Skip to content

Monday Musings: Challenge is a four letter word

I’ve had a lot of things going through my head today. At some point, I’ve thought they would be the right fodder for my normal Monday rant/vent/expression of slight concern but by the time I start writing something else has taken over. That may be more to do with the randomness of my thought process today, or that I can’t bring myself to analyse any of the problems in too much depth.

So in an attempt to put all of the other rubbish behind me, I’ve picked a discussion topic which is always close to my heart – the corporate challenge.

I may be alone in this, but I hate the word now. Absolutely despise it. If someone says to me “The challenge is” or “My challenge to you is” or “Ah, thats the challenge” I really do feel a rage building up inside of me.

Let me explain.

When I joined my current organisation, I liked the word challenge. I would use it on occassion, and especially at interviews – “I’m looking for a new challenge”; “While I like my job, it is not a challenge any more” etc, etc. Sometimes challenge and I would meet up at the weekend, when I had to do some decorating or take on another difficult crossword. Challenge and I saw each other quite regularly, but not exclusively.

However, shortly after joining my current workplace, I realised how quickly challenge can turn. Sitting in one meeting and being given one challenge wasn’t that rare to me, but two, sometimes three mentions of different challenges in a single meeting…. that was new territory.

Still, I was out to impress and donning my metaphorical sword, shield and sandals (quite fetching with a bottle opener on the sole) I slew each challenge with the requisite swiftness, with an eye on quality and risk. Afterwards, once the olive oil was metaphoricaly washed off my torso with a nice bath, I proudly took the hydra’s heads to my boss and dumped them on his desk. Of course, being a hydra, more heads/challenges would grow. And grow. And grow.

Challenge was used so frequently that I soon realised that it wasn’t as powerful as I had once thought, and in fact it was just an impotent word used to try and convey importance in the heat of the moment.

So now challenge makes me feel sick. Occassionally I look back on our heyday together and remember the good times, but the images quickly turn from summer days relaxing in the sun with a tuna cheese half-and-half to venomous exchanges and recriminations late at night over Skype.

Sometimes, I do miss the old challenge.

Published inThe Smorgasbord