“Often, on a Sunday evening, just as the sun is starting to set, the gap between my hopes for myself and the reality of my life start to diverge so painfully that I normally end up weeping into a pillow”

Alain de Botton gave a really interesting TED talk called ‘A gentler, kinder philosophy of success’ which focuses on work, career, and the anxiety and pressure that these subjects cause for many people.  Worth checking out in a spare 15 minutes with the earphones on:



“We live in an age where our lives are regularly punctuated by career crises”

“It is perhaps easier now than ever before to make a good living – it’s perhaps harder than ever before to stay calm, to be free of career anxiety”

Wired magazine says that de Botton “urges us to find happiness and meaning in our work and life by dropping out of the system just far enough so that we can distinguish between what is genuinely important to us and the consumerist goals we’ve inherited; to become ‘the author of our own ambitions’.”

For those of you who are interested it is also worth checking out his book called ‘The Pleasures and Sorrow of Work’. In it he analyses work that humans do, in its many forms. He comes to the conclusion that, although many jobs appear futile and bizarre, work is the ‘validation of the true purpose of our existence’ (aside from being essential for our survival).

51v9XyUZAeL._SS500_When I read it earlier in the summer I was startled to find that the chapter entitled ‘Accountancy’ was written about my old company (where I spent my first two working years after university).  It even had black and white photos of the meeting rooms, flip charts, and cubicles that I had used so regularly just two weeks previously.

Whether or not you are an accountant, a biscuit manufacturer, or a tuna fisherman (all profiled in this book), it is worth reading if only to make you think about the purpose of your work – if it has one. Does it ‘validate the true purpose of your existence’ (ridiculous phrase I know) – should it? Do you work for financial survival or spiritual fulfilment? Neither? Or both?

PS – the book is linked to Amazon – if you buy it we get some beer money but it doesn’t cost you any more than it would have done…

What do you think of de Botton’s talk? Post your comments below.

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