More Alain de Botton

Tuesday, 28 April, 2009

Following on from my last post, I was listening to this this afternoon and thought it had a lot to say about how we tend to work:

I think that's what makes writers a particularly difficult species to live with. There's often a club of widows or widowers, married to writers or involved with writers, and they're a lonely bunch. And one of the things they'll often say is they'll talk about that sudden look in the partner's eyes when they're objectively at dinner and present, but they've disappeared; they've gone into their head somewhere and you know that some thought is gestating.

And I think one of the perplexing things about—I'm sure you feel it too—about being a creative type is you never quite know when you're working, and it's not at 9 o'clock in the morning when you're sitting in front of your desk that you're necessarily working; it might be at the supermarket late at night, or wherever.

But I think, that said, a lot of jobs have to them some of that quality, and I think employers of the future are probably going to get cleverer about deciding when people work. I mean we still—most employers work with a kind of industrial model where you show up at a certain time and you leave at a certain time, and in that time, you will have done your work. But as, you know, I was hinting, work often happens in the cracks, in the nooks—in funny times—in short bursts, and then nothing happens. No one works at three in the afternoon. Nothing has ever happened in the world at three in the afternoon. So everybody should sleep then.


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I agree with sleeping at three in the afternoon! Actually, make that two.

Posted by Elsie on 28 April, 2009 5:36 AM



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