PLANTING THE SEED.
Like most people I will never forget my first ‘proper’ job. It was the start of my professional journey in the engineering industry and the most important job of my career. I didn’t really know what was going to happen, where I was going to end up or what type of career I was entering.
I had applied for a job as a trainee draughtsman which had been posted on a careers board at school. I had no idea what the job was, but having completed three weeks' work experience at an estate agents as a draughtsman, in my naivety thought I it would be exactly the same.
The position was working in a drawing office as a trainee RC Detailer. I had absolutely no idea what RC actually stood for, let alone how you could draw so many straight lines on an A1 drawing sheet without going cross-eyed.
I remember vaguely, and with fondness, my interview with the Managing Director and Owner of the company, who was only about 30 years old at the time, and thinking how brilliant this job was going to be.
There were 6 young(ish) guys all working together in the office, radio on, and dancing to their favourite tunes around their drawing boards. They seemed to be having a brilliant time - and this was supposed to be work!! How difficult could it be? they were enjoying every minute of their day, or so it seemed.
I approached each day with enthusiasm and gratitude for the opportunity I’d been given. Learning to be an RC Detailer was not easy, especially when, back in the day, we used drawing boards.
Nevertheless, this seemed like the perfect job, and the perfect company to work – it didn’t actually turn out that way, but things seldom turn out the way we expect or hope.
During this glorious time though, came the day that changed my whole way of thinking.
I’d been working for about 9 months and the Managing Director walked into the office and came and stood next to me. Looking at the project on my drawing board, he took a moment, turned to me in front of all the other lads in the office and said:
“You know what Jaemie? By the time you’re 21 you’ll be the best RC Detailer in the country”
I looked at him and half-smiled – he was a real joker and sometimes you wouldn’t know if he was kidding with you.
“No.” he said “I’m being completely honest with you. By 21 you’ll be the best, I have no doubt”
I remember feeling somewhat embarrassed and half looking around the office. The other draughtsmen in the office were all nodding towards me and half-smiling too.
My life and attitude completely changed in that moment!
Whether this would turn out true or not was irrelevant - planting that seed in my mind had changed my entire view of my future, which at that moment was very vague, as like most young people, I was just living in the moment.
Not only was I going to succeed to prove my Managing Director and my colleagues in the office RIGHT I also found the route I was going to take. I wasn’t sure of how many twists and turns there would be, but one thing I did know - I was going to make it to the top. One way or another, one day, I was going to be THAT GUY.
I owe a lot to my first job, my first boss, and my first work colleagues.
Plant the seeds early and watch them grow - it doesn’t take much to completely alter someone’s life.