The work life balance is one that is often difficult to get right, especially in an industry of tight deadlines, pitches and the ‘always-on’ mindset that we have in advertising.
In a very generous bid to ensure that all St Lukers take an opportunity to continue to expand their social and ‘extra curricular’ lives there is an annual grant available for each permanent employee to learn to do something to “Make yourself more interesting.”
The value in a well-rounded person should never be underestimated and St Luke’s has remarkably valued this for around 20 years. People have done all manner of things such as nutritionist courses, learned to salsa or taken swimming lessons.
I’d been toying around with the idea of doing a few different things with my fund this year, until over Christmas I realised that I was now as an adult craving a hobby that I spent most of my teenage years enjoying – performing arts.
I set about researching immediately, and on Jan 2nd I signed myself up to a 12 week course for adults at Pineapple Performing Arts School – held for 3-4 hours every Sunday at the legendary Pineapple Dance Studios in Covent Garden. Gulp. After the first session I was beaming with excitement and the next day came bounding in to work, still buzzing off the adrenaline. The singing teachers had been in the original casts of Wicked, Billy Elliot, The Lion King and Mamma Mia. Drama was led by a pair of actor/directors, and dance classes were taught by performers at the top of their games in Street, Hip Hop, House and Musical Theatre. I was in awe of their talent, and it was overwhelming and terrifying to think that in 3 months time I’d be on a London stage, performing a showcase of pieces that we would learn over the 12 weeks.
When show weekend arrived I felt sick with nerves, and was glad I only had a few select friends coming to watch the 2 shows we were performing on the Sunday. Having a singing solo and a drama duologue, as well as numerous group numbers, made the personal pressure feel heightened, but in the end these were some of the standout memories where I felt I thrived most. The feeling of the adrenaline rush after both performances and seeing my friends’ grinning faces in the audience is one I have tried to bottle.
The whole experience reminded me that you should never feel like you’re too old, too busy or too tired to throw yourself into doing something you find nerve-wracking or challenging. The buzz is amazing, and sometimes you just need reminding of that.
Even if it’s not something you find daunting, it’s a sterling reminder that we should all make time for hobbies. And when an agency like St Luke’s will freely offer you money to learn to do whatever you like, you should grab the opportunity with both hands!