“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…