Week 43: The show must go on

I thought this week was going to be relatively relaxing, but it has been intense! I don’t know if it’s because I lost a day of the weekend or what, but it’s been much more a struggle to stay awake and alert than usual. I’ve been going to bed at 9pm every night in an attempt at rejuvenation, but I still feel like a tightly coiled, very ragged, spring. I think I need to get involved in a sociable exercise programme of some sort. Let me know if you’re up for something like this. I’ve been trying to get people together for a kickabout for ages but so far to no avail.

  • Saturday was this year’s Interesting conference. I had a great day. All the sessions were good, and the bit I organised – Hack Circus – went like a dream, contrary to all expectations. I wrote up some background and rounded up some links on my other blog, but there are loads and loads of pictures and blog posts online about the various parts of the show if you’re interested in interesting. Obviously I got a gigantic kick out of it all, loved contriving a reason to hang out with some of my favourite people (and their machines) and am already having millions of unworkably ambitious ideas for future collaborations and events based on Saturday.
  • Monday. M’colleague Nicki and I went to a meeting at the London offices of a very swanky digital client. Remember the Facebook offices in The Social Network (it’s not Facebook!)? It was the closest I’ll ever get to that. They had a chill-out FLOOR for goodness sake.
  • Tuesday. I went on an all-day Digital Content Strategy training course. It was tiring, (as increasingly, everything seems to be), but good. Teacher was great, and I learned some stuff. Am still digesting and trying to process it as something I can apply to current work projects, but was definitely worthwhile. More details on request.
  • Wednesday. Subsumed in the urgent major client work. I managed to break up the day by having a meeting with Duncan, to pick his substantial brains about ‘storytelling’ work stuff. It’s always a pleasure chatting to him, and exciting too, because we have so many mad ideas between us and never know for sure where any of them will go. Then, in the afternoon, I attended my first ‘software for beginners’ informal training thing at work. Needless to say I found that to be dead good.
  • Thursday. The day was handed over almost entirely to the Urgent Client Thing. It went on and on, like a road trip with the occasional service station of a breakthrough. But these people I work with are clever, and if you stick with them long enough, stuff does happen.
  • I also posted a load of copies of Hackers!, and I learned that my newspaper is in the new issue of Bizarre mag, page 31. Just a little mention, but then, it’s just a little paper.
  • And today we have an extremely big, extremely important meeting.

Here’s the rest…

1. Tiredness is starting to become a real problem. Maybe it’s just the grinding gear change between worlds, and maybe it will go away. But work is my world now, and that’s just how I want it to be. It’s unfortunate that my hobbies are historically more tiring, exciting, and stressful than office work, which is why I am giving them all up, now (nice timing for the Bizarre mag mention of my paper, now neither quarterly nor new…)

I go to work, I work, I come home, I eat, have a bath, and immediately go to bed. It really feels like my life has run out of time, but is it bad that I don’t really care? I mean, I’ve had a good innings. I’ve done loads. Actually, I think I’ve done enough! To the point that throwing the towel in is something of a relief. I’m a reverse Reggie Perrin, and the weird thing is, it’s all fine.

2. I’ve become an incredibly dull evangelist of jobs. I’m like the reformed smoker of the freelance world. I keep telling people: you think you’re a special snowflake, you think you can’t work for other people, you think you’ve found the keys to the kingdom… but you may well be wrong. Freelance isn’t always the answer. For me, I suspect, it never was. Get the right one, and jobs are quite simply OBVIOUSLY THE BEST.

I’m lucky. I spent the best years of my life indulging whims and sometimes getting paid for it, then I got what appears to be the best job ever, at the best agency in London. And now from my position of supreme fortune, I just can’t stop recommending jobs to my poor, pitiable freelance friends. What are you doing with your life? Just go to work! It’s fine! It really is fine. I can’t recommend total abandonment of single-minded ambition enough.

And you might think you’ll lose something, but hey – it turns out you’re still you. As the Dharma says: wherever you go, there you are.

6 thoughts on “Week 43: The show must go on

  1. loulouk

    How odd. I am veering exactly the other way for same reasons of tiredness and time drains – but with added ‘I want to write for a living so I have time to ride my back in the sunshine inbetween’ and not anything to do with being a special snowflake. I’m really not. Some people think I can string a sentence together and some do not. All I know is that I love it very much, would like to do more of it, and don’t want to be tied to writing just one type of thing for the rest of my very short life.

  2. Jemima

    Tiredness is at least partly adjustment, based on what I’ve seen others go through.

    But regarding social exercise, my life was transformed by joining a taekwondo club. Tuesday evenings now entail training followed by a trip to the pub with friendly, sweaty people. Not for everyone, but perhaps worth exploring? Our club is TTA London – http://www.taekwondo-london.co.uk/ – if you want to give it a go.

  3. leila Post author

    Thanks Loulou, oh yeah – I’m sure you’re not doing it because you think you’re a special snowflake. Actually, I’m sure lots of people don’t, and I can’t speak for them. Like I say, I’m a crazed evangelist about this, and I can barely identify with anything beyond my own experience. And when I’m really, very honest with myself, I suspect I probably did think I was a bit different and special, the sort of person who couldn’t work for anyone but myself, simply because I’d never been able to find a job where I didn’t feel madly out of place…. until now. It’s a relief to finally be normal, and living the same life as most other people. But seriously: good luck with the freelance if you decide to take that step.

    Thanks Jemima, I will check it out.

  4. olishaw

    I seem to have the same problem with exhaustion and tiredness regardless of being freelance (like now) or being in a full time gig (like before).
    I’m not sure if that because I do my own things as well as work in both cases or not – But either way I cant see anything changing anytime soon, so I’m investigating other ways to combat it food, exercise and excitement seem to be helping.

  5. leila Post author

    Thanks, yeah…. I used to do a shitload of walking and now just about manage a half hour walk each way down the canal, every day. Seriously considering getting off the train at an earlier stop. Should get back into the yoga (breathing) too.

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