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I get lost in my job.

What does it mean?

  1. I get immersed in my work so deeply even the outside world seems to cease to exist (because I'm concentrating so much on what I'm doing). (Which sounds kind of positive, in general.)
  2. Even though I concentrate on my job as much as I can (not paying attention to the outside world), I can't really solve some problems in my work. (Which implies strong negative feelings).

I think the first one's correct, but I need confirmation and/or correction, please.

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Heh. I came up with exactly the same two conflicting interpretations of that sentence. Getting lost in something usually has the first meaning, but a job? It's ambiguous. Is there more context that might help? – Marthaª Feb 18 '11 at 17:57
Curiously no, there isn't. :) Really, it's just this single sentence I was asked to translate. – OpaCitiZen Feb 18 '11 at 18:09
In the context of "job" I would assume the second, but if you had said "work" instead I'd've assumed the first. Can't explain why, but it has to do with what "job" versus "work" connotes. – ArtB Oct 27 '15 at 19:06
up vote 2 down vote accepted

The first interpretation (becoming immersed to the exclusion of other concerns) is correct, but that doesn't necessarily make it a positive. (The second would probably be better phrased as "I get lost at my job".)

The speaker may be referring to "being in the zone", or may be saying "I could get drunk and stay that way, but I've chosen to hide from the harshness of reality in an artificial process instead". One is becoming one with the Zen of creativity; the other indicates a level of dysfunction.

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Thank you for the quick and helpful reply. – OpaCitiZen Feb 18 '11 at 18:35
I get lost in StackExchange. :) – morganpdx Feb 18 '11 at 18:50
Actually, "I get lost in my job" could be intentionally ambiguous. – Hot Licks Jun 12 at 14:35

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