How many times have you thought to yourself “when I have a little more time I would love to learn photography / write a blog / read more about politics”.
We’ve considered taking life-drawing classes, dreamed about learning to sail or surf, resolved to reinvent our non-work wardrobe and re-introduce a creative flair. When we have a bit more time.
On Friday evenings at après-work watering holes like Ryan's Bar and Ivy, we blend and mingle in our collars, blazers and celebrate the advent of the weekend. We air-kiss, shake hands and share drinks with like-minded young professionals, the ties loose and the shirts colourful in recognition that we’ve survived the week. We’ve closed the deals, reviewed the reports, turned off the laptops (though not the blackberry – never the blackberry).
Back in uni days, with time on our hands to write the blank pages of our future, we kept up to date with the latest fashions and invented our own. We experimented with music, discovered bars off the beaten track and supported friends’ bands playing at dodgy RSLs. We found excitement and difference down random lanes and sketched drawings of the characters that we found there. We volunteered for charities, learned about other cultures and looked forward to the future. We were all exploring, discovering and creating our individual worlds, in our own way.
Five to seven years later, and we have all chosen different paths. Those of us in the corporate world have been both thrilled by new intellectual challenges and bored by monotonous days in the office. We can walk the walk, click our heels in the lobby, make PC jokes and small talk with executives in the lift, and look fabulous in a suit.
We still love music, but haven’t had as much time to listen to the new band our friends are tweeting about. Absolutely love reading, but have banned ourselves from picking up novels until we’ve passed the mandatory technical exam for work. Can’t really justify spending as much on quirky fashions when five days a week demand classic and tailored “business casual”.
And after five years of focusing on our careers, we’re starting to realise that parts of ourselves have been neglected. That we could have another 30 years of working ahead of us – but there is more than that. The creative spark, the other dimensions of our personality, the colour – they’re still there. Lying dormant, slightly neglected, but slowly reemerging. We remember that life doesn’t have to be confined to evenings and weekends, that Wednesday wasn’t always a hump day.
I have friends who have recently quit jobs for a variety of reasons - pursue photography, start their own business, spend a few years travelling. For those of us who enjoy our jobs but know that there is more to us than just a square in a suit – how can we find a balance?