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THINKING BUSINESS
a blog by Chris Barrow

On the subject of "back to work blues"



First day back after the August Bank Holiday - traditionally the start of getting back to work properly and heading towards the end of the calendar year (116 days until Christmas).


My mid-week alarm is at 05:30 and this morning I rise in semi-darkness.


Which of these categories do you fall in to?

  1. managed a holiday (overseas or home) during the last 3 months and so past the "back to work blues" (that's me) but conscious this morning that "this is it" - the Autumn/Winter season beginning;

  2. managed a holiday ending in the last few days and feeling the "back to work blues" and the "this is it";

  3. managed a few days off here and there (but not a real holiday) and feeling the "I'm always at work blues" and "this is it";

  4. didn't manage a holiday at all and incapable of feeling "back to work" - just "here we go again - will it ever end"?

Of course, I'm not suggesting that everyone is down and out this morning - but judging from my email inbox there are quite a few.


I have a noticeable number of emails that begin - "Dear Chris - I know it's a Bank Holiday weekend and I don't expect you to read this until Tuesday but............" followed by some significant rants around the challenge of maintaining personal energy levels and the responsibility of going in there again today and being the boss and the dentist.


So I feel drawn to comment this morning - and I'll give you the punch line first:


"Thus it always was, thus it always will be."


Yesterday I took a journey down memory lane.


Annie and I took a road trip to the beautiful village of Whalley in East Lancashire (co-incidentally the location of my last practice visit before lockdown).


The main purpose of our journey was to visit the Ribble Bikes showroom in Clitheroe. It was more of an indulgence than a necessity, as their bikes can be ordered online from a very well-built website - but I've been meaning to go for ages and wanted to look at the new Ultra (I'm not buying - just looking) and also at their trail bikes as we are both considering an investment to facilitate more cycling next year.


As an aside, the showroom was lovely but the chap who attempted to serve us seemed to know less about their bikes and their website than I did - very disappointing and a story for another day.


However, we did take the time to park up and have a walk around Whalley village, calling in to "Tastebuds" for a Sunday brunch (imagine Betty's Tea Rooms in Harrogate without the tradition).


Then I spent an hour visiting some of my old haunts from when I lived and worked in this area from 1978 to the mid-80's.


We scooted over to Blackburn to look at my old offices on Preston New Road and then back to Great Harwood, to locate the house I moved in to in the middle of a December blizzard. There was 29 Causeway, a dormer semi that I think I paid £17,950 to buy, perched at the top of an impossibly steep climb and with views across to Accrington and beyond.


I decided to retrace the commute I made daily, when I joined Hambro Life in 1980 and used to drive from this house 26 miles in to Central Manchester. This was in the days before the M66 had opened the Rossendale Valley and so the first 12 miles or so of my journey was on A roads and across the moors to Rawtenstall.


Rain or shine, light or dark, sometimes in snow and ice - 5 days a week, leaving home at around 06:15 and arriving at my desk on Lloyd Street (just off Albert Square) for 07:30 to prepare for my day.


Thanks for staying with me this far - why do I mention this today?


Because I can vividly recall, especially after a holiday or a Bank Holiday weekend, thinking "Oh my God, here we go again" as I pulled away from the house and began that mind-numbing journey over BBC Radio 4's Today programme.


That was precisely 41 years ago.


Tuesday 2nd September 1980........


"Back to work - this is it - the final push for my year end targets."


"Thus it always was, thus it always will be."


So if you are feeling a little blue this morning; if you are overwhelmed by the thought of having to crank up the engine again and sell yourself to your team, your patients/clients and, most importantly ,- yourself.........


Just take a tip from someone who reminded himself yesterday that he was doing it over 40 years ago, he is still doing it now and intends to carry on for a long time yet.


Just like me - get your game face on.


Let's do this.











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