My legs wobbled a bit as I climbed the flight of stairs that led to my new job. I didn’t know what to expect. This was a fresh start. A 9 to 5 sort of thing.

There was something about this new job that I liked. It was different from my old job. I had worked with children and families for over a decade. I was used to the crowd, the noise, snort and the cuddles.

My Professional Journey

I toiled endlessly in this field for a decade-plus until I couldn’t take it anymore. I resigned out of frustration, this wouldn’t have been possible if my doctor didn’t sign me off due to work-related stress. At this point, work had become a burden laden with pain, the environment was toxic despite my love for what I do.

However, with this new job, there was no child’s play. It was business as usual. I liked the change, I also love the grown-up feel to it. It was a miniature world where adults were adults. No lullaby, no jingles.

Within weeks, I settled in. I had my own little space: a cubicle and in this cubicle, there was a computer to stare at and telephone to call a spade a spade. I brought my spider plant along with a picture frame of my family. This felt like home and I was proud of it.

The Dreaded Fact

Six months into my new job, I became bored. I hated the rigidity. I didn’t feel part of this new place. The cumbersome bureaucracy and dirty politicking was a shock to my system.

I wasn’t ready to commit to the 9 to 5 fever. While this might be true, I tried not to complain at first, but I wasn’t wired to accept all the wrongs. The gossip and imbalance hierarchy of this place sulks.

Maybe I was too insensitive (or was it sensitive?) to the 9–5 culture. The screen-watching game and the gut-wrenching calls from clients, the complex nature of competitions and favouritism made me question my existence in this place.

The worst part of all was the insensitivity to family life. There was one rule for Smith and a different one for Sherifah. I became bored and withdrawn. The excitement was long gone.


My new job had suddenly turned sour. My colleagues felt the same way. We all felt trapped. I was caught in a place where I didn’t feel good enough for any organisation. I felt unhappy and unprivileged. Leaving my job became impossible no matter how hard I tried. The atmosphere reinforced the crippling doubts I had about myself. It was an agonising pain.

I was a shell of myself and I fed myself to the parasite of my job. I allowed myself to sink to the bottom, I didn’t know how to detach myself.

You may ask, “Why did you stay?”. Well, I was scared of the unknown. I didn’t know what else to do if I left. I had no guidance on how to channel my potentials. My search for freedom was aborted.

Working Under Duress

I wouldn’t have stayed in this job if perhaps something landed on my table without me lifting a finger. I hated the job and I stayed. The short relieve my salary provided was overshadowed by the pain of deligating the cash to cater for my ever-growing bills.

I worked until I couldn’t any longer. When I tendered my resignation, my line manager only says, “ By the way, Sherifah I saw this coming”. But to think that I spent 55 painstaking months before summing up the courage to walk away was something I berated.

Many people are still in jobs like this. They stayed not because of the love they possessed but for the money and security the job offer. Fulfilment and happiness are secondary to them.

I haven’t made a fortune since leaving my job. No quite contrary. But without a doubt, I find happiness in the little things I do. With the little I gather from my everyday hustle, I have come to understand the meaning of living.