If This Is Love (I’d Rather Be Lonely)

Posted: August 25, 2014 in Uncategorized

A tale of work told through Northern Soul Song Titles.


That this title comes from that most amazing of unknown soul harmony groups The Precisions is – to me anyway – apt. It’s been one of THE constant songs to get me sad, angry, fired up, emotionally charged and determined. Sometimes I leapt to the dancefloor. Other times I sat and soaked up the song. It’s one of my all-time top 3 songs of the Northern Soul “genre” ever. I’ve been into this song since I was 17. Ironically, just before I started work. And since then, work has had a dramatic effect on me. Not just getting paid to do a job: Finding a calling that gets me charged up, down beat and all inbetween.

So here’s where my story begins.

Darling, there’s a Job Opening… and so it was that I took to the job market just days before my 18th birthday. A job. Workin’. Money In My Pocket.

Not a Work Song “breaking up big rocks on a chain gang” type hard graft, no this was Stepping Out of the Picture of factory-work decimation (this was post-Miners Strike, Thatcher’s Britain) and into an office job. Wearing a shirt and tie everyday. For a Mod, this was a perfect situation. Except by this point, I was cutting the soul boy/casual look but I could get away with LaCoste Cardigan and Farah slacks over said shirt and tie.

So I didn’t do university. I’ve Had It. That’s Enough of Sitting In My Class. I knew best of course. But Mum and Dad persuaded me to do sixth form. Good move because a job opening did occur. Well 2. And I took the one where I didn’t have to worry about my grades quite so much. Grades which I earned in sixth form through an experimental CEE (Certificate of Extended Education) that no-one recognised as valid for ‘O’ levels. Typical. I only had 2 interviews, and both were successful. I took the one working for the Court Office. “That will be nice and stable” I think my parents said.

It was where I first understood workplace training and structures and systems. I was thinking then All Of My Life is now ahead of me with this opportunity. I saw people around who had the role of leading others and that’s where I saw myself. Sure there were others, but Competition Ain’t Nothing so I set about my ambitions.

I found this display of ambition was met with some odd reactions from others. King For A Day some angled. What More Do You Want? Some accused. I’m The Next In Line said some long-stagers overlooked on past recruitment drives to manager roles.

Whatever, I found this new approach a bit puzzling. It wasn’t like I had The Magic Touch or anything. It was a Free For All as far as I was concerned.

It was my first experience of not liking what was going on “at work”. I could take slightly arsey managers (they were like slightly arsey teachers) but this new approach to being critical of someone’s Determination left me feeling in my Darkest Days. Looking back now, it is all part of the circus that is the workplace but The Feeling Is Real was a new one.

Lonely In A Crowd. Isolation yet surrounded.

Just A Little Misunderstanding maybe? Suspicion?

I was successful in all bar one interview throughout my career in that organisation. And I was still successful just that someone else was able to answer the overall question Can You Qualify?

Gettin’ To Me? Well not as much as I thought. I was still Happy Go Lucky and far from For Crying Out Loud I was doing well and didn’t take anything For Granted.

It did remind me of the Wolf pack/Lion pride where there were clear benefits to “hunting in packs” but that pack was a Competition in itself to select the fittest, the hardest, the most assertive. I got that it was tough and Only Fools Run Away. I wasn’t prepared to be The Drifter.

If I Had Known there was this to come, I’d Think It Over Twice before I let my intentions be known. It was my first experiences of being open backfiring. I Won’t Believe It Till I See It I suppose but it happened.

Far from saying I’m Not Strong Enough it was building my self belief. So any attempts to knock me down failed. I Don’t Like To Lose became a motto for this Hometown Boy and I wasn’t prepared to be Left Out. It’s Needless To Say this wasn’t always the case and in many circumstances I had nothing but support when climbing the corporate pole. I was Wishing And Hoping for better – a chance to improve and do things in a way that was deserved and not what predictable, toxic types were in charge were saying.

(Just a Little) Faith And Understanding was seeing me through and made good of working life but eventually I Wanna Be Free became my mantra as it became clear corporate life was no longer What I Want. Continued progression was likely to lead to more Unsatisfied feelings. Somebody Somewhere Needs You meant there was the possibility of moving company, but You Better Move didn’t feel right.

I was a bit Lost in terms of another job so thought I Travel Alone was my option. But this was Fear like never before. I had to Think Smart as there was No Explanation about what I was going to do.

I’ve Arrived but no fanfare;

I’ve Only Got Myself To Blame if it doesn’t work out;

Because Of My Heart I had belief;

Can We Talk It Over was my style – not please employ me;

Call On Me not me call you;

I Got The Power for whatever you need to change your ways of working;

How High Can You Fly became my metaphor for wanting to see others succeed;

Something New To Do and my desire to help create a new work history starting from now.

So Where Does That Leave Me?

I’ve got to Make A Change to the world of work writ large – as much as I can.

Too many people are Moaning, Groaning and Crying about the thing they do that earns them a living and The Pain Gets A Little Deeper with every bad hire, duff manager and toxic culture.

So I am now aiming to be part of The New Breed to Lay This Burden Down and Breakaway from bad work and into good work. Where people feel work is the Key To My Happiness.

So to return to the title of this piece – if work as it is is love, then I’d rather be lonely. However, there is hope. Do You Believe It?

No longer on Your Ship Of Fools, I’ve been Hurting for too long, so I’m On My Way and no longer on The Uphill Climb (To The Bottom) and instead I’m going to spread A Little Togetherness to where Soul Self Satisfaction means We Go Together and we can all Walk With A Winner – To The Ends Of The Earth if need be.

Song Credits

The Precisions – If This Is Love (I’d Rather Be Lonely)
The Del-Larks – Job Opening (Part 1)
Timmy Carr – Workin’
Moss Tolbert – Money In My Pocket
Cleveland Robinson – The Work Song
Johnny Maestro – I’m Stepping Out (Of The Picture)
George Smith – I’ve Had It
Roscoe Robinson – That’s Enough
Ronnie McNeir – Sitting In My Class
The Quotations – I Don’t Have To Worry
The Ringleaders – All Of My Life
Little Carl Carlton – Competition Ain’t Nothing
Stewart Ames – King For A Day
Gene Toones – What More Do You Want?
Hoagy Lands – The Next In Line
Melba Moore – The Magic Touch
Philip Mitchell – Free For All (Winner Takes All)
Dean Parrish – Determination
Jackie Lee – Darkest Days
George Pepp – The Feeling Is Real
The Superlatives – Lonely In A Crowd
The Contours – Just A Little Misunderstanding
The Originals – Suspicion
Ozz & The Sperlings – Can You Qualify?
Ben E King – Gettin’ To Me
Herbert Hunter – Happy Go Lucky
Bunny Sigler – For Crying Out Loud
The Moonlighters – For Granted
Timmie Williams – Competition
James Carr – Only Fools Run Away
Ray Pollard – The Drifter
Freddie Houston – If I Had Known
Sam Fletcher – I’d Think It Over Twice
Little Bobby Parker – I Won’t Believe It Till I See It
The Four Perfections – I’m Not Strong Enough
Cecil Washington & The Group – I Don’t Like To Lose
Sebastian Williams – Hometown Boy
Jesse Johnson – Left Out
Bernard Williams & the Original BlueNotes – It’s Needless To Say
Billy Keene – Wishing and Hoping
The Magicians – (Just A Little) Faith and Understanding
Joe Tex – I Wanna Be Free
The Precisions – What I Want
Lou Johnson – Unsatisfied
Darrell Banks – Somebody, Somewhere Needs You
The Gambrells – You Better Move
The Darletts – Lost
Lou Ragland – I Travel Alone
Scotty Williams – Fear
The Fiestas – Think Smart
The Jobettes- No Explanation
Steve Flanagan – I’ve Arrived
Bobby WIlliams – I’ve Only Got Myself To Blame
Frank Beverely & The Butlers – Because Of My Heart
L. Allen – Can We Talk It Over
Percy Millem – Call On Me
The Masqueraders – I Got The Power
Willie Small – How High Can You Fly
Bobby Sheen – Something New To Do
Romance Watson – So Where Does That Leave Me?
Johnny Rodgers – Make A Change
The Fuller Bros – Moaning, Groaning and Crying
Darrow Fletcher – The Pain Just Gets A Little Deeper
Jimmy Holiday – The New Breed
Mary Love – Lay This Burden Down
The Valentines – Breakaway
The Charades – Key To My Happiness
Jack Montgomery – Do You Believe It?
Ray Marchand – Your Ship Of Fools
Eric & The Vikings – Hurting
Dean Parrish – I’m On My Way
Walter Jackson – It’s An Uphill Climb (To The Bottom)
The Younghearts – A Little Togetherness
Earl Jackson – Soul Self Satisfaction
The Cavaliers – We Go Together
Gene McDaniels – Walk With A Winner
Tony Middleton – To The Ends of The Earth


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