Approaching 40? Well, don’t get any ideas above your station because you are stuck for life. Over 41?
Well, you might as well forget it because you’ll be stuck in that job until pension day. According to a 2,000-strong poll, employees are most likely to feel trapped in their job by 36. Even worse, most Britons believe there’s no going back 40. What a miserable bunch. It’s also nonsense.
According to a recent study, fear of change holds many people back. When asked, workers were twice as likely to describe their employment as ‘convenient’ rather than use words such as ‘success’ or ‘fulfilling’. A startling three in ten didn’t know what else to do.
When I was seven, I wanted to be the blonde Abba singer. I had the same colour hair, so it seemed obvious. The fact I couldn’t really sing didn’t come into it. Of course, your ideas change, but some still hold onto that dream. I never became a singer, outside the confines of my car, or the shower, I wouldn’t inflict my voice on anyone. My second love was writing, so I found a job that paid me for it - journalism. Although I became a journalist at 21, I’d always harboured the desire to write a book. When I told people, I could sense them rolling their eyes. It was just a pipe dream, they said. Instead for 13 years, I ran a company, writing articles for national newspapers and magazines. It was tough and demanding, with unsociable hours. By this time I was a mother. I paid for childcare and begged favours from family. I was determined to give my kids a good life, so I worked myself ragged through, thinking money equals happiness. It doesn’t. Also, you never get those years back with your kids. I was a fool.
When I was 44, I interviewed one lady. Her story was utterly tragic, but she was such an inspiration I knew one article wouldn’t do her justice. When she asked me to help write her book I jumped at the chance. I didn’t have the first clue how to go about it, so I approached literary agents and signed to one. My agent sent the proposal out to different publishers and one took it on. Meanwhile, HarperCollins didn’t want the book, but liked my writing and offered me a second book to write. Now I had a decision to make. Did I continue with my thriving business (which I hated, but which made me lots of money) or did I follow my dream? I chose my dream career. That was four years ago, and now I’ve written eight books. Today, I adore my life because I’m finally doing something I love. But if I’d listened to that poll (at 44 I was way past the point of no return), maybe I wouldn’t have taken that leap of faith. Money isn’t everything; but personal happiness is invaluable.