Day 2: Confusion

Journey is an over-used metaphor.

It presents a particular relationship between space and time. But the inherent assumption in a journey is that one moves forward. At a time when someone feels going in circles, journey is not a good metaphor to cling to.

Such is my situation. After a long time, perhaps the first time in my career, I have lost the enthusiasm for my work. I have always traded financial reward and security for interesting work, so such enthusiasm was never in short supply. But as Christmas holidays draw to a close and I look out to New Year, I am so not excited! 

May be I am getting old. It seems finally my attitude towards work is becoming like a normal person's, which I have always failed to understand. I hated the moaners and those who complained, and i changed jobs before I got to that point. This is possibly the first time I feel unenthusiastic but also stuck! I have made some big commitments lately, trying to assemble a team around me with whom I can work long term. I can't leave them in the lurch and walk away, but this is exactly how I feel now.

But it is perhaps not about getting old, but getting impatient. The end of the pandemic effect, I shall say! I made self-conscious compromises during the pandemic, adjusting my ambitions and taking on work which I wouldn't otherwise do. That I had a reasonable outcome from those efforts is purely accidental, but now I am thinking whether it was all worth it. 

Also that some of my assumptions about human nature proved incorrect. I invested a lot of time and effort into something, but mediocrity finally caught up. For me, mediocrity is death! And, hence, my desperate attempts are to go away as soon as possible, as far as possible, from the corrosive mediocrity that seems to be catching up with me. I am trying to surround myself with a new set of collaborators, who have chosen unusual paths in life and have tried doing something exceptional, to guard myself from the creeping stupidity before it fully consumes me, but the more I try, more I am feeling stuck! After all, I am trying to bring transcendence within an environment which is limiting and mediocre, a doomed endeavour from the start! 

I know what I want to do, though I am doing the opposite. I am getting deeper into the money game, raising money, pretending to be an executive, while I want to go away from all commercial endeavours now. I have always spoken about a university career but stayed away because I saw it as a slow life! Besides, I never loved business - speculative as it is at its core - and wanted to be in a humanities school. And, as it happens, most universities have no courage to run their humanities schools and I couldn't find a future there. But may be I am wrong: May be my twenty-year old self knew what I can't see - to be free, one needs to be stupid first! I am all too reasonable, following traditional paths through career and life, whereas what I want, the humanities school, may be waiting for me to set it up! Hence, this is what I would now pursue, while I carry on this corporate pretence a little while longer.

There is one other thing: Choosing my associates! Obviously this isn't about me and I have to find the co-travellers. This is something I always knew, but it is a curious time for me to think about it. I have just made the biggest mistake in my life in choosing associates, which has shaken my belief that I am a good judge of people! Imagine this: Just when I get my confidence about setting up and running businesses back, my greatest source of professional pride, that I judge people well and can attract the right people to work with me, is deeply shaken. And, yet, I know that a great project can't be about me and I have to find people who can do this project with me. From scratch - in a way, much of my work over the last couple of years is wasted! But I am going back to my old adage, cost of learning!, and looking to start again.





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