This is a difficult question to answer. It was easy enough to make the decision to do 12 jobs in 12 months, but now that I’ve done them (I finished in December last year) and have to write up the stories, I’m faced with strong internal reluctance to get started. Part of me knows that what I did last year was unusual and people, presumably, will be interested.

I’ve just finished a decorating job and it’s always really hard to transition from “normal” work to the introspective task of writing. I feel a strong pull towards YouTube, catching up on the news, sharing silly messages on WhatsApp, organising my next journey, cleaning the house, washing up, going for long walks — doing anything other than looking into my thoughts, feelings and memories. Avoidance is the name of the game

They say that money makes the world go round but the same could be said for jobs. Without jobs people would be broke and they’d also be without a daily structure, a routine that gets them up in the morning and pulls them through life. 

Most jobs last for years, some for decades, and wouldn’t it be interesting to read about someone who did 12 of them in a year? When I’ve mentioned it to people they often ask questions: What was your favourite job? (Catering). How did you get jobs? (Networking). Did these jobs take you abroad? (Yes). Were you well paid? (Sometimes). Did you get fired? (Yes). What gave you this idea? (A conversation).

Funnily enough nobody has asked me why I did 12 jobs in 12 months or why I’m writing a book about it, and that’s why I’m writing this article as I think it’s an interesting question.  

I haven’t come across many books written about jobs, which is odd considering how much of our lives we dedicate to them. One of the most interesting aspects of jobs, in my view, is HR (Human Resources) — how companies recruit people. Everything I’ve seen and heard about HR professionals is appalling: their approach to recruitment is often idiotic, their value is questionable and if you ask someone who works for a big company they invariably have nothing good to say about HR. This gives me an interesting feature for each chapter — how did I get the job? The characters I worked with will be another interesting element in the book.

In terms of political context an interesting factor is A.I. (Artificial Intelligence) which is so clever that it threatens to take away many types of jobs. One of my jobs (working for the Post Office) felt like it was a role that will soon be replaced by machines; I felt like I was being trained and managed like a robot and the job itself (delivering parcels) is so micromanaged that when the machines take over they’ll know everything their human predecessors did, and do it better (at least in terms of maximising profits). 

Maybe all jobs will be replaced by AI and robots soon? This doesn’t worry me as there’s enough money in the system to pay every citizen a Universal Basic Income and people could work as carers, artists/writers/musicians, community entrepreneurs, charity workers, academics, or just follow their dreams. It just needs a change of attitude that fits with new technology, and if you think about jobs they are just tasks that were developed during the industrial revolution. Their central function in our society is never questioned. The technology has changed but our attitudes haven’t: to be “normal” you must get a job. 

I still haven’t answered the question about why I’m writing this book about 12 jobs? It feels rather arrogant to say “I’m writing it for people to learn about jobs!” Am I? How do I know if anyone is interested? What if they’re not? I don’t have an answer for these questions but what I can do is make it clear that I’m writing this for my own selfish purposes — because I think it’s interesting and I like to share my experiences in written form– and if nobody else agrees it won’t affect me too much. My pride, vanity and ego won’t be too bruised. 

The other purpose of this book is to let people know what I’ve been up to (a nasty voice in my head says “Nobody’s interested and you’re an arrogant shit for assuming that anybody is!”) I have learned to ignore these naysayers in my head. As someone who is always on the move I like to let people know what I’ve been up to. I do this with updates on Instagram, this blog and, sometimes, books. 

I find this blog a useful place to discuss ideas, some of which won’t make it into the book, and also my struggles with sloth, complacency and procrastination. You, the person reading this article, can help by writing a comment under here. Comments can help make the book better, as they sometimes challenge my thinking.

Finally, this is a good place to launch my new hashtag: #12×12


Rupert Wolfe Murray
Latest posts by Rupert Wolfe Murray (see all)