Do you have the right experience?

In JL Carr’s “The Harpole Report”, one character (a teacher) is incensed when challenged by the acting headmaster, asking how he dares to speak to her like that when she has had 30 years’ experience. He retorts “You haven’t had 30 years’ experience! You’ve had 1 year’s experience 30 times!”

When you do work that repeats some, if not all, aspects, it’s a challenge to come up with fresh approaches. After all, if you’ve found a way that works and within the time available, it could be risky to go down a different route.

Is it a worse risk than that of becoming a virtual automaton, so programmed that you just need to hear a certain phrase or encounter a certain problem and you click into automatic delivery?

How do you get different insights?

You can try a little role reversal, perhaps. Sit on the other side of your desk (literally and metaphorically) and see what being on the receiving end is like.

Or you could ask yourself what you would do if you wanted to make things go badly – and then do the opposite.

How about explaining what you do to someone who doesn’t know the job at all – can you gain any fresh insights from their reactions?

Maybe it’s possible to do a job swap and broaden your range.

I don’t want to disparage experience – far from it.

It enriches our lives and enables us to help ourselves and others out of difficult situations. It should also make us more caring and tolerant beings.

Tip: When you get into the habit of spending a few minutes each day putting what’s in your head down on paper, it clears your mind and it’s also handy for looking back and seeing what you did last time something happened – should you need either to repeat or avoid the strategy.

Does work have to be a dirty word?

Have you booked your summer holiday by now? Perhaps you’re still at the planning stage.

Are you a 2 weeks of sun, sea and sand kind of gal or do you like to get away to city cafes and galleries and maybe do a bit of shopping? Do you prefer something adventurous – hang-gliding, rock-climbing, that kind of thing?

Whatever you choose, it’s great to be able to look forward to a complete break, an escape from the stresses and strains of your working world. You unwind and forget all about it and come back relaxed and refreshed – terrific!

How long does it take when you get back to the office or wherever before you’re back in the grind? Maybe even before you reach the office the morning commute is enough to bring it all back in all its horror.

If you’re bored, stressed, underpaid, undervalued and/or lacking a challenge, your holiday is just a brief respite from it all. You’ve planned and saved and all that money is gone: what do you have to show for it? The pressure lifted for a while, you experienced a different environment and did what you wanted, when you wanted.

And that’s all gone, too.

What if, instead of planning another shortish break from the drudgery, you did some serious thinking and planning towards making the break permanent?

What if you could find work that would be a pleasure to get back to after a holiday? What if, for 50 weeks of the year, you did something that stimulated, challenged and fulfilled you? What if it also rewarded you as you deserve?

Are you mentally inviting me to join you in the real world now? If work was that much fun, they’d call it fun, not work, wouldn’t they?

Well, who says we shouldn’t be uplifted by the way we spend the biggest part of our adult lives? Is it in someone’s interest to keep us nose to the grindstone, hamster on the wheel? I suspect it may be!

Keep people’s expectations low and you can benefit yourself maybe.

But wouldn’t it be so much better for us and the world to have as many as possible in work that makes the most of their talents and enriches their lives. Where could we all be today if everyone was working happily and productively in a job they were really good at?

Surely the economy would be fighting fit, the cost of maintaining the nation’s mental and physical health would be lower, there’d be much less aggression on the roads..... and on and on...

I’d love to see a change of attitude – I’d love to live in a world where we all expect to enjoy what we do for a living and work is not a dirty word!

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