Thinking Time

From my opinion column written for the Egremont 2Day newspaper.

Recently I’ve been talking with solicitors and barristers about some potential legal action I may engage in. I don’t normally have much dealings with such people other than for mortgages or sorting out wills so it has been very strange to suddenly find myself ‘popping down’ to London, for instance, and meet some pretty high-powered legal beagles. Along the way I found out that barristers are able to charge huge amounts of money for ‘thinking time’.

Just consider that for a moment will you? Getting paid to think. What a remarkable idea! As a freelance writer I would be delighted if my editors all over the world would pay me for the thinking time needed to compete work rather than just for the words themselves. I’d have earned £50 just for this short article alone (Mr Editor are you taking the hint?).

The next time your boss catches you daydreaming, staring into space or otherwise not actually doing anything, maybe you should try saying “it’s ok boss – I’m doing thinking! You do want me to think on this job don’t you?” – before going back to sipping your cup of tea and staring out of the window. I’m not saying it’s a clever or wise idea, it would just be interesting to see what would happen. Before you were sacked, that is.

In some ways it is ironic that we don’t get paid to cogitate when, if you think about it, the world would probably be a lot better off if we did. Instead, most of us prefer not to think. Take politics for example. Now we’ve all voted (or didn’t) and know who got in, I bet most of us will stop thinking about who runs this country now, preferring to meekly accept whatever is coming to us for the next five years.

I shudder at the thought of that that so instead I’m going to go write some invoices to editor clients adding ‘thinking time’ which should at least triple or quadruple my fees and see my income soar. Won’t my editors be pleased to see I’m actually thinking about the work I do for them now?

Hmm…on second thoughts I’ll just go make a cup of tea instead and stare out of the window with my brain on ‘standby’ for a while. It’s safer.

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