Thursday, 2 July 2009

Survival of the Weakest

In 1987 life was killing me. At times I dreaded the approach of dawn. I was weak. Not physically you understand; more like a car, a good car, but with spark plugs fouled up and a flat battery.

The solution was simple: re-charge the battery and change the spark plugs.

Leaving a secure job might seem madness to many. To me it sparked a new lease of life and restored the power needed to drive on.

Most people resist change. It's sometimes easier to leave things as they are. Even though we might be uncomfortable we at least feel secure in the status quo. But when the nettle is grasped firmly its sting does not hurt.

Once I'd accepted that my job was the problem my problem was solved. Another job was soon found. Not as well paid but a million times more enjoyable. Some adjustments had to be made to fit our new circumstances. That was easy; like changing gear down a bit. Stop speeding and just cruise along.

We moved house, from Southend on Sea to Lincolnshire. That was a good move. I applied for a job as finance officer in Caistor Yarborough School. The interview was friendly and I felt relaxed. Two days later I got the job.

The Principal of the school was one of the nicest men you could wish to work with. One of nature's true gentlemen. He was quite amazing in so many ways. For example, I attended one of the morning assemblies and he knew each of the pupils by name it seemed; there were about 450 of them! He was always at his desk before any of us, and he was usually the last to leave at the end of the school day.

The job itself was to manage the annual budget and the budgets of each school department. Placing orders for goods and equipment and making the payments. It was something I felt at home with. All the teaching staff were great to work with and my two office colleagues, (the school secretary and the Principal's secretary), were efficient and friendly too.

Compared to my job as a Customs & Excise VAT man this was nirvana. Changing lanes and changing gear was one of the best moves I'd ever made. Could things get any better?

13 comments:

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Had trouble getting into your comment space. Will try again. Your change in jobs sounds a lot like my segues in the past.

PhilipH said...

Thanks Ivan. Your comment gratefully received. Regards, Phil.

the walking man said...

*shrug* I had jobs i hated and kept and Jobs I loved and was laid off from. In the end though I just had a job to make money and it really didn't matter who was paying me as long as the check didn't bounce. I may have hated the fools I worked for but as long as the check didn't bounce...

Matters not though, those days are all well behind me now.

PhilipH said...

Cheers for that Mark. I too have left the world of work; it's a great job now!

Regards, Phil

Dave Pie-n-Mash said...

Hello Phil - That's quite a tempo shift, moving from VAT inspections to school budgets. I know how VAT inspection is viewed by the government and how serious and heavy it is. It is no light-weight job, but it always struck me as a fairly "dry" job to do. Would that be true?

PhilipH said...

Hi Dave-PiM, Yep, ur right. I felt a bit like a gestapo agent as I interrogated and quizzed those who had no experience of dealing with a tax inspector with more powers than the police! I guess I was too soft-hearted for the job, even though my bosses helped me up the ladder of promotion.

The school finance job was just right for me at that time. Some years later I'd move on again, to an even more enjoyable life style.

Thanks for looking in, Cheers, Phil

DUTA said...

You did a very smart move leaving the killing job. It's never easy, but Life is above all.

PhilipH said...

Hi Duta, Hope your travels were a success and enjoyable. When are you going to post the best bits?
Regards, Phil

Argent said...

You did what most of us secretly dream of doing. They call it a trendy name now: "downshifting". I'm seriously considering it but not sure where to shift to - I have a suspicion that IT geeking is all I'm any good at. Maybe I could do that for a charity or something instead of a greedy corporation.

PhilipH said...

Argent, nice to hear from you. IT is still evolving - it just keeps growing, like Topsy. When I was an analyst/programmer for Customs VAT my code was transcribed from the handwritten sheets by the girls in the punching room! COBOL on punched cards! This was in 1980-ish. We had staff who were artistic and/or poets and/or song-writers. They were efficient programmers but I bet they would be happier doing something else. I do wish you everything you wish for yourself. Regards, Phil

Argent said...

Aaah, COBOL. I cut my programming teeth on that as a trainee programmer for the then CEGB (now Powergen et al). We actually got to type in our own code (except on the training course at ICL where you wrote it on coding sheets and people typed it in for you). Mind you, we still had armies of data-prep and punch girls at work. These were phased out while I was there. I still remember the giant removeable disks in washing-machine sized cabinets and manually loading tapes. Playing quits with the write-protect rings in the computer room. Happy days! I'm an Oracle DBA now for my sins.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

From this IP, your comment space is being jammed by something. Twitter chatter?
In any event I mean to comment on your current blog about getting the job in Scotland.
Miracles come like that, don't they?
....After many a winter.

PhilipH said...

Sorry about the comment problem; no idea about these things. Have recently deleted Twitter from my system as I was getting bombarded by loads of "followers" from all over the place. So, no tweets from me any more. Hope you are doing OK in the U.S. of A. Met many folk from the States when I was showing them around Mellerstain. Great to meet them all too.