The power of ten
I was reading a post on another blog when I realised that it was the start of a new decade. I would name check the blogger but they get about three zillions visitors anyway and write about stuff that you wouldn’t be interested in….trust me…..and anyway I need both of you to stay here and keep me company…..ok….so no cheating on me? Anyway, I digress. Now I know it probably sounds a little stupid not having worked out that it was a new decade. But you have to understand, I’m the kind of guy who can’t remember how old he is, what day of the week it is or sometimes even my name. So the thought of counting years…..well that is in the too hard box.
And this other blogger (who you will remember is not as interesting as me so you want to stay here and not go there) was talking about the events in their life in the last ten years and how much can happen in what seems like a relatively short time period. This time, ten years ago I was working for a professional services firm. It was tough work but fun. We worked hard and we played hard. The job took me all over the country and I was seldom in the same place two days in a row. The premise of the service offering was, “you give us the business and we will provide you with the same service at a lower cost”. Our pitch was that we did this through our superior processes and technology. In truth we did this by reducing the number of people and making them work twice as hard. At times it was shocking and it certainly was eye-opening. Anyone that says that the Labour Government has been a failure should remember the national minimum wage and then go and ask the people who we employed on 86p an hour whether it made a difference to them.
At the same time I was whizzing up and down the country, I was also expecting the birth of my first child and you know, those two things they just aren’t compatible. My son was born in February and in March I received a phone call from a very nice man about a job. The job was in retail and initially I was pretty sceptical. I mean retail…..it’s all tins of beans and price checking no? But they talked to me about their growth plans and their strategy and after a while I was a believer. My final interview was apparently the longest anyone can remember the HR DIrector undertaking. Whether that was a good or bad thing I will never know. In July, I jumped ship and started working for them. The first few years were fantastic, we were in growth mode, winning awards left right and centre and making bumper profits year on year. The company genuinely cared about its people and wanted them to be happy and looked after. I got promoted and then promoted and then promoted again. But then the retail sector started experiencing price deflation. The supermarkets were growing in power and under cutting everyone…on everything. In order to compete we had to be cheaper, quicker, simpler. And inevitably that meant cutting costs.
You know you can only go through a certain number of restructures before you become a whole lot jaded. People aren’t people anymore. They just become things. Things that cost money and things that need to be got and got rid of. After 8 years, it was all becoming a little monotonous and mundane. I needed a new challenge and lo and behold a call came from the CEO’s henchmen looking for a gun for hire. And well, yours truly seemed to fit the bill. The rest my friends is contained in the previous posts. I have a good job, I am lucky. But hell, does it take a lot out of me.
The last ten years have seen me work for three companies and hold ten jobs. They have seen me increase my income six fold. They have also seen me father two wonderful children, move house and just about hold together a marriage into its 15th year. During a conversation with my cardiologist the other day (that sounds swankier than it is, believe me) she said, “plan for when you are 50, what you want to be, what you want to do, where you want to be. I mean, you don’t really want to be working like this then do you?” And the realisation is that at the start of the next decade I will be 46, if they choose to go to university, one of my children will already have gone, one will be getting ready to go. And that will hopefully be the time that I prosper from all this hard work and effort.
The last decade was about building.
The next is about maximizing.
Fingers crossed and fate willing, all will be well.
A very happy and prosperous New Year to you all.