I have recently switched jobs. This is the main reason why I haven’t written on my blog for a while: I wanted to focus on getting familiar with the new household.

Many of my older friends are scattered throughout the world. When we occasionally get in touch I may bring up my switching jobs, and some of them ask about why did I do it.

Looking back at these conversations, I saw an intriguing aspect: I realized that the way I explain things depends on the other person. I try to explain in a way that they’d understand.

So one of the conversations looked something like this:

— How’s the new job?
— It’s alright, a lot of work, reasonably difficult, pushing it forward bit by bit.
— I know you’re not scared of work, you like challenges. How’s the team, the environment…?
— Both the team and the environment are acceptable and improvable — one can always improve things. Don’t know about liking challenges, but I like to work on things that I know I can improve and help with. When I don’t see how I can be helpful, or I seem unable to, for any reason, then I look for something else.

A subtle force at play here is that it’s my own perception of what they’d understand. An important implication of this is that I often avoid telling the story in its whole depth because I think that they may not understand. And so I tell a simplified version, use metaphors instead of the real thing, and often leaving out important nuances. This is sad.

A couple of days later, that conversation bubbled up in my mind again, and I looked at my conclusion again:

When I don’t see how I can be helpful, or I seem unable to for any reason, then I look for something else.

This seems reasonable when thinking about work: If I wouldn’t be able to help someone, why would they pay me?! But now, here is an interesting question: Does this apply to other kinds of relationships?