Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Day 16 - Changing Traditions

Day two of my employment with the graduate school, and interesting things feel like they are developing! It's nice to know that others think you are a valuable person to have around: the director of training for the grad school came around before and said that he was glad I was here and if he could he would have me around all the time in a glass box ready to smash open in case of emergency.

Which I think was a compliment...

Also been picking one of the tutor's brains this morning on being self-employed in Britain today and how one goes about doing that and making sure all legal requirements are satisfied. For a long time, even though I've been going down a route kind of in academia, I have had a feeling that I would like to be self-employed. I'm not blind to the hard work and possible instability involved in that - my father was self-employed for many years while I was growing up, and I remember that life wasn't always easy for us financially when I was little (although I didn't recognise it at the time). His father was self-employed for his whole life, and his father before him.

I think that while I was growing up I romanticised "being your own boss" a little, but never knew where I could apply that in my own life, or where I might be able to apply it when it finally came time for me to leave education (as a student) and find work. My dad worked as a market trader and also in fairgrounds, my grandad did a lot in his life and knew about fairgrounds, mechanics, general DIY, everything really. I don't know much about my great-grandad (Josiah), but I do know that he started his own business with a handcart, buying bags of sawdust and wood chippings from a lumberyard and carting them somewhere else where he could sell them at a profit. He saved and expanded, got a horse and cart and was able to do more, and eventually moved into fairgrounds and amusements I think.

(I remember being told, although I have nothing to back this up except my memory, that at some point my family had the first portable kinoscope in England, and would show early film demonstrations at fairgrounds; like I said, I have only a relative's word on this, but it would be amazing to find out if that was true)

Times have changed. Fairgrounds are for the big boys now, the established ride owners, and the markets were on their way out over ten years ago. So maybe I won't keep the "family tradition" of self-employment alive in that respect, but perhaps I will be reinventing it for myself, taking the skills and knowledge I have out there and being self-employed my way.

2 comments:

karen said...

Nice to hear a little bit about your family. Very interesting!

I think you are right - I can't see you as a fairground operator somehow...
but I can certainly see you as some kind of independent consultant of some sort...
or an author...

hmm...

zero_zero_one said...

Thanks Karen! The post kind of grew beyond what I was originally thinking about when I wrote it (not that that's a bad thing). Glad you enjoyed it :)