Thursday, January 28, 2010


‘Feeling a bit slow this week, and I felt like it showed in the blog post last night.  A couple of dark pictures, a few sentences about biking in the snow,  an obscure camel reference --  Without theme and drive, writing became ritual exercise.

It felt purposeless.

There are lots of good things that I do by rote in life: not everything needs a higher purpose.  Everyday tasks of cleaning, washing, shopping, and cooking don’t require much planning ahead, thought in execution, or reflection afterwards.  True, there’s early pride in accomplishing them alone in a foreign country, but, once  mastered, they become simple routines.

Things that have purpose are feel different.  Planning takes creativity, there’s' a sense of building something during the work, I take pride in the result.  Work, vacations, learning, and relationships all have that sense of theme and drive around them.

I was worn through last night, and I think that part of the issue is  that work became a slog through completing a long series of commissions. There was a business plan, a presentation, a prospectus, paper.  All of them were paying jobs and I worked hard to do quality work for each of them.  Then there are meetings, edits, and handoffs: the product goes out, the money comes in, and the table is cleared for the next round of tasks. 

Empty start to empty finish.

If that is true, then does consultancy work have purpose?

I’ve made money; I’m self-supporting.  The clients are happy; my reputation and network grow.   I’ve created tools and knowledge; I’ll be better prepared for the next job.

But the cycle feels like an exercise rather than a process; like I’ve completed a task rather than taken a step.  It feels like rote work.

I don’t yet have the insight to answer my question, but I feel like I’ve framed up the issue to where I can let my subconscious chew on it.  It’s a cold rainy day here, changing back to snow blowing along the river.  I’ll make some tea and have a think on it all.

…and avoid posting obscure pictures of camels hung from lampposts in the meantime.


A Touch of Dutch said...

I wish you the best with the coming of the voorjaar! I have sometimes the same here. I am quite behind on many little personal projects & sometimes wish there were more hours on the clock each day!

By the way, you may change the rules on this one in particular, but I've nominated you as well for a blog award. You can read all about it here:

I changed the rules myself to fit my blog. Why not, since it's almost the weekend, right? ;-) So I welcome you to do the same. Just wanted to show you some appreciation for what you share on your blog for expats & thank you for your feedback on mine!

Have a nice weekend!

Dave Hampton said...

Many thanks, Isabella: you made my day! I've followed up according to the rules (more or less: you let me change a bit...), I really appreciate the pat on the back!