The Crossroads of Should and Must, My Journey So Far – Part II

It’s been over a year since I posted anything on my blog. It might have been a good idea because I am not the same person I was a year and a half ago. So this break from blogging might just have worked out fine.

I’d ended Part I of this essay by saying that I once again intended to begin searching for a full-time job that suited me better. And I did find one, an editorial one in a reputed multinational publishing house, that I really enjoyed at times. It did eventually lose its appeal, but the actual work itself never once failed to make me happy and satisfied with my work and capabilities.

Early last year (2016), however, I began to fall into the familiar slump of not being able to work on my creative projects, or even to take out time to read every day. This had been one of the reasons why I left my journalism job: I’d had neither the time nor energy to devote to what is my Must.

So, what is my Must?

Fortunately, I can easily answer this question now.

I am, first and foremost, a Reader as well as a Writer. I am an Editor, second. (I understand this might jeopardise my current job search, but so would an out-and-out lie. And I’d rather tell the truth.)

My inner Self is made up of the abovementioned three entities intertwined with other. Their way of functioning is somewhat confusing: for example, the Editor in me is an amalgamation of itself and the Reader and the Writer. In other words, I write like a Reader and an Editor. I edit like a Reader and a Writer. When I read, I am both the Editor and the Writer.

Maybe this is why I have editorial abilities that are a little different than those of my colleagues in the field.

Maybe this is why it doesn’t take too long for me to start feeling unfulfilled in a job.

So, the last time I experienced this, I realised that if I resigned from my job, it would mean no monies to invest in my creative work. So I was left with one option which I chose, even though I knew it would knock out all energy from me.

Hence, I actively sought opportunities that would provide me a creative outlet and, by extension, a deep sense of satisfaction.

This was also why we started Zabaan Writers’ Collective. This was why I started volunteering at T2F. This was why I spent weeks and weeks running off to the annual NAPA theatre festival, or other similar events, every day after finishing work.

To tell you the truth, my real Life only began when the clock struck 5:30pm every day, 6:00pm on Fridays.

All of the above was in spite of the satisfaction I gained from doing good work during the office hours. Whatever satisfaction I gained was only from the sweet messages I received from authors or manuscript reviewers, saying that it was a pleasure to work with me and thanking me for my good job. They never failed to make my day, and I will always cherish them. Honestly, I couldn’t have survived my time there if it wasn’t for these warm messages.

That’s all past now, all the bad stuff. Best to leave it behind in 2016.

The good stuff, though, has been amazing and satisfying, and I cannot leave it behind. Ever.

As Maria Popova of Brainpickings quoted Elle Luna in her article, it is necessary to be intimate with Should in order to better understand Must. And this is the most important thing I have learnt in the past year: What, exactly, is my Must, and what I Should do to achieve it?

I know for a fact that my Should, which consists of having a source of regular income, must become entirely subservient to my Must, which consists of all the things that make me happy to be alive and satisfied. In short, my creative work.


I am once again searching for jobs. This time, I am looking for something that pays enough so I can bear my expenses and am left with a certain amount that I can utilise for my creative projects. A job with regular hours that leaves my evenings free so I can devote two to three hours everyday to do what I Must do.

I also know that this is probably too much to ask. Yet, I don’t want to lose hope this time and settle for anything and everything that is even moderately well-paying.

This is how I hope to achieve the subservience of my Should to my Must.

It is quite normal to spend about five to six months looking for a suitable job, as I learnt from my Dad and my best friend. So, apart from earning a little to manage my expenses through some freelance projects, I could utilise the next few months in completing my translation project, maybe even preparing it for publication.

In any case, I have Zabaan, which, by end of this year, I hope to see it established enough so it can function without my constant attention next year.

And so it begins, a new chapter in my book.

This is me, now. A person who thrives on positive feedback (of course, this includes criticism as well) and good relations with people she works with.

I do, however, need to learn how to use negative feedback to improve, stand up to workplace bullies.


Looks like 2017 is going to be another year of learning.

Such fun!


P.S. What about your experiences in the job market? Have you managed to find satisfying work yet? How long did it take you to reach this point in your lives? Do share your experiences below.


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