Britons work longer hours than almost all their European counterparts according to a research project by The Work Foundation. But this isn’t always a bad thing …
I can’t help wondering whether there is a correlation between the economic deficit and the fact that so many people don’t realise you have to work really hard to ‘make it’.
It is all too fashionable to say it is unhealthy to work long hours and people are often resentful if they have to work late. They somehow think they are being hard done by if, in order to get their pay cheque, they have to put in a lot of work.
When I am out and about I hear lots of people moaning that their jobs should be easier. I don’t agree. Of course you have to work hard in exchange for your pay slip. If your job was really easy then you simply wouldn’t be needed.
This is a problem that I am particularly aware of working in the creative industry. I have noticed that more and more parents seem to be encouraging their children to want to work in the creative field. However these are the same parents who are too often instilling an attitude into their kids that it is somehow unfair for them to be expected to work really hard and give it all that they have. I notice that these same parents are rarely creative themselves.
It is simply a fact of life that the more you put in, the more you get out and if you put in great, good quality effort, you are likely to get great, good quality results. When our customers come to visit us in our beautifully converted barn in the middle of the Hertfordshire countryside to speak about the design of their jewellery, they often assume we have a peaceful life – looking out of the window and designing jewellery occasionally.
I don’t mind them thinking this. It means our showroom is conveying a sense of calm and tranquility. The reality is very different though, with our downstairs design studio being a hub of activity and hard work.
The design assistants who join us soon learn that it isn’t anything like being at university, where you can spend hours and hours happily designing each project. You have to work hard – and fast – and put in the extra hours if you want to achieve the perfect jewellery designs.
It amazes me that there seems to be an assumption that you can have a nice, easy-going life and also be a successful and creative person. I can’t think of anybody who is creatively successful and only works at their passion from nine to five.
When you are passionate and driven by a love for the creative – whether it be design, art, jewellery or music – none of this hard work matters because it is your passion and also your way of life.
To be happy about work-life balance, people need to realise that you are allowed to work hard at something. If you love that same something then it doesn’t feel like work anyway. If you weren’t working in that field, you would only be spending your free time doing it anyway.
So, discard your resentment and self-restraint, which is so often the only thing holding you back from success in the first place. Embrace the long hours and work hard!