“I wake at 6.40am and get dressed. I’m due in work at 7am and always believe I can drink a cup of tea in those 15 minutes. Only one thing stops this from happening though… I have a fear of hot drinks. So I pour out my cup of tea, mooch around getting my bag ready, choosing which big winter coat I should wear on this June day (!) and checking if my tea is cool enough to drink yet. It isn’t. So I take it with me down the road to work. My commute takes me 46 seconds.
I’m in by 7am, the croissants are baking in the oven and I’m floating around, still trying to drink my tea and getting the shop ready. Because, yes, this is where I work. It’s lovely, the staff are nice, the customers are nice, the food is nice, the coffee is nice. And that’s all very nice. But as I tick ever closer to thirty, the undeniable truth is that I have two university degrees that I fully intended to use once upon a time… and now I make coffee and sandwiches. Fair enough, I sometimes order stock or fill in paperwork. But I still make coffee and sandwiches. I’ve spent £43,000 on an education that I’m not using.
The morning rolls by, 8am to 1pm consists of coffees, croissants, breakfasts, sandwiches, frittatas, salads and soups.
Then at 1pm, the lunch hour kicks in. All the people doing the jobs I’d like, pour in and see my apron and order a sandwich. I won’t lie, I’m very efficient at taking a sandwich order or a coffee order or slicing some cake to put on a small plate. But again, the £43,000….
At 2.30pm, it’s all hands on deck to get the place ready to hand over to the evening shift. Cleaning, restocking and washing dishes takes us to 3pm, when I leave work with fresh determination and head home. Often I need to bake something first. Not for any reason. I just do need to do it.
At 4pm, I approach my computer, optimistic and ready. I sit. I type in ‘Food jobs London’ to Google and scan through the results. Most of it is evening work in restaurants. Hmmm, do I want evening work? Getting in at 1am and being tired and not seeing friends ever? I don’t think I do. But I like food. I’ve thought I wanted a career in food for ages. Maybe a different angle? Maybe office-type work. I’ve been on my feet for too long now. It’s time I had a sit down job. Ok, look on websites of food companies I like. Customer service stuff? Do I want to be in an office doing customer service stuff? Not really. Sales stuff? I don’t think so. But the money looks good. Erm. Why not do something totally different? Do an apprenticeship or something.
Ok, look up apprenticeship schemes. Ah, that one’s for school leavers. Mmm, that one’s for between 19 and 24 year olds. That one’s for people with no previous qualifications. That one’s for people who’ve been in prison. I’m underqualified for the property manager position at a National Trust house, who I’d love to work for. But I’m overqualified for the customer service job I first looked at and am now considering. I don’t have enough experience to get into the world of law or non-profits but I have too much experience to start applying for waitressing jobs.
And so it goes on. I bounce back and forth, back and forth, not quite fitting anywhere. £43,000…
At 5pm, my brain is exhausted, I’ve no idea what job I want, what direction I want my life to take or even whether to have another cup of tea. I go to the sofa, take out The Chronicles of Narnia and get stuck in. I read and wait for Danda to come home at 6.30pm. And things are nice again. I live in a very nice house. I have a nice garden. I grow fruit and vegetables. I can afford the rent. I can sometimes afford holidays. I have nice friends and see them often. Things are nice. But still, the £43,000….
Once he’s home, I make dinner, we talk nonsense and sometimes potter about in the garden, him gardening, me looking at things a bit and putting bread out for the birds. And then I chat about my inability to decide what to do next. As I’m talking, I realise that if the bother of finding a new job (or even having a job) could be removed, life would be much easier. But how to live without needing wages? Hmmm. Money. There must be a way to get money so I don’t have to work. And that’s when the idea strikes me. It’s an idea my friend, Naomi, and I have had many times. I’ll win the lottery! Genius. It’s sorted, then. I’ll just win the lottery.
Phee-yoo! I was starting to get all worried there but I’ve sorted it out now. I’ll win the lottery.
6.40am the next day, the alarm rings and off I go downstairs, to put the kettle on …”
A bit of Background:
Laura lives in London with her beloved Danda. She is also very fond of tomatoes, dark chocolate and has recently taken a course on bee-keeping. She would love to be a farmer in Tuscany – with lemon groves and olive trees and is currently trying to figure out how to make that happen. Lottery or no. She loves reality shows about hoarding and animal attacks, and her first memory is of shouting “Amy!” while standing on top of a little grassy hill at infant school. She admires Civil Rights Attorney/Activist Clive Stafford Smith, and while she finds the Ancient Romans fascinating, she’s happiest being in the here and now. Laura is trying to figure out what to do with her life – and tells all in her blog LazyLauraMaisey – The Adventures of Danda and Yaya.
(Images provided by Laura, except for the one of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – which was supplied by Prince Caspian)