A year ago I was released into the wild, a combination of factors that had their roots with my employer, and without doubt with me and my team, lead to my new way of life as an independent arboricultural consultant without a car, for the first time since I was 17.
What have I learnt in this year?
The absolute truth behind “you’ve got to have friends”, which, if you like, you can re-phrase as “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know”. I have always tried throughout my professional career as I rose to high office (as an aside click through to http://tinyurl.com/bgphda) to treat people with dignity and respect (there will always be exceptions and if you are one then I’m sorry!) which may go some way to help explain why friends and acquaintances from the arboricultural community, and indeed the wider grounds maintenance community, have invested their faith, and to some extent their own reputation and political capital, in me in the past year and had the courage to believe that I could deliver on their behalf.
Another truism, to paraphrase a great friend “Whatever the question, marketing is the answer”. I’ve tired to find the time to say something new and eye catching on the various social media platforms in the past twelve months – sometimes I’ve managed, other times not. There is an awful lot of data available at the click of a mouse, and in my limited area I’ve tried to collate and present that as readable and reliable information.
“Be careful what you wish for” also comes to mind – the opportunity to work for some large organisations may well provide technical and professional satisfaction and good kudos for the c.v. or case studies but the war of attrition that has to be entered in order to get an invoice honoured is depressing at best. In the past year the speediest payers have been individuals or small organisations (with one honourable exception, step forward Sarah!).
I have had opportunities to work for organisations on projects that would never have come my way as an employee, and indeed the opportunity to pursue niche projects that any employer may have told their staff to shy away from.
I have also had the opportunity to drop all the corporate form filling and meetings that were held, seemingly for the sake of process, rather than for any meaningful outcome. Some of the discipline that became ingrained has been useful, but only some!
What have I earned this year?
About half of what I am used to, that is if my invoices are to be paid rather than simply used to play email tennis, but I’ve yet to resolve my tax burden with my accountant which may throw me a lifeline.
What are my ambitions?
Ideally UK plc will pick up and generate the need for senior figures to occupy high office once again, if so I will do my best to be ready. Until that time I shall continue to operate as an independent arboricultural consultant, with considerable experience in the sector I reckon I should be able to help you with most enquiries.