Across most parts of the UK, we’ve been having snow. Lots of it.
When I was 26 and starting out as a lawyer, I was keen to impress and afraid of messing up. No matter how long it took, I would skate to work in my car, fearful for myself and others. Later, when I worked in London, I would stand for hours on cold train platforms or crowded bus stops, waiting for public transport that would take me somewhere near the office and home. Sometimes, I walked for miles and took hours to get to my desk, only to leave it a few hours later to repeat the process, in reverse.
I wish I’d known then that one day, the technology would be available to allow me to work as well from home, as from the office. I wish I’d known that it would become much more acceptable, if not advisable, to take a “snow day” and work from home in warmth and safety. I wish I’d listened to that inner voice that told me I probably wouldn’t get the recognition I anticipated for my herculean efforts in trekking to work, expedition-style.
Back in the day, there was a kind of macho competitiveness about battling into work in adverse circumstances, including bad weather. I wish I’d known that it can be damaging to push yourself too hard for too long. When my partner and I walked to the supermarket yesterday, with our dog, we saw many more people around than usual. Although it was bitterly cold, the sun was shining out of a cloudless blue sky. With schools closed and non-functioning road and transport networks, families were playing together in the snow, and having fun, as they found themselves with some unexpected and unplanned time at home. Good for them! I’m sure they’ll make up the work and school time, if, indeed, any was lost. I’m also sure they’ll have some great memories of that time spent together.
I wish I’d known the value of work/life balance when I was 26.