Work Stories – Progress?

Thought I’d share this today ..

It’s a beautifully graphic read and although the outcome was predictable, it still had me a little choked.

Fathers and sons, sons and fathers .. It’s a bond that will always remains special, that is unless the guy is a selfish d1ck who leaves his family, sons or daughters.

I love what that man gave to his son was an informal education, a lesson for life. He was stuck with a horrible job and wanted something better for his pride and joy.

When I was a kid and the miners were on strike, I didn’t understand why, my selfishly naive attitude being that if they didn’t like their job then do something else.

The reality, as my dad explained, was for many people brought up in the mining villages, there was nothing else.

What they did to make a living was dangerous in the extreme with pit-owners cutting costs, these were days before health and safety

What the miners wanted wasn’t to hold the country to ransom, they only wanted a decent income for a dangerous job and for the proper safety conditions to be in place.

The death of the UK Mining Industry had a devastating effect on villages all over the country, that’s hard.

But time has passed and people have moved on in the 30 years since the miners strike in 84.

Hindsight is a good thing, and although closing the pits was traumatic, who would want to send their son down to work in a hell-hole for a pittance?

Thankfully we’ve moved on.

For my old man, and us five sons, living in a one bedroom tenement in Govan, Glasgow in,  his guidance was to stick in at school and “get a trade son”.

I did fairly well at school, 5 A’s apart from failing my O-Level English, because I hated Shakespeare and being forced to learn quotes by rote and dodged all the classes.

I can still remember listening to “The quality of mercy” it’s somehow drummed into my consciousness over the few times I did attend.

I mean what is the relevance of that stuff?

But I get the message now, and even passed my higher English before doing my degree.

Fortunately for me, the lack of a formal qualification in my native tongue was no barrier to starting my apprenticeship in Ship-Building.

But that didn’t stop my dad berating me for not being able to pass the exam when I already spoke the language.

So I did it at night classes and then the Higher just to prove the point.

What son doesn’t inherently want to please his father?

Meanwhile, I had served my first 2 years as apprentice Engineer in “the yards” and what an eye-opener it was, brutal, funny, petty, magnanimous, selfish individuals and a collective social conscious.

After finishing my apprenticeship, I decided it wasn’t for me, changed job to a different firm who put me through my degree and I’ve moved on since via Engineering, IT, Banking.

My advice to my kids was that educational was key, to work hard at school and go to University.

With hindsight, that doesn’t work for everyone, some people are just not meant for formal education and there is nothing wrong with that.

Some people go on to University in their later years, its all a matter of timing and circumstances but in my experience I was better prepared for it then.

My son Seven is now 25, I had advised him to go down the degree road and you may have read on here about his trial and tribulations of getting his degree but then not getting a job.

It was a worrying time as I could see him become more depressed that all the work he did had came to nothing and he may have been better to “get a trade” as a joiner or plumber like some of his pals who were now earning a nice pay-packet and good for them.

But now he’s doing well, making his own way ..

In contrast, my elder daughter Laura didn’t want to do a degree, she wanted out of formal education asap.

But a few years later she has went back to Uni and has qualified as a nurse, she was more mature and ready for it then having realised that for her, with jobs of any description never mind well-paid jobs being so scarce, the only available route was education and choosing a vocation that she would enjoy rather than sitting at a desk.

At my dads last night, Laura inspects his medicines to see what his GP has him on and seems to know all of the drugs and their uses.

She has came a long way since she wrote me a note telling me she hated, aged 10, back in the early days of my divorce.

Now my younger daughter Claire who has just left school aged 17 .. almost 18 and it’s her leaving prom this Friday .. I’m sure she’ll look like a princess.

She’s got a few difficult years ahead, but it will be worth it and I’ve no doubt that she’ll get there.

I couldn’t be prouder of my 3 kids and the progress they’ve made and I’m sure they will continue to do so.

Isn’t that the best that and parent can do for their child, to help them do better than ourselves?


An additional thought with my youngest leaving school it’s the end of an era, that started back in 1994 when Steven started school.

The bonus is .. No more school fees!



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