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Workstyle Stories 008 - 'David'

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Welcome to Workstyle Stories, because life changes and every life is different. This week, I'm talking about being true to yourself, being individual, no matter how much that might disgruntle the people you work with, or rub up against the system. And who better to do that than the one and only David Roberts, who's with me today. Hi, David. Hello, the one and only disgruntling David Roberts. It's a lovely introduction, thank you very much. My pleasure. So, David, before we get into the chat, tell me a little bit about who you are, where in the world you are and what you do. I'm in Lisbon. I've been out here Lisbon in Portugal - I can see the bridge just through the window there - we've been out here for 12 years now. I'm on my way to being half Portuguese. I've got two kids who are entirely half Portuguese, if that makes any sense. I am an editorial content director, is probably the best badge I can put on myself. My background is magazines, I've spent the last 10, 15 years working in content marketing. And I've been freelance for the past 11 or 12 years of that and making the most of it I hope. That's awesome. So you've been, you're a seasoned freelancer and even before you went, sort of, officially freelance, you kind of were someone who worked more or less to their own schedule, and with their own sense of responsibility for when that work was going to be done. Is that fair? I suppose so. Yes, I suppose so. I think I've always been quite lucky with work. I'm not someone who went freelance because I couldn't stand the world of work, because I couldn't cope with the nine to five, because I couldn't - I didn't have a revelation and realise that everything had to change. I've been quite lucky. I had managed most of the time, pretty much all the time, to make the things that I was doing fit around me. I think, as I say, I think I was just lucky. You talked about - I can't remember exactly the words you used - but I guess I was a bit awkward. I could be, you'll be surprised to hear this, I can still sometimes be a bit awkward. And I remember the first proper job I had after university - well I was a chauffeur for about six months but after that, the first proper job I had was in a record shop. It was in Virgin, the Virgin Megastore at Marble Arch. It was a great store. It was a lovely job. I was in my early 20s and I would sit behind the till, and if somebody brought a record along that I didn't think they should be buying, I would send them away again. And I would tell them. Why? Well, because this is the Virgin Megastore, you know, buy a decent record. If you're gonna buy that, come back with something else that's good as well. And I kind of, that's the sort of thing that you'd expect people to frown upon, you know, for you not to get away with. But the management loved it. The other people I work with loved it. It was kind of all, it kind of worked. And then I worked at a record company after that, soon after that, I started managing a band. And I've kind of always been lucky with the places that I've worked. My last proper job, my last proper proper job, if that's the right way to describe it, was with a big content marketing agency in London and the interview I had for that job, I think the last thing I said in the interview was, 'oh, by the way, I don't start before 10 o'clock in the morning.' And I knew that everyone there started at half past nine because I'd been doing some freelance work there. Coming in at 10, but doing some freelance work. And I was told later that one of the reasons they gave me the job was because they liked that I'd said, 'by the way, I don't start till 10 o'clock in the morning', which again, I just kind of got away with it. I'm kind of lucky. It is lucky but I'm one of those people who believe you make your own luck. And it sounds to me like you chose to align with companies who would enable you to get away with being more true to yourself than necessarily asking you to conform to their way of doing things. I mean, I never tried to buy a record in Virgin Megastore in Marble Arch. But I bet if I did, I'd have been sent walking around the store for hours on end because I used to listen to some terrible music. I believe it, Alex, I believe it. But yeah, I mean, I'll share my collection with you some point David. But what I'm most interested about is that you've had this ability in that situation, and in starting at 10 when everyone else starts at 9:30, to stay true to who you are, and I think that is one of things that people really struggle with in the work environment is being authentic to themselves. And the more that people adopt the kind of corporate way, the more they lose touch with who they are as an individual. And it's something that we talk about quite a lot at Hoxby, which is about almost everyone has to go on this journey of de-corporification where they lose their corporate self, and rediscover who they are as a person. Because what we're trying to do is enable people to live a whole life and for work to be a really positive part of that. And it sounds to me like you've always done that. And you've been fortunate to find places that will allow you to be you, you know, for better or worse. So, what I'm interested in with you now then David, so talk to me about your workstyle now. So you're still being authentically you, and delivering your best work. What's your workstyle like? Well, I guess, I mean, before I tell you about my workstyle, I guess it's worth saying that your very flattering portrait, if your very flattering portrait is true, then it's also worth pointing out, it's also worth mentioning that it's only now, it's only recently that I've come to do those things guilt free. Oh yeah, okay. I might have been the bolshy little, you know, whatever, who sent people away at the till and I kind of thought it was fun and thought it was cool, but I kind of knew I shouldn't be doing it. And the 10 o'clock in the morning thing, I'd be the last one in and everyone would have been there since half past nine, standing in the kitchen, talking, doing their work, but they'd have been doing that. And I would, you know, I would kind of feel bad about it. And it's only been recently, as I have freelanced for an extended period, and as I have come to work with the likes of Hoxby and I've come to realise and to embrace this idea of workstyle being something that allows you to bring out the best of yourself, without feeling bad about doing things differently from other people. Because everybody works differently to get the best out of themselves. So it's not like I was a pioneer. I was an awkward little bugger, who kind of felt bad about being an awkward bugger. But now I'm kind of getting away with that and feeling okay about it. Yeah, you're doing it without the hangover of guilt. So that's brilliant. So what are you doing now then, guilt-free? How does work fit into life? It fits. I am here in Lisbon, as I mentioned. I've got two small children. I've got a four year old who was keeping me up way too much last night. It doesn't show. And a seven year old. And I had kids pretty late, I mean, you can see, just look. I've had kids pretty late. I have come to a stage in my life where I need to earn a certain amount of money to provide the sorts of things, the life that I want to give the kids. But I want to do it in a way that allows me to be properly present to them. And obviously, again, I'm not unique in that. I am part of a partnership, my wife has a regular job. And her job is much more orthodox. So she works for a big multinational, and she works nine to five, she's working at home at the moment, but she works nine to five - if one of us is going to be flexible, that's going to be me. And I'm kind of lucky about that. I feel lucky with that, because it gives me the chance to be with the children. It's not good for them, obviously, but it's good for me. It gives me the chance to be with them. And it allows, as a team, it allows us to make things work in a way that allows things - as they should be in this modern world, as it wasn't when I was a kid but there you go, that's why I'm an awkward bugger - it allows things to be entirely child centered. So, what workstyle gives to me is it allows me to live a life that puts what I have - the most valuable thing in my life - at the heart of my life. Simple as that. Well said David, and on that note, we should probably wrap up because we've run out of time, but I could talk to you for hours about it. Good on you for being an awkward bugger and for blazing the trail for everyone else and God help anyone who goes into your record store in the future. Thanks very much for tuning in. We've been Workstyle Stories. We'll see you next time. Ciao ciao.

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Duration: 9 minutes and 38 seconds
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Language: English
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Posted by: _kim_nguyen on Oct 12, 2020

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