I haven't posted here in 2014. I've been busy. Busier than ever. So why now... well... I've been quiet for way too long and because it's time to release the metaphorical pressure out of my head.
Last week I handed my notice in at work and made a life changing decision.
In October 2015 I will join The University of Southampton and will be studying MEng Electrical Engineering over 5 years. Southampton is about to go #1 in the UK in 2015 for Electrical Engineering, I am immensely proud to be accepted so early on by a University so globally profound in the discipline. So why give up a job worth about £38k including the benefits for a student loan and living on the breadline?
I've been in the Electrical trade approaching 10 years now, I was lucky enough to know my career path at about 14/15 years old. I love it more now than I even thought I would back then, it's taken me to some ridiculously interesting places and pushed me further mentally than I ever could have expected. I have realised in this time that I like challenges, moreover I need challenges. I have also realised that I loathe not knowing aspects about what I do. It's also taught me that I need to keep learning. I'm not kidding myself, I know I will never know everything, however I know I'm capable of more.
In my career so far I have integrated into a small company format and had a great 4 years doing so. I successfully ran my own company for 3 years. It was crucial for me professionally to use my skills and attributes to work in a large company format. Nearly 3 years have passed at my current employer and I have gained and developed important experience and knowledge in this time. Nearly all of these being people, team and organisational skills, I haven't learnt anything electrical in this time. The job itself has had me running at about 5% mental capacity for well over a year now, by that I mean I feel like I am on auto-pilot cruising all the way into the sunset. The non electrical factors of the job were starting to turn me against what I love doing and I began to feel guilty for coasting in a role with no chance of any real or interesting progression.
So back in about April I had a sustained period of reflection, why did I get into this in the first place? What do I want to achieve at the end? The answer to both was not money. Money has been kind to me, I've earnt good money from day one and it has allowed me to do things, although it hasn't increased my level of happiness. I'm as happy now as I was when I started in 2006 despite my hourly rate being 640% more, that statistic is pretty deep but it's worth thinking about. I am and always have been motivated by a challenge. Something that interests me and makes me want to work hard to gain. With that I started researching how to get back on the right road. I knew I wanted to go into design a long time ago, the engineering part of that has come in the last 2 or 3 years. The careers I was looking at were all telling me one thing, degree. As soon as I read that my focus came back instantly. The challenge was instilled.
Fast forward to September, I was accepted by Southampton and had a decision to make about work. Do I stay where I am for another year, despite it having a negative impact on me mentally, and cruise through to October '15? Or do I go back out there, make some contacts that would set me up work wise for part time hours over the next 5 years? That decision was made for me when I was offered work on a self employed basis for as many hours as I wanted. With my current bills outweighing any possible maintenance loan/grant I know I've got to work hard and make up this deficit so I can survive the first year of the course self supported. Considering what I have it's a gamble but a calculated one at that, my salary is capped at work, self employment will allow me the opportunities I need over the next 12 months.
Gaining this degree will be the key to my future, it's one step back to take about 10 forward. I'm so excited for the opportunities it will bring, the challenges it will set and the people I will meet along the way.
So why bother writing this? Especially seeing that I generally share no information about myself. It goes back to why I started this blog in the first place. To help someone else. I'm lucky to have some really driven people in my life, both friends and family. However, I look around and I see people who have lost all inspiration to do anything in life to further themselves. Nothing should stop you following through what you set out to achieve. Financial gain is irrelevant if you have dreams to get out, as long as you can get by, go after it and achieve it. I look back on my achievements so far with pride but know I have an awful long way to go to satisfy what I set out to achieve.
I promised my Mum in '05 I'd go back to school to do A-Levels, she was a big advocate of me going to University and she would have carried me there had I disagreed. After she died I chose a different path, one that has been so good to me, but now, 10 years later, she has got her way as always. I'm glad that I have her for motivation, she's certainly been shining down on me. Next year will also mark 10 years since she's been gone. A decade. It's crazy to think about that as a time frame. I remember it like it was yesterday, it was around this time 10 years ago she sat me down and told me she wasn't going to live, that all treatments had been exhausted. Mum was so strong mentally, something i will always aspire to be like but will never achieve. She will keep me going when the times get hard.
This blog is approaching 10,000 views now, it's reached people who I never thought it would and connected and helped people I will never meet. I hope it will continue to serve it's purpose.