I grew up in a normal household; by normal, I mean my father went out to work, and my mother was the homemaker and took care of my two brothers and me. I’m the middle son, yes the one who’s not the eldest and not the youngest, the one who is never the first consideration. I say this tongue in cheek; it’s the stereotypical middle child scenario, I never felt I was less thought of than my brothers.
I enjoyed school, had plenty of friends, and found something interesting in most subjects; if I had a favourite, it would have been maths. Consequently, when choosing subjects for my exams, I decided to study accountancy and economics alongside maths; numbers were definitely my thing. When I took my exams, I gained good grades across the board, but my top three were the ones just mentioned; I never found them easy, but studying them was never a chore.
There comes a time when you have to start making what seem like, big decisions. Do I stay on at school and further my education or do I leave and find a job? I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do as far as a career, only that it most probably would involve numbers in some way. An obvious route at the time was to go into the financial world and get a job in a bank; I know, how exciting you’re thinking!
Eighteen months previously, my father had jumped ship from his position at a large retailer and started a retail business of his own. He made it clear that he wanted me to join the business, there was a job waiting for me, at the same time my teachers were telling me, you only get one chance to gain an education, it was a tough dilemma for a sixteen-year-old old.
I swayed from one option to the other; I enjoyed school, so staying on was appealing, but that would let my father down. In the end, I took the easiest route; I left school to join the rapidly growing family retail business. I say easiest; in reality, it was the route of least resistance; I wasn’t one to rock the boat; in fact I would do everything to keep the peace.
I spent the next 30 years in that business, progressing from bagging up potatoes to taking over the reins and running the business. There were plenty of numbers involved setting prices, working out margins, controlling costs, and ensuring the bank account was healthy.
It didn’t turn out to be an easy option; retail can be hard work but at the same time exhilarating and rewarding. The important thing is to be committed and to keep learning, I may have dropped out of school, but my education has never stopped.