I was lucky

For me it was all quite straightforward – get a good education, go to university and get a job.  Couldn’t have been simpler.  It was hard work of course, but the process was simple.

So, why was I lucky?  Timing.  In those days, “sandwich courses” were popular – especially for engineering courses.  I spent six months of every year at university, and six months in industry.  I did that for three years, followed by a full year at university.  And whilst looking for a job in my final year, I was able to refer to my 18 months of industrial experience.  Imagine being my hiring manager – “You’ve got a qualification and relevant experience?  Music to my ears”.  And let’s not forget that when I graduated, I had already been on the company payroll for four years.  I was rich!

In the years since then, things have changed a great deal and those university courses are harder to find.  Others are not as lucky as I was.  That early experience was absolutely critical to me; those formative years played a huge part in my development, and continue to affect me even now.