Monday 26th October 2009
I know it's been weeks and I'm getting as sick as everyone else of the fact that every entry on this blog now begins with a lengthy grovelling apology for the length of the gap since the last one, so shall we just say sod it, until at least the end of November (when the tour finishes and my life will return to what passes for "normality" in my case) this is how it's going to have to be with regard to blog entries and the frequency thereof. Having said that, apparently Orange will finally stop teasing me and release their first iPhones in about three weeks after which I'll be able to update the blog while on the move (at the moment I can tweet using my phone but that's all).
Speaking of Twitter, a day or so ago I made a promise to a Tweep acquaintance of mine to follow up more fully on a conversation we were having; basically (as far as I can tell) she's getting hassle from her family to study something at university which doesn't interest her but which they feel will give her the best job opportunities. A mutual friend of ours weighed in to the effect that she should do the degree which would help her get the job SHE wanted, rather than the job her parents thought she should get. On reading this I felt compelled to join the discussion; I said I'd go further than that - I thought she should do whatever degree she'd enjoy doing the most, and sod the job prospects. Realising that this might sound glib or reckless (not to mention a bit smug and complacent coming from a bloke who's managed to end up singing rude songs for a living) I promised to explain at length why this comment was not reckless hedonistic or irresponsible, but was in fact sage career advice. This would take many many tweets to do properly, so it is to you, my poor neglected blog, that I turn.
Here's the thing; when I was a kid the people I envied were not so much those who made big bucks, drove flash cars and lived in rambling mansions as those who Got By doing something they loved. I always figured enjoying your life was better reward than cash and toys, and that no amount of cash and toys would make up for hating your life.
As I've gotten a bit older, and dare I say it wiser, and I've met plenty of people who've achieved varying measures of success at various jobs which they liked or disliked to varying degrees, I've revised - or rather refined - my opinion. I still think it's better to make a living doing something you enjoy rather than achieve wild success in doing something you don't, but I now realise you're actually MORE LIKELY to achieve wild success doing something you enjoy.
I realise this is a bit counter-intuitive, crapping as it does all over both the Protestant Work Ethic and the prevailing Judeo-Christian principle of Redemption Through Suffering, not to mention sounding Too Bloody Good To Be True, but here's how it works.
Achieving wild success at anything takes Bloody Hard Work. However talented you are, however naturally immediate job-by-job success comes to you, developing that talent into a career takes Bloody Hard Work. Even if wild success falls into your lap, even if you win the X Factor, KEEPING that success takes Bloody Hard Work. In short, material success by any means other than winning the lottery takes Bloody Hard Work.
BUT... if you enjoy your job, you will do that Bloody Hard Work with a spring in your step and a song in your heart. You will get up at dawn, slog till the next dawn and beyond, blister your fingers and bend your back and you'll do it all with a big dumb grin on your face. You'll persevere through the lean times and keep working just as hard during the good times, because you're doing what you love.
None of this guarantees success, but you're far more likely to keep at it long enough to give yourself a chance at success than if you're doing something which fills you with despair all week and dread all weekend.
I've been doing a bunch of interviews for this tour I'm on, and in many of them I've observed that I think I probably have more fun than just about anyone I know. There are a few aspects of my job I could live without; I could do with a bit less driving, certainly, but by and large I spend most of my waking hours enjoying myself in one way or another. I like performing, I get a great amount of satisfaction from writing, I enjoy meeting my "public" (most of them...).
Having said all that, I also work harder than pretty much anyone else I know, particularly just now. The tweeps among you may have read a few days ago about the twenty-straight-hours shift I pulled last Thursday. I commented on that not to whinge but just to point out the bleakly comic aspect of just how relentless that day was going to be (the fact that it ended with me driving to Hull from midnight to 3am meant it even had a punchline of sorts). I may occasionally find myself Not Really In The Mood and have to kick my own arse into gear, but I never find myself truly miserable at the prospect of another day at the office, probably because every day at my "office" is different.
So there you go. Doing what you love is no guarantee of wealth or success, but it's its own reward in many ways and you certainly won't harm your chances of real success any.
Oh yeah. Weighed myself; 21 3, same as a few weeks ago. Think I went up a bit and them back down again.