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It’s been a rollercoaster year – or a ‘rona-coaster if you like – and it’s OK for working dads to admit they have ups and downs too.
With lockdown lifting in England this week I was delighted to finally be able to return to the local coffee shop to work. As I’ve mentioned before it’s often where I work best. But it also provided respite from the onslaught of Christmas music on the radio.
I like Christmas. And I like Christmas music. But we’ve only just snuck into December. I subscribe to the slightly hackneyed theory that if you have too much of Christmas it’s not special.
We also have a dispute in our house over the Christmas music that gets to be played. My partner loves the Charlie Brown Christmas record. I find it a dirge. I like sad Christmas music. So Coldplay’s Christmas Lights does it for me. And Greg Lake’s I Believe in Father Christmas. We’re currently at a standoff as to whether the latter is included in the 2020 Christmas playlist.
I was thinking about music (again) as I struggled through the tail end of the week. It was one of those weeks that I’d motored into, achieved a lot in the first few days, and then seemed to hit a wall. The tail end of the week was like slogging through treacle. But that’s OK. Sometimes that happens. And in this year in particular we all have to be kind to ourselves, give ourselves a break. On this occasion it didn’t really impact my output. I’d been particularly productive at the start of the week, I got what needed to be done at the end of the week. My outputs were fine. And as we move forward into a world of work hopefully dominated by flexible working that is going to be the key metric for employees. Not hours worked or effort expended but outputs achieved.
My week highlighted the benefits of flexible working for employees. If you’re up for it: crack on. If you’re not: don’t stress too much, the work will still get done. Working for a firm that understands that makes me more loyal, less stressed and likely the reason I could slog on and achieve what needed to be done was because I didn’t have to give over part of my brain power to worrying what my boss might think. It’s a virtuous circle that benefits everyone.
And that’s where the music came in.
Remember way back when before lockdown at the start of 2020. It rained. A lot. Thankfully, as it turned out the weather got its wet patch out of the way early and then treated us to benign conditions through most of lockdown. But the song I kept humming in those early months was a little known tune by Jane Siberry, from the soundtrack to The Crow – the film that launched a thousand goths – called It Can’t Rain All The Time.
In February I was taking the title literally. As 2020 unfolded it all became a bit more metaphorical. And this week it was a bit of both.
There’s bound to be ups and downs in this, perhaps the worst of all years any of us will live through. And we working dads help each other by admitting that along with occasional thrills there’s been downs on the ‘rona-coaster. By talking about emotions and sharing experiences we can take positives from the darker moments, create an atmosphere of openness and empathy that will benefit working dad and their families going into the future.
The weather turned stinky on Thursday along with my mojo. But neither will last more than a few days. I’ve already got some exciting interviews lined up for next week and will be bringing you some interesting and varied stories before the end of the year. So, like the esoteric playlists that thrum in my mind, stay tuned.