Years ago, in my formative working years, colleagues, who at the time looked like ancient dinosaurs, but were probably the age I am now gave me two bits of advice that have stuck with me. That doesn’t mean I have adhered to the advice of course, I just remember it!
The first, was on my first day of work at the Nat West Bank in Bury in 1987. The branch manager, a grey haired reverend (I’m sure I haven’t mis-remembered that) welcomed me and asked if I was ambitious. To be honest, on that day, my ambition was to make it to 5pm without falling asleep and working out where to get some lunch from, but of course I said yes, thinking this was the thing to do.
Well, he said, the best way to get ahead in the bank is to go to head office and fall down the stairs. It seemed a bit dramatic and to seventeen year old me a little eccentric, but I have since realised what he meant. Often rewards, promotion and progression are dished out to those who are known, not necessarily to those that may deserve it. I have seen this play out time and time again since.
That first example has no relation to anything I’m saying today.
The second piece of wisdom was another senior chap in the bank telling me that I needed to work out whether I wanted to live to work or work to live. His point being that it should absolutely be the latter. This surprised me at the time to be honest but again it is a wisdom I have tried to remember when work gets crazy, like it is at the moment. Both Louise and I are dangerously close to the former and it’s not a good thing. There needs to be a new word for busy that covers this.
Louise is currently coming to the end of a nine-day stint without a day off and whilst I’m fortunate enough to get weekends off, the bits in the middle are madness at the moment. You may be familiar with that feeling of always being behind schedule and never quite having enough time for everything? For someone like myself who lives to plan and plans to live that is hard to bear at times.
This week I was Johnny Jet Set and had to travel to Amsterdam for a meeting. Yes, one meeting. To be fair, I instigated it as it was something that had to be done, but it was a heck of a long day. Taking off at 9am, doing a meeting from 12 till 2.30 and then taking off again at 5pm was a whirlwind day. I didn’t see
much any of Amsterdam, apart from the inside of two taxis, some motorway and an office. It didn’t stop being blown away by the fact that everybody there speaks perfect English. When are we going to catch up with this in our education system? I did three years of German and I remember so little I’d struggle to spell BMW.
Chatting to the people in our meeting it turns out that English is pretty much the default language in Amsterdam. That chap was Turkish, speaking English in a Dutch company who also spoke Dutch. I apologised for Nigel Farage and left.
Security at Schipol airport was crazy. It’s fortunate that we were early as it took over an hour to get through. I felt safer for it, but that must be stressful if you are running late, or even just on time for your flight.
I am not a nervous flyer at all, but there’s always those first few nervy minutes, when you haven’t flown for a while when the engines kick in and you hurtle down the runway. That is magnified when your plane is basically a Mondeo with wings. Both legs were bumpy and I have to stay I feel safer in the big things that take you across the Atlantic mainly as they don’t have propellers and their landing gear has tyres that aren’t the size of a typical 4 x 4!!
With all this being busy and stuff it’s a god job all of my holiday planning is pretty much done. All I’ve done this week is pay the balance on the hire car and tick off another few days in the countdown to making FastPass bookings. That’s Tuesday by the way. It’s nice to be so close now as God knows we need a holiday.
It felt odd and quite cruel to be driving to Manchester airport early in the morning not to be catching a flight to Florida last week. Mind you I did fly back at the same weight that I left at, which won’t be happening in April.
Oh and if anyone is reading this who is in charge of the short stay car park at Terminal 3. £40 for 11 hours? Really? How do you sleep at night. My expenses may be laughed out of the office!
Till the next time…..