Book Review: Kasey Edwards - Tired of Working for a Living? 30 Something and Over It
Are you tired of working for a living? Hey, join the club! So was Kasey Edwards. It was something she realised when she hit thirty-something and suddenly felt that her job as a change management business consultant just didn't consume and thrill her in the way it once had done. (I have to say, it didn't take me that long. And I doubt that I'm alone in saying that.)
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It wasn't just a case of resenting exchanging her time and labour for money, like most of us workaday grunts. Edwards had been a high-flyer, one of those who genuinely derive a kick out of their highly-pressured, deadline-driven top-level posts, and put in such insane hours that no-one could grudge their astronomical salary-cheques. She was making pots of money and spending pots of money too, in the way that achievers often tend to do. (I guess that's how people who make, say, £100,000 or more a year manage to wind up in debt or bankrupt.) Her spending spiralled, her satisfaction diminished, and one day she realised that she just didn't want to do what she had been doing any more. But what to do instead?
In the search for an answer and a direction, Edwards solicits advice from everyone she can think of – her disciplinarian brother, her friends, her gynaecologist, new age clairvoyants and Buddhist monks. (This last takes place on a ten day 'retreat' which is spent largely in the discomfort of silent meditation). To my mind the most useful advice she gets is from the male colleague who advises her to 'have a baby'. Cue righteous indignation from all us sisters: at least until he clarifies that what he means is a project – whether a small human being or not – which she has personal responsibility for nurturing in the long term and bringing to fruition. Pretty damn good advice I would say, for life in general.
Edwards fixates on the thought of going flexi-time or becoming an entrepreneur. But she finds out that the workplace – or at least her workplace – is less open to the idea of flexible working than recent legislation would have the rest of us believe. Of course, once she gets made redundant then her time is her own...
Her subsequent job search is complicated by the fact of her wanting to work part-time. Agencies that initially almost have her hand off in their eagerness to find her work, are suddenly reticent and discouraging when they find out her plans. However eventually she does find a position that fulfils her dreams – flexi-time and not working all the hours that God sends, as previous employers have expected of her. This achievement allows her to nurture a new career. This is a writing career – the 'baby' that her male friend had suggested. Is it successful? Well, we have the tangible evidence of a published memoir, so I guess you could say it was!
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