I moved to Canberra on January 22nd, 2006. Three weeks later my then-boyfriend dumped me, and I started living the life I wanted to live. I met another bloke, one who was “just for fun”, but then it turned out we had so much fun together that there was no reason to end it, and now we’re married. In 2008 I got to travel to Tonga, and have the experience of living and working overseas, where I was actually making a contribution (of sorts!), not just being a backpacker in London like everyone else. I left behind a job I liked, and saw no reason that it would not continue to be a job I liked when I got back to Australia.
I came back from Tonga in May 2009, and started back where I’d worked before in July. It was the same job title, but a totally different project, a different team, and a different sort of work altogether. I signed a 12 month contract, valid until 13 July 2010.
Yesterday I was on the phone to a friend, and he told me I sounded really sour. He had rung me at work, and as I sit in an area where everyone is quietly and studiously beavering away, I feel somewhat funny about talking on the phone. But I mentioned it to C, and he said that he also found that whenever he rang me at work I sounded really sad, depressed even.
And it’s true, I really don’t love my work anymore. I know that there are other people who would LOVE to be doing what I get to do (I was one of those people just a few years ago!), but that’s not enough anymore. I hate winters in Canberra – I hate the sense that I miss all the daylight because I’m stuck in an office from 9-5. I’d like to ask to have reduced working hours, just for the next 3 months until the days start getting a bit longer – 9:30 – 4pm would be perfect. But I get the feeling in this team that any sign that I’m not 100% devoted to the job will lead to doubts about my abilities, and after all, I do want my contract extended in July.
Or do I? I say that I want to see this project through, and I need to be here for another year for that to happen. But even a year from now seems…too much. There’s people in my team who haven’t taken a single sick-day for 2 years. God, I feel like I need a Mental Health Day every second week!
Is it because of Tonga? Did that experience sap me of my love of Work? Or did it just show me that there’s more to life? Somehow I find I don’t take it as seriously, I CAN’T take it as seriously as my colleagues seem to. I no longer wish to have Work as my sole identity. I learnt before going to Tonga that you don’t ask someone what they “do” as a way of getting to know them, but about their family, where they’re from. But here, back in Australia, it seems the only acceptable course. Other questions are too personal. And, after all, most of us do attach value to what we DO, as a measure of who we ARE.