Posts Tagged ‘get smart’

Abused Wife Syndrome

July 1, 2008

No, this is not really about abused wives.  But I had a client use that phrase recently in describing his repeated return to the work of his professional training (yes, one more dentist).  In his mind, there was a strikingly similar pattern.  He would break away for something more rewarding, experience a challenge or setback, and return to the work he despised yet knowing it was where he could make the most predictable income.

Last night Joanne and I went to see the new Steve Carell movie, Get Smart.  In one poignant scene Anne Hathaway is afraid she is going to get sent back to a desk job, rather than being a field agent.  She moans and says, “Yes, I can imagine that, just like I can imagine scraping a cheese grater across my forehead.” 

Do you do your work only because of the paycheck you get?  Do you long to leave for something more enjoyable?  Have you tried another path only to return to what is more familiar?  Unfortunately, wives, dogs, and children often get trapped in these patterns of going back to negative and abusive situations.  The emotions and self-esteem issues there may be complicated and confusing.  However, the stakes are dramatically lessened with a “job.”  A job should not be the definition of “who” or “what” you are.  You can leave today and not change the overall purpose or direction of your life.  Your “Calling” is a much larger concept than what you do daily to create income.  No divorce is needed to walk away and into a more fulfilling and rewarding type of work.  

And you can leave the cheese grater in the cupboard.


“The tragedy of a man’s life is what dies inside of him while he lives.”  — Henry David Thoreau