“…it’s the story of my journey of learning that a job is more than just a job. It affects who you are, your character” – excerpt from How Parking Enforcement Stole My Soul by Ben Friedrich
How Parking Enforcement Stole My Soul is the autobiographical story of how Ben’s life and character are affected because of his job as a parking enforcement officer – his transition from an easy-going and friendly person who was considered by mothers as an ideal companion for their homely daughters to being grumpy, sadistic and a jerk. On a broader level, it is about the stress and emotional turmoil which results from doing things in your job which your heart and soul are not in agreement with, and the impact it will have on your physical and psychological well-being.
It is an engaging and enjoyable book. The first person narrative is like having an intimate conversation with a friend over dinner or a cup of coffee. It is a frank and candid account of Ben’s experience, without any attempt to make him look heroic or good (self-glorification is one of the most common pitfalls of autobiographies – and Ben has done a good job of staying clear of it). Although, he is a good performing officer (in terms of number of tickets), he is not an ideal one. Description of his failed romances is also very real and honest – not overly melodramatic. Also, the story is sufficiently laced with humor and sarcasm which keeps it from being too emotionally laden.
By the end of the book the message is loud and clear – you life is too previous to waste on the wrong job. You may think that it is just about the hours you spend while on work. But it is much more than that. It effects you as a whole, it defines and shapes who you are. If you are in such a situation, find an escape route. Sacrifice on material gains, if you must. Otherwise, momentary comfort may lead to life long regret.
PS: I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to review it