Last month, a year after graduating, I replaced my part-time cookie shop job with something full-time, office-based, and located in London.
Last month, a year after graduating, I replaced my part-time cookie shop job with something full-time, office-based, and located in London. As soon as I found out my interview was a success, I was excited about the job, relieved to be rid of a workplace where oven burns and customer rudeness are everyday occurrences, and nervous about how I’d cope with a two hour commute each way.
As it turns out, I’ve responded well to the hour long train ride and London Victoria morning scramble, and would like to take this opportunity to let anyone who gets a job in London know that it doesn’t have to mean moving to the capital, the Zone 6 suburbs, or even the commuter belt if you don’t want to.
To help any other future commuters with their first month of long-distance train travel and early starts, here are a few pointers…
If you’re lucky enough to get on where the train’s route begins, the order for the carriage fill up goes as follows: forward window, table, backward window, then ‘crap technically window position but with no window’ seat. That last one makes me curse.
Upon disembarking from your air-conditioned Southern/Gatwick Express train, prepare for the London Victoria Scramble. Scatter and charge in all directions, altering your route to the tube to avoid irritating obstacles like luggage, people standing still, and other people charging…
It’s ok to feel a little secret glee as passengers with hefty luggage get on and become irritated that they can’t sit down because the commuters have the seats. It’s unanimous.
‘First Crapital Connect’. Branson is right. It’s rubbish.
Pass the time
An hour is less time than you think. I catch up on Facebook and Twitter, write blogposts, think about dinner, and read my book on my train home, and sleep on my train in. Neither are what I’d call a hardship.
Make walking part of your commute. A few days a week, I walk from London Victoria to my office in Soho. The route takes me to Buckingham Palace, across Green Park to the Ritz and Fortnum and Mason, and I arrive at Soho in half an hour. Much more pleasant than the tube – if you can be bothered
This last one I learnt today – a human pile up at the bottom of an Underground escalator is pretty much my least favourite way to the start a morning. Beware.
Disclaimer: I am a 10-6er, and have never attempted to get into central London for 9am. I suspect it is more difficult, and busier. Furthermore, there is more of a psychological battle to be done. My morning train is 8.15am. Pretty reasonable, I think. But if I was a 9-5er, it would be 7.15. And that seems just too early for me.
Circumstance, it seems, is everything.