Thursday, October 05, 2006

Why should I let the toad "work" squat on my life?*

It's my birthday today, and I'm off work and wandering the streets seeing again, as if for the first time, what people who don't work do all day. When I was looking for work in Edinburgh in 1993, I remember walking along Princes Street looking at people in suits and feeling permanently excluded from their club.

Someone asked me the other day where I get my confidence from and I answered straight away "professional success" (half-quoting from the maxim "professional success is the revenge of the nerd"). Work is extremely important to me: what I do is a major contributor to how I feel about myself. I still suffer from crises of confidence about work, and whether or not I'm competent; but on the whole I feel confident about myself because I have a good job.

I've been feeling a bit disillusioned about work lately but walking around today reminds me that I need to work. I couldn't bear to be a tai tai, wafting around Lane Crawford and spending money on expensive bags to no end.

Amongst other things, today I noticed that a significant proportion of people are boldly walking around with a small flannel tucked into their clothes at the back of the neck. While practical (in the humidity of Hong Kong it absorbs the sweat), it's also frankly a bit disgusting. Do you rinse out the flannel by hand at the end of the day? Perhaps someone should suggest to Commes des Garcons that they should be incorporating this as a style feature in their workwear.

*Philip Larkin

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