“A person who has not done one half his day’s work by ten o’clock, runs a chance of leaving the other half undone.”
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
“A campaign for a 4 day week you say? Let’s vote for that!” said …. pretty much everyone.
Dreaming aside, it actually did happen. From 1st January to 7th March 1974 UK Prime Minister Edward Heath initiated a 3 day week as a measure to save electricity during a rather torrid period brought on by the second major coal miners strike in two years.
If we could travel back in time to the United Kingdom between 1972 and 1974, I think we might find it was rather a dark time – and I don’t just mean because the lights were turned off.
‘Tis the season – children have returned to school, summer holidays are over, work is busy.
The character, Joe Fox, played by Tom Hanks in You’ve Got Mail (1998) says: “Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”
I’m thinking about work: What does it look like? What does it mean? Does it define us? Should it define us? If we don’t get paid for it, does it still count as work? What good am I actually doing … since I’m not a charity worker, doctor or in any other noble profession?
What does work look like?
In Barking, a dear friend and massively talented playwright, has been working on her first film. She is doing it on a ‘next-to-nothing’ budget and has employed practically unknown (or literally unknown) talent like myself. She’s entrusting us with her dream, for which she left her well-paid job at the BBC. Eek! She’s lost about 2 stone and she’s not sleeping very well, but she’s doing it! Phew, brave girl!
In East London, my father retired more than 7 years ago, but still dreams of work and often thinks he’s actually still at work – during the night, in a wake-sleep state, he holds loud meetings and worries about paying workers and “doing the books.” Every day and night my mother looks after him. It’s super difficult – in ways I can’t even begin to explain – every day. I’m so so proud of my mother.
In Fulham, Hubby is furiously busy, yet there is always more to be done. “Do you talk about work at home?” friends ask Hubby and me. “Yes, I’m afraid we do.”
My work? Business, writing, studying French – a smorgasbord of fun and challenges. I am one of the lucky ones. I get to do my creative stuff and also dabble in the running of a business – always accompanied by a dash of over-self-analysis… so …
When I fall off the positivity wagon, I remind myself (or Hubby reminds me) that having a growth mindset in work and life, means accepting and expecting that challenges, problems and being on a ‘leaning curve’ are GOOD THINGS.
Perhaps work is simply what we make of it?
“I am blessed with work,” says old Marty O’Reilly (played by Carroll O’Connor) in Return to Me (2000):
Work and life certainly keep Hubby and me (and undoubtably you too) on our knees.
10 blessings about work:
1. I’m a better person when I’m working (if a teensy bit too outspoken).
2. The challenging bits I used to run away from, I now ‘enjoy’ – though it’s true that I’m prone to a bit of moaning. This is where the V.O.H. helps. Poor Hubby has a lot to put up with.
3. It’s true I get more done on my busier days, especially if I have a productive morning.
4. I’m on a never-ending learning curve.
5. Further to number 4. I’ve discovered that I don’t actually know everything – sorry teenage Nyama!
6. The curiosity, which gets me in trouble in National Trust Houses, is handy in work.
7. I need holidays less than I did when I was in teaching. God bless the teachers.
8. I’m certain that work shouldn’t be your everything, but that it’s good and a blessing.
9. In my work, paid or unpaid (I do a fair amount of unpaid), I get a chance to have my say, meet interesting people, encourage others, widen my skill-base and see the world – even if that’s just a business trip up to Hull.
10. I’m an idealist, so I still go on hoping that whatever I do will make some small difference in the world.
If your work is … something important, or just a stepping stone, or if you’re making beautiful hand crafts on the side or if, like Dolly Parton says in the film Straight Talk (1992): “They got (you) busier than a one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest.” – keep your chin up!
And if you’re looking for work, don’t give up.
P.s. The V.O.H. is the voice of Hubby which I mentioned in my blog about Norway.
P.p.s. In other news, tonight we are going to a football match – for free. Due to noise, litter and traffic jams in the area a few weeks ago for a visitor’s Saudi vs Saudi match, the club has offered free tickets to residents living around Craven Cottage -#comeonthewhites #hazardsoflivinginfulham #whoonearthareburtonalbion?