It’s circa 1992 and teacher’s asked us to design our family crest. I scratch a few lions and a pot of casserole into the quadrants of a medieval shield. But there’s also space for a banner below it: your family motto. Aged 12, I’ve yet to develop abundant self-awareness that comes with your senior years, so I take the shield home from school to ask mum and dad what our motto is.
“Work hard, play hard” is the first suggestion. It sounds about right, I think, in my gullible little mind. I work hard, so surely I must be enjoying myself because of it?
A short insight into the subservient, puritanical work ethic that poisons our formative years of education for you there. What a load of unhelpful old bollocks.
That motto grates on the human freelancer, because it implies you suffer for your labour and your leisure. It also implies that to earn one, you must endure the other, and that both demand copious effort. Why? And who’s keeping track? Having fun shouldn’t be a toil.
These days a similar sentiment underpins your typical drone’s grim modern existence. They call it ‘work/life balance’, yet it’s an equally unhelpful motto which implies that life and work are mutually exclusive. One ends when the other begins, and vice versa. When you hate your job though, I suppose you need to separate misery from joy.
Of course, when you’re freelance you do what you love all the time. That’s the secret to a jolly nice life, plus you get to earn a responsible living along the way.
Anyway, let’s end on a smilier note. How about this for a new motto?
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