Adam Bird

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Sunday, 11 December 2011

Choosing our Future

Big Ben ready to meet 2012

Heading towards the end of the year, one cannot help but look back at the last twelve months and onwards to the dawn of the new year. Depending upon each and every one of us, we’ll all have different plans, different aspirations and feelings of excitement, apprehension or even damn right fear. For me, the beginning of 2012 is somewhat an unknown quantity, the start of a new journey for sure, but the question is - where will that journey take me?

Life has a habit of throwing a curve-ball every once in a while. Work this year has been good, I’ve settled in nicely into an agency that contains many of the nicest people I’ve had the fortune to meet. But sadly, we received the news that our biggest client is taking their business elsewhere and what was looking forward to another successful year changed into something that is filled with, at least for now, uncertainty and lies very much in the realms of the unknown.

Sometimes, things happen for the better, bad things happen, but good things come from them. We hear horror stories of people being made redundant and being on the streets weeks later as the search for new jobs become too much. But I’ve always been on the glass is half full side and in the event of the worse case scenario, I’ll move heaven and earth to get myself back in a position that I need to be for my family.

Whether my future lies at the agency I’m in, or at an agency elsewhere, I could be in the fortunate position of having a choice. If I decide to look for a new role elsewhere I could find something totally different, outside of the agency environment, in the city for financial services or any business looking for a front-end website developer. Wherever I end up, I know that I’ll most likely be happy because I am doing a job that I love and enjoy. Having nice people around you, like I have now, is an added bonus, but the work I do is a pleasure and not many people get that privilege.

A friend of mine, has a great job, from the outside looking in. Works at a bank in the city. Lives at home with his parents, must have a nice nest egg somewhere and yet he too is looking at 2012 as a year of change. Whereas I, my change comes from having to, his change comes from wanting to. The truth is, he doesn’t like the constraint of a 9-5. Getting up in the morning, getting a train to London, sitting at a desk for eight hours, seeing the same people, solving the same problems, dealing with the same issues. He feels that it isn’t what he was put on this planet to do. Trouble is, he doesn’t quite know what his purpose is and wants to go off and find it.

I’ve always thought that I use my mind too much, thinking too deeply about everyday things, but my friend, he does that too. The difference is, I’m happy to do all of the monotonous things in life as I have a reason for doing them. I have a wife and two children that need a roof over their heads and food to keep them well and healthy. My friend, is a single man, has no ties and can hear the lure of the world calling him. He is fortunate in that he has been out, seen some of the world, visited places that only a very few dream of seeing. He wants to go again, put a back-pack on his shoulders and unleash the free spirit that has been restricted inside an office block for too long.

Except that he can’t, society won’t let him. Friends and family say “you need to be settling down now” and as a father I can see why family would say that and I can see their point. But as a friend? I wouldn’t be offering friendly advice if I sat him down and told him that he needed to settle down, find a girl, get married and have children just because that’s what I, or my peers are doing. I’m doing what I’m doing because that is where the path of my life has taken me. The cards are being dealt at the moment in my life which may dictate whether I have a job or not for the new year and I respond in whichever way I have to. He has the cards in his own hands and can deal whatever hand he likes.

As a friend, my advice would be to follow your heart and go with whatever it is that it tells you. My friend isn’t stupid, he can take advice when it’s well reasoned and well argued, but I wouldn’t be a good friend if I turned around an started telling him what he “should” be doing, because as far as I can see, the only thing that he “should” be doing, is what he damn well pleases. Why sit, day in, day out doing a job that is “successfull”, because a measure of success is the salary that you get each month, or because you work in a place that everyone has heard of? Success is going to sleep each night content with what you have done that day and looking forward to waking up the next day to do it all over again.

Whatever happens, happens. And as much as we think otherwise, we do have certain control. Outside influences; colleagues, managers or friends who’s advice is well intentioned but made in judgement rather than counsel - we do have choices and we live by those decisions. I could find another job and hate my new environment or stay way I am and be part of a rebuilt agency that goes from success to success. I live and die by those decisions, but that’s the key point. When all is said and done, and we reach the end, not just of a year, but of a life - could we live with choices we made?

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