Stepping Stones – Education, Investment, Careers, Family.


18 Months ago  I wrote the following about my son and his journey through education,  getting a 2:1 degree in Cell Biology from Glasgow University and his frustration at being unable to get a job and I could see that it was getting him down that all his efforts hadn’t produced a result but some of his friends who had chosen other paths were starting to make a decent living as police officers,  joiners, etc.

As his dad,  I was worried about him,  particularly as the 18-25 year age group is the highest suicide rate for males.   Possibly because at that point in their life they realise that it hasn’t quite turned out the way they expected or that it looks on tv.

So I funded him through his Masters degree at Strathclyde Business school and we were both delighted at the volume of jobs that were waiting for him as a result.

When he was given a few offers,   we talked them over and decided on a job in Edinburgh with less money than one in Glasgow but with better long term prospects.

Frankly the job at Barclays Bank in Glasgow might have paid a few grand more but it was a dead end,  mopping up and investigating claims but not using the business analysis skills that he learned in his masters.

So he started at a software company in Edinburgh on a lower salary of 20k and has been involved in the design,  analysis and testing of their products.  Becoming a project lead for some of their key products.

Ironically he has picked up some more technical skills like database design and SQL as part of his role.   I say ironic, as that kind of technology and IT bored him when he was younger and he wasn’t interested in learning them .. but now he sees their value,  not only in the work-place,  but also as a means to making a decent living.

After a year,  they had bumped him to 25k,   more than he would have had with Barclays.

Unfortunately 2 weeks ago,   RBS closed down their separation and sell-off of their brand Williams And Glyn as a separate business,  causing his company to lose a lot of work and he was given his redundancy notice.

As expected,  he was worried,   he stopped in at mine after work for a chat and a bit of advice and perspective.

I told him that he should view this as a stepping stone,  that he had been making progress,  that he was investing in himself,  learning to talk the talk and walk the walk and that he now had sellable skills and experience.

Did he believe me?

I’m sure he knew that I was talking sense,   but in his situation,  I could see that he was still worried.   Times are tough out there .. or so you would think.

So he updated his CV,  put it out there and there has been a torrent of agencies and employers on the phone inviting him for interviews.

Last week he did a couple of interviews with 2 other software companies,  phone interviews,  face to face,  business case presentations .. all that stuff.

He breezed it.

Today,  my wee boy ( now 6’1 ) just called me to tell me he has a new job with a starting salary of 35k.

Not bad for under 2 years experience.

Not as good his girlfriend who is now a fully qualified and registered Pediatrician.

Her journey was much longer than his,  her education more structured,   difficult.

Not to say that his journey was easy,  but this is only another stepping stone.

Another few years experience under his belt and he will be working as a self-employed consultant and easily trebling his current 35k offer.

That right there is the value of education and investing in yourself,   making the difficult choices and doing the hard work instead of taking the easy choices.

I couldn’t be prouder.

Well I could,  it’s great to see your kids getting on in life and being successful.

But in all honesty,  I can’t wait to be a grampa .. if that happens,  I’m giving up work and taking it easy,  spending time with the grand-kids and doing all the daft things I used to love as a boy.

That’s my journey.   That’s my next stepping-stone.


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