It was the summer holidays in high school. As a kid everybody loved the summer holidays. Especially If you were a kid like me who not only hated school, but it didn’t match my skill-sets or interests.
People spent summer holidays fucking around and having fun for the most part. Summer holidays lasts for 6 weeks before going back to school. At least here in the UK.
During that time at the age of 15, I had work experience for around 2-3 weeks. The job I got work experience in was a typical factory job that dealt with furniture products.
How “exciting” I thought to myself. But I got on with it anyway.
The name of the company I did work experience for is – Adam’s Furniture group.
They’re now out of business.
While I worked there I remember a man in particular. Can’t remember his name but he showed me what needs to be done, how to do it, how to package the furniture, and things of that nature.
Typical factory stuff that’s boring enough to kill you from the inside out. And strip you of your happiness.
I’m not sure what day it was or how long I’d been there at this point, but not long after starting the man who was around 49-51 years old said something to me.
Something that at the time I didn’t understand as well as I do today. Though I did intuitively understand what he meant by it.
Here’s what he said:
“No matter what happens, you don’t wanna be doing what I do at my age.”
And that’s what he told me in a nutshell. I’m sure he told me a little more than that, but that what was the depth of it.
The look in his eyes when he said it, well, I could tell he was being deadly serious. He had an intense look in his eyes that day.
Fast forward to today and now I understand what he meant by those few, meaningful words. This is what he tried telling me that day, or at least what I interpret:
- The last thing you need to be doing in your 50’s is working in a factory job that doesn’t pay well.
- There’s nothing aspirational about working in a minimum wage job.
- However you do it, find a way to make something better out of your life.
- Do whatever it takes to get yourself in a better career.
- Refuse to settle for less than you can have.
- The picture society has drawn out for you isn’t as sexy as it looks.
- Working long hours with little compensation isn’t worth the sacrifice.
- Working long hours and having little time for your life is foolish.
- Being trapped in doing something you don’t like, with tiny rewards is NOT the way to go.
Today that man is in his 60’s. Or at least he should be. And since the company he worked for has gone out of business, who knows what his life situation is today.
The point is though, he taught me a valuable lesson I won’t soon forget. And now I understand more than I ever did at the time, I couldn’t agree more with the meaning behind what he said.
Not only is his message relevant to 2016, but in 2016 things have changed a lot.
Plenty of jobs have been replaced or are being replaced by technology and software.
And believing in the bullshit story society tries to sell you is naive at best.
Going to school, getting a job, and living happily ever after is nothing but a myth.
Success is NOT a straight line.