I was born shortly before the end of the war in Europe 1945, in Lincoln, UK where I lived until age 21. Finishing school in 1961 age 16, even though I had good school qualifications but chose not to go on to gain university entry, I entered the workforce and with very few breaks, holidays or illnesses, earned my living in a variety of ways, for the most part quite enjoyably, for almost 49 years until retiring towards the end of 2010.
For my early working life, the first 10 years or so, I had a variety of jobs (you see, I never really knew quite what I wanted to do back then) including working in insurance, sales, window cleaning and factory food processing (I have butchered, gutted, bagged, frozen, packed and stored a whole lot of chickens) rising from operative to foreman and supervisor (I was even offered a management position of one of their farms).
For part of this time I left home to spend a couple of years in Nottinghamshire (Newark & Long Eaton), mostly wasted years, though no period of life is entirely worthless, pursuing what I now see as a fruitless illusion associated with now defunct (for me) religious beliefs, before returning to Lincoln and home.
I Married at age 24 and decided that I needed some stability in my life and also money to support my family. Military service seemed a good option at the time and turned out to be so. I Served 9 for the most part enjoyable years in the Royal Air Force through the 1970’s and emerged from there with a qualification that enabled me to enter a profession that I had now finally been able to choose for myself and which with foresight had, although it was at that stage in its infancy, the makings of a future growth industry. I speak of what was then known as Data Processing and has now morphed into the Information Technology that no business can operate successfully without. A very good choice in hindsight. In computer programming and systems design I had found an outlet for my creative instincts.
After two years of programming and Systems Analysis experience, on a whim I/we decided to emigrate to Australia. Actually it wasn’t really on a whim, at least not for me. I had been studying during those two years with the newly formed Open University, achieving 2 credits (in Maths and Technology) towards the 6 credits required for a BA degree. This study opened my eyes to the fact that the future didn’t look too rosy for Britain and Europe, or for the rest of the world for that matter, but Australia was or seemed to be as far removed geographically from the sort of problems that I foresaw as it was possible to get. Emigration was a good decision. Australia was pretty much a backwater in those days. Way behind the times. But in the decades since then, the nation has developed in leaps and bounds and now stands proudly among the top performing of the world economies.
So, we arrived in Australia towards the end of 1981. I still can’t believe or understand why my then wife, who had very strong ties to her family, wholeheartedly agreed to come with me to the other side of the world. We eventually divorced in 1986, having raised three children. I remarried in 1988 to an Australian with whom I have raised three more children.
As it turned out, I remained a computer professional from 1979 through to 2010. I am now retired.
For the most part my IT career was very satisfying. I never lost the original thrill of creatively making things happen through my keyboard but after the turn of the century/millennium I noticed a distinct change in the direction of the computer industry which gradually gnawed at me for the next decade. This, together with what I perceive to be an awakening within myself (call it spiritual if you like or it may just be part of the ageing process) which began in the years leading up to the millennium and which opened my mind to a broader understanding, to use the Douglas Adams “Hitch Hiker’s Guide” quote, of “Life, The Universe and Everything”, and also a short but disruptive illness which hospitalised me for a few days in 2010, brought me to a point where I could no longer ethically continue to work in a system, supporting a global business model that I began to see was at the very heart of the problems facing the world around me.
So, to use a common expression these days, I ‘Got the Hell out of Dodge’, or ‘Woop-Woop’ (choose your own location), retired and intend to spend the rest of my days preparing as best I can for an uncertain future where I can best look after myself, my family if they need it and my local community. I live as simply as I can, working towards having as few dependencies on the industrial system as possible.