A Change of Pace: Country vs. City Life

My transition from temping to professional organiser…

Moving home is always an exciting prospect, but it’s made a lot more thrilling when you’re virtually transforming your lifestyle.

I’ve met many workaholics in my time, both in my work life and my post-work life – today I’m happy to say that I’m free of that particular vice, but I still play host to many of my old friends from the city who have yet to shake off the yoke of hard working oppression. I have more than enough memories of putting long days and nights into my city job and although I’d like to say that all of that hard graft was worth it, in truth I feel like I probably could have gone home earlier a bit more often and worked a few less weekends in my 30-year career.

For those three decades I was one of a very few professional organisers working in the city of London. Whenever I tell people about how I made my living they often laugh and say something along the lines of ‘I didn’t know that was a job!’ It’s true that I certainly didn’t see it as a viable profession back when I started, I just assumed that every one was as organised as I was, I certainly didn’t see my organisational skills as something that I could make money out of.

My first job came to me through a boss that I was temping for in the 80s. I’d come into the office for a few months to lend a hand with some basic admin duties and had impressed higher-ups with my skills, but the work dried up and I soon found that I was unemployed once more. Thankfully, in that short space of time I’d made quite the impact by streamlining processes and restructuring certain workflows; within a week of leaving I received a call from my old boss asking if I’d be interested working as a private consultant for him in his own home.

I’d always assumed that successful people were by their nature organised, but what turned out to be my first client certainly proved me wrong on that part! He might have presented a good image in the workplace, but it was pretty evident that zero attention went into his home. Papers were stacked on top of papers, old takeaway boxes spilled out over unwashed shirts and a layer of clutter obscured the carpet from view.

I was initially baffled by the mess and then slowly pieced together how this could have happened. For my entire time temping in this man’s office he was the first one in the office and the last one out, often spending long evenings at his computer. Clearly his time at home was limited to sleeping, changing clothes and scarfing down the occasional takeaway. The first step in organising his life was restructuring how he spent his time, introducing him to the concept of taking some off-time was a challenge but one he started indulging in doing so, he soon grew to understand the mental benefits of taking some time off…

I think he even started enjoying weekends too!


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