Not Working, by Lisa Owens



Claire Flannery doesn’t like where her career is heading.

Somewhere between late 20s and early 30s, she is stuck in an unfulfilling job, working in marketing and doing the same boring things every day, over and over. Not being able to accept this being her future forever, she calls it quits.

And this is where it all becomes comically difficult, tragically funny, and a hilarious read for the rest of us.

Through diary-formatted chapters, we follow along Claire and her hopes of finding something she’s passionate about in life. Luke, her seven-year-long boyfriend is truly supportive.

But how easy is it to sitting at home, trying to figure out what to do next in your life, when your significant other is a successful trainee surgeon who pulls long hours at work, and is absent for long parts of the day? How are you to explain to your grandmother why you left a paying job without a hint of what you want to do next ? Can you stand your parents’ nagging? And what happens when you bump into your ex-coworkers, and they ask you how life’s treating you?

Humor, with the right dose of truth

Not  Working has been written with huge doses of caustic humor, consituting it a hilarious read. However, many people fail to understand that this is far from a superficial story. Lisa Owens succeeds in hitting all the right spots in everything regarding an unhappy person with an unfulfilling job, and the process described is surprisingly accurate.

Claire starts out as an incredibly optimistic person, who hopes to discover her passions quickly. As time goes by, we watch her get lost in menial everyday tasks, get bitter towards other people, get anxious about her future, stay home with her pj’s on for days. She gets less and less cheerful and she’s being told a lot (and in many different ways) that her choice to leave her job was a mistake. And all the while, Claire has yet to find what she is passionate about.

Live in Claire’s head for a little while

What is really precious about this story is that you don’t just follow it as an observer. You are inside Claire’s mind. You think like her, get bitter and angry like her, get desperate or hopeful. You live like her,  and, for a little while, you start to understand her.

Not Working is a mid-life crisis that happens too early in life, but it is absolutely realistic. More and more people realize the unhappiness of working long hours in tasks they are absolutely uninterested in, becoming, eventually, very unhappy.

Whether you read it and yell “that’s me!This is my life right now!” , or just categorize it as utter fiction and totally unrealistic, Not Working will, at least, be a very pleasant read, which will definitely make you laugh.