I would like to share with you a moving story about Roger, who is a hard working guy who gets up at 6 am every morning, then heads off to work for the day.  He is a procurement and supplies manager for a large international company in China.  His job is all about liaising with suppliers to get the best possible deal for his company.  Roger’s company is facing serious financial challenges because of the Corona Virus which has resulted in most of the senior managers having to take a forced pay cut and all junior staff compulsory losing some of their holiday entitlement.  He believes this is the first wave of cuts and is expecting redundancies to follow if the financial climate doesn’t improve.

Roger doesn’t like his job and has been trying to make a difficult decision about his career.  Should he stay with the company he doesn’t like or change companies?

It has been a painful process as he is fearful of change during these uncertain times.  He feels having a job that is well paid is better than no job at all. With no money, how can he support his wife and young child?  At this time he reluctantly chooses to stay working for his current employer because he believes that it is safer than to risk the alternative.

This year Roger has to achieve greater targets than last year by making significant savings.  He has to do this without any additional resources and feels it’s impossible, but he still tries his best, even though he fee

ls it is a hopeless and thankless task.  He says:

“I can’t complain because the general manager is a tyrant, who aggressively shouts commands to force people to do what he wants.”

Roger doesn’t dare challenge the general manager, he just complies and goes home unhappy.

Roger goes on to say that he achieved last year’s targets, but it is getting harder and harder to find savings.  He is scared of what may happen to him if he does not achieve his targets this year.  It is clear from the outset that the bonuses will only be given if targets are met and therefore he is expecting no bonus this year and so factoring this in to his household income.

When I ask him what he is doing in the interim?  He explains that he wants to continue to improve himself, so that if an opportunity arises at another factory, then he will apply and leave.  He practices his English speaking skills every other day at his own expense as his preference would always be to work for an international factory as the conditions are much better than domestic companies.  He is also learning more about leadership and management, so he can develop himself.

Roger has realised that he lacks self confidence at work and is also trying to improve this.  He knows all the things he should do, but he finds it very hard to break this habit which probably stems from his parents.  Nonetheless, he keeps practising assertive skills, so he can avoid being perceived as passive or aggressive.  The main thing is he is committed and has self-discipline.

Roger shared with me that it is hard at work some days, because everyone wants something from him.  He likes to help, but the constant requests are draining, so by the end of the day he is tired and goes home unhappy to his family.  He feels guilty that he isn’t able to be more energetic with his young daughter who he loves so much.

Roger knows he should go to the gym and exercise to stay healthy, but it’s hard after a long day at work.  He never feels like doing much after work, just having a delicious meal that his wife cooks for him.

He knows that this isn’t the life for him or his family, but he is not sure what to do?  He can only wait until an opportunity arises and keep developing himself at the same time.

As a coach, I talk with Roger virtually every day and understand how he must be suffering.  I felt that way too when I worked for the National Health Service.  Everyday I got up early and went to bed late.  Every day seemed a meaningless list of tasks and emails, without any real direction.

Any ideas that you had to improve things were lost because the National Health Service is like a huge clock with many many wheels and cogs.  It’s impossible to move one cog in the wheel because everything is interconnected so that nothing turns.  Action only happens when all the cogs in the wheel are moving in synchronicity.  

I look back at the time in the Nation Health Service and remember thinking to myself one day,  I’m just one cog in a big wheel.  Yes, the clock is ticking, but very slowly, tick by tick.  How it frustrated me!  I just wanted to improve the situation, but slowly over the years it wore me down.  I got to the point where it was better to go with the flow than rock the boat.  If you tried to innovate you just wasted your time, so eventually I did not bother, so the time wastefully passes by, hour after hour, year after year.  

What’s interesting is the reason why I did not leave.  This is because I was getting a good wage and expected a handsome pension at the end of my long-term service.

This is where Roger’s and my story collided.  We both did not want to be in our current job, but did not know what to do.  Both of us decided to study more and continue to develop ourselves in readiness for that next opportunity, even though we were not sure if it will be better or worse than our current situation.

Roger and I both found ourselves demoralised and unhappy and work, but we carried on as it was the safest thing to do, in order to pay the mortgage and look after the family.  

Recently when I was talking with Roger, he shared with me the depression he had a few years ago.  I was really surprised when he shared this difficult time of his life.  My heart went out to him because I suffered the same.  What was interesting is that we both dealt with the depression in the same way – we both just carried on and not let it beat us.

Nowadays it is clear that Roger and I decided on a different path to follow.  Going back in my career the pressure of the job got too much and I decided to quit as I felt my health was more important than my job.  

I don’t regret leaving my job after 27 years of service as I’m loving my life now.  By leaving my job I found an opportunity to live and work a different lifestyle.  I now travel all around the world and work online.  To do this I needed to learn some new skills as computers weren’t around when I was young, so it was a steep learning curve, but I was determined to master these new online digital skills.  

Nowadays I coach other frustrated 9-5ers who want to start-up their own successful internet businesses, so that they can work at home or anywhere in the world.  I found out there is much more to life than just work, work, work.

For me the only regret I have is that I did not find Mentors online training sooner as it would have given me the freedom I wanted.  Instead of getting an MBA, I wished I had chosen to learn internet business skills earlier and got myself online with a second income.

When I talk to Roger, I hope one day he decides that he wants to set up an online business as I would be more than willing to support him on his training path to a new life and career.  I would always advise Roger to stay working in his current job, whilst developing the new skills, so he can start to earn a second income.  In this way he does not put his family in jeopardy.