Every Friday, when I first started my job for a large bank in the city, I would head to my local pub, the Fisherman’s Brew after work for a cold pint of beer.
I started the job when I was 18, fresh out of college, and at first I thought I landed the job of my dreams. I was working in the heart of London and got to wear a suit everyday.
But there were downfalls. The job itself was boring, the people were boring, and I became boring. I would ride the long train commute every morning in silence. Not talking to a single person, not even reading a book. Looking back, I was probably depressed but at the time I just thought that’s what city life was all about.
After a year or so, the Friday night pub ritual was the event I looked forward to the most in my working week. I would meet up with my friends from school and hear about their lives, and I got to know the staff behind the bar really well.
One day, my friends were late meeting me and I got chatting to one of the pub’s newest employees.He told me about how his life experiences and how he’d ended up working in a pub after being made redundant from his job in the city. He initially took the job as a stop-gap but now he has flexible working hours, a social life and lots of friends. He lives more simply, but he’s much happier.
I never forgot his story. But out of pride, ego and fear I stayed with my firm for the next nine years, never breaking the Friday night cycle of work to pub.
Everytime the bartender was working I would ask him how he was and he always seemed so happy and carefree. He didn’t have to take his work home with him or worry about meeting sales targets.
We lived in the same neighbourhood and had a similar background, but he was happier than me. He must have noticed by interest in his life, because one day he asked me if I’d ever considered working in a pub? I was touched, but tried to seem aloof about the opportunity. He went on to say that there was an opening as he had been offered the role of manager, and if I might be interested?
I said I had another job, but thanks for the offer. That night, I couldn’t sleep. It was 11pm and the pub was about to shut when I ran around the corner to the pub and asked the bartender if the job offer was still open because I would love to take it. I was inspired!
Now, I’m the new manager of the pub and have never been happier. No more commute, no more suit and no more sales targets. I have flexible hours, a great social life and I’ve started a family, just around the corner.
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