Twenty years ago today… I started out on the first steps in professional life.
Dressed in my new suit and shiny shoes, I made my way from Clapham to White City on the London Underground. I suspect I may have had some sort of briefcase with me, filled with joining instructions, forms and maps. I definitely had the wide eyed stare of someone who really had no idea what they were letting themselves in for.
The journey was traumatic. The timings uncertain. There was no way I could be late on my first day. I suspect I was early… very early. I think I also did the trip the previous day, just to be sure of where I was going.
I was keen, naïve, young, Impressionable and ambitious. My new life extended in front of me.
It was a very memorable date for me, and not just because I started proper work:
A new group of graduates started at the company I worked for every couple of weeks. The initial assignment was 6 weeks training; 3 in London (home for me) and 3 in a training centre just outside Chicago. It was 6 weeks of burning the candle at both ends, of working hard and playing harder, of adrenalin and caffeine, alcohol and coffee, of team-work and competition. Exciting times!
Best of all, we got paid for it!!!
For the first few years, we became known by the date of our start group. We were brothers in arms, linked by the bonds forged over the first few weeks. People in the group immediately before us or after us might as well have worked for a different company. I was part of the 4th October 1993 Start Group.
The memories are vivid, but it seems such a long time ago.
Anyone who knows me won’t be surprised to hear that I don’t stay in touch with any of my Start Group colleagues. The regular get-togethers only lasted a few months for me. I found new friends, formed new bonds, took on new, bigger challenges.
I’d like to think I’ve recently come to the end of a cycle and started another. Where will this one lead?