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Workstyle Stories 013 - 'Ed'

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Welcome to Workstyle Stories because life changes and every life is different. Work needs to respect that. This week, we're talking about how we spend our time in particular, the relationship between work and family life, and also travel. And who better to talk to us about that than Ed? Hi, Ed. Hi Alex, hi everyone. Welcome to Workstyle Stories. Before we get into your story, can you just tell us a little bit about who you are, where you are, and what you do? Yeah, so I'm Ed Horrocks. I'm a brand strategist. I'm based in the UK. I live just outside London with my wife and my four children. Four children! I mean, we'll get onto the bravery involved in that at some point, but you haven't always lived in the UK, have you? Talk to me about life before you came back? Yeah. So, I've always travelled. As a young kid, my parents lived abroad. My wife and I moved to Australia in 2000 and we lived there for six years. And then we came back to the UK in 2006. Awesome. And did you bring children back with you? We did - we had two children abroad. And we moved back and we moved out of our London flat, and moved out to the countryside so we had enough space for the family and stuff. So yeah, made the big move. And presumably, you had another two kids in mind when you made that move, thinking we're going to need much more space? Yeah, it had been discussed... I'm not sure if it was entirely a certainty! Amazing. And obviously, the flights to and from Australia would have been prohibitive for six of you. So let's talk about when you came back over, what sort of work were you doing? Were you working for a big corporate at that time? Yes. I mean, I did a little bit of freelance work when I first came back. But I'd been working for one of the big four in Australia. And then when I moved back to the UK, with the experience I had, I naturally got drawn back to the corporate world of brand and design. And I ended up finding a role in the UK, in London. So, you know, great opportunity. But obviously, that comes along with a little bit of travel, shall we say. So let's talk about your travel and not in a good way. This is you commuting in and out of London, what was that like? Yeah, so that sort of trade off of being able to have the space meant that I found a job and the job that I found, that I loved, that I wanted to do was the other side of London. So I was commuting an hour and 45 minutes, probably on a good day, each way. So you know, I was spending probably four hours. And, the world of corporate life meant that I was probably leaving the house by six in the morning and I was getting home at nine at night. My winter days spent on a moped coming home through the town that we live in. Nobody around, everyone else had gone to bed. And there was me, trundling on in the dark on a moped. Wow. You were dedicated to your work, Ed. Good for you. But you had two kids, right? So they probably didn't see you much during the week? So I hadn't realised quite how bad it had been. But I was talking to my children not that long ago and the two older ones said "yeah, yeah, we never saw you during the week." It was just that Daddy wasn't around in the week. In fact, one of them said this morning, "we used to sit on the stairs, waiting, hoping that you would make it back before we got to bed." And every now and then I'd make it and they'd run down the stairs, and too often I didn't. It felt like a bit of a trade off really to try and keep the sort of corporate job and the well-paid jobs, to... I think that's a trade off that a lot of people can relate to, particularly guys I think, can relate to having made that trade off over the years. So obviously something changed? Was one day just a really terrible commute home that flicked a switch? Or did you just think, actually, I'm ready for a different way of living and working? How did things come about? No, for me, it was a little bit more gradual in the fact that as we had the younger children, I wanted to spend more time at home. The jobs I was in there was flexible working, to some extent. So gradually, I started to get maybe a day, every couple of weeks, where I could work at home in the morning. Or I'd come in a bit later so I'd got a little bit more flexibility. And I moved jobs to a little bit closer so I was only travelling in for an hour and a half then every day, which was great. But yeah, and I'd done two major rebrands with the two companies that I worked with and as that came to a close, I had the opportunity to go and do some work on my own and start my own consulting business. I was fortunate to have some good supporters and some good potential clients that supported that move. And I made the move to go and do that, and try and spend a bit more time at home. Brilliant, and haven't looked back, presumably? So you now have four kids - hopefully they get to see a bit more of you, because you're presumably working at home more? So what's your Workstyle like? Yeah, that was really the big shift - being able to come home. I was still working; I did a little bit of travelling - not a huge amount - but actually those four hours in the day meant that I could take my kids to school. So my son now if I can't walk him to school in the mornings, he's like "well, what's going on?" Whereas, I feel terrible for my older children! But to be able to do that, and share that work like that, that load with my wife. We now split the drop-offs and pick-ups and it allows her to work a full-time job as well. Brilliant, good on you, Ed. And in terms of your work, are you happy with it? Do you feel like you've compromised your work in order to have this better life? Not at all. I mean, I think what I've found it does is, it's allowed me to really select the work that I love doing, the clients that I love doing work with. So yes, I manage to juggle that work around my life now. And it's become one thing. So basically, if I need time to go to a school play, or go for a swim, or even go to hospital with one of the children if they've got an appointment or something, then I can do that. I work around it. But none of my clients question whether I'm good at what I do, or whether I'm dedicated to what they do. You're just redeploying your time in a different way. And it sounds like you're able to achieve a much better balance and harmony within the family by sharing that responsibility with your other half as well. Which is brilliant and an example for the next generation - of which you obviously have a vested interest in! But Ed, thank you very much for joining us at Workstyle Stories. It's been great to hear yours. We really appreciate it. It's been a pleasure. Thank you for tuning in. We've been Workstyle Stories and we'll see you next time. Bye for now. Take care.

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Posted by: _kim_nguyen on Nov 7, 2020

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