2005 to 2018

4 posts in this topic


I leave uni with a business degree.
I figure if I can understand businesses, I can help them solve problems and make money.
I like the idea of becoming a management consultant.
Until I find out the hours are long and there aren’t many entry-level jobs.

I have an overdraft.
Because last year I had no money and I wanted to go skiing, so I got an overdraft.
I decide to get some temp work.
I find a job stapling bits of wrapping paper together in a warehouse.
I do the wrapping paper job for a couple of weeks until it ends.

I feel stressed and disappointed in myself for not trying harder to find better work.
I get a job packing data sticks in another warehouse. It’s better than the previous job.
I get asked to test some graphics cards.
I fry the graphics cards because I’m tired and not concentrating properly.
I get asked to go back to packing data sticks.

I maintain an active social life with the friends I made while I was at school.
I hang out with my friends three to four times a week.
I live at home to save money.

The data sticks job ends. My dad tells me I should become an investment banker.
I go and see a hedge fund manager who lives down our road to get experience.
I don’t really understand what he’s talking about so I stop seeing him.

I call a load of London temp agencies.
I get some data entry work for two weeks at a large Indian bank.
I’m the only non-Indian guy in the office, apart from one other guy.
When the temp job ends, I call more agencies.

I get a contract for some admin work, refunding fraud victims at a publishing company.
I attend a couple of interviews during lunchbreaks and before work.
I take an online IQ test on my lunchbreak and score 136.
I buy the videogame Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and spend a lot of time playing it.


After nine months, the admin contract ends.
I quickly get a temp-to-perm job as an expenses clerk at a financial services firm.
I start playing six-a-side football on Monday nights.
For some reason I find the job difficult and don’t get on with the people.
After three months I’m told to leave.

I get back in touch with various temp agencies.
One of them gets me an interview at the large audit firm, PriceWaterhouseCoopers.
I attend the interview and I’m offered the job.
I find the work at PwC stressful. I work at least an hour of overtime every day.
I write in my diary that my days in this job are numbered.


I continue socialising outside of work, going to the pub three to four times a week.
I continue playing six-a-side football on Monday nights.
I think about work a lot and keep writing in my diary that I have a lot to do.
My three month review at work goes well.
I dig out my rollerblades and go skating around London for two hours.

I lie on my bedroom floor and cry from work-related stress.
I become angry about something at work and break my phone in half.
I get made permanent at work.
I buy a new stereo and a 42“ plasma TV.

I discover the videogame World of Warcraft and play it a lot.
I start working out how many hours I can playing Warcraft in my free time.
I continue feeling stressed about work and make mistakes.
Our six-a-side football team does well and finishes high in the league.
I attend a work team-building day at the Emirates stadium.


I continue socialising, roughly three times a week.
I make six vague new year’s resolutions but make no effort to track them.
I reach level sixty in Warcraft.
I continue to find work stressful.

I get angry about work and break my phone and security pass, then throw away my keys.
It’s the third phone I’ve broken in anger since joining PwC.
I replace my phone, my security pass and my keys.
I briefly consider looking for another job but don’t do anything about it.

I book a meeting with HR but then cancel it and book a holiday to New York instead.
I paint my bedroom yellow.
I get food poisoning in New York.
I alternate between visiting tourist attractions and being ill.

I get back from New York. The world economy collapses.
I get sent to Lehman Brothers in Canary Wharf to work on the insolvency.
I get to make lists of bankers that I think should keep their jobs.
I stay up ‘til 2am making a graph of the bank’s intercompany debt.
A reporter asks me for comments on my way home from work. I decline.

I start tracking in my diary how much exercise I get and how much fruit I eat.
I return back to the London Bridge office and start reviewing large insurance deals at work.
I find my new role more interesting and less stressful than the administrative work was.


I come up with ten categories under which a person could assess how successful their life is.
I regularly go out and run one or two miles for exercise.
I start to think I’m getting more heart palpitations than usual and worry about my health.
I see a doctor, who tells me I’m fine.

I meet an actuary and date her for like a month.
The actuary breaks up with me.
Getting dumped makes me feel insecure and inadequate.
I resolve to move out of my parents house and start studying insurance.
I go on holiday to Rome with a few friends.

I study for one module of an insurance qualification.
I take two weeks off work and spend them studying and playing Warcraft.
I sit an exam and get a certificate.
I try studying for another insurance module.
I get angry, throw the insurance book across the room and break my TV remote.
I decide to stop studying insurance.

I take a Mensa home IQ test and score 148.
Mensa invite me to sit a supervised test. I don’t bother attending.
I continue to track my exercise, my fruit consumption and other things.


I continue to socialise, going to the pub with friends on average three times a week.
I go skiing in Austria for a week.
I visit Madrid for a long weekend.
A senior manager I work with says she’ll support me if I go for a promotion.
I canvass support from other colleagues and get promoted.

I continue playing Warcraft a lot.
I go on holiday alone to Toronto for a week.
I find out a kid from my primary school is now a gambling addict.

I frequently work evenings and weekends.
Sometimes I go out and run five miles during the evening or weekend.


I come across Tony Robbins while browsing through videos on YouTube.
My sisters’ friends put a post on Facebook saying they’re looking for a housemate.
I move out of my parents’ house and in with my sisters’ friends in East Dulwich.

I run from my new house to the Shard and back.
I stop playing Warcraft.
I play Mario Kart and sing karaoke with my housemates.
I draw pictures on the whiteboard in the dining room.
I get some Tony Robbins CDs, invest in a bond and sign up to a 10k run.

I complete the 10k run.
I get up early and go for a walk every day for a month.
I run fifteen miles and sign up to a marathon next year.
I download the dating app Plenty of Fish.

I run twenty miles.
I discover TED talks and watch a bunch of them.
I discover Gary Vaynerchuk through his TED talk and start following him.
I visit Ikea and buy a plant for my room along with a nice red blanket.


I make a resolution to go to bed earlier this year. I don’t follow through on it.
I start getting into work at 8:15am rather than 9am, to get more done.
I increase the volume of networking events that I attend after work.
I go on holiday to Vegas with my family for my mother’s 50th birthday.

I catch gastroenteritis, become dehydrated and take a week off work.
I go through a two month phase of making brownies.
I perfect my brownie recipe and share it with friends.
I read a third of the Companies Act 2006.

I run most of the Edinburgh marathon but walk the last two miles.
My job becomes more administrative. I get bored and ask for a change.
I get sent back to Canary Wharf on secondment to the Lehman Client Money team.
I feel like the secondment is a big change. I get kind of stressed.

I notice that I’m frequently staying up late and turning up to work tired.
I attend an intense, interactive insolvency simulation course.
I decide that I prefer “back office” to “front line” insolvency work.

I date a Spanish girl almost daily for a week. She speaks very little English.
I book a trip to the Polish Tatra mountains and go walking there alone for a week.
My parents get divorced. I don’t feel like it affects me.
I date a couple of other women.
My role on the Lehman secondment becomes more complex. I find it hard.


I go on a date with a 19 year old.
My boss discovers I suck at complex financial reporting.
Especially when I’m tired. I do some good regulatory work though.
I talk to a few people and arrange another secondment for myself back at PwC.

Our team’s HR director finds out about the secondment.
He says I probably shouldn’t just arrange secondments for myself without telling HR.
He agrees to it though.
I start working in a new team. I find the work hard and the people insular.
I create a matrix of all of my feedback at work from 2006 to 2012.
I continue dating various people.

I get terrible feedback from a Lehman manager and tear the curtains off my wall.
I screw up a project handover and get thrown off the project.
I stick around in the team for a few weeks before leaving and help to sell and off-license.
There’s a leak at the off-license which requires a plumber to fix it.
I can’t find a plumber who takes corporate Amex so I pay the £358 fee myself.

I talk to my people manager about moving back to my old team.
He shows me a job spec. It looks too difficult but I take it anyway.
Outside work, I binge-watch Netflix, binge-eat junk food and often stay up late.
I realise that at some point I might have to leave PwC and take a huge pay cut.

I inadvertently end up dating women from quite a few different countries.
I chat online a lot to a woman who lives in Brasil, who I never meet.
I book a solo trip to Turkey but oversleep and have to reschedule the flight.
I meet a Turkish paragliding instructor who notices how lost I am
The instructor shows me a photo of a guru and suggests I look him up.
On the plane home, I read the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

By this point I’m using several dating apps.
I spend three days in a very untidy council flat with a woman in her mid forties.
The woman shows me an OSHO video. He looks like the guru from the photo in Turkey.
I watch quite a few videos of OSHO on YouTube.
I catch a train to Grantham in Lincolnshire for a date.
I chat to women online so much that I feel overwhelmed and have to speak to a counsellor.
I go for a drink with my boss, which I enjoy as I have a crush on her.


I make several resolutions and do nothing about them.
I feel like a loser for not having a career, a house, a car or a girlfriend.
I experience an ususual spell of happiness that lasts three days.
Sometimes I take the train aimlessly into the city and walk around.

I stay up late and am often tired. I eat a lot of junk food.
I download Tinder.
I sort of date a Lithuanian girl for nine months.
I start writing a book about myself.
I turn thirty and complete a Monopoly board pub crawl.

I continue dating.
I visit Kerala in southern India for my housemates’s wedding.
My boss tells me I’ll be “destroyed” in this year’s apprasial unless I improve.
When the appraisal comes, she refuses to give me a rating.
The moderators don’t know what to make of this.
They average out my ratings from other projects. I get a reasonable result overall.

I start overseeing and editing a technical newsletter at work and write several articles.
I start working on another project.
Several months in, my boss takes me into a room at 6pm on a Friday.
He explains I’m not performing well enough.
I try to reason with him. He disagrees.

I approach another manager at work for advice on managing my workload.
She says to pretend the tasks are ants and elephants and that I have to kill them all.
When I press her, she admits she doesn’t really know how she manages her work.
I write in my diary that my days in this job are numbered.


PwC issue us all with the book StrengthsFinder 2.0 by Tom Rath
I sit down one Saturday morning, order a pizza and take the StrengthsFinder test.
The questions are all situation-independent so I score straight down the middle.
The result is that the online algorithm can’t score my test.
I read through the book myself and pick out what I think my top strengths are.

I start thinking about attributes that I have in common with each of my parents.
I sketch out an early draft of my attributional family tree.
I read The Road Less Travelled by Scott Peck.
I slowly stop socialising apart from the occasional drink with a friend.

I get given a 4 rating at work, which is the lowest rating.
I take a day off work to de-stress.
I read Sapiens by Yuvah Noah Harari.
I go on holiay alone to Latvia for a week.
I become responsible for another team newsletter at work.

I get moved on to working on the administration of a Lehman group company.
I make mistakes and fail to take enough responsibility on the project.
I watch Shelly Kagan’s open Yale undergraduate philosophy module on Death.
I read an article containing Gurdjieff’s indelible advices to his daughter.
I visit the PwC careers service to learn more about other departments.
I discover the messaging therapy website 7 Cups of Tea and become a listener.


I develop uncontrollable anxiety and start visiting a psychotherapist weekly.
Within weeks I am more emotionally stable. I continue seeing the therapist.
I write an article about Blockchain for the team that I work in.
My therapist says I may be suffering from a lack of relationships.

My landlord falls ill. My housemates and I are given notice to move out.
I listen to an audiobook of The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky.
I continue dating various women.
I move in with three strangers on The Isle of Dogs.
I feel nervous about interacting with my new housemates.
I live off takeaways for two months rather than using the shared kitchen.

I receive a 4 rating at work for the second year in a row and am issued a written warning.
I attend a disciplinary meeting with three senior people.
I’m put on report for a second time at work.
I work even longer hours and sometimes hide on the seventh floor to work extra overtime.

Outside work, I discover an online Christian chat room.
I sometimes visit the chat room to interface between believers and nonbelievers.
My boss rants at me for 45 mins about some letters.
I spend 3 hours trying to deal with the rant and then give up and go home.

I hand in my notice at work.
I write a ten page account of why I’m leaving, covering the last five years.
I start dating a woman called Hetal.
My old boss gives me the book Homo Deus by Yuval Noah Harari.
After ten years at PwC, I leave the firm.


I update my LinkedIn profile and add contacts.
I try to start looking for work but don’t feel ready.
I feel uncomfortable being in a relationship and break up with Hetal.
I spend a month playing World of Warcraft.
I publish fifteen short stories on the writing website Medium.

I start looking at jobs and register with lots of agencies.
A CEO at a startup invites me to an interview because he likes my blog.
I spend on average one or two hours a day job searching.
I apply for over a hundred training jobs.
Hetal gets in touch. We meet twice, then part ways again.
I discover Leo Gura and Teal Swan and watch some of their YouTube videos.

I spend a month applying for a training job at the law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer.
I start the job and realise I’m uncomfortable single-handedly arranging large training events.
When work finishes, I go back into the office to try and understand things.
I lie around drinking cans of beer in the park trying not to be stressed.
I talk to HR about how I feel and resign after little more than a week.

I start cycling along the canals and continue writing on Medium.
I apply for over a hundred writing and editing jobs.
I make a website for my mother’s boyfriend.
I visit two psychologists to see if I have any diagnosable conditions or disorders.
I try several strategies to cope with the noise my housemates make after 10pm.

I read From Bacteria to Bach and Back by Dan Dennett.
I watch the film Into The Wild about the life and death of Chris McCandless.
I write several short articles using the content mill Copify.
I live for a week on tinned curry and frozen vegetables.

My therapist suggests I see a life coach.
I buy a printer and a pack of plain A4 paper.
I spend a week putting together a folder of information about myself.
I catch a cold and create a sauna by sellotaping the kettle switch on for thirty minutes.
I start volunteering for a couple of hours a week at a mental health charity.
I spend a month searching for and meeting with various life coaches.
I choose a coach. Her name is Sarah. We meet in Clapham.

I start blogging daily and spend a lot of time working on the blog.
I divide my time up between blogging and working on the coaching exercises.
I attend a talk about the afterlife at Watkins bookshop.
I attend a conference at Google on marketing tools for non-profits.

The noise from my housemates at night becomes unbearable.
I become extremely tired and irritable.
I stay up until 3am most nights and walk around Canary Wharf to avoid my housemates.
I decide to move out and put all of my time and energy into house hunting for a month.
I continue blogging daily and watch the film The Martian.
I spend a night at an Air B&B in Neasden to get a good night’s sleep.
I discover and start following Jordan Peterson.

Miraculously, I find a room for rent on the same road that I used to live on in East Dulwich.
I interview for a room along with another guy. The landlord chooses me.
I sell lots of my posessions. I leave the Isle of Dogs suddenly.
I move back to East Dulwich.
I make a list of forty recruiters and spend a day calling them from sunrise to sunset.


I continue with the career coaching exercises.
I take long walks to try and sleep better. It doesn’t really work.
I make more calls to recruiters and send them my CV.
I focus on searching for marketing or communications jobs that involve writing.

I commute to the Barbican and the Ideas Store at Canary Wharf to use their free Wi-Fi.
I often think glumly about how I wound up unemployed and living in someone’s loft at 33.
I meet an ex-housemate who’s unhappy at work and pretend to be his career coach.
I participate in a research study about people with leaky heart valves.

I attend an open evening at Birkbeck about studying psychology.
I apply for a part-time job as a university note-taker for disabled students.
I attend a test for the job by phone but when I dial in, all I hear is a newscast.
I take notes on the newscast. The recruiter is impressed and gives me the job anyway.

I start note-taking for an IT student at a University of London campus near Whitechapel.
I watch Jordan Peterson’s Maps of Meaning psychology lectures on YouTube.
I meet up with Hetal for a drink.
It snows heavily. I enjoy this very much and walk home in it.
I do a good job of balancing the note-taking work with looking for jobs.
I take on another student, who reads Maths and Economics.

I stop receiving long emails each day from Hetal.
I stop writing a daily blog after eight months.
My grandad passes away and I attend his funeral and burial in Durham.
The note-taking job finishes for Easter, with only revision lectures afterwards.

I attend an interview for a communications job at the Royal College of Surgeons.
The college says they like me but they’re putting the job itself on hold.
I start looking for administrative temporary work and meet with several agencies.
An agency gets me an interview at the Government Legal Department in Croydon.
I write From Balls of Dust, a story on Medium about the evolution of consciousness.

I start working in Croydon. I find the people friendly and supportive.
The toilet in my room leaks so I stop using it for seven months.
I continue building up the folder of information about myself that I started last year.
I start to feel calmer in general than I have been since about 2012. Possibly ever.
I make a smaller folder about the job I’m doing, containing all kinds of relevant information.

I take several personality tests. I review and compare them.
I go out and cycle really far, then spontaneously get drunk and hug a stranger.
I start recording my thoughts on my phone.
I copy the thoughts from the phone to an Excel spreadsheet monthly and categorise them.
I create a collection of self-help concepts and keep it on my phone for reference.

I buy a new gaming laptop and start playing World of Warcraft again.
I apply for a permanent job in the team that I work in.
I score 98% on the verbal reasoning test but fail the judgement test.
I continue playing Warcraft and practising the judgement test.

- End of 2018 -

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Hey Dan,

I like your methodical overview of your years

2018 seems to be your most self scruitinising year- especilly with logging your thoughts etc

I don't be on this forum often, but I searched "audit", since I am also in that field, in the same company as you were.

Keep up the good fight- see you on the forums


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Thanks, friend

Edited by Dan502

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I woke up this morning thinking about this post of yours from a few days ago and your style of relating. As I was pondering, this scene from MEETINGS WITH REMARKABLE MEN came to mind.

? Thanks for sharing. ?

"To have a free mind is to be a universal heretic." - A.H. Almaas

"We have to bless the living crap out of everyone." - Matt Kahn

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