What a year…

So that was 2020! The strangest year that I can remember… and it’s not over yet!

After a life of overseas assignments which has involved a lot of travelling for business and pleasure, during 2020 I made only one business trip (to the Netherlands in January) and just one personal trip (to Germany in February). So I am now close to one year without getting on a plane – that is a record since I was about 13 years old! Do I miss the travelling? Yes and No…. I don’t miss doing three or four international trips every month… the constant jetlag and missing out on things at home. But I do miss the excitement of going to new places, meeting new people and doing business in different cultures. A little bit of business travel would be nice in 2021, but we are all getting used to working on Zoom / Teams / Skype and I am no exception. Hopefully Covid finally allows the postponed anniversary holiday that my wife and I had planned for 2020 to happen in 2021!

It’s been a year of change. I already moved back to Sheffield late in 2019, and have moved house locally again in 2020 – just a short distance this time! My wife Rachel calculated that we have lived in 16 different houses and apartments in 8 countries during the past 25 years. I hope that we don’t move house again for a long time… (I’ve learned to ‘never say never’!) I quit “corporate” life, and established my own company, offering my services as a consultant and non-executive director. This is something that I have considered in the past, but never took that “leap”, as I have described in previous posts. After 7 months of trading, and sales increasing almost every month, I am more than happy with how the new venture is progressing, I have several consulting clients, a first NED / trustee role, and a pipeline of projects for next year.

It’s also been a year of change and achievement for my whole family. My wife Rachel was promoted six months after starting with a new employer at the beginning of 2020. Working on the front line of the Covid epidemic, I am in awe of what she does every day, and struggle to see the logic in how poorly rewarded her vocation is in comparison to the field that I work in. She’s now in a management role, making a difference for the people in her care and learning new things every day – and has turned out to be an excellent fire safety trainer – who knew?! My daughter Laura also stepped up during the summer and while most of her friends were stuck at home she took on work in the care sector, working through the Covid pandemic, and learning a range of new skills. Since returning to University in October she has continued to do well in her course, despite the challenges of online learning and a limited social life. She will also spend her Christmas caring for others. My son Robert graduated from his English Language degree course in the summer with excellent grades, which was an excellent achievement after a few ups and downs in the past four years. He has embarked on post graduate training to become a secondary school English teacher which he is enjoying – he seems to have found his vocation too. I am proud of them all.

Wishing everyone that is reading this – friends, family, colleagues past and present, clients and others in my network – Seasons Greetings and a very Happy New Year. Let’s hope 2021 brings a return to some sort of normality and some face-to-face contact.

Published by johnjex

Director and Principal Consultant, Jex Business Services.

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