When I have time...

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?


  1. So true and beautifully written! I think the best way to find balance is to first recognise this conundrum...that we spend 3 to 5 years being "individuals" while working towards... conformity? Life does not fit into neat uni-course descriptions, follow straight lines or turn out they way you expect it to.

    Recognise it, then decide to change it.

    Find time. Stop making excuses. Make different choices. Throw yourself into new challenges. Decide that right now is your life and if you don't do something differnt, this monotonous day will string into 1000 of them and you will be old and bitter!!!!

    But also realise that living your hobby and your "dream" isn't always what it's cracked up to be. Putting in the hard yards, working the sh*t kicker jobs and putting down the foundations of a good career will help you to grow and expand and perhaps come full circle to the wonderful, individual, you that YOU are! You cannot reap good things or really enjoy what you have until you have worked hard for it I say...

  2. When I read your blog - This quote came to mind....

    Choose life. Choose a job. Choose a career. Choose a family. Choose a fucking big television, Choose washing machines, cars, compact disc players, and electrical tin can openers. Choose good health, low cholesterol and dental insurance. Choose fixed-interest mortgage repayments. Choose a starter home. Choose your friends. Choose leisure wear and matching luggage. Choose a three piece suite on hire purchase in a range of fucking fabrics. Choose DIY and wondering who the fuck you are on a Sunday morning. Choose sitting on that couch watching mind-numbing spirit-crushing game shows, stuffing fucking junk food into your mouth. Choose rotting away at the end of it all, pissing your last in a miserable home, nothing more than an embarrassment to the selfish, fucked-up brats you have spawned to replace yourself. Choose your future. Choose life . . . (Trainspotting - My Fav Film)

  3. Hristina PiltzAugust 25, 2011

    ohh soo true..i kinda feel like author has listened in on the last 5 conversations I've had with friends...creepy! hang on did you write that blog post??

  4. Rachael GermannAugust 25, 2011

    Great post Danz, so true!!!

  5. Alexandra HsiaoAugust 25, 2011

    yep, that's us! year of exploration!

  6. Tracy HarberSeptember 07, 2011

    hey danz, love the post. For me, although I know I have sacrificed some things they are still in the background. I don't actively 'make time' for them because that would seem like I HAVE to do it, but as they are a function of things I enjoy, I just naturally do them - eg. going to a design gallery in surry hills tonight, sparkadia tomorrow night.

    On the other hand, I think it's equally as important to be doing something that you think is worthwhile in your career. A job should never feel as though it's going nowhere or it's a waste of time. I think it's important to have fulfilling jobs that expand horizons and grow you as a person in areas that you are interested in (sounds like corny rubbish I know but I believe it!).

    Personal and professional lives don't have to be mutually exclusive. In fact I think they should be overlapping.