In the landing flight path

A week into the New Year and it has been relatively quiet in the office. Clients seem to be taking stock, and projects and opportunities we discussed in the closing weeks of 2011 remain to be taken forward. It may the calm before the storm, but it has allowed time for some gentle housekeeping, and in particular sorting through and sorting out those old newspaper cuttings and articles I have squirrelled away.

These days it is much easier to store and retrieve on-line content (although given the number of apps I have used over the past few years – Instapaper, Evernote, Delicious and FT Clippings – the challenge is remembering which one: or did I just tweet the link?). But in my pre-digital life I was an avid clipper of anything that caught my eye, and the deeper recesses of my desk drawers are home to bundles of cuttings, yellow edged, and for the most part well past their sell by date.

But not all. As with any housekeeping, part of the pleasure is in finding things you had lost, or reminding yourself of things that you had forgotten. Given that this is the year in which I will change roles and leave the world of corporate transactional work, it was instructive to re-read one of Luke Johnson’s FT Columns, Learn to tame the ravening beast, ambition – and in particular his final paragraph,

Is there a moral in all this? I suppose it is that we must each know our limit, and resist the urge to overreach. Ambition is a ravening beast that must be kept in check, because even if we do not all formally retire, one day every one of us has to surrender. Better to go with dignity and grace than have the booty snatched from our enfeebled grip because we cling on too long.

Well, it has not quite come to this. Yet.

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