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My Life – A Businessman

There have been, and still are, four sides to me that determine what I do and the enjoyments I get out of life. They are my life as a businessman, an artist, a husband and father, and my life in helping others.

In no order of importance, the first one I would like to share with you is the business side of me. For those of you who don’t know or didn’t read ‘The Day I Became My Own Boss’ I manage a painting and decorating company in London.

In my time I have employed thousands of decorators. The experiences I’ve had with them, good, bad and ugly could fill a book! Here are just four anecdotes I thought of:

In the very early days, I employed a 17-year-old boy who really wasn’t that good. The only reason I kept him on was that he absolutely assured me his dad was about to retire and had this great decorating contract with Nissan he would pass over to me. Of course, he never would give me his dad’s telephone number, as his dad ‘didn’t like people calling him’. After yet another bit of bad workmanship I bit the bullet and finally let him go. Later I realised how he had led me on and managed to blind me to the obvious and basic fact that his workmanship was not even close to good.

At one point there was a decorator from New Zealand who was awesome. His speed in getting a good job done was out of this world and I was in financial heaven. Then one day he disappeared. I was distraught. After four weeks he turned up again, telling me he had been on holiday with his wife. He apologised and assured me it would never happen again. I really wanted him back so believed him and was both happy and relieved. Three weeks later he disappeared for good. On this occasion I realised if someone could just leave without so much as an “I’m off for four weeks in such a such time” no matter what they say, there is a good chance they will do it again and in some way mess me over.

One mad day, I turned up at a job to be told I’d just missed a full-blown punch-up between two of my decorators in front of the cowering customer. You can imagine my horror and embarrassment! Crazily enough, apparently the second one had caused the first one a two year stretch in prison! Luckily, I sorted it out and calmed down the customer. Believe it or not, I actually kept them on, but certainly regretted it later. My stable way of dealing with things like that now, are one warning and anything further is an immediate dismissal.

I never really lose my temper with a decorator, I use reason and insistence and make sure no real grievance has been caused…except once when I totally lost it. It was the decorator’s first job for us. That job was so bad we would have to redo the lot. I let him go, yet he still wanted to be paid. So I let him know exactly what I thought about that! He didn’t appreciate my take on the situation, but still left quietly. The next day I brought in another decorator to start again, but now found black paint spilt all over the ground too. The lessen I learnt this time was that no matter how outraged I felt, to keep calm and let the guy go without causing him to swear revenge.

There are a lot of other instances as many a man and woman has travelled through the doors of my company. A fair number who work for me and are good people of course. But the main thing I have learnt the hard way through my many and varied experiences is to judge a person by what they do, and not by what they say they are will do!

I’m lucky to be able to put the wide experiences I have gathered over the years into my writing, whether it be poetry, or zombies or other subjects soon to be written about.

I can laugh about it now, but I certainly didn’t at the time.

In the next blog, I will share with you a little more about the husband and father side of me.

Until then I wish you good fare and not too much hassle.

Mark