.....that after over thirty years of factory work, the majority of which were mostly enjoyable (well if you consider enjoyable as using the most choice of Anglo Saxon language whilst lying in a stinking pool of only Thor knows what, whilst trying to lift a bloody heavy motor back into place at three 'o' clock in the morning with a smug tw*t of a foreman asking 'how long do you think it'll be John' that is), to be already settling into the routine of working for myself. I would have thought that it would have taken far longer to adjust to certain aspects and yet I seem to be coping reasonable well with some of these aspects that concerned me whilst wrestling with the decision to abandon what has been the familiar for over three decades.
Certainly I am surprised with how I am interacting with clients. I find myself able to communicate with people far more easily than expected. Ask anyone who has worked with me long enough in the factory environment and they will probably tell you that verbal communication without many and various expletives was an alien language to myself. There is certainly a difference when you are, and I won't say 'just' here, an employee than when you are actually providing a service for people. It is almost as if my attitude has gone from a proud man who would not bend his knee just because he was told to by 'his betters' in the factory to someone who, although still has pride within himself, will doff his cap or tug a forelock to prospective clients and the people who hire my services. Perhaps this is one reason I am happier now, previously I would not suffer fools and would express my opinion when angered by perceived laziness, incompetence, stupidity and quite frankly the bullshit of others that I worked with. This would of course lead to myself becoming angry, frustrated and demotivated which of course does not help with my personal battle with depression over the years. But now I have to have a different mindset, I can offer advice but not to the extent where if unheeded I become frustrated, I listen far more as I have to understand individual clients needs, my words have to be far more measured, be clearly understood without being condescending nor boastful. It is not that I have suddenly become a simpering 'yes man' overnight, it is that perhaps as I am trying to earn respect amongst a prospective client base I realise that a sulking, frustrated Neanderthal is not what people want tending their beloved gardens but rather someone whom listens to their ideas, gently suggests some others and shows as much care and attention to their garden as I do my own. Oh and just in case you may foolishly think that this old pirate has lost his bite you may want to talk to the remarkably stupid young gentleman who cut me up on the Wrexham by-pass t'other day whilst presumably trying to impress his young female companion, it is suffice to say that he may well be reluctant to show such bravado for quite some time, well at least until he changes his underwear But yes, the metaphorically doffing of the cap is quite a revelation to me and to be honest it is far easier on the mind than the million and one frustrations I encountered within the factory environment.
Obviously another aspect that concerned myself greatly was how would I find work? After all in the factory it was pretty much cut n dried in that you clocked in, worked to the best of your ability, became frustrated and clocked off. If the company closed down or reduced its staff you move on to the next and the hamster wheel keeps on revolving. I have been fortunate that I have not had this happen to many times and that I have had less than two weeks of unemployment in my working life. But this working for one's self is a whole new ball game for I am now solely responsible for sourcing work, negotiating a cost, completing said work and then hopefully finding more work whilst all the time trying to build a good reputation and also ensuring people enjoy their gardens. Without being boastful I have had only positive feedback so far and finding work is not the nightmare, especially considering the season, that I had envisaged. Yes it is and will continue to be a source of worry but as long as I can earn enough to feed and keep a roof over our heads then this will suffice. Ultimately I am a simple soul with simple tastes and I am fortunate to have in George a soulmate who supports me through these changes.
As for other worries over this change they are many and varied but when weighed against the negative effect that my employment, especially over the previous two years, has had on my state of mind they are worth the risk of facing the unknown rather than continue upon the mind crippling hamster wheel of the 'fun factory'.
And one last thing before I wind up another rambling post, some may think that having to ply my trade in all seasons through all weather would be exhausting and hard to continue with. But I love it, whether I be soaked by driving rain, buffeted by gale force winds or baked by the Summer's sun. I have never felt as close to who I should be nor so much connection with Mother earth than what I do now....this is what I was born to do. I am a simple soul and even the building of a simple log and leaf pile fills me with a sense of achievement, connection and belonging that I think few today feel.
Til the next time, take care,