The extra bits...(Under construction).

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Tis a strange thing.....

.....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,

John


Saturday, 19 November 2016

Well bugger me.....

     not literally of course but yesterday was indeed a watershed in the up n down life of this 'becoming a bit less of a' rotund Welshman. For sometime now I have been off work with what my G.P. describes as 'reactive depression', which I think means that certain situations in my life are more likely to bring about the return of the paralysing effects of the Black dog and that it does not take much for myself to react and return to the depths of despair and stifling self doubt, or something like that I think. In fact I think that I am well into my third month of absence from work, in which time little was resolved and to be honest I felt that the company had either little compassion for nor any true understanding of the situation of the work related causes that help initiate this latest period of my struggle with the dog. 

      Within this latest period I have tried to explain some of the work related events and situations that have, I feel, brought these circumstances about, but I realise now that the company is as far removed from the 'people company' that it claims to be since Vlad the Impaler discovered how to fire harden wooden stakes. So yesterday I was called in to report to H.R. who required to 'talk to me urgently' (yep that's the way to encourage a nutter like me to react in a favorable manner....not). I thought about not attending but then something inside my troubled mind just gave a little, you know that little moment when something falls into place and life becomes just a little more clear, for a time at least.

       So I attended the meeting yesterday, in fact I was early, to be talked to 'urgently'. There was even a senior management figure there to talk to me urgently as well as H.R.! By eck thinks I, I am indeed going to be urgently talked to. So we had a discussion in which I held back a tad, I asked if certain issues I had previously raised would be addressed in any small manner? to be told that the best way forward would be to consign the past to the dust of history and to start again with a clean sheet. Oh, thought I, trouble is in regards to the company I'm fresh out of clean sheets. So things would trundle on much in the same manner? I timidly inquired. Some waffle came back across the table which when translated meant yes they would. So how would my return be handled? Well John you would start Monday in your role and that would be that, after all the past is the past. Mmmmm coupled with the fact that said senior management figure did not know what my role, or job title was, and that whether I was paid monthly or weekly was not clear to said attendees (it's weekly by the way) I had a feeling that not enough attention or notice had been taken of myself, my situation and certainly not some of the work related causes of it.

     At this point I laid my own card upon the table, I only had the one, and it was simply...'well I cannot see myself being able to return to work under my present condition and with nothing truthfully going to change within the company, so what's the best way for me to go?'. And there it was, that little moment of clarity I had experienced whilst debating with myself whether or not to attend the meeting, laid bare on the table for all to see and digest. So agreement has been made, there are a couple of eyes to dot and tees to cross but the upshot is that I am officially, after over thirty years,  an ex-shift engineer and I am now free to pursue the dream of working for myself as a gardener. 

     Financially will be hell of a struggle, I cannot to be ill in any shape or form (black dog or not), it brings with it so many different pressures and it is bloody scary at my age to even consider such a path when I could pick up another engineering role with relative ease. But do you know what? for the first time in a bloody long time I feel focused and happy with my lot, I have a beautiful loving partner whom I love dearly, I have my health (well apart from been a head case that be), a roof over our heads and a wonderful simple life shared by my George and I. Oh not forgetting there's always Bear n Nelly to cause madness and mishap around the place.

     I have mentioned it recent posts that changes is coming and indeed it is. The next one on the horizon is a move away from the village and the wildlife garden I have created....by the Northern Gods life is getting interesting...


til the next time, take care...

John

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Changes....

     Well, as promised, I am indeed writing here again. True it's a longer pause since the last post that I would have liked, but some of the changes that were hinted at there are now beginning to gain momentum. 

     Firstly our house in the village is on the market for several reasons that at the present time I shall not be going into. Secondly a decision has been taken by us about the work that I do to earn a crust, and after much soul searching a change is being undertaken here and finally my mode of transport has been changed from the luxury of the Mercedes to the roughness of a Nissan X trail. These changes are all interlinked with each other with the aim of changing our lives for something a little more simpler and a tad more satisfying.

      Oh and one other thing, I now have a website which may give you a clue to how my path is changing from the trudge it has been, it may be found here... http://www.suburbiawildlifegarden.co.uk/

         So indeed exciting and, if I am to be honest, scary times ahead for us. One change I am also considering.....


     
     .....Yep chickens, well maybe one day if I can sweet talk my George around to the idea.

Til next time take care,

John