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Friday, May 22, 2009

Taking another risk...

I have long believed that being happy and healthy at work is dependant upon being in the right job. I also believe, and here I am at odds with a large number of people, that your mental health at work also depends on your job allowing you to be as close to your REAL SELF for as much of the time as possible.

Unfortunately much of work is immensely dysfunctional and does not reward this type of behaviour. Indeed it tends to reward those who can dissemble the most. Fortunately, I have a job that I love most of the time. Moreover, I have long since accepted that I would rather be myself or something close to it than pretend to be someone else in order to achieve global domination.

With this in mind, I thought I would further blur the boudaries between life and work (remember that Freud said, "Love and work") by reflecting on the biggest thing to happen in my life for some time.

Last week my wife died after 11 years fighting cancer.

I am not looking for sympathy, I already have more than enough. This is a learning blog. But this is, I think, a good time to reflect on what I have learned from Jelena in the 13 years that I was lucky to have known her.
  • Persistance tends to trump talent.
  • The English have got their attitudes to friendship completely arse about face - we are nicest to strangers and rudest to our closest friends. As a result we often doubt that we are loved and therefore lack sufficient confidence to take risks in life.
  • Whatever you do, take some risks. They don't have to be big ones but if you don't take any, you won't learn anything new.
  • Passion is a good thing. I remember Jelena jumping up and down with glee and clapping the first time she provoked me to red faced rage. That was the point where she believed there was hope for me.
  • Anger is not a bad thing. Particularly if you recognise it and deal with it.
  • Curiosity is perhaps the most underrated virtue in the world. People who ask questions, learn things and are remembered by those of whom they ask.
  • Cultivate those who love you. Ignore those who don't. Otherwise you'll waste your time on people who are not going to help you much.
  • Don't accept being taken for granted. Challenge if you think you have been short changed.
  • Make sure that those you love know you love them. It is the best chance you can give them in life.

In memory of Jelena, my biggest fan.