“People underestimate the benefits of good, old-fashioned, manual labour. Just think a minute, some of the happiest people in the world go home stinking to high heaven at the end of the day.”

So said Morgan Freeman in his role as God in the movie ‘Bruce Almighty‘ starring Jim Carrey. I have recently being doing some very small jobs for £50, £40 etc. Half day jobs. Things that I either do from home (User Generated Content, or UGC, testimonials recorded on my phone) or short promotion jobs at exhibitions (NOT draping myself over the bonnet of a car, heavens no. But dealing with customers on stands, scanning QR codes on badges, chatting, schmoozing).

My husband asks, “Why do you do these little jobs?” And I reply, I would rather be busy, active, engaged, stimulated than not. The UGC is creative – you have to get dressed, dolled up, makeup on, set up the shot, the props, the lighting, the microphone, the background, edit the script, load it into the autocue app, record and then download files, rename them, and upload them to a file sharing site. You get involved in these things, trying to get the best possible result, and you take a pride in them.

As Ivana Trump once said to me (yes, Donald Trump’s first wife), “First you are the maid, then you are the Head of Housekeeping, then you are the Manager of the hotel.” You take pride in every little job, even the not-very-glamorous jobs, and your attention to detail will be rewarded and take you on to the next level.

People need meaningful work to make them feel valuable to society and themselves. If they have a useful skill or service to provide, which people are prepared to pay for, it adds to their self esteem. When you have nothing to offer, nothing that people value, your sense of worth drops. And we enjoy doing something that we know we are good at, good enough for other people to pay for.

And yes, sometimes I do another type of work that pays much more. And that’s great. But I don’t have that sort of work every day. So I fill in with other things. Variety is the spice of life, as we say. I also think it helps to keep my brain moving – we should constantly be learning and doing new things, not the same things, to keep those synapses firing (stop me if I am getting to technical/medical!)

My point is:

People need meaningful work to make them feel valuable to society and themselves. Or at least I do. Other people may be happy as Larry retired, joining choirs, walking the dog, pottering, reading. But not me, not yet, not at the stage of life I am now. And the fact that I know that about myself is a good thing – it means I can choose activities that make me happy.

Ok thanks for listening. And if you do want to book me for one of those higher paid jobs (!) – media training, presentation skills training, motivational speaking, public speaking, voice skills, accent softening etc, get in touch.

Sarah Lockett

Sarah Lockett is a former BBC News / Sky News anchor who currently presents a variety of content for corporate clients and delivers media training.
She has presented on BBC News and Sky News, plus reported for Channel Four News, 5 News, Reuters and others.
She now hosts webinars and conferences, chairs corporate/academic panel discussions, hosts award ceremonies and events. She writes, presents and produces training videos, as well as voiceovers (both factual and drama/comedy). She has written two books and is also working as an actor.

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