A Tube Advert Tells You to Leave Work at 4 PM. Do You Agree?

It was another working day, not wondering if there would be cricket fans crowding the Tube. (And they wouldn't. It's not a Saturday. Not that you notice it.) You paid little attention to the buskers, but not that one chap near the tube station. (You didn't recall any noticeable feature in his face. He would be the first to play classical music in the Underground, though.) And you ignored the tube adverts. Two would catch your attention, namely Ben Chaplin starring in a play. (You saw a period film starring him and Nessie. It was rather odd whenever you thought of it. You haven't been to Loch Ness, though.) The other one was a tube advert telling (tube) commuters that 4 PM could be the best time to leave the office. Time stood still.

You've been in your (current) job for a few years, yet the advert would intrigue you no end. You won't think twice about it during your younger years. (You were teaching English to teenagers in Pattaya, amazed at their politeness. You would yearn for shorter working hours, which could have given you more time to explore the coastline facing Andaman Sea. And then you became homesick.) You weren't certain if this could make any difference, as the nearest pub wouldn't close sooner. And the cold, wet days won't make you keen to go home earlier. Something about the advert would pique your curiosity, though.

Does shorter working hours make you more productive in the office? Some passengers in the Tube might agree to the advert (after you noticed their facial expression). Then again, you wouldn't mind the long hours. It should motivate you to keep your enthusiasm. After all, you hardly recall the sunny days in Thailand. (And you seemed to forget your best mate, who kept on telling you that you might regret not purchasing a one-way plane ticket.) You're thinking of Marrakech. (You seem to be the only one who didn’t set foot in the Sahara. This would be your impression after listening to what your colleagues have been telling about Morocco.) You decided to come up with a short list of pros and cons (after the train left Westminster tube station).

The Upside of Leaving the Office at 4 PM

You will have more time for your family (or mates). You know that the future would see more Londoners working from the comforts of their own homes. It's a reality that is not hard to imagine after you realise that commuting can be tiresome. (And you can't afford an electronic car.) You didn't think about the possibility of mixing business and pleasure, as it's easy to assume that circumstances should force many, if not most, to adopt self discipline. It can mean giving up on those so-called little pleasures. You don't see the end of the world (if you go through that route). Nothing like spending more quality time with your people.. You're lucky to keep in touch with your best mates from your school days, aware that not a few must deal with solitude in their cold, lonely flats. And leaving the office at 4 PM won't appeal to them.

You will have more time for your interests. This might be the most appealing thing about the advert, as you often think about the future. It doesn't seem rosy enough. (And Brexit has nothing to do with it.) You may get tired with your current routine sooner or later. You would need a change in career, and it must be something that interest you much. You have no plans in investing in franchise retail establishment (and give Starbucks and Costa and Nero’s a run for their money. And you still have some doubts if your mother’s chocolate chip cookie could draw a lot of customers in Notting Hill. (You used to live in that part of London.) You have more time to think about it, and how to make money from it.

You will be able to achieve a work-life balance. Not that it would be impossible in your current situation, but you recall your embarrassed look whenever your (former) students asked for particulars about your hometown. You resolved to spend more time on exploring London. You have done it on a few occasions, wishing you could have more time (to do it). This might be your chance.

Do You Mind the Downside at All?

You can find a pub on every possible corner. And it beckons. You don’t mind the distraction especially during this (cold) season, but you tend to be restless. Does it has to do with the upcoming decade? You might need a career change. You might need a longer time, as you notice that you’re about to reach your destination. You haven’t explore Greater London, but you’re wondering if your (former) flatmate has a point. Relocating to a smaller city has more benefits. Leaving the office at 4 PM seems to offer more benefits than you suspect.

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