Think Feel ACT…"Write your own story"

A sacrifice to the altar of work?

We’ve been in Melbourne for 2 months now – and I’m starting to feel like I’m getting my head above water.

As part of the settling in process I’ve been reconsidering what to do about work. Those of you who have been following my blog will know during the second half of last year I decided to throw caution to the wind and open a consultancy.

And then we decided to move. And organised the move. And actually moved. This took up a lot of headspace and time. Time went by…I did manage a small amount of work…earned some money.

It was all I could manage in reality. Moving and re-establishing all the details of a life is a full time job after all.

But I’ve been wondering lately if a consultancy is still the right answer for me here in Melbourne – or whether I should return to the ranks of the employed (as against self-employed)?

On the one hand consultancy plays to my strengths – it is flexible and varied…and hopefully fun. But I’ve found it can be a lonely space at times…and who knows if a given week will be busy or slow, or what income I’ll even make. You have to do all your own admin, including tax – and I don’t like that aspect at all.

And as for employment – it offers stability to consultancy’s variability – set hours, set roles and tasks. Set income too. But too often employment can lead to stagnation…and then there’s office politics and all the rest of it deal with. Do I really want to go there again?

So in the spirit of exploration I dipped my toe into the employment waters…really just to see. I applied for two jobs.

For one role I attended an interview and reached the next stage in the recruitment process of being asked to do a writing test – at which point I withdrew my application. Looking at the task it was obvious there was far too narrow a scope to allow me to spread my wings in that role.

The second role I attended a half hour long interview…and was called late last week to be offered the job…well really I was offered a newly created job of managing a team of people doing the original job I had applied for.

I held myself back from jumping for joy because the company was a start-up and there was no information available about what they do…and I had no written job description either.

So I requested a face-to-face meeting to find out about the company, what they are doing and what my proposed role would be. I went to that meeting this morning.

The company vision – the product they are trying to make has enormous potential to transform and improve healthcare. There would also be enormous personal opportunities for me to meet and work with people famous in the medical field.

Sounds super exciting, doesn’t it, to be part of a such a venture.

But, but, but…the requirements that would be expected of me included living and breathing the company, being available 24/7 or even more often if possible, coming in at 6am, taking total responsibility for everything, working at speed without sacrificing accuracy to meet impossible deadlines.

So I sat there and listened to this incredible vision – that would be amazing to be part of – and knew I just never could. I knew I could never sacrifice my family on the altar of work – no matter how enticing the vision.

And it’s not just that I love my family and they mean everything. Yes of course I love them – all of them. It was the feeling that I have a responsibility to them. A very serious responsibility. And I could never betray that by overlooking them in order to save the world.

There is no calculation that can estimate the worth of one life over another. But the lives already entrusted to me must come first – because nobody else in the whole world can stand in for me. And the work I do must be in the service of my family, and be to their benefit. Work must not, cannot proceed at the detriment of those closest to me.

So for now, I’m continuing with consulting – and we’ll see where that exploration leads.

But whatever happens, and wherever I end up working, I know I’ll be working for my family – not despite my family.

And that’s the way it should be.


  1. Sounds like you’ve made the right choice!

  2. Rob Burnside

    Wise words, Dr. J., and very well put. Standing O from PA!


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