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Thursday, 28 June 2018

Fifty years on ...

Just before going to bed, I realised that today was the fiftieth anniversary of the day when I left secondary school. I finished my A Level Economics examination in the morning ... and then – in the company of some of my classmates – I went to a pub in the nearby town centre for a drink. I was still wearing my school uniform (as were we all) but no one batted an eyelid, and after a single pint of beer, we parted company and went home.

On the following Monday I started work at small, private bank, having left my part-time job with a leading supermarket on the Saturday. From that day until the day I retired, I was never out of work for more than a few days, even whilst I was studying at college. (The life of a city banker palled with me after nearly three years, and I applied for a place – and was accepted – at one of Cambridge University’s accredited Teacher Training Colleges.) Even whilst at college I worked part-time, and some of the jobs that I did were more than a little testing!

Fifty years on, would I have done things differently? I don’t know … and frankly if I had, I probably wouldn’t be writing this blog entry now!

Here’s to the next fifty years … I hope!

14 comments:

  1. Far out! 1968 was my last year of secondary school as well. Went to Auckland University and got (eventually) an undergraduate degree in mathematics, then joined the Post Office in Wellington as a trainee computer programmer. Left the P.O. 15 months later - kinda head-hunted - and joined the Burroughs Corporation. I left Burroughs after something over 3 years, but had I known at the time of their merger with Sperry-Univac (to morph into Unisys) I certainly would have stayed.

    To this day I still remember Burroughs with a certain fond wistfulness. I'm not overfond of wasting my time on regrets, but that is one of them. Mind you, I would never have met Karen had I indeed not moved on...

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    1. Archduke Piccolo,

      1968 must have been a good year!

      Unlike my modern colleagues, I never had a 'career plan'. My passage through life has been all career (i.e. as defined in the dictionary as 'to move fast and in a way that is out of control') and very little plan. As opportunities arose, I took them ... with the result that I ended up being - at various times - the deputy headteacher of a large boys' school, the co-ordinator of post-16 education in a London borough looking after fourteen secondary schools and a college, a part-time government adviser on work experience and careers education, the careers and work experience co-ordinator in the largest secondary school in London, and a college lecturer.

      Have I ever looked back and regretted anything? Yes, I have ... but not for too long. If I'd stayed at the bank, I would have probably ended up being relatively wealthy but would not have met my wife. (We met at college.)

      As a police officer once said to me 'the only people who should spend time looking over their shoulder all the time wondering if they ought not to have done something are criminals'.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  2. Fifty years since! Well done. I'm a little over halfway to that point myself, and funnily enough mulling going into secondary teaching too, after a long time in ESL. As you say, no point dwelling on regrets, and here's to that fifty more!

    Cheers!
    Aaron

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    1. Prufrock,

      Cheers! Teaching can be a very rewarding career ... but not one where you will get rich! Do I regret not being wealthy? Sometimes ... but then I remember the opportunities and rewards working in education brought me, and that more than compensates for the lack of personal wealth.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  3. I left school in June 1970 and went to work with Westmorland County Council's Roads and Bridges Dept. In those day you could simply walk into jobs there seemed no shortage of work in N.W. UK

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    1. The Good Soldier Svjek,

      I can remember the early 1970s as being a time when things were on the up for many people, and employment opportunities were available if you were willing to work.

      I'm not so sure that the same is true today, although my experience of dealing with some youngsters in the south east - and London in particular - is that they aspired to earn big money but were unwilling to do the basic work that would eventually lead to promotion to the better paid jobs.

      In a careers discussion I took part in some years ago I listed all the jobs that I had done during my life ... and most of the students could not believe that I had done such menial work. Their reaction was that they would rather go without the work and rely on their families and the State to support them.

      How times have changed.

      All the best,

      Bob

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  4. Thankfully I've only had brief periods out of work since I left school in 1987. I already had a PT job as a carpet salesman and kept at it all during University (the job sucked but I needed the money). Since getting my degree and getting a FT job I have changed industry twice, both times because of redundancy. In theory I have about 20 years work left in me and I do sometimes wonder what career changes I will be forced on me next! I keep volunteering to be a House Husband but strangely the wife keeps telling me I can't do that. :(

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    1. Lee Hadley,

      It says a lot about you that you stuck at a job that you did not like in order to earn money. Nowadays I think that some youngsters would not be willing to do the same.

      The old idea of a 'job for life' has pretty well disappeared, and the predictions are that people will change jobs and even careers several times during their working lives. Teaching was a very different job when I left it from the way it was when I started, and I effectively re-trained myself from teaching History to become a teacher of Business Studies, then Leisure and Tourism, followed by IT, and ending up as a Travel and Tourism lecturer.

      Good luck with becoming a House Husband ... but somehow I think that it might take a few years before you do!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  5. I'd just finished infant school. It is 40 years since I left Secondary School. I don't recall what we did after my last exam, - can't even remember what it was now. Had the Summer off then headed off to University.

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    1. Trebian,

      Some aspects of my last day at secondary school are etched into my memory, including the fact that some staff wanted to wish us well whilst others still behaved towards us as if were were still eleven-year-olds.

      In 1978 I was already an experienced teacher, and was Head of History and Head of Second Year in a London boys' school. When I started teaching in Harlow, Essex, in 1973, I taught ROSLA pupils who are now sixty!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  6. Wow! You and the Archduke are old!

    (I didn't graduate from High School till '72! )

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    1. Ross Mac,

      You certainly know how to win friends and influence people! Young pups like you have no respect for your elders and betters!

      All the best,

      Bob

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  7. I would have been around six months old. I did not have a job at the time.

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    1. Stephen Briddon,

      I am tempted to reply in the Monty Python manners with something alone the lines of 'Six months old and no job? When I was that age I worked down the mines sixty hours a week, had a paper round and a thriving rhubarb-growing business, and still had time to play first-class cricket for Yorkshire'.

      All the best,

      Bob

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