Have you had your ‘Moment of Truth’?

“The clock on the south-western tower of St Paul’s cathedral appeared to have stopped, […] ten past two […] could hardly be the correct time.  I had eaten my sandwich lunch in the garden on the bomb-site just over the road and had been back at my desk promptly at two o’clock, as befitted the most junior and recently recruited member of the London publishing house for which I was working.  And that seemed at least three-quarters of an hour ago.

“I took another glance out through the window.  The clock hadn’t stopped after all.  Its hands had certainly moved.  They had advanced a few minutes.  But it was still not half past.

“This dismal revelation depressed me so much that I decided to turn my desk around so that I wasn’t hypnotised by the hands of a clock.  Instead, I stared at a blank wall.  And it was then that I decided that this was not the way I wanted to spend the rest of my life…”

David Attenborough was fortunate enough to have his Moment of Truth aged 24.  I doubt anyone who is familiar with his life’s work or has read his book ‘Life On Air‘ would say that he made the wrong decision.


Conventional wisdom would have told him to stay in his job for at least two years (for the CV) and to have weighed up his options carefully before deciding which career path to take. Conventional wisdom would have been wrong.

Had he done this he would have missed the opportunity to join the BBC’s new ‘Talks Department’ and we would never have enjoyed any of his subsequent inspirational productions.

This passage struck me because I would imagine that many City Prisoners are stuck in exactly the same situation. Wondering whether you really studied for 3 years to get your degree in order to be where you now find yourself: sitting in an office, clock-watching, doing work that doesn’t interest you.

Have you had your Moment of Truth?  How will you know when enough is enough? Perhaps you never will.  Perhaps you’ll be there forever.  Or perhaps you’ve already had an inkling that there is more to life and you’ll start taking the steps towards finding out what it is that you actually want to do…

  • Dom

    I like this – I have had many moments. I once remember hearing Rob Gauntlett (Youngest Brit to climb Everest, first to go from North to South Pole using natural power) talk about his experiences. I certainly had a moment then.
    He was 21, I’m 26. He was living the dream stretching himself to his very max mentally and physically when he was in his prime. I am sitting at a desk editing PowerPoint all day?

    Lets get all those inspirational stories in one place and spread the message to people bored of working in the city so they too can have their moments!

  • jim

    I think I get the concept now – if you don’t like your job in the city, you can find another job in the city. Maybe I should go and work for a publishing house. St Paul’s is right near me.

    Thanks guys.

  • Els

    I had a moment of truth early last year, I knew I had contacts in fields I wanted to work in and I knew that I had experienced more than a lot of my peers both in childhood and now as an adult.

    I started discussing and thinking about my options at work and researched what we were doing, I descovered that history was not taken into account and that the financial situation in America had not been understood and that a favour from a collegue had legal complications.

    Instead I got told I was both mad and ill by my nuclear family and partner.

    I saw that things that companies do can be open to manipulation and attack both by human error and intention (ie, blaming a computer and identifying methods of comms that cause a threat to valued and private information – and that jealousy and greed can ruin someones life). Trusting who I thought was a real friend was wrong. Or was it?

    I tried to talk and wasnt listend, instead bullied out of a position when I had knowledge etc I even felt that something very good was going to happen, for once, instead I ended up on long term sick and isolated from the people who knew me and who asked for me.

    I wanted to get fit physically and retrain mentally.

    Heres to hopefully having another go at it and fingers crossed this time someone might actually believe me! and LET me do something! Are we all still the masters of our own destiny or is global equality …

    (maybe we are all mentally impaired if we understand too much and is it really any one individuals fault if paying attention and noticing details that are otherwise missed is wrong???)