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A flexible attitude towards work

For as long as I can remember, I’ve preferred to have my fingers in a few pies. In school, I worked part-time making sausages in our butcher shop, serviced my regular window cleaning customers, cleaned offices and taught swimming lessons (voluntary). In college, I worked in bars and catering and then to supplement a modest Masters’ scholarship, I lectured part-time, did freelance market research and also worked behind the bar in a comedy club.

It was never about the money!

It was always about multi-jobbing and how it allowed me to move around and gain experience. I think I may have a form of corporate ADHD.

Although I’ve had a few real jobs – in marketing, Monday to Friday, 9-5 – it really isn’t me and I revert to type preferring  the freelance path. Often when I work really well with my freelance clients, they try to lure me into full time roles and Sonru was no different. Here’s what I’ve learned over the years:

How I Define Work Flexibility 

  • In every single job I’ve ever had, I’ve ended up doing something completely different to what I was originally hired to do. I come in under some loose ‘marketing’ title but we all know marketing is about delivering profit so that ‘marketing’ project might end up being internal communication, customer service analysis, product development, user research, desk research, PR/spin and generally what I think needs doing in order for marketing to work.
    My first job in Sonru was the marketing communications manager – building brand, messaging etc. Now I’m head of research which involves user research towards building the Sonru narrative and establishing them as thought leaders. It’s less day-to-day.  So I’m flexible about the role or rather the interpretation of the role.
  • It’s about the output, not the hours. People get het up about hours – mornings only, 2 day week, a 0.5. Unless you’re literally manning a post, you can measure your role in monthly or weekly outputs – 2 blog posts, one case study, one survey, two client presentations etc. I prefer this pricing with start-up clients, it spares them the stress of looking at the clock or calendar while knowing exactly what they’ll have to show for their money spent. I know myself well enough to appreciate that I can sometimes get distracted or be a bit too social so I’ll catch up in my own time. So I’m flexible about the hours I keep,
  • Flexibility is a two-way street. Discussions about work flexibility are often from the workers’ perspective – if they need to leave work early, if they need to work from home on x day etc. I know it’s hard to find good people so companies are flexible to retain staff but like any union, one must be willing to compromise. Sometimes, I go back to full-time 9-5 for short periods if it’s a case of all hands on deck and I get stuck in because there’s work to do. However, I’m always happy in the calm after the storm. So I’m flexible about the terms of work.

The sun is out, there’s a stretch in the evenings, the open water swimming season will be kicking off shortly so that all means I’ll be working less hours but no less productive!
In fact, I’m probably at the beach right now while you’re reading this and that to me is quite beautiful.  I’ll end with my own version of Seneca’s famous quote: “The important thing isn’t how long you work, but how well you work,”  and recommend you check out Seneca’s contemporary equivalent -Tim Ferriss and read more about his 4-Hour Workweek.

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