Tuesday, November 11, 2008

He Has a Dream

Just had a bit of a rant with the progeny. It doesn't happen much these days except when I complain about mess and spreadage. Adam's thinking about leaving yet another job. I must admit he's being paid no more than a burger flipper at Macdonalds to create decks, driveways, gardens and plantings. In fact my sister is being paid more per hour to 'sort' peaches!

He doesn't like the men he works with, they're jaded, they white-ant the 'boss' and resent the new kids (he's one of two that cop the left handed spanner treatment and the brunt of the jokes). They lay blame on the younger two and make spending time in their company unpleasant. Well that's his take on it. I prefer to think he's a bit naive when it comes to handling older tradies. His boss is fine but refusing to budge on the pittance he earns and Ads makes more money on one Saturday working for himself (and enjoys it immensely) than he does in two days working in his present job. He wants his own business, he wants more experience, he wants to design and organise, he wants to get rich. He's happy to labour long and hard and has never shied from hard work but he wants to be paid for it. He earned more crawling through rooves laying cables, or knocking out old bathrooms before a renovation or lugging 25kilo bags of salt than he does on this job. That doesn't seem so unreasonable to me. Three years of Uni and six months later and he's being paid the same as an 18 year old shop girl! We're even paying our Receptionist more than he earns!

My problem? I'm in that betwixt and between generation that doesn't quite want total security and a gold watch when they retire but feels that you should give a job a go and stick at it for at least 12 months. I've never been permanently employed anywhere for less than five years, apart from between job freelance assignments, so it seems so impatient of him to have had two positions since February. Gen Y are of the 'me' and 'I want it now' instant gratification generation so if something doesn't suit them they flit from one thing to another. Buy the latest gadget as soon as it comes out despite his mother's protestations that he should wait until his birthday which is only a month away today.

We didn't fight. I just told him to make sure that the 'business' he thinks he has is still there given the current belt-tightening situation and not just people talking it up. I've asked him to plan a little, work out who his competition is and what they're charging. Get his business cards done up, create a little website. Insure his income in the event he's injured. Make sure he's covered with Public Liability in case he fractures someone's gas pipes - am I being to safe and stuffy? He is talking about going to TAFE (Tertiary and Further Education) to learn a little more about his craft and running a business and thinks he's got enough work to take him through to Christmas at least. I keep thinking it's time he got serious and realised that the cost of living is exhorbitant not just covered by his tiny 10% of salary that he pays to me each week. He thinks he's got it in the can and is ready to launch. Maybe he has.

In many respects my children aren't like me at all. They're adventurous, freer than I was at that age, less influenced by economics and certainly work fits in with lifestyle. They work to live, not live to work. (Then they haven't got a father banging his fist on the table yelling "You've got to get your Matric!" as mine did. I wasted four years at university only to get the degree and do a flash course in secretarial studies before beginning my far from illustrious Copywriting and administrative career)

Clare's talking about travel as a lifestyle with a few stints of money-saving work in between. Adam's dreaming of building a business and being a gazillionaire by the time he's 40. Then I think, 'well, if he's going to chop and change and find the ideal, best he does it while he's debt free and young' . . .then I think 'but his CV's going to show his inability to stick to the program if the business doesn't work out and he needs to seek employment.' I don't really care what he does I just want him to give it his best.

I also think that I wouldn't be where I am today if I hadn't 'settled' for second best as a trade off for security or if I'd got back on the dating game when I had the body and the energy (even though I did have two small children that might have been regarded as 'baggage'). I'd have got my act together, bought that little country pub or inner city B & B with a few neat rooms, new people to meet every week and a good disposable income and lived the dream . . my problem . . .I didn't have a dream at 20. I should be grateful that I have a son with some sense of 'direction'. I'm still sitting here wondering what I'm going to do when I grow up!


Thriftcriminal said...

Gotta learn from your own mistakes, unfortunately. No harm in doing it as long as he doesn't get discouraged if and when he screws up. If he picks himself up again and gets on with it, he'll be grand.

Nick said...

Yes, I feel he should be trusted to get on and do his thing and make his own judgments. He might come a cropper but he's still young enough to dust himself off and start again. Certainly I sympathise with his reasons for wanting to quit the job. I've quit a few myself after a very short stint because they simply weren't going anywhere.

Nancy said...


When I first started running credit checks on people who were buying homes and needed a mortgage, I still had the old fashioned idea that being with the Telephone Co.or the Electric Co. for 15 years meant you were a responsible person.

I soon learned that this was NOT the case. Any young folks who were upwardly mobile and on a great career path had at least 4 jobs by the time they were 30.

They told me that you had to change jobs frequently in order to "Move up" in the corporate world. Staying in a job you hated or one that wasn't advancing you to greater things was no good. It took me a while to belive them but in the end I had to agree.

The ones who changed jobs every couple of years were the winners and seldom defaulted on their loans. The ones who stayed in a losing situation were not the people you wanted to lend money to or depend on for repayment.

I agree with TC and Nick. Let him try his own business. If it doesn't work out, he's still young enough to try something else...

Absolute Vanilla (and Atyllah) said...

The world has changed so much, Bains, we can't expect them to do what we did - in fact, they look at us and think we're mad for the way we live to work - and I don't blame them - I think they're in pursuit of the balance we didn't have.
I'd say let him go for it, it's the best way for him to learn. My father started his own business, working long hours when he was in his twenties. So long as Adam thinks straight, works hard and knows what he wants, let him fly. And frankly, I don't blame him for wanting to quit his job for the reasons he does - we, I think, always put up with way too much shit from older co-workers and bosses. They expect respect, they need to give it too.

Moon said...

It's a tough one, because you are talking from experince, and always thinking about a safe future, then everything you say is logical. Yes, he does have to think about liability insurance etc, the 'credit crunch'..... etc ... then again, you never know until you try, and it might be the best or worst thing he has ever done .. who knows, at least you can give advice, guide, but ultimatley... well, is his choice isn't it !..

Miladysa said...

Baino life is short - too short to spend it in a job which to coin a term from my own offspring "sucks".

When he has a family he will not be able to put as much energy into it has he can now.

Looks like your son has the get up and go - so often missing these days. Odds are he might fail at the first attempt but with you for a mother I suspect he will be the sort to get up and get on.

Who Dare Wins :D

TCL said...

Sound advice about working out a business plan. But as for following his aspirations, let him be. We all learn from learning from our own mistakes.

Moreover, as far as the modern economy, why wait 12 months if he's unhappy? I can't think of one employer in my life who would give me 12 months on a job out of loyalty.

English Mum said...

Pickle, I think he has the best thing in the world - the support of his family, and someone he feels he can talk to about his decisions, even though you won't always necessarily agree.

I was very similar - had tons of jobs and thought nothing of jacking one in before finding another. Drove my parents to distraction!

I'm sure he'll be fine - and let's face it, if he's not, he'll learn from it, I'm sure xx

laughingwolf said...

go for it, adam... BUT, do ALL the preliminary work, like mama advises, first = 'solid foundation'

that means a LOT of 'market research' and a workable 'business plan'... current 'economic downturn' will likely last up to five years

Anonymous said...

I can so see you running a cute pub or a friendly, fun B&B the way you like it. Trivia on Saturday nights! If you do it and need a partner hey it'd be great!
I would love to run a seaside B&B.

Miles McClagan said...

My dream at 20 was to work for Triple J and write a novel and get an ATARI...

Two out of 3! Erm...

Megan said...

Sounds like his employers are going to lose a great worker.

steph said...


I've talked to 'wonder boy' (he who, recently chucked in a highly-paid future in the corporate world to go it alone) about this dilemma and here's his words of advice for Adam...

"If you're gonna go out on your own, it's better to fail early and fail fast while the risks are minimal."

"If you leave a job early you can always turn the reasons why you left into a positive advantage when applying for a new job i.e. the job didn't live up to expectations."

As many of the others have already said, times have changed and employers respect people who appear hungry for greater things.

I wish Adam the best the luck in whatever path he chooses to follow and tell him from me, he's damn lucky to have his Mum doing his homework for him!

Preparation is the key to success.

Kath Lockett said...

As you said yourself, let him try things out while he's young. I wish I did!

now I'm forty and STILL don't know what I want to be when I grow up, or how to get paid for it :)

Quickroute said...

I think it's good he doesn't stick with something that's going nowhere - aslong as he finds something else first

kj said...

baino, you are very endearing. i can almost delightfully hear you across the table from me.

you've given adam good advice. it sounds like he knows how to work. why not give it a shot? the worse that will happen is he will amass a new set of skills (business, marketing, estimating) and go from there. i won't be a bit surprised to hear he is quite successful. (give some credit to his mother!).

one caution i would suggest for him: don't steal customers from his current employer. my favorite saying: never cut what can be untied. he should give some thought to how he takes his leave, and then zoom! ahead.


Baino said...

Thank you everyone, I won't reply to you individually because you're all pretty much saying the same thing, I'll let him know because he rarely reads the blog.

*be prepared
*plan ahead
*have a go
*don't nick clients

Look, he's a smart boy being treated like a dummy at the moment. When he's responsible for his own mistakes, paying his own way and enjoying the satisfaction a fair day's pay for a fair day's work,I think he'll do just fine (Helps that the Fringelet is an accountant!). I'm just a worry wart and want him to be the best he can be, no matter what he chooses to do.

Cheers all :)

laughingwolf said...

nazdarovja! :D

Jay said...

We can guide our kids, but they have to make their own choices. I was not at all worried about Son No. 1 - school, to Uni, to excellent job where he still is nicely settled. Pay rises on cue, shares offered, good medical care and holidays. He's fine.

Son No. 2 was more of a worry. Disaffected at school, left without qualifications for a dead end, VERY underpaid job. Left that, bummed around on the dole, got another dead end job. Eventually got a reasonable job, but it was definitely one of those 'gold watch after 40years' jobs and I knew he wouldn't stick it. Suddenly, he found what he wanted to do and has now finished two sound engineering/video production courses at a working studio and did so well they offered him a job teaching others.

My view is that you bring them up as best you can and then trust them. Help as needed so long as they're going in the right direction, not too much bailing out. Eventually they'll come right. Hopefully. ;)