I had a job, a few years ago. Yes, an actual job, and I lived in one country. It wasn’t a “real” job – I was still playing with ponies, but it was a job, with a boss and working hours, and a contract and everything. A real one. (And, payday, which is always a plus!)
I didn’t like my job. I didn’t like having to clock in and out, having to answer to a boss, and write SOP and DOP, and staff reports and horse usage and sustainability analysis. I didn’t like to have to answer ridiculous emails from the more ridiculous parents, attend HR meetings and I really didn’t like having to apply for a day off. And so, plugging in my 9 hours a day was tough, because it wasn’t what I wanted to be doing.
(Which is partly why, now, I don’t have a job…)
I’ve just spent two months in London, enjoying the summer, and while I was there, I was lucky enough to go to two concerts. First Bon Jovi, for – what – about the 6th time? 7th maybe? This was long planned and anticipated. The second was hugely accidental – wandering into a Robbie Williams summer festival concert in Hyde Park.
There I was – planning to have a little picnic sandwich dinner with my book in the park, the night before a big workshop. Ambled through the park, largely to find a statue that I had long meant to see and accidentally stumbled upon an Event. What is the event? Black Eyed Peas and Robbie Williams. Oooh. Are there tickets? A couple, yes. Off we go, into a sparkly summer, hippie festival, wearing my sensible shoes, oldest layers, carrying my handbag, book and sandwich, surrounded by drunken, all day revelers with much glitter, bling and fairy wings. Leaving was interesting – marched up to the police horse on duty at the gate….
I’m looking for my hotel.
Am not sure of the address….
Oh, which hotel?
Ummm, not sure I remember….
Uh, where was it?
Within walking distance…
Uhh, which way?
Near a statue? (Do you know how many statues there are in London?)
Do you not have the booking on your phone?
Yes, well, my phone has gone flat – you see I didn’t mean to be here and, well… (The horse enjoyed the itchy scratchy time, while stood there on duty).
But, I’m getting sidetracked. You watch these bands with amazing longevity, Jon, Robbie, Axel Rose a couple of years back. They walk on stage and BAM. They may have aged, greyed and wrinkled, but you see the passion flowing through them. Their eyes sparkle, they feed off the crowd, and adrenaline hits. Suddenly, they are 20 again, you see them light up and that passion, that joy – that is why they have been around, successful for 20+ years. I love to see it – the years fall off them and they’re just awesome.
It’s not just rock stars either. Something I love doing is sitting chatting to people, and you meander your way into finding out what they are passionate about, and they become animated. Their eyes are bright, they breathe deeper, sitter straighter, and they’re off, explaining, engrossed.
Now, I “work” for myself. (Ya, I still don’t work) and I often do 10 or 11 hour days. I go for a couple of months without a day off. I run, from arena to taxi, to airport, to taxi to arena, and here I sit at 21.34 writing this, before another 5.30am start. But, it’s not a drag now. I don’t resent the boss. Because, when I had a job, I lost the passion. 9 hour days for a paycheck is brutal. 11 hour days for play and passion are a privilege.
They say that horses are not a job but a lifestyle. And it’s true. You can’t clock out on a horse with colic or have a lie in on a day off if he’s waiting for his breakfast. It took reminding from my mates Jon and Robbie to remember what passion and drive look like, but when you find it again – wind up the clockwork mouse and off you go.
So, are you settling, compromising, making do, paycheck to paycheck, or are you passionate about what you do? Are you playing with ponies, or tied to a lead weight? One of my favourite sayings – “You are not a tree, if you don’t like the situation you’re in, leaf…..”