What does work actually give you?

A couple of weekends ago I went to London to see The Cursed Child. It was even more magical than anticipated. I don’t want to spoil it in case you are planning a visit but let’s just say, people do actually arrive on stage by floo powder, sliding through a fireplace with real flames.

It was not a chore for me to watch the two parts, both over 2.5 hours long. It got me thinking about careers because I know the actors feel the same way. They thrive off being able to repeat performances because no two performances are ever the same.

I often hear people describe work as a means to an end. It pays the bills. It’s okay. It’s not terrible. The premise is that the rest of their lives brings them joy and work is just something to be endured to get back to their actual life.

The problem with this is not being fully present in life. Always projecting into the future. What if they could find a way to find true fulfilment from work too? Like the actors bringing their best to every performance?

Recognise that your current role, even if it is not fulfilling, is serving you in some way. What does it actually give you? This answer will be different for everybody but here are some ideas to kick start your thinking.

  • Flexibility in working hours?
  • Flexibility in working environment?
  • Regular paycheck?
  • Autonomy?
  • Nice co-workers?
  • Excel at it?
  • Safety?

Make a note of what it is for you. When you get up tomorrow morning, say to yourself, “this job gives me [insert your answer] and for that, I can be truly grateful.” In fact, say it to yourself every morning until you have implemented your next career pivot.

This is not toxic positivity. We are not going to put a sticking plaster over all the things your career is not and pretend they don’t exist. However, this practice of being grateful for what is will go a long way to managing those feelings of resentment while figuring out ‘what’s next?.’

Defining what you do want can get uncomfortable.

Are you willing to step into centre stage and be the leading lady in your life? No more side-kick. No more support roles. The lead.

Only when we claim our lives can we find the power to do something differently.

“There is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic. In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.” Dumbledore – Harry Potter The Cursed Child

Start by showing love to yourself. Be honest. How are you doing, really? Hit reply and let me know.

Keep Opening Up,


PS I have been interviewing some of my clients about their coaching journeys on the Women in STEM Career & Confidence podcast. Catch the latest episodes here:

  1. Dr Natsuko Suwaki: Governance & Standards Director in Legal & Compliance at GSK iTunes / Spotify.
  2. Dr Rachel Dunmore: Project Manager in HR at York University iTunes / Spotify
  3. Dr Catherine Holden: Platform Lead – Automation Chemistry at Syngenta iTunes / Spotify
  4. Dr Kaneenika Sinha: Associate Professor of Mathematics at the Indian Institute of Science Education & Research in Pune iTunes / Spotify
  5. Dr Verena Wolfram, Senior Medical Affairs Manager in Scientific Engagement at Pfizer iTunes / Spotify
  6. Dr Judith Simon, Senior Consultant at RQM+ iTunes / Spotify