I was having a beer over the pub with one of my clients.
She’s got a broad Brummie accent.
She was telling me that when she was 16, her parents wanted her to study for A levels, and then go on to University.
But she said she wasn’t the academic type.
She wanted to leave school and start work, earn money.
But her mum wouldn’t allow it.
So she said she was going to do it anyway.
Her mum said, if you defy me and start working, you can leave this house.
She said to her mum, “Oi bet Oi can earn more money than yow.”
He mum said, “Don’t be ridiculous.”
She said, “Alright then, let’s make a deal. If Oi can earn money than yow, Oi don’t have to leave home.”
So that week, she and her mum both went to work.
Then, on Friday evening they both put their money down on the kitchen table.
And she had earned more than her mum.
A lot more.
So her mum had to swallow it.
She had to let her carry on working, while still living at home.
I asked her how she managed to earn so much money.
She said she worked six jobs a day, six days a week.
I said, leave off no one can do that.
So she started counting on her fingers.
“Six to ten, unloading and serving at the greengrocers.
Ten to two, serving at the butchers.
Two to four, on the tills at Kwiksave.
Four to six, serving at the chippy.
Six to ten, serving at the pub.
Ten to twelve thirty, back at the chippy.”
I asked her how did she manage to keep it up?
She said it was a bit of a panic.
“Sometimes Oi didn’t have toime to change. Oi was serving at the chippy, still wearing me Kwiksave uniform.”
She carried on doing it, six jobs a day, six days a week, for a year.
I said it must have been awful.
She said, “Happiest days of me life. Oi loved every minute.”
That’s because she’s a natural entrepreneur.
She loves working.
She loves the buzz.
It’s her natural environment.
I didn’t quite understand why she needed to work six different jobs.
I asked her why she didn’t just get a single job instead.
She looked at me like I was nuts.
She said, “Because each job was part-toime, it was all cash-in-hand.
Oi didn’t pay tax. That’s like getting an extra 40% wages.”
Like I said, she’s an entrepreneur.
As she got older, she quit working six different part time jobs.
She got a job in a small financial company.
She learned the ropes quickly, so she worked her way to the top.
Then she left and opened her own company.
Turning over millions of pounds a year.
Then the recession hit, so she quickly closed that company.
And she got a senior job with another, much bigger company.
She loves to work, so she quickly worked her way up.
Now she’s a director, on the board of that company.
A lot of people talk about work as if it’s a bad thing.
Long hours, hard graft, no social life.
I think that’s what it feels like when you’re in the wrong job.
To her, that’s what school felt like.
And, to her, that’s what university would have felt like.
Albert Einstein described his Theory Of Relativity like this.
“When you’re in the company of a pretty girl, an hour seems like a minute. When you put your hand on a hot stove, a minute seems like an hour.”
I think work is like that.
If you’re in the wrong job it’s miserable.
But the exact same job, same hours, same wages, can seem brilliant to someone else.
I love to be around people who love their work.
I can learn a lot much from them.
They are so buzzed-up about what they’re doing.
The energy is coming off them in sparks.
I pick up on it just by talking to them.
Whether they’re a CEO, a bus-driver, or a an art director.
The secret is to find something you love and do that.
Then work won’t seem like work.
The more you love it, the harder you’ll work.
The harder you work, the better you’ll get on.
The better you get on, the more you’ll love it.
It will be a continuous circle of positive reinforcement.
John Pallant was junior in my group at BMP.
Every time I gave him a brief it was as if I’d given him a present.
So of the people in my group, who do you think I gave most briefs to?
So who got the most work out?
So whose career grew fastest?
John took that attitude with him.
He won lots of awards, and became a creative director at Saatchi.
And he still wins awards.
Because he loved his job.
As Noel Coward said, “Work is more fun than fun.”