Back when I was an A&E nurse I would tell people that the job had 'broken me' , that there was no way you could do any other job after working in a busy A&E department. Any other job would be either too boring, or that my own values of what is really important* would make me unsuitable for any work that involves 'profit'.
I'd lose a company millions of pounds and then turn around and, shrugging, say, “at least nobody died”.**
Then I left nursing and joined the ambulance service. While it has it's differences, a sizeable chunk of the work that we do is pretty much the same, make people happier than they were when they first met you, the cause of this unhappiness normally being something to do with their health.
Some months ago I got extremely disillusioned with the job, even my friends outside the service noticed my deep unhappiness and mentioned it to me. I started looking for other jobs, one was for a communications officer for the LAS which I was unsuccessful at getting, others were outside the NHS. I started casting out feelers for other jobs, perhaps from some of the networking that I'd been doing at the conferences I attended or spoke at.
Out of the blue I was offered a consultancy job with a business, just part-time, eight hours or so a week, concentrating on 'internet culture', 'social media', blogging' and all that other non-technical web stuff.
The pay was good, the people at the office were friendly and there was a certain boost to the ego on account of being referred to as the 'internet expert'.
But, what I would almost hope for, as I sat typing away in the office, was that someone would fall sick so that I could spring into action and do something more interesting than compose emails and action plans.
It was hard to generate any excitement for other people's business and to remain enthused in subjects that I had no real interest in.
There was a certain amount of dishonesty on my part which I found very hard to keep up. When I say dishonest I don't mean in the way that fraud or lying is dishonest, but to try and keep the energy up when dealing with something outside my normal sphere of interest was draining me.
I was being dishonest to myself.
So when I had the chance to resign from it as a regular gig, I leapt at it.
As I write this I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can get back to my 'proper' work soon. Despite it's many flaws, it's still a job that I can get excited about, that I have interest in and that lets me be completely honest with myself, and the people who I work with.
So it looks like I'm condemned to work on the ambulances until I drop dead or retire, whichever comes first.
People often tell me, “I couldn't do what you do”, but I think that the next time I pick someone up from an office environment it might well be me saying that for a change.
*Breathing and having a pulse – money comes pretty much at the bottom of any list I make of 'things that are important'.
**Actually, given the current financial situation across the world, perhaps I would have fitted in perfectly.