Special work requirements: an office cat, please

A few years ago I was at a launch party for a local business which had been given its start-up after appearing on Dragons’ Den. I’d been asked to go along to conduct an interview with the girls whose business it was, and also to interview Theo Paphitis, who’d invested in them. I only remember two things about meeting him. The first is that he got a little impatient because my dictaphone had stopped working and I was trying to fix it, and the second is something he said.

I’m not going to quote him exactly, because it was at least six years ago and I can’t remember, but the general message was this: if you’re alright with working a nine to five for someone else, that’s all you’ll ever be, and if you want to change the rules, you have to be the one you work for.

He did sound a little patronising, I’ll be honest. Maybe amongst the multi-millionaires and business owners he spends his days with he had forgotten that the majority of society are nine to fivers, working for someone else, or maybe he just wasn’t worried about who he may have been insulting, but I remember feeling vaguely insulted. Still, the theme of the message stuck and I’ve found myself considering it again now.

I’ve been searching for a job for a few weeks. My contract ends soon and I’ve got nothing else lined up yet, and that’s because I’ve been a little picky about what I apply to. I don’t have any particular career set out and maybe I feel I should, but I don’t want to take just any job I can for the sake of securing one. I completely resent the way society works and treats people who work.

There are 365 days in a year, and the standard amount of holidays we get is 20. Not everyone is a workaholic, and while I want a job I enjoy and will work hard at, I want my employer to accept that working is not everyone’s entire life, and being an individual, having time to explore hobbies and interests are just as important. I’d hate to get to 70 and feel I’d spent all my time sat at a desk, working for someone else’s company in a way which didn’t really matter in the long term.

I really want to work for myself, and the total lack of motivation I’m feeling towards job applications is pushing me further into it. I’d only been casually considering it because I would miss having colleagues, a structured working week and somewhere I don’t have to pay the heating bill for in winter, but I’m going to look at the perks: I spoke to someone this week who works somewhere with an office cat. I thought about how amazing that sounded and then how I’m already set up for that if I worked from home. I’m sure there are other perks too, but right now the phrase ‘office cat’ is pushing all other thoughts from my mind. Let’s go be my own boss.


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