Wednesday, 26 September 2012

CommuterVille. Is it for me?

I spent last week commuting to Docklands from Brighton this week for work, you may have seen my series of posts on the experience. In my formative years I considered working in London but could I do it now pushing 40 years of age with with two young kids?

The week certainly gave me a flavour of what it might be like to work in the city. Years ago, while working at one of my post-University temp jobs, one of my older colleagues remarked about my job search, 'You wanna go up 'town', while you're young. You'll love it up there.' Soon after, I found a job in Sussex soon after and 13 years later the rest is history. But what if I had gone 'up town'?

Last week, I was lucky enough to be contracting in London. Based in the East End, I fell in love with London that little bit more. Each street had a different style of architecture, different cultures represented, art communities, minimalist restaurants next to greasy spoons. I drifted from tube to DLR with my eyes wide open and scanning my surroundings like a dumbstruck tourist but in office wear. Some of my comments made me sound downright provincial, 'That loud music is coming from a driving school car!' - wow. The city presented to me, endless opportunities for happening events and new experiences. I felt freer than ever.

Maybe I'm still on my post-games high. Potentially I enjoyed a break from domesticity. Despite the gruelling early start and two hours of commute, I had my gadgets and time to think. I channeled my imagination into restarting my blog, I siphoned some of that mental energy into organising my life.

The bottom line is, I hardly saw the kids this week and that just won't do. I can romanticise all I like about the city and all it has to offer after close of business. But with two small kids, I don't have the opportunity to indulge in these activities anyway. I left for my train while they were still asleep, I arrived home just before bedtime. Above all, I missed mealtimes, a time when we talk about our day and interact as a family. By the end of the week, I had missed my youngest is saying new words and my eldest is writing new letters.

It was empowering, exciting and mentally energising for one week, but for me, one week only.


  1. The commuting question is one we're struggling with at the moment - we need to be 'in town' for clients, but do we need an office there, or where we live, 40 miles out? We're trying an office in the city for a few months and then making a decision....

  2. Interesting situation. These days, with all the technology at our fingertips I wonder if as many companies are thinking out of the box. However, when it's your customer, you have to jump to their tune really. Hope you manage to find a compromise!


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