What’s the plot line of your work life story?

Do you have a story, a narrative, that describes your career or work life?

Seven plots

I may not be in agreement with journalist Christopher Booker’s views on climate change and evolution (see his Wikipedia profile, here), but I’m intrigued by his thoughtful tome, The Seven Basic Plots: Why we tell stories (2004), in which he posits there are seven basic plot lines that continually recur in literature and drama:

“Overcoming the Monster”

“Rags to Riches”

“The Quest”

“Voyage and Return”




Let’s apply the plots to work

Does one of these plot lines describe the arc of your work life?

Perhaps you started in the mail room and ended up in the executive suite, a genuine “Rags to Riches” story.

Maybe you’re in a good position now and can look back at less-than-wonderful jobs as genuine comedies.

Or maybe you’ve been hit by a layoff or derailed by a workplace bully or harasser. If so, hopefully tragedy will turn into overcoming the monster, rebirth, or a successful quest.

An extra credit assignment

If you’re trying to find your way to a better work situation, think about taking pen (or mouse) in hand and writing how you want your story to come out. What are the obstacles and challenges? What are your resources, and how can you identify more of them?

I hope it leads your story toward a better ending.

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