What’s the point in working?

With inflation in the UK currently running at around 12% and set to rise, with pay-rises a thing of the past, many people are questioning whether there is any point working at all.

Unless you work for the NHS, in a supermarket, or as a driver, your job has little or no value to society. I don’t want to be a Deliveroo driver, I haven’t even got a moped.

Advertising used to be great fun. In the 80s and 90s it was a creative and exciting industry to work in. You got to travel the world (business class) and spend millions of pounds of someone else’s money.

Now, though, it is run by accountants and has migrated to the internet, where creativity is anathema.

No way do I want to use algorithms to target an audience with a bland message, so advertising was out.

So I turned to journalism, just as print media imploded and, it too, migrated to the internet and an article became clickbait for unimaginative advertisers. So that’s another career option I don’t feel too invested in.

So what else is there to earn an honest crust?

There is currently a huge demand for lorry drivers, painters and decorators and kitchen staff. I worked in kitchens when I was a student and hated it. I’ve tried painting and labouring, and been sacked from every job I started and I can’t drive.

I don’t think there’s a viable job for me out there at the moment and, what is more, I really don’t feel like working that much.

And, apparently, nor does anybody else.

In the US, there were a record 4 million resignations in April, a trend called the ‘Great Resignation’.

Microsoft conducted a survey of more than 30,000 workers worldwide and 41% were thinking of quitting or changing profession this year.

So, are people thinking about leaving their jobs because they are really dissatisfied, or is it some global existential angst caused by the pandemic?

Did you feel upset about going into work before this happened, or are you trying to regain some degree of control over a world that has spiralled into insanity? A change of job is not really going to change the wider picture.

One question worth asking yourself is; “What would I be giving up if I quit my job?”

It can clarify what you want; I might lose some good friends, stability and structure if I leave, but conversely, what could I gain by leaving?

It doesn’t have to be negative; if you have worked for one company for a long time, you may have lost track of your market value and it is worth remembering that moving to a new company tends to bump your remuneration up considerably more than the incremental stages that come with internal promotion.

That said, perhaps what you are looking for is actually available at your current place of work. Flexible working is on the cards everywhere, as too, probably, are reduced hours or, indeed, higher pay. It might be worth waiting a while to see how your firm intends dealing with the ‘new normal’.

What do you really want from work? How do you feel on Sunday evenings?

There is that old saying; ‘If you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life’. Do you have something you love doing and, if so, are you good enough to earn a living from it? We can’t all be professional athletes or whisky tasters and now might not be the best time to see if your passion can be your livelihood; but then again, why not?

Although I wouldn’t necessarily recommend resigning and deciding not to work for the foreseeable as a viable option for everyone, why not think a bit about caring less, or a lot less, about work?

Fed up of sending emails from your bedroom? Then go down the pub and spend the morning in its garden working on your correspondence. Try and enjoy it as much as possible. Your boss can’t see you and he’s probably on the beach somewhere anyway.

Basically, if you want to leave your current employment and do something else, the time is always right. Or wrong. The current situation means you probably have a bit of time to make arrangements, work on what you really want to do, accept your limitations and fill in any gaps or experience on your cv and go for it. Or not.

It’s up to you. Either now, or stick an arbitrary date in your diary. It’s your decision. Stick or twist, stay or go. You are free to decide.


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