Writing The Same Thing, Over And Over

Probably one of the things that discourages me from writing on here these days is that I feel like my life is one big ball of sameyness. Every time I arrive I tend to write about what I did since last time, which is invariably do some work, earn some money, and hope for more of the same.

It is some progress, of course. I can’t really complain because, when I look back and see that the entries before my business started to take steps towards a brighter future were full of despair and woe, I have to admit that my life has got better.

But just as Maslowe’s Hierarchy of Needs taught me, you begin to conquer one rung, and the ones above then enter into your mind.

The driving forces that pushed me out from life back at the parental home were huge. Annoyance with the family. Disbelief that they had no faith in my business idea. Fed up with their constant bickering and irritating nature. I’m sure I pissed them off too. It was time for me to go, properly. I get this feeling every time I stay at home for more than a couple of days.

The forces that were attracting me here, an improved business chance, and the need for positive change, are still there.

While the general direction of travel is good, I feel like there’s nothing more that needs to be said. I’m entering into a period now where success will continue to breed success. As long as I don’t make any mistakes, my reputation will keep improving, and the recommendations will keep coming.

That’s a very nice feeling to have. I know, and I experienced it again tonight, that my customers are extremely grateful for the high quality of service and the very respectable prices they pay. It is a good motivator to see such direct results. It’s not something you get in an ordinary job.

OK, there are plenty of stresses and negatives. But, on balance, I want to keep plugging at it.

I’ll try to reduce the amount of times I write about the general work situation now. Unless something major happens, things are generally going well, and long may that continue.

So now I’m free to moan about other stuff. Yay!

I’ll save that for next time though.

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Trying To Remember

It never used to be 18 days between blog posts.

This is the very first time I’ve thought about this blog in a long time. That can only mean one thing: I’ve been otherwise engaged.

And it’s actually true. This week in particular has been tough. Three late nights in a row trying to fix computers that have been in a serious mess. And succeeding. Then getting paid quite well for it. OK, it’s never enough, but I can’t complain at all.

Things are quite positive for me lately. There was the fun of the election period, during which I made a brief detour to Hull and visited friends. I stayed up all night and then all the next day watching the festivities. Don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed myself so much. OK, I’m not much a fan of the result, but as a student of politics it was truly magical.

It made me miss the idea of having friends available to speak to on a regular basis. Facebook and other communication methods just don’t cut it. But I’m improving on that score, slightly. I still have precisely zero “friends” around here, but lately I’ve gotten to know a couple of my neighbours, and that has really helped. Even got invited over for dinner to one. That was very… civilized. I was the oldest one there by about 30 years. But still, I enjoyed it.

But it’s difficult when you age. You don’t get as many opportunities to mix socially with people your own age for the simple and obvious reason that there is no education any more. Education really is such a fantastic idea because of the social benefits it brings. At last, I am beginning to understand why most people say that school days are some of the best days of your life. Even though I hated it at the time. Funny.

So things are ticking over nicely for me. The general direction of travel is positive. I have a rough idea of where I’m going. It just needs to keep moving. In some sense, I don’t have control over that. All I can do is keep working hard, doing a good job, and hoping my customers take care of the rest by recommending me.

I just need to remember to keep a record of life here. Cos I know I’ll find it fascinating to look back on when I’m older. Blogging bug, I need you!

The Customer Is Always Right

There are generally two different types of customer that I see. The ones who don’t know what they’re doing and admit it, and the ones who don’t know what they’re doing but don’t admit it.

The former are easy. They put their hands up and accept that they were responsible through ignorance. This is good. It means I know when I tell them what went wrong and how they can avoid it in future that they are actually listening to me. Some of them even take notes. This is good.

The latter are deadly. In some cases, they take their ignorance to a different level, and instead believe that they already have all the answers. They frequently cite technobabble in support of what they were doing, sometimes getting terms wrong, using them in the wrong way, or just plain making stuff up.

These are the most difficult.

I’ve learned to be extremely tactful in my business dealings with customers. For this kind, I invariably nod and agree with what they were saying, bearing in mind the old axiom that is the subject of this post. I don’t like to show people up. I don’t want to embarrass them by calling bullshit on something they’ve just said. After all, they’re paying my wages.

It’s probably true of any “maintenance” profession though. I’m sure when I’ve had plumbers and other technical people around I’ve said some nonsense and they’ve agreed with it. After all, we sometimes just want to make conversation, or pretend we know what’s going on. In some ways, by doing that we like to think that by showing we know what’s going on, we will be able to tell if there’s the potential of a rip-off in the pipeline.

So with that in mind, that also wants to make me leave my customers alone, because I’ve been in their shoes at some point. Also, by me acknowledging to them that they know something about the subject, it makes them think that I will be kind to them, and not try to invent problems that aren’t actually there. Which, as we all know, is what car mechanics do…

I probably go out of my way though to avoid this impression. I’m constantly worried that my customer is going to think I’m sitting there time-wasting to run up the clock, or when I’m ordering parts that I’m going to massively overcharge for it. So much so that I reckon I under-charge. My labour is cheaper than anyone in town by a long way. Parts, I only ever add a few quid.

Maybe I’m just not ruthless enough to run a business…