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 Tuesday morning, on my way to a meeting and I get pulled over for a random breath test. Policeman to me: “Have you been drinking madam?”. Me to policeman: “It’s 9.30 Tuesday morning Officer! Give me 15 minutes and I’ll be all over it *cheeky grin*.”  Policeman at me: *cold silent stare*… He clearly did not ‘get’ my humour. He promptly asks to see my driver’s licence, checks my car and waves me away (luckily he did not notice that I have yet to stick up my new registration label – I’m not sure he would have shared a laugh with me about that).

The exchange made me wonder. Was my (smarty pants) comment really that unfunny? Or was he having a bad morning? Or perhaps he just hated his job every day? Surely, had he ‘engaged’ with my banter, it would have made his job more enjoyable?

I often listen to my friends complaining about their jobs. But the challenge for most seems to be working out how many bad days it takes to justify leaving their jobs – or careers. For me, one of the most convincing signs that I needed a break from my corporate career was when I was no longer able to laugh and enjoy going through the day-to-day motions. When you spend so much time at work, I honestly think that it is not unreasonable to expect to be able to laugh at everyday stressful (and usually silly, in the grander scheme of things) situations. When the humour dies, I think it’s time to rethink your job/career choice. 

Have you ever taken a career break or changed career completely? What triggered your decision to do so? How did you know you had made the “right” decision? Or, are you thinking about a career break or career change? What do you think will tip you over the edge? I’d love to hear about your experiences.