We’ve all read those articles: the ones proclaiming that the time is now to carpe diem, to thrust that resignation letter at your boss, to untether yourself from the desk where you’ve been slowly rotting for years, to pack a suitcase and fly off into the unknown. The ‘job for life’ concept is now dead amongst our generation and the traditional 9-5 is sneered at. Who actually wants a day job? In the blogging world, admitting that you show up to an office Monday- Friday is just not cool. In fact, there’s an entire generation of girls out there whose goal it is is to create a career akin to Zoella’s. Call us old fashioned, but it’s a phenomenon that sits uncomfortably with us.
In 2007, on a cold autumn morning, with hands trembling and stomachs fluttering, we both opened small white envelopes that confirmed that we’d both been accepted to Oxford University to study for our Master’s degrees. I can still remember now, jumping up and down in my pyjamas in my student room feeling like I was about to burst. This moment was a game-changer; with that ‘yes’ transporting us to environment where we were surrounded by nothing but solid academic ambition. Being a geek was the norm and striving for careers that would ultimately improve the lives of others was a common goal.
Fast-forward a number of years and we both find ourselves working in the charity sector. It’s a satisfying feeling looking back at the last eight years or so, having worked numerous jobs to get us to the point we’re now at. We’ve put in the long hours and have both got jobs that we find rewarding and genuinely enjoy going to each day. Working for the benefit of others and knowing your work will directly improve the lives of others, as cliche as it sounds, brings us happiness. And we’re not sure we want to give that up.
It’s not just the jobs themselves that we enjoy but also that sense of camaraderie and community within the office. We couldn’t imagine waking up each day and shuffling downstairs to the sofa for a day of blogging, with just the cat for company. We revel in office gossip and have met some of our closest friends whilst tackling the highs (Friday) and lows (Monday) of working life together. As depressing as it sounds, the routine of getting up to Radio 2, saying my usual ‘good morning’ to the neighbour I can’t remember the name of and making my round of tea for colleagues, is one I would genuinely miss were it taken away.
When we were taking our fledgling steps into our careers, the pressure was on us to get jobs in London. Somehow, having a career based around where you grew up was deemed second rate. In the blogging world, this pressure is taken one step further: working for anyone other than yourself is selling yourself short. In this world, your career success is measured by social media numbers, blog comments and number of Instagram likes. It’s a world we would be very hesitant to submit ourselves to entirely.
So, as our blog has grown and opportunities have arisen, it’s not thoughts of handing in our notices that fill our minds, but: ‘how can we do both?’
Contrary to what some may argue, travel blogging is ultimately a selfish past time. Yes, there’s a point to be made that you’re inspiring others to travel, but let’s be honest, unless you’re working in conjunction with an NGO or charity, travel is ultimately for individual gain. Of course, we are huge promoters of travel and the way in which it can enrich your life, but to do this full-time, away from your loved ones, is not something everyone wants. Our day jobs provides us with a satisfaction that travel blogging does not, and vice versa. It’s a dilemma that we have no answer to for now, other than trying our best to juggle both.
Ultimately, a job or career choice is not one that can be judged on location, working patterns or job title. For a full-time travel blogger out there who finds fulfillment in what you do, we admire you. The presumption, however, that opting for a traditional career means opting for the mundane, is incorrect. Not all of us are chained to our desks, wishing our lives away. Contentment can be found in many more places than high up on a mountain or on a beach.
So, to all of you office workers reading this – juggling careers with blogging – turn up Dolly Parton’s ‘Nine to Five’ that little bit louder. We salute you.