Dear Auntie Em,
My name is Bond, James Bond and I’m having problems at work. I’ve always devoted myself to the job, which means I’ve been unable to settle down and build a life. Instead I’m jet-setting to exotic locations all over the globe, and having meaningless sex with foreign women. Oh I know it sounds like a dream come true but in all honesty it’s becoming downright monotonous. Aren’t there any women out there who won’t instantly fall into bed with me?
In addition to the existential dilemmas created by a never-ending supply of insipid international honeys the boss takes me for granted -he’s rude, and often barges into my digs in the early hours barking orders. He never bothers asking me anything, only ever calling meetings to suit his agenda. He even took my beloved Berretta away and replaced it with the bulky Walther PPK.
I’m often hunted down like a rabbit by the very clients I‘ve been asked to chase. If I get shot at, or taken prisoner, one more time I’m likely to have a nervous breakdown! My life is worth more than an egg. Faberge or no.
Over the years I’ve been done wrong and emotionally scarred. It’s given me a bad reputation and I’ve been called “damaged goods” by one particularly nefarious utilities provider. This job has led me to drink and womanise, and when I retire I’ll probably end up an alcoholic all alone. Even that pesky hench man Jaws managed to find love…although she did sport that rather unbecoming glasses and pig tails combo.
The one person who seems to understand me I can’t get five minutes with, because the boss always interrupts when I’m trying to arrange a rendezvous, with the delectable Miss Moneypenny.
I’ve come to the simple conclusion that I’m jinxed. Even the dozy barmaids never get my drink right. All I ask is for gin, vodka, Kina Lille, ice, served in a cocktail glass with a slice of lemon – shaken not stirred. Is that really too much to ask?!
I live each day as if it were my last, but its all starting to take its toll. I don’t want to end up like 008. That’s no way to go.
I don’t suppose there’s any advice you could offer?
Yours smoulderingly ,
James Bond 007
Dear Mr Bond
Work-life balance is clearly an ongoing issue for you. You’re all work and no play and it has made James a very dull boy indeed. In your line of work going part-time is an impossibility and retiring is difficult – but it is doable. You could change your identity, change your location, change your whole face in fact to make sure nobody can find you out and take their revenge for whatever unholy plan of theirs you’ve foiled. But I doubt you will do any of these things as this isn’t really about the ease of getting out of your line of work, is it?
The truth is James that you are afraid of who you will be if you give up your job. You are the job. It’s so closely rooted in your identity now that if you give it up you’ll be nothing. Of course this is only true on the surface. It’s a lie you’re believing because of your fear and if you started taking a little time out here and there now to discover who you really are when you leave the office – when the gun is put away and the invisible car goes to sleep in the garage – you perhaps wouldn’t feel so afraid of your inevitable retirement.
Retirement is inevitable Mr Bond. Whether you retire by choice because the bad guy finally evades you and you’re not as sharp as you used to be or whether you are simply retired by a bullet with your name on. Harsh words I know but I think you need a wake-up call. Too long have you wallowed, hidden behind the guise of a man who is simply too smooth to be true. It’s time to look in the mirror Mr Bond. To gaze beyond that jawline of steel at the person trapped behind it. Only by recognising who you really are can you become who you really want to be.
By I.S. Kallah and Helen Cox