“Workin’ 9 to 5, what a way to make a livin’
Barely gettin’ by, It’s all takin’ and no givin’
They just use your mind, And they never give you credit
It’s enough to drive you crazy, If you let it”
― Dolly Parton
Awesome quote from the legendary Ms Parton and so on the money! As a doe eyed kid who was quick to learn and eager to excel, I never quite envisioned a life of servitude to the man. I dreamt of being a fashion designer, an author, a showbiz reporter, a news presenter… the list goes on. I was super creative and very artistic. Never in my ‘glimpses of the future’ did I see the drudgery of the office 9 to 5 as a part of my life. Aged 15, I completed a 2 week work experience placement (mandatory in UK secondary schools). Unfortunately, there were no work placements in any of the industries that I was interested in. The closest I could get to fashion design was a sales assistant role in New Look Brixton – which in my young days actually seemed exciting (after years of temping in luxury retail to support myself through uni I wish I could have slapped my younger self upside the head). My form tutor thought that I would be wasted on such a placement and had me relocated to an impressive office building in the city. Those 2 weeks were the longest weeks of my life. Endless coffee making, manual filing, photocopying, and more filing. No one showed any real discernible talent or flair, and absolutely nobody seemed remotely passionate or enthused about their job. When it was over I vowed to never work an office job again. I hated every second of it and couldn’t understand why anyone would choose such a life.
Fast forward 10 years, having graduated and completed a number of internships at well known magazines without the promise of a job, I too became entrapped in the rat race. Despite being involved in an industry I was truly passionate about and working with dream fashion clients, the plan was to hustle hard ‘for the Man’, save as much as possible then break free with enough money to fund my personal business goals and dreams. For a while I was able to juggle my full time job with extra curricular dream chasing. But soon enough, the 9 to 5 drudgery slowly began to creep in and wear me down. The office politics, cliques, excruciating work hours and petty menial bullshit pretty much took it’s toll leaving me too exhausted to chase my dreams. I’m a creative type. This way of working actually wasn’t working for me. I became unhappy. I got writers block. I started living for the weekends. I partied a lot, drank way too much, became reckless with love and finances and just generally made a lot of bad life choices in a misguided attempt to feel ‘alive’. In short, I was a bit of a mess. I was making good money and had all the trappings of a young successful professional (nice car, designer bags and shoes etc) and yet I was desperately unhappy. Doing something you hate and/ or spending time with people you loathe every day will pretty much have you hating life, I promise you! Something had to give.
And so I quit my job. With little savings and a very shaky action plan – I handed in my notice. My thinking was pretty simple. I’ve been happier with less and I’m far from unemployable. Let me see if I can make it in this big bad world on my own without the false security of a 9 to 5 and see where it gets me. If I crash and burn I can always work the most menial of office jobs. We’re taught from a very early age that the key to being a successful well rounded adult is to have a good job. All through academia we learn the skills needed to be a great worker bee. But we are never taught or shown how to work for ourselves. Or even how to work for others on our own terms in a more flexible, creative environment. Freelancing is tough and certainly not for the faint hearted. You have to be prepared to fail often, be rejected frequently and ignored a majority of the time. You’ll soon realise that finding work as a freelancer is a whole other job in itself and can get lonely sometimes as you spend all your time working alone.
I’ve often cited having the courage to leave my 9 to 5 job as one of the biggest achievements of my life thus far. Why? Because I am finally living life on my terms. By simply refusing to subscribe to the idea that I need to work a 9 to 5 just to prove my value and worth as a human being, I have found not only my happiness (in part), but my freedom! I will never rule out the idea of working a 9 to 5 again. However, unless circumstances restrict, I will only ever work a job that i am truly excited to go to everyday. The goal is personal happiness and job satisfaction – financial gain, secondary.
One thing i do miss however, is the dress code. Everyday was my runway and I thoroughly enjoyed power dressing for work. This outfit would be a typical 9 to 5 ensemble perfect for external lunch meetings with clients or after work networking. Comfort (as well as modesty) is key for all office attire. I have been in situations where after work drinks have turned into lengthy benders full of club hopping just to seal the contract. I love getting value for money from my clothes – whether it be a multi functional piece or just an unbelieveable bargain. This dress by Fuschia White fits in both categories – a steal at £19.99 and doubles as a pretty cute out of office dress once you remove the shirt!
I’d love to hear about your 9 to 5 experiences? Does office life suit you? Are you currently working your dream job? Or are you a rat race renegade who has ventured out on your own? Let me know in the comments section below! xoxo