“Outraging My True Nature”

The eminent English writer George Orwell wrote an essay called “Why I Write,” which you can read on this semi-sketchy Russian website. (Just kidding, it doesn’t look sketchy at all. It’s just so random that there’s a site with a Russian domain devoted to an English-language writer.) In the beginning, he says something that I have been thinking about for several months now. The emphasis is mine.

From a very early age, perhaps the age of five or six, I knew that when I grew up I should be a writer. Between the ages of about seventeen and twenty-four I tried to abandon this idea, but I did so with the consciousness that I was outraging my true nature and that sooner or later I should have to settle down and write books.

Now, I cannot take credit for discovering this wonderful quote. It was actually in a book my mom read called Excellent Sheep, on page 98. You may have heard of it: it’s a screed against the Ivy League written by a former Ivy League professor who is, I believe, himself a graduate of an Ivy League school.

That book is not the point of this post, though. I want to go back to Orwell’s phrasing: “outraging my true nature.” It’s kind of a funny turn of the phrase, but when I read it, I knew exactly what he meant by it. You see, dear readers, a part me feels like I have been outraging my true nature, off and on, since mid-2013 or so. I admit, I didn’t particularly enjoy graduate school, and I often do not enjoy working at The Bank. I am not sure if the specific place I work at is the problem, or the banking industry as a whole, or even the broader category of financial services in general is the problem. All I know is it’s really high time I admitted this: my true nature feels outraged!

I’m not sure what the solution to this problem is. Yes, finding a new job is the obvious first step. But a new job doing what? The same thing I’m doing, but at a different company? Something financial but not at a financial services firm? I used to think that going back to school for a PhD was the answer, but now I’m not so sure I would enjoy that, either.

At least when Orwell’s true nature was outraged, he knew what he had to do to solve it. Granted, it wasn’t easy, but at least he knew the solution. I remain unsure of the solution to my problem.

At least I have admitted it, though. Now I can begin to search for a solution and hopefully solve it in 2015.