Back in the 1990s I started a job that I thought would be my dream job. The money was great, I got a fully-paid company van I could use for private use and an expense account that I could use to buy any tools I needed. I had autonomy in my day where nobody was really checking up on me and I got to drive around a lot.
That job was a service engineer for an automated door company. We had regular all expense meetings at the company’s head office in Leamington Spa where the boss would join us and ask why we weren’t putting more drinks on the tab and tell us we could eat whatever we wanted of the menu. Christmas saw the annual party where wives and partners were invited, and they were treated to a shopping trip by the boss where he would arrange all the transport and give them cash to spend. Everything in the garden was rosy.
However, (isn’t there always a, however?) I was working long hours, very long hours. It was not unusual to set off on the road at 5am and to not return home until 10pm. In fact on a few occasions I ended up working through to the following day when on call out. I started to hate the driving. How I did not kill myself at the wheel being so sleepy I don’t know. Not only that, I was eating rubbish while on the move.
You see, I was supposed to be on call-out every third week, but one of the team were on long term sick leave, so my colleague in Wales filled in. Then there were the two-man jobs. You’d get to a petrol station at 2am because a door had broken and find you had to remove the door. This would be a two man lift so I would have to call my colleague out to help, or get called out myself.
Eventually, the boss sold the company and retired to Newquay and we were taken over not once but twice in a few months. By this time, we were owned by a big American giant. The expense account for tools went, and we now had to order through the company. Not good when you are in Penzance and need that tool now. Then the big vans were swapped for small vans, meaning we had no room to carry spares. We’d have to get them sent down to our local train station by Red Star and return to the job the next day. 4 hours driving to diagnose then 4 hours the next day just to spend ten minutes fitting the part. Soon I grew to hate the job.
So why am I telling you this story? Well you might be in a similar situation. The job you once loved has become a nightmare. Maybe your bosses do not appear to have a clue as to what they are doing. Maybe the hours are just getting too long or just don’t suit the family anymore. As we start families, our needs change and often the job gets more demanding. There are many reasons why that dream job can suddenly or gradually seem like it’s lost its edge. A lot of people do not feel valued in their jobs. It’s so important to feel valued. Missed opportunities for promotion pass you by and are offered to people who just don’t seem suited to the job.
For me it turned out great. I had previously considered a job as a driving instructor, but was initially put off by the training fees. Back then it was £1600. (Ironically that’s about what it costs today with some companies). I investigated several companies and made my choice; I was going to do it this time. And I did, I became a driving instructor almost 20 years ago now and do you know what? I am still here enjoying my work. I don’t teach learners anymore but today I try to give other people the same opportunity I seized almost 20 years ago.
My journey and what could be your journey are continued here. Break free from that job you’re growing to hate and become your own boss. Choose your own hours and salary and get your life back.
Dave Foster MA, Dip.DI (or Driving School Dave) is the most qualified driving school owner in the country, after completing his Master’s Degree in Driver Training Education in 2011 at Middlesex University. He also holds a diploma in Driving Instruction and is a Cert Ed. qualified teacher. Dave is the founder and Managing Director of 1st 4 Driving Ltd, and also looks after over 15 driving schools across the country on a consultancy basis.