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On Being Boring

I moved from London to Brussels with my husband nearly 10 years ago. When I told people we were moving, the news was greeted with bemusement: why did we want to move to a city that was possibly the most boring place on earth? Ten years later and I can honestly say that I've had more fun here than I ever did living in London. It might not be the most exciting city in the world but it is a fantastic place to live. It is full of hidden treasures that you probably never get to see as a tourist: wonderful shops, amazing food, great museums and galleries, beautiful architecture, a forest (yes, a whole forest), and so much more... And if that doesn't convince you, well, get on a train and you could be in Paris, Amsterdam, Cologne or, yes, London in no more than a couple of hours... Which other city can you say that about?

Dream Job

Blog every day in May, day 21: If you could do anything in the world to make a living what would it be?

In dreamland, I’d like to do something that would allow me to be home in time to pick my children up from school every day, that would give me the flexibility to work from home when they are sick or to attend a parent-teacher meeting at a moment’s notice, something that would give me evenings and weekends off – and a good chunk of the summer holidays too. I can hear you all thinking: that sounds very much like not working at all. And yes, that’s what I’m thinking too. Except that I need the security of an income. I need to not worry about how I’m going to pay the mortgage, how I’m going to afford the children’s winter coats, and where next week’s food shopping is going to come from. So not working is not an option.

So what could I do? Hmm. A few people might expect me to say photographer, but no. I would be a terrible professional photographer. To be a successful professional photographer, you don’t just have to be a good photographer. You have to be a competent accountant, a great sales person, brilliant at marketing, patient, determined and confident. On occasion, you probably need to be a brilliant lawyer and possibly a bit of a therapist. You need to know how to put people at ease and make them feel beautiful. I don’t have all those skills. Not even close.

You know what? I actually quite like the job I have right now. I’m an IP attorney working for a multinational company. I get to talk about innovation on a daily basis (and not just innovation, but innovation in two of my favorite areas: chocolate and all things paper! This job really was made for me). I have amazing colleagues… All over the world. Thanks to my job, I’ve been able to visit Brazil, the US and India. Who knows where it will take me next. It has been patient with me, has trusted me and has helped me to grow. It’s given me the confidence to be exactly who I am. It has taught me that I can do more than I ever thought I could. That’s not to say there aren’t days when my job drives me crazy. There are days when I want to cry because I know that the extra time I’m putting in could be time spent with my children. But so far, it has been worth it.

So that’s my dream job: more of what I have now. That it keeps on being worth it. And that I keep on being given opportunities to grow. Oh, and maybe a huge pay rise so I can buy a big house with a big garden in the fancy part of town. Hey, this was about dreams, wasn’t it?

PS: growing up, my dream was to either be a witch or James Bond. Reality is so disappointing sometimes.

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