Love, passion and the digital economy

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“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

Steve Jobs

These days it has become quite the norm to search for love online.  An increasing number of people are even finding it and I think that is a great thing.  And I don't mean just quick one-off affairs but true, lasting love.  

I know several couples who have found love online - my sister is one of them. I was maid of honour at her wedding. She now has as great relationship with a lovely guy who  is my favourite brother-in-law (psst. don't tell the other two).  In my time, I've given it a try but to be honest, I have something of a short attention span so those were not fruitful forays into cyberspace.

When it comes to the search for love, many also search for love at work.  Although, that can be a riskier proposition, especially if it does not work out. After all, who wants to meet their ex every day at the coffee machine, in the hallway or worst of all - alone in the lift (argh!) - awkward.  

So I confess, work has never been a hunting ground for me.  That's not to say I didn't look for love at work.  In fact, in the past I insisted upon finding love at work.  Hang on - to clear up any misconception, I didn't seek to have a relationship with any of my colleagues (no offence to any of my ex-colleagues) they didn't have two-heads or anything like that.  No rather, I wanted to love what I did, I wanted to leap out of bed in the morning and be full of enthusiasm for the day ahead.  The way I see it, if I have to spend a minimum of 8 hours of my life doing something - don't I have the right to love what I do? hWhat do you think - shouldn't I expect to find passion and fulfilment in exchange for my life 'time'? 

No, apparently not,  I was told when I raised this with friends.  This was the grown-up world of work and expecting to find love, passion and fulfilment was naive, childish and unrealistic.  No one had a job they liked.  Everyone was in the same boat.  This was the way things were.  Given my resources and education there weren't any viable alternatives.

So, I know what you're thinking - I was in the wrong profession.  Yes, I thought so too, so I changed jobs.  I started off as a secretary which I realise now was complerely wrong for me (hindsight is a beautiful thing).  I'm way too bolshy to put up with being told what to do all the time. But I was young and just starting my quest.

After a while I moved again into events.  I got to travel (business class!), visit overseas destinations and stay in some beautiful hotels. For a girl from the east end of London, that was not too shabby.  What's more, all my friends envied my jet-set lifestyle - how could I complain?  But have you ever gone out with someone and you get along really well except for one thing be it a habit, hobby, family member(!) which just drove you crazy.  But because everything else is working for you, and people think they're great and you're really lucky, you try to ignore it.  You tell yourself, no-one is perfect, that everyone is an adjustment, that you should focus on all their good points and ignore the 'thing' that grates like crazy.

True love of work was to elude me once again.  I found an almost perfect job but the truth was, after a while I realised that no matter how luxurious the hotel, it was still away from home.  All the hotels seemed to blur into one.  The destinations were irrelevant - I only really got to see cities from the window of the taxi from the airport to the hotel and back again.  Worst of all, when you are constantly travelling for work - it is exhausting! So it was a case of "it's not you, it's me, " and "it was fun while it lasted" but let's NOT "keep in touch".  When things start to go bad it's best to make a clean break - I was outta there!

In truth, I'll confess, there was someone else or should I say something else.  My head had been turned by another employment opportunity.  It appeared to have all the right components in the right places so I succumbed to its charms.  I thought this time, I wouldn't hold back, I'd give it everything, heart and soul.  I would make a commitment.  I deleted my employment search from LinkedIn.  I unsubscribed from all employment agencies.  I filed away my CV.  There would be no more late nights searching online job sites.  The search was over - I had found 'The One'.   

For a while I was in work heaven. But... But have you ever had a situation where you are so totally focussed on one thing in your life, that you neglect some other really important area? I was enjoying the new challenges so much that I did not notice how late I was leaving the office. I was working the occassional weekend and then the not so occassional weekend.  Work was taking over my life but I didn't mind.  This was my dream job right, this was what I wanted? Wasn't it?  

Ultimately, my abandonment to my job was not sustainable.  The job I loved so much, which appeared so perfect at first, was incredibly needy.  No matter how much I gave it, it was never enough. My health began to suffer, my stress levels began to rise, in the face of the constant demands for attention, my love began to drain away.

I was faced with the prospect of being trapped in a loveless relationship.  I had burned my bridges and the thought of having to start another work relationship filled me with dread.

So it was really to distract myself from my current situation that I turned to the internet.  Not to look for another job, oh no - I had completely given up on finding 'The One'.  My friends had been right all those years ago.  No-one had a job they liked.  This is just the way it is.  I searched online for music videos to cheer myself up.  I trawled YouTube for motivational videos to help me through the day.  That's when it happened!  They always say you find love when you are not looking for it. 

Have you ever had a complete stranger tell you everything about your life? I was about to press 'skip the ad' button when a video started and a guy called Paschal was talking about his life and the challenges that his job was causing in his relationship with his wife and his son.  He explained how his job used to take all his time and as a result his relationship with his wife was almost on the verge of collapse and his son was growing up without him.  While I don't have children, I could identify with not having time for relationships that are important to me. And definitely with feeling of work leaving me with no time or energy for anything else I wanted to do. 

What blew me away though, was the solution he had found.  Something that ultimately wouldn't take all my time, that I could be in control of, that would be mobile and go where I was going, rather than me having to go where it was.  Something that offered me the possibility of the freedom, time and income I had always dreamed of.  His solution - my own online business and the training, supportive community and systems to get me step up in 5 Easy Steps.  This was even better than finding 'The One'.  I'd always been at the mercy of finding the perfect job.  Hoping that it would turn out ok, that it wouldn't be too demanding or that it wouldn't involve travel when it wasn't convenient for me. 

For the first time I would be in control.  I would be control of my time, I'd be in control of my location and I'd be in control of my income.  I found something that engaged my passion for personal freedom and that I could love doing each day.  I was no longer looking for 'The One' because I'd found true love.

If you're exhausted by the search for the perfect job, or exhausted in your 'perfect' (or not so perfect) job it doesn't have to be that way.  You too can find love online - click on this link to find out how to begin your journey to a life of work you love.

Are you trapped in a bad work relationship? I know "breaking up is hard to do" but the best bit is that, unlike a personal relationship, you don't necessarily have to do it all in one go.  But you should begin your exit strategy today.  Email to me today to find out more - cheryl@cherylsdigitallife.com

“Work is love made visible.  And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.”

Kahlil Gibran

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