Edward, you can’t always rely on your charm.
I have started a Masters course in France, twelve years after beginning my Bachelors in the UK. I am currently in the middle of the first semester and the projects, both academic and personal, are piling on: essays, job searches, magazine layout, reviews for terribly written books and the almost literal unicorn called ‘Pantomime’. And while I am not unused to having a lot on my plate, this time it feels like I’ve made a greedy miscalculation at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
I was walking through a shady woodland yesterday and considering my professional future. It suddenly struck me that it has been difficult for me to opt for what my grandma calls ‘a career’, namely because that requires me to commit. And commitment requires work. What can we replace work with? Charm. But it won’t last forever, as my Latin professor told me.
A friend informed me that Boris Johnson does not work, contrary to the tried and tested method of actually successful Prime Ministers who spend 18 hours a day working. When I confided in a colleague about the giant to-do list, she said “Well, you’re just going to have to work like a doctor”. So, that means I’m going to have work as if I have a real job?
I suppose, going back to school was all about stepping out of my comfort zone after all. What’s terrifying is that I am used to physical endurance, but not mental. I can build caravan decks all day, all week, but I can think for at best half an hour before I need a break. And that 30 minutes of writing has just finished.
Hic labor, hic opus – here is the work, here the toil.