Today’s blog is a response to a post by Scott J on his blog.

In the middle of 1999, I was stuck in a dead end job: I was Quality Manager for a company that didn’t care about quality, which is a pretty disheartening situation to be in. But the popular perception – which turned out to be wrong – was that the company was going down the tubes, and I’d been there long enough that the redundancy money was worth hanging on for. Also, it may have been mind-numbing, but having a job where no-one cares if you work or not, in a company with no block on personal internet use, had at least a few compensations.

On 5th October 1999, I was having one of my famous hour-long teabreaks and watching the morning news on the canteen telly. A train had crashed in north London, causing huge numbers of casualties. Later news reports made much of the fact that doctors, nurses and other emergency staff from local hospitals had come in to work on their day off to help out. That really focused my mind on how little use I was being to the world – at least in the day job. Hospital Radio is fulfilling – you have to do it, and meet the patients you’re talking to, to realise just how much you can brighten someone’s day – but work is where you spend a third of your life and there needs to be some point to it.

Most of you know at least some of the rest of the story – I not only managed to retrain as a Health and Safety specialist, but I convinced the company it was their idea and got them to pay for it. As I finished the academic part of the training, I was wondering how long I could would have to stay before I could decently leave. A week later they solved that little dilemma by making me redundant, giving me a year’s salary and telling me to go away. On the day they gave me that bit of news, I spotted a job advertised, and thought “Ooh, I’d love to have a go at that, that looks really interesting”. Three months later (the security checks take ages), I started the job.

So now I do an interesting and worthwhile job, working for an organisation which only exists to make the world – or at least, a bit of it – a better and fairer place. I work with a good team, and meet lots of interesting people, and I’m able to get directly involved with helping some of them. And I’m able to use my professional skill – backed with 25 years experience of working in the real world – to come up with ways to help our front line teams do their jobs safely, without the Health and Safety getting in the way.

And of course, for the last eighteen months or so, I’ve been doubly blessed with the love of a lovely lady, who’s shown me that life can be fulfilling and exciting on a personal level, as well as in work or hobbies.

Life’s good. Mid life crisis? I don’t have time for one of those!

To Scott – and anyone else who feels the things he wrote in his blog: Keep at it: You touch more people in a positive way than ever you realise. The smile you gave someone today could have been the thing that turned their day around. The people who love you, love YOU – exactly because you’re who you are, and not anyone else. Thinking of you, and sending cyber-manly-hugs across the pond.

Night night chums

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