Friday, November 24, 2017

Has it really been four months?

Houses at Venice, Italy
I can't believe four months have passed since I last posted on Working Smarter.

Since I retired from my job at a prison, life has been hectic. I don't know how I ever had time to work eight hours per day, seven days per week for 51 years. I did enjoy all the jobs I had, but it's great to have all day, every day, to do whatever I want, rather than have to be working for the man - or the government.

So what have I done this year?

In early March, 2017 I flew from Perth, Australia to Hong Kong and thence to the once United Kingdom. From the UK, I flew to Malaga in Spain and travelled by train to Portugal. Then I went back to the UK, this time to Scotland.

After visiting friends in Scotland and having a look about Aberdeen, Arbroath, Edinburgh, and a few other places, I flew to Geneva, Switzerland so I could attend Baselworld 2017, the world's greatest watch and jewellery event. From there, it was off to Brussels to join a three week bus tour of Europe.

Next, it was a cruise around Norway, Denmark, Sweden and nearby countries. By then it had all become somewhat of a blur - visiting different places every day or so is tiring and ultimately you can't recall if you were at Keil in Germany or Rome in Italy.

But, somehow I survived and when the cruise ended at Copenhagen, Denmark, I spent a few days there and then flew back to Aberdeen and spent the next four weeks driving all over Scotland, England and Wales.

I achieved two Bucket List aims. One was to visit Arbroath, Scotland where my great grandfather, eight generations removed, lived before he was transported to Australia for stealing cheese. (Every Australian wants to find a convict in their past) The other was to visit Pembroke Dock in Wales where my father flew from during WWII in Sunderland flying boats intercepting and sinking German submarines.

Ultimately, it was back to Australia via Hong Kong and back to my real life and after a short stint at Alice Springs, off again in the caravan for a circuitous trip east to Queensland, south to New South Wales, across the top of Victoria to South Australia and then back up the centre of Australia to Alice Springs where I sit and type.

In January I will be moving to our new house in the Barossa Valley, Australia's principal wine growing area.

Why do I tell you all this? Simple. It's because one day, like me, you will retire from work and need to keep yourself in food, clothing and accommodation until you are harvested by the Grim Reaper.

How you do that is the topic for my next post. Stay tuned.


Monday, February 13, 2017

Just Another Smart Company

Bremont's US Navy F14 Watch
I've spent a lot of time working on capability statements that describe the benefits an organisation can provide to its clients. Central to these is the concept of a unique selling proposition (USP).

Unique things organisations do makes them stand out from other suppliers. Their USP describes their strength in a market that nobody else has.

Two young men with a history in aviation, Nick and Giles English commenced Bremont Chronometers and their USP can be seen in this snip from their site:
Time began for Bremont in 2002, when we embarked on a journey to make beautifully crafted pilot’s watches of exceptional quality. Inspired by a love of flying historic aircraft, of watches and all things mechanical, our timepieces had to be tested beyond the normal call of duty.
They have decided to focus on pilot's watches and interestingly, most of the materials they use in constructing their watches come from old aircraft, ejection seats and even the wartime cryptography machines used at Bletchley Park.

Bremont watches are all hand made and they stand alone within a watch industry that has hundreds, if not thousands of players producing a cornucopia of chronometers. Bremont watches are indeed unique in every way.

If you visit their site, and I highly recommend it, you'll see they are producing military watches for various countries targeting specific parts of the military operation eg, Navy, Air Force and specific squadrons. Click here to be astonished at how many different watches there are for the various branches of the military.

In a world where watches are ubiquitous, Nick and Giles have come up with a smart idea about how to differentiate their products from all the others. Not only that, they are doing what they truly love - being involved in and with the aviation industry.

If you love what you do and manage to keep the debt collectors from the front door, you are indeed fortunate.

What firms do you know that warrant the "smart" tag? Let me know in the comments and maybe I can write a piece on them. 


Photo acknowledgement: Bremont Chronometers

Sunday, January 22, 2017

When you reach the end of your working life

When I first began studying adult education at age 34, I was motivated greatly by all the new and interesting things I was learning. 

I had commenced my working life (14 years of age) as a boilermaker-welding apprentice, spent a stint in the Air Force (RAAF) during the Vietnam fiasco, and been a police officer for 10 years. 
Attending university as a mature age student, married with two children was an opportunity of a lifetime. I took to it like a duck to water and never looked back.

One of the subjects that most held my interest was educational psychology. Psychology came alive for me as I could see its relevance and presence in the world around me. 

One of my favourite psychologists was Erik Erikson and his "Eight Ages of Man" impressed me greatly as being inordinately accurate.

I was in Erikson's Sixth Stage when I began university study; "Intimacy versus Isolation". His description of that stage fitted my circumstances very well - love. I'd met my life's love and with her created two children.

Now, after a working life of 51 years, I am well in the Eighth Stage, "Ego Integrity versus Despair" which is worth describing here:

As we grow older (65+ yrs) and become senior citizens, we tend to slow down our productivity, and explore life as a retired person. It is during this time that we contemplate our accomplishments and are able to develop integrity if we see ourselves as leading a successful life.
Erik Erikson believed if we see our lives as unproductive, feel guilt about our past, or feel that we did not accomplish our life goals, we become dissatisfied with life and develop despair, often leading to depression and hopelessness.

Success in this stage will lead to the virtue of wisdom. Wisdom enables a person to look back on their life with a sense of closure and completeness, and also accept death without fear. HREF

I retired from the full-time workforce on 30 June 2012 and continued doing some casual contract work for a government agency until June 2016.

Now I'm retired and I wonder how I ever had time to work. I occasionally miss the social aspects of managing a team and working, but I volunteer for a Veteran's Support group, play golf at least three days per week, do some construction/maintenance jobs at my daughter's house, and travel, travel, travel. 

I'm in the Eighth Age and look back on my life with a sense of closure and completeness and accept death without fear. It's a wonderful place to be considering the many who never make it.

It's also time to wind back some of my internet accounts and some of the other accounts that helped me network, mentor, learn, contribute, and simply be part of wonderful communities.

A new stage of life, new interests.

I truly hope that, like me, you reach Erikson's Eighth Stage and have time to enjoy the fruits of your labour before taking that journey from which noone returns.