Friday, May 28, 2004

I escaped my tormentors by crossing the sea. What I cannot escape is memory
Washed up on a distant shore. Can't go home anymore.

I've been a thinking a lot recently about my motivation for doing VSO. It's not that I have been questioning my decision to sign up, far from it, but I was worried that I wasn't doing it for the right reasons.

Then last night, while I was at a client do, it came to me.

I want to do VSO because I don't want to do this.

I don't want to be attending wine and canape events while chatting with strangers about the importance of branding, PR, or whatever.

When you talk to someone whose main concern is how to market their upcoming training event or whatever, I just wonder where they find the motivation to care.

During a question and answer event a young graduate asked what was the best way to get into the creative industry. One panel member gave her the usual "go for it" hyperbole, but also said: "Set yourself a target, where do you want to be by the time you are 35, shape your own career, ask yourself what you want out of life."

I couldn't decide whether it was the best piece of advice I had ever heard or the worst. The best in the sense that my answer would be "I don't want to be here. I don't want to do this." or worst because it all sounded so work related. What about happiness, fulfillment, contentment? Do you really expect all of these things to drop into your lap just because you have your work life in place.

But as I said, I worry that I don't want to do VSO in order to save the world, or "save some Africans" as David Brent put it. I want to do it because the other option just seems so horrific.

Every executive "do" I go to I seem to spend more and more time looking around just trying to get to grips with WHY? Why people would put themselves through this? Is everybody else here really enjoying this, or are they as bored as I am?

There are these endless rounds of so-called "Networking Events". It's like speed dating for executives. There is not even any pretence any more that you are chatting to people because you find them interesting. Really you just want to sell whatever product or service it is you provide. Every handshake is the starting point in a deal rather than a friendship.

Or so it seems to me right now.

I have never managed to work out whether to admire or pity people who get excited by work. It must be fantastic to really long to go to work in the morning. I had that briefly while I was a journalist before it wore me down. Since then it's been about paying the bills.

Basically I want to do VSO because I want to do something worthwhile for a change. Selfishly though I am doing it for me. I don't want to be surrounded by suits talking about brand values or whatever. Just as I don't want to be stuck forever in those thirtysomething conversations about mortgages, pensions and colour schemes for the spare room.

I do want adventure. I do want to learn more about how other people live their lives. I do want to change.

But I can't imagine, after my two-year stint that I will come back re-energised and wanting to swap AIDS campaigning for marketing a local accountants. So what will I do next? Perhaps this is it. Perhaps the adventure will never end.

I hope not.

Love, light and peace,


I saw two shooting stars last night I wished on them but they were only satellites. It's wrong to wish on space hardware. I wish, I wish, I wish you'd care.