About 20 years ago when my career was going through a patch of the doldrums, and being bored beyond belief, I started writing. A short story roared off the pen in double quick time and then ‘the novel’ loomed large in my ambitions. An outline was quickly sketched out and an initial series of chapters flowed before I hit the wall. There was a need to do some serious research (background for a critical chapter) but I never got round to it as the career took an unexpected lurch forward once more. Despite constant revisions of the material I had already written over the intervening years it progressed no further (as the research remained neglected), languishing in the dusty recesses of one hard drive after another.
Following my retirement last year the keyboard beckoned once more as I started to map out my ‘third age’. The sudden transition from working flat out for so many years to having all the time in the world was not an easy one. Writing was the one thing I had always said I would take up when I retired; but where to start? I wasn’t ready to resume work on ‘the novel’ (the research remaining undone). However, having investigated social media for my last business, I decided to take the plunge and The Retrospective Entrepreneur eased into the blogosphere in the middle of last year followed shortly by my first tentative tweets.
The last 6 months have been a revelation to me. Followers have been won, friends have been gained from both sides of the Atlantic and views from across the spectrum have been obtained The welcome I have received from you all has been humbling and I have learnt that opinions I have taken for granted are but a small voice in the vast and varied world of social media. Exposing myself to views from the opposite end of the political spectrum remains challenging and brings home the irreconcilability of views on many subjects. However, these differing views have given me insights that I would never otherwise have been exposed to and I am learning, slowly, to think before I hit the send button. I have also been driven to tears on more than one occasion at the sheer determination shown by ordinary folk in the face of far more serious obstacles than I have ever experienced. I have roared with laughter at the humorists amongst you and at the depth of experience and insight voiced on political, economic and social issues on a daily basis. I’ve been put in my place more than once and learnt a great deal in the process.
In just over half a year I have notched up 40 blog posts covering a wide variety of subjects including many anecdotes from my career, trying to be relevant on topics of current interest. Taking stock of my posts I can see that the posts and subjects covered are but glimpses of experience and knowledge gained at various points in my career. I can now see that these posts lack a unifying timeline and narrative to enable them to make more sense. The things I have done, the successes I have had, the failures and setbacks I have experienced have made me the person I am today. My parents and ancestors provided the genes and the personality I possess; my parents, educators, business and society have given me a framework against which to test that personality. I am privileged to have had a great (if somewhat unconventional) education and many chances to learn the good and the hard lessons that life can throw at one. It has taken me a great deal of time to find the details of some members of my family that I never knew and I regret bitterly all the questions I never asked of far too many I did know.
So, I have started to write my autobiography. Not an outpouring of the most personal details (they belong, quite rightly, within my family) but a narrative covering my business career, as faithfully as I can. I have written the first series of chapters and I am going to start publishing on my blog. Some of the experiences and subjects I have touched upon before but, hopefully, putting them into a chronology and providing additional detail will enable a fuller picture to emerge of where I have been and why I am the person I am today. Some of the characters you have met before but many who have had a formative influence upon my career are new. Some of the characters enter the narrative as themselves and some will (as before) assume new identities to protect the innocent and the guilty. Whether I can sustain the narrative and whether you will have the interest or patience to stay with me, we shall just have to see. I don’t hold out my career or experiences to have been better or worse than others. But they are my experiences; it is my career, it has made me who I am and I can only hope that it has some relevance in a world that is changing so rapidly.
Do let me know what you think of my recollections, favourably or otherwise. Feel free to share your own opinions and experiences. I’m not giving myself a time schedule; we’ll just see how it goes. First chapter this week.
Image courtesy of Fanpop.com