A Misguided Work Life a memoir and imaginings Part 1 – Marie L. Chopper

Marie has worked at a photocopy shop laminating pictures of young women for a paedophile, in a fish factory nearly losing her will to live, and in offices where the constant use of buzzwords meant learning another language.

Marie L Chopper’s memoirs and imaginings begin at twelve-years-old gluing apple boxes in her despotic parents’ shed. While the box glue dried she stood and brooded, resenting her predicament and working herself into a state of disgruntlement from which she never quite recovered.

During her somewhat idealistic twenties and thirties working overseas and in New Zealand, Marie gained clarity seeing the absurdity of work life, people, and everything in between.

“Children pressed their faces against the ice-cream cabinet glass and stared, their eyes and mouths wide like guppies, drooling at the multitude of ice-cream flavours, stabbing their snot-encrusted fingers into the glass to indicate their flavours of choice.”

Meet her co-workers, bosses, family and friends; from the unquestioning, intelligent and blissfully unaware to the bitter, institutionalised and unreasonable slow learners.

Marie’s is a haphazard and amusing quest for a not boring job often teetering on personal defeat. Her ever-present conflict for purpose in her work keeps her asking: is a job “just a job”?

My review

Normally this is not my kind of book, but hey sometimes you have to take a plunge and go for something out of your comfort zone. After reading the blurb, I was convinced it would be right up my alley after all.

So, I gave it a go and indeed, I truely enjoyed it. I saw some things of me in the author’s story and it made me feel more connected.

How many times do you hear the question : What are you going to do when you grow up? As if you have the slightest idea when you are around 12 years old. But society pushes us already, at an age you should only think about playing and enjoying life, to start making choices.

Often when parents have a business, children are asked (or forced) to help and to convince them they get paid peanuts.

Your first ‘job’ was not very satisfactory and you know you have to find somehing you really like. But what kind of job is that? You will only know what the job is once you have started doing it and realize you have made the right or more often the wrong decision.

The author and her partner take us on a journey from New-Zealand, to England, France and Japan and back to New-Zealand. We are treated to her work experiences and meet some colleagues.

It’s full of fun, but makes you also remember your own work life and the (wrong) choices you made because the job did (not) bring the joy you were expecting.

I loved the names the author invented for some collegues, bosses or people she met. She could avoid using their real names and in the meantime you got the exact picture of the persons, no descriptions needed.

If I have to choose a favorite parte, I would say the one about Japan because it’s a country I don’t know a lot about and it’s was nice you learn some facts.

Thank you, Marie L. Chopper for giving me the chance to read and review your book.

About the author

If satire, self-depreciating humor and a touch of idealism is your thing, then we could be friends. And if you lament for the human race while suffering the delusion that reasonable people will win in the end, you should read A Misguided Work Life. Growing up in New Zealand in the nineteen eighties my first job was gluing apple boxes for my despotic parents. During the riotous period that was my teenage years I watched The Simpsons which provided guidance yet little direction and confirmed my suspicions about people and life in general. At this time I decided a tertiary education was the answer. In my twenties I worked at a photocopy shop laminating pictures of young women for a pedophile while avoiding responsibility and career decisions; I believed I would find a better way to do life and career yet ended up working in a fish factory. My mostly-true stories about my haphazard search for a job I like are not politically correct and perhaps too-judgmental of people I’ve met. I have experienced a lot of absurdity at work and laughed along the way.

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