So I have a general feeling of ennui.

Want to go for promotions; like to be acknowledged for my skill and hard work; love being involved in things; LOVE the money.

But actually I don’t feel like working at all. I can’t wait to quit work. But if I did, would I regret it; would I miss the general busyness and miss people needing me? I know I’d definitely miss the money. And would I be just as bored or listless with whatever I filled my time.

Actually the only thing that has countered the feeling on ennui is finding out how it is pronounced. I have always said it, in my mind mind you, not out aloud as I knew I was wrong, en-u-i.

It’s actually on-we.

Those tricky French!

And thank heavens for the Internet. I never mastered reading the phonetic alphabet. It was a major stress in first year Linguistics for me.

/ɒnˈwiː/ See! Could you pronounce this as on-we.


16 thoughts on “Ennui

  1. Sometimes I think it would be nice to retire early but I also like the money, the feeling of being useful and needed, and even the structure of the days. I love time at home, but after about 3 days off, I get restless. I would probably look for a volunteer or part-time job!

    • Yes, same here, except about the three days off thing. I never get restless. Even after 3 weeks.

      But if a part-time job later on, following say earlier retirement, then why not now? That is what I ask myself. Wouldn’t that allow more time to do family, friend and me things?

      • For myself, I had a much-interrupted early career. To get 20 or 25 years of work in one place for pension purposes, I will need to work many more years (10-15). So I will stick around and take of that. If you don’t have to – it’s great you can explore your options!

  2. The thing about schools is that there are so many people in a day, so many balls to juggle…the adrenaline rush from the busyness and the highs and lows is hard to explain (and if you do, people just roll their eyes and say, “but you’re just a *teacher*!) It does get addictive though, the intensity and rush…

    Now that I’m back in the mix of it, I think I’d be shockingly bored without that ‘hit’ and the challenge each day. But then I look at the craziness of it all and regularly think that I can’t wait to quit. It’s hard to balance it all out to avoid burnout, and worse than burnout – ennui! (one of my favourite French words!)

  3. What a fun word to say! I’ve never heard of this before, but it fits me as well. I enjoy my job, but I don’t appreciate its time suck. If I could work for fewer hours every day (maybe 5-6 hours) and get paid the same amount, I think that would suit me perfectly.

  4. As someone who has been a 1950s-type housewife (but more slatternly) for longer than I care to think about, my thoughts are tending in the other direction now – is there something out there that I could actually do and get paid for? Hmm, such a terrifying prospect..

    • We could a two weeks’ wife swap, Jo! I am sure I can do I great job as a slightly slatternly 50s housewife. And I can definitely do reading library books. I can be trusted with your garden. (Before my work took over my life, I actually gardened.)

      I’m sure you’d be a dab hand at my job. You just have to not let some people know you are actually laughing at them, and not let others know you actually think ill of them. Besides that, it’s all good.

      Then we’d both know if we actually wanted to change!

    • I think only working 4 days would make a huge difference to my life. Unfortunately my job can’t be part-time or job shared. Like you I have to pay of the mortgage before I retire. I am smashing it with great force at the moment. Will still take 10 years.

  5. I am giggling at the role-swap idea. Slightly slatternly 50s housewife? Yep, I’ll join you in my ‘brunch coat’! As for the pronunciation of ennui: I think you have to say ‘ennui’ while experiencing actual ‘ennui’. I think that’s why I love the word. It’s almost onomatopoeic.

    • I can’t help but hear you on this – and I’m not even close to retirement!

      My mother quit her teaching job at the end of term 3 last year. She was over the drive, and the staff. Anyhow, she had lots of little jobs – visiting prac students, working on her PhD, and casual teaching and exam marking. And she walked about 10km total to and fro from the pool daily, where she swam some insane amount! Then, a few weeks into term 1, a school ‘headhunted’ her. She asked for no meetings, two late starts a week, and two early finishes. They said yes! Even though she’s working 5 days a week, it feels easier, with all the ‘extra’ time she’s wangled! Shame the kids are… not the brightest!

      • Oh, I like your mum’s style. I hate how teaching is often an all or nothing gig. 5 days, meetings, set hours, evening events. Maybe if I did 3 days a week, or could set conditions as your mother has, I wouldn’t feel so tired. I have set the goal of having another life – more reading, exercise, outings, friends.

        And I totally get your mother being over other staff.

      • I knew you’d ‘get it’! She’s delighted that took to all her demands, but I know it’s not something that’s very ‘off the shelf’.

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