It’s three years to the day (not date)* since I started working full time again after finishing my degree. It’s gone surprisingly quickly, but I’m pretty certain this work-life-balance thing people talk about just isn’t a thing.
The fact it’s taken me more than a week to find the time to finish writing this post only serves to further prove my point: we are all aiming to get something that doesn’t exist.
To think I sat down at my slightly wonky desk at the research company I worked for three years ago is to mock the fact that I still remember just what the shape of the stain on the carpet tiles reminded me of, that I still remember the frustration of that first week – not being able to just get on with it – and the way it shaped my own management style too.
Yes, reportees of the future: you can blame my first ever job for the fact that you arrive to about a hundred emails and calendar invites already in your inbox. Oh, and it was the bottom part of the Art Attack logo, actually, on that floor tile.
I suspect in reality it was just the mark of someone in the past dropping their mug of coffee when realising a massive mistake in a PowerPoint or something.
Since then, no matter where I’ve lived or worked I’ve spent most of my free time wondering where other people seem to get all of their free time from. All these people going to the gym, having hobbies and bettering themselves all the time are clearly using some kind of Bernard’s Watch to make it possible.
My day consists of getting up as near to 6am as my legs will allow, sitting on a train for a couple of hours, trying to remember that lunch is actually supposed to be a meal and then sitting on a train for a couple of hours immediately followed by attempts at remembering whether it’s the gas or electricity bill I’m supposed to have not paid. Or is it that I paid it twice? I don’t know; shall we have a Chinese?
I have got two theories about the whole work-life balance thing. Number one is that it’s a myth and, much like Instagram, is only done to make the rest of us jealous; number two is that these people who have a work-life balance are really just half-arsing a load of cool things to fill whatever 30 minutes they have left.
It’s a bit like when ‘The Administrators’ write to you after a company has gone bust to let you know that you’re getting 30p for every £100 the company owed you. It’s insulting but the best you’re going to get and at least you can Instagram the first few lines.
So, to find out – and celebrate my third anniversary of work – I’ve decided to sign up for a diploma course which takes about eight hours a week to do. For a year.
I’m already scratting about down the side of the sofa to see if I can find any of the 416 hours I’ll need.
If you’ve any tips of where to find them then let me know because I’m starting to get worried I might have to start doing something other than snoozing on the train.
As if to give this post some form of gravitas, it’s actually now a week later – but it was three years when I started writing. It’s just taken a while. Soz. My dog ate my keyboard.