Skip to navigationSkip to content
A police officer on horseback, rides past a cutout of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, ahead of their wedding.
Reuters/Marko Djurica
Just keep calm.
THE REAL MCCOY

The dreamiest thing about the UK royal wedding may be one man’s freedom to be himself on the job

By Lila MacLellan

Simon McCoy is not feeling his work assignment this week, and he’s not afraid to let it be known.

McCoy, a news reporter for the BBC, has been tasked with covering the royal wedding this weekend between American actress Meghan Markle and the UK’s prince Harry. The reporter’s reputation as a non-enthusiast for the royal family precedes him, and he is living up to it once again, delighting anyone who can relate to his bewilderment with the hype around the pageantry.

No matter whether you share his views on the royals, it’s arguably refreshing to see someone be that authentic in the workplace. For the same reason, we were recently taken by the French waiter who sued his employer in Vancouver, Canada, for his right to be rude at work. Pretending to enjoy your job can take its toll, most especially on those who work on the front line, facing customers. It’s the very definition of emotional labor, and taking it on makes you a candidate for burnout.

To be sure, this royal marriage has inspired some conversations about race and culture that deserve journalistic attention. As Quartz’s Aamna Mohdin has reported, while mixed-race marriage in the UK is not unusual, for the royal family, it marks a profound change.

But the multimillion-dollar wedding itself? The hats? The little flags? The time spent camping out for a viewing perch, or setting up late-night and early-dawn viewing parties elsewhere in the world? McCoy just wants to know, “Why?” And viewers appreciate him for it.

Nevertheless, most of us can only live vicariously through folks like McCoy. In most other workplaces—even within a free press, never mind in other fields like finance, or education, or tech—griping about your assignments or their purpose, at least in public forums where your bosses are sure to see it, generally won’t get you very far.