I really shouldn’t admit to this. I quit my job nine months ago to #livethedream. But this is my guilty secret – there are a lot of things I really miss about office life. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t regret the move. Great things happen when you shake things up. But working in a team can be great. A while ago a friend of mine posted on Facebook how much they loved their job, how awesome it was, and it was as refreshing as the proverbial breath of fresh air. It got me thinking that the whole #quityourjob narrative is a little misguided and clichéd. So while I’m loving my #freelancelife I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss:
I’m not talking inappropriate jokes and viral shares (although I miss them too). But trade intel. There are things you can only learn from human interaction. Trying to read insider trends from LinkedIn? Blughghg. Like I have the time for that.
No, not media but welfare. It’s not the salary I miss so much as the social welfare benefits and automatic pension plan. They’re the first to be sacrificed in lean times.
The office coffee machine
Brewing my own in an old school Italian espresso machine like the one on the left is all very hipster, but it’s a chore to make and a pain to wash-up. And there’s no one to flirt with, I mean talk to.
Routine isn’t all bad. You can achieve a lot when you settle in a role, stop worrying about the peripheral stuff and concentrate on the job in hand. Of course, you need to shake it about from time to time but that doesn’t meant that routine per se is all bad.
Ever noticed that humans are fairly tribal? We like belonging to clubs, sports teams, nations. We like being part of something. Being part of an office team, working together, pooling talent is awesome. One of my proudest moments in comms was placing some valuable editorial about Red Bull Illume in the Sunday Times magazine, but I couldn’t have done it without the whole panoply of designers and creatives and photographers I was working alongside.
No getting around this one. A regular pay cheque does have its perks. As every freelancer knows (especially freelance journalists), time spent chasing late payments very often nearly equals time spent doing the work.
Freelancers can never truly switch off. Booking real time out is very difficult when you’re juggling different jobs and clients and you never know what’s coming up. But if you’re in a proper job (but not always ha!) you can have a colleague answer emails on your behalf, at least cover your ass. You can plan ahead.
The global trend for flexible working arrangements whether working from home or that Caribbean hideaway is all very well. But… there’s something also quite nice about a fixed workplace with proper desk and chair.
Working at the kitchen table, on the sofa or while travelling on that train or plane is not always that great, unless your name’s Josh Sampiero, the only person I know who can work behind a screen while lying down on a floor. Yes, really, that’s him working under a desk on the left.