Fat, Forty and Fired

My wife also gave me “Fat, Forty and Fired” by Nigel Marsh, the story of an advertising exec, whose company was bought out. Very funny and a great read, with some very reflective thoughts in between. I guess I’m not alone.

The more I thought about it, the more I wanted a change. I’d recently read a book called Manhood, by a Steven Biddulph, that argued that every man should be forced to take his fortieth year off. His theory was that the vast majority of men don’t have a life – they pretend to have one. In reality they are lonely, emotionally timid, and miserably, compulsively competitive. One of the main reasons they never get out of this tragic state is that they are enslaved by soulless jobs and careers that lead them to put their lives on hold until retirement.

Of course, when this arrives it is too late. While they work they are too busy to think and therefore they have empty lives where they never develop a rich and sustaining inner life.

As Biddulph puts it “Our marriages fail, our kids hate us, we die of stress and on the way we destroy the world.” I wasn’t sure if it was the effects of the medication i was on, but his year-off notion struck a real chord.

As a young man I used to have a vibrant social life both inside and outside of work. I don’t want to pretend I was a culture vulture but it would be fair to say I had the skill of burning the candle at both ends down to a fine art. Irrespective of how immature and irresponsible I was, the one thing my life wasn’t was one dimensional. Now I only seemed to work, prepare for work, complain about work or go to sleep – and dream about work.

Also, more worryingly, my “nice factor” was diminishing. I was sure all parents shouted at their kids but I was less certain they shouted at them quite as often as I did. I’d become a bit player in my family – leaving in the morning before they got up and arriving home after they were in bed (but early enough unfortunately, to catch Kate and bore the tits off her with yet more dull stories of my work travails).

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One Response

  1. Hey, I went out and bought this book when I saw this and I absolutely loved the book. Had a good laugh and some food for thought as well. Thanks for highlighting this.

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