The former editor of British Vogue, Alexandra Shulman, has commented on the reality of being a freelancer after 25 years at the helm of the world’s most famous fashion magazine.
Since joining the title in 1992 after stints at The Sunday Telegraph, Over-21 magazine and fellow Conde Nast titles Tatler and GQ, Shulman was hailed as “the most successful editor of Vogue in its 100 year history” by managing director of Conde Nast Britain, Nicolas Coleridge.
However, since her departure from the editor’s chair, the journalist has found herself part of the freelance world.
A move which, it seems, is proving difficult for her to acclimatise to.
“If you are a full-time, office-based employee, life conforms to a certain shape and rhythm,” she writes in this month’s Times Literary Supplement.
“Drop away from that scenario and you are confronted with a vast, formless expanse to be navigated and moulded.”
While Shulman has managed to nab a long-list of productive jobs – she’s now vice-president of the London Library and writes a column for Business of Fashion – it seems the comedown since leaving Vogue has left her stumped as to what to do with such an overwhelming expanse of free time.
In the article, Shulman goes on to complain about drinking “too many cups of expensive coffee” at hipster hangouts, watching Netflix all day and how being able to take as much holiday as she wants has ruined the entire concept of going away.
“What is a weekend if you have done no work in the week or have chosen to watch Netflix all Thursday with the promise of more valid industry on Saturday?” she writes.
“And holiday is no longer something that is measured and finite. I can take as much as I wish but what exactly is a holiday now?
Adopting the management term for juggling, “going plural”, Shulman also admits to often never needing to set an alarm and declares a distinct dislike for having to kill time between meetings as she learns to fit in with the lives of people bound by office jobs.
“Time is different and the progress of the day unfamiliar,” she says.
“A breakfast meeting in central London might leave me with several hours to kill until another meeting at lunch.
“Such mornings are unsatisfactory.”
However, she does admit to enjoying some of the perks that come with working for herself such as being able to enjoy an afternoon game of tennis as a reward for “having completed an article at home (or at least made a start)”.
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