A celebration of jobs that pay the rent

When I worked as a freelance journalist in my mid-twenties, I didn’t earn enough to survive in my hometown of London. So I did a series of what I call ‘jobs that pay the rent’ (a little term borrowed from the film The Devil Wears Prada). So I sometimes worked as a tequila girl in bars and clubs. I was a TV and film extra, where I would sometimes have to pinch myself while standing next to Scarlett Johanssen or Hugh Jackman. Sometimes I was a hostess at charity and corporate events.

For one event, which we were told was top secret, me and some of the other girls got in my old car and drove down to Oxford. Once there, we found out that we had been booked by Richard Branson, to help serve drinks at his son’s 21st birthday party – held at the family’s country home. But most of the time the jobs were routine and completely unglamorous – like getting up at 5am to give out leaflets, or food samples, at a train station.

However, doing these jobs gave me the freedom to keep my dreams alive. It gave me the ability to choose my destiny and not get stuck on someone else’s agenda. Of course, to the outside world, I’m sure it didn’t look like that. I do realise that I must have looked like a silly girl squandering a good education and a promising journalism career.

But I wouldn’t change a thing. You see, I’m pushing 40 now. There’s no way you’ll get me in a cowboy hat and mini skirt – no matter how much tequila you give me! But then, it suited me just fine. And for the most part, it was fun.

Life is an evolution. We’re constantly shedding skin and wherever you find yourself now is just that: the place where you find yourself now. It’s likely in six months, a year, or five years you’ll be in a difference place. And you’ll look back and wonder why you didn’t enjoy yourself more in these very moments.

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