without a crutch. I don’t know the world of PR so intimately, but it looks to me that they’re not having such an easy time of it either.
I see why I chose stressful work. It is familiar. My parents ran a frantically busy pub in the countryside. Their working day started at about 7am and didn’t finish until gone midnight. They were on duty weekends and bank holidays. It was über stressful. My mother developed a skin rash rather like the one that afflicted Dennis Potter’s Singing Detective and my father always had indigestion. Really, it is a wonder that they have made it into their 80s.
Obviously, I wouldn’t have chosen a stressful job if there wasn’t something in it for me. The truth is, I get off on the drama. I love the soaring highs and crashing lows…at least I used to. They don’t hold the same appeal any more – in fact, they hold no appeal. All that stress is not the real me. I don’t actually know what the real me is right now, but it is not that. I have only recently discovered that I am the sort of person who likes doing silent retreats in the company of ageing nuns for heaven’s sake!
Drastic action will not be taken just yet. This is quite a big realisation and I need to let the dust settle before I make any decisions. Marion reckons that if I get in touch with my higher self often enough, the answer and the right opportunities will appear as if by magic. I hope she’s right.