Yesterday morning I needed to head to the other side of London for some work I had to do. I know it sounds a little strange if you don't live in London, but the "other side of town" is actually quite far away whether you travel by car and you're stuck in rush hour traffic or you take the Tube. London is a big place… Anyway, as there really is no point in trying to get across the city by car whilst everybody is trying to get to work, public transport it was. So there I was, at 8.30am wedged like a sardine into an already hot train carriage amongst all the commuters.
That's when I started to wonder just how people do that day in day out. Now, I'm not talking from some lofty, arty-farty ivory tower here, I know that most people would probably choose to do something else if they could. I actually mean how do they do it without going completely mad? How do people stand this kind of grind every day? I did it myself years back and it was hell. Since then I've happily worked from home and never regretted it. Every time I have to take public transport here, there are delays or cancellations and the trains are overcrowded which makes this daily routine even worse...
A little later I got to Liverpool Street Station. At that time of the day, the streets around it are packed mainly with people in smart (and an awful lot of not-so-smart polyester) clothes rushing to their office jobs. None of them look particularly happy or excited which isn't surprising to me. Working in an office for some company that has no interest in me as a human being, where profit is the only yardstick by which success is measured, that insists I dress in a certain way (will an uncomfortable suit make me more productive?) and where the typical day is full of meaningless meetings and business speak and motivational buzz words is my idea of absolute hell. Stick me into one of those cubicles in some mega corporate company (finance comes to mind) where I have to answer to some mediocre middle manager for five days a week and watch me fairly quickly turn into a depressed and anxious mess. I'm always surprised when I see all these people. No, they don't look overwhelmingly happy, but they don't exactly look miserable either. Do they detach their 'work being' from their 'human being' or do some people really like that kind of thing? To me, that's completely incomprehensible.
Anyway, thinking about all these things (in my defence, it was a long ride on the Tube) it occurred to me that I really do feel truly happy when I do the things I have given up my employment status for (ok, still working out my notice, but the official letter has been received etc.). When I style, cook, bake, photograph. All the anxieties that came with my work life are disappearing. I feel like I'm finally doing what I am meant to do. I will never be a millionaire, but that's ok. I would happily trade all the money in the world for being able to feel fulfilled in my life and happy with my work. The fact that I carry on "working" after my work has finished and that I decide to do a little styling and photography (like here) just for the fun of it tells me that I really am doing the right thing. My work doesn't actually feel like work (since work is generally associated with at least some sense of malaise and serving the powers above) but is just something that I'm passionate about and that makes me happy. And what in the world could be better than doing something we're passionate about every day? That's how I know I have the right job and that, to me, is worth more than a big pay cheque.