RAFairman's Blog

An RAF Airman's Blog

Moving on…

It’s been two weeks since I was last in work. Normally after about two weeks on leave I would be building myself up to going back into work on Monday, thinking of where my work shoes are? Have I washed and ironed my trousers? Where is my beret?

But not this time. I am on leave until I leave the RAF now. No more work, no more office, no more RAF. In one week I move out of this service house and into my own place far, far away from the RAF. I don’t have any work shoes. My trousers have all been handed back in, and my beret is hanging forlornly on a hook in the hall as a keep-sake of a job, of a career, of a life that is over and slinking away.

But here’s the rub. I don’t actually miss going back into work. I actually thought that with still living on base, and having my daughter in the nursery school just over the road from my office that I would be in there a lot. Popping up for a chat and a cup of tea. But no. In the time I’ve been off so far, I’ve been into work three times. And one of those times was to pick up some of the stuff I had under my desk as a result of clearing my locker and drawers out. I have been back to check my JPA (the admin computer system from hell) and put in assorted claims to do with my resettlement and relocation.

But I haven’t missed work.

I thought it would be a massive wrench. I thought that finishing would rip a part of me out. But no. And the fact that it hasn’t has proved to me that I think that applying for, and being selected for, redundancy was the right move. It’s been a stressful time, this last 4 months, but the fact that I don’t actually miss work has been a revelation to me.

I miss the conversation and the craic already. Just the chatting to other people with the same outlook as you and having the same sense of humour as you is the one thing that I will miss. The perks, the life…yes…but the work? No. I don’t and I won’t.

It is quite simply time to move on. I have settled on an idea of what I want to do next, and I am slowly getting my head around how to go about it, and of course it has NOTHING to do with the resettlement courses I have done, but hey ho. The resettlement courses are all about my fall back plan anyway. If I can’t make it doing what I want to do (basically, THIS, as a freelance/ghost blog and web copywriter) then I have the fall back of doing a real job that I am, I have to say, quite decent at…It’s sort of like your dad saying, “ok, you can give it a go as a professional footballer, but make sure you have a trade in case it doesn’t work out.” It’s me being wise.

But the thing is I don’t really want to work full-time. I am completely drained from 25 years in the RAF. And I feel like a weight is being lifted from me. I have enjoyed every day of the life…but I just couldn’t do it anymore. I have spoken about it in the past – the cost-benefit analysis of it all means I do not get out of the life enough to allow me to put up with the job. The job isn’t bad. It’s just different, and it was just hard for me to go on with it all. So it was time to move on. And as I have done my 22 years, I am entitled to a full service pension, which whilst not huge, is (along with my wife’s full service pension) enough to mean that we won’t starve. We will get by out there, and jobs that we do will be for us, and to top our pensions up. I am not a greedy man, and I want to enjoy my life post-RAF. I don’t want to keep working at the same pace. I don’t need to. I don’t have to. I’m not going to.

And anyway this moving on is not just the mental moving on to do with leaving the job. It’s the physical one of moving house. Of leaving this house and moving north to set up a home. It’s odd ‘cos of all the many. many places I have lived in (certainly over the past 5 years since my divorce) none of them have really been a home. They’ve been houses. They’ve been places to stay and live with in, either on my own, or with my family, but they’ve not felt like homes.

But the next one will be. We are renting a place that was also for sale. And we want to buy the place after we have had a chance to settle. We have decided to make sure that we are happy with the area we have chosen to live in and the house we are moving to before we put down a massive amount of money and actually buy it. I think we are 75% there already, it just seems so bloody, idyllic… but we need to make sure before we take the massive plunge into the house with our cash, gratuities and savings.

But the move to that house starts next week. Exactly a week today we will be out of this house. As I type now, at 11:09 pm, a week today we will be in my brother’s house just a few miles from our new place, awaiting the arrival of the removal van the next day. We will literally be moving on.

And I can’t wait for it. I will miss the life. I will miss being here, being on base, in the warm little womb of the military. But it’s a real fact that everyone has to leave the Armed Forces at some stage. And I am happy that I have chosen when I am going to do it and that I have had some control over it. And I can’t wait for the next stage of my life to start next Friday morning when we move into our new house.

Moving on? Bring it on…

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13 thoughts on “Moving on…

  1. You know you have severed the link when your No 1 shoes become your gardening shoes.

  2. All the best to you , your wife and you daughter in your new life and new home. 🙂

  3. So will thus blog close down or carry on?

  4. Andy Griggs on said:

    Good luck to you mate, I can honestly say I have never looked back. It was the right time for me too. My only problem is my current job is turning out more demanding and stressful than the RAF ever was 😦 Time for another move me thinks

  5. What you say sounds like a soldier I knew who was in a similar situation after 20+ years in the Army. He had the same doubts, but it all worked out for the best. I hope it does for you too.

  6. Euan Kennedy on said:

    All the best in moving on and upwards.

  7. I remember the feeling you describe well except for me it didn’t really sink in until the drive home from Portsmouth having just handed my Military ID card back. There is one thing for sure life always moves on and there is always #NFFC Good luck!

  8. Apart from the house move, almost exactly the emotions I had on leaving six years ago. I go back to leaving do’s but I have never missed the job. Working mostly alone kind of does my head in. I miss being part of a crowd but not specifically the military crowd. Good luck

  9. David (RAF retired) on said:

    First of all – ‘Good Luck!’ Having said that I don’t think luck will have much of a part in your moving on. You are much better grounded than I was when I left (many years ago). For me after a few ups and downs (some big, most small) I took life as it came and remained generally happy. It was only after about 20 years that I realised I had never really left the RAF behind. It is and always will be part of my life. Not the RAFBF or RBL or SSAFA or any of that – just hard wired into the brain.
    (and the flying suit still in a box in storage). I look forward to continuing reading your blogs about your life for many years to come.

  10. Brian Heffernan on said:

    Good luck and God Bless. Great reading your blog a d hope to read more from you. Hope the move goes well and enjoy your ‘retirement ‘ Lol

  11. Steve Cockayne on said:

    Hi Mr nearly ex-RAFMan,

    Good blog mate but you are speaking to the universe of lesser provided for people so please don’t get too full of yourself or a bit Boo hoo about leaving a cushty number, as Del Boy might say. However you seem to have a cheery outlook which will deal with the stress of it I am sure. You are made of sterner stuff.. BUT ..

    Most of us have left jobs yes, but without pensions which are index linked. most of us have left jobs with nothing, NO – THING and nothing to go to either. It’s a cold and wet world outside of that nice cosy office you were once in.

    I have been made redundant 4 times, none volentary, only the first job paid redundancy (about 300 quid – I bought a car!), the rest didn’t. Being in the construction industry means that its feast or famine. In famine, unless you are a job getter and profit earner, or married to the boss (I tried but he said no) out you go with and into the trash. If you look back you just see a radidly closing door.

    To find yourself outside the Job Centre is soul destroying, go visit one day and look at the people who go there, ignore the TK Max clothes, look at the shoes. They never ever found me a job (I was too qualified) and it was only to get my stamp paid.

    I always found myself a job and was never out of work for more than 3 weeks or the first 14 quid Giro if I could be bothered to fill out all those forms (long time ago).

    You have a choice, a house, a family, savings and the cushion of a pension. You also have time. You don’t have to get a job the next week to feed your family, pay rent or keep the wolverines from the door.

    Most of us in my industry could not afford to pay into the company pensions despite encouragements to do so. I got so dissolusioned with paying into them then being made redundant and having now 5 different separate tiny pension schemes worth a few quid that I gave up altogether. The only benefit I could see was to swell the coffers for the partners in the scheme who were leaving in a few years on a final salary boost (last pay packet probably 10 times the normal) so they got all the money. As they were on the pension board they voted themselves huge uplifts, cash payouts and the like.

    One company I left because they blatantly did this and left a 65 year old engineer with his entire pension missing. They actually persuaded him to stay on another year while they quietly closed the scheme effectively shutting him out, that was after they retired and waited the statutory six months. Unbelieveable and cruel. He had to go back to work to earn enough to retire on.

    I personally would not see any of any contriburions again for 30 years so what was the point. Better to put it into property if you can afford it. Pensions outside the Gov ones are not worth a light unless you are on a huge salary and can spare the cash. The rewards are exponential. Lower down you get 10% of nothing, top end you get loads back but you don’t really need it.

    To be employed by someone in the REAL world outside the military puts you at a huge disadvantage from the start. I have done longer than you in this industry and have now effectively started up on my own, and about bloody time too. I am my own boss and I, my employer, treat me as an employee far better than anyone has ever done since I started work as a young scrote at 17. They have all, to a man (apart from perhaps one – who was ex-military) treated me with a withering barrage of soul destroying, confidence knocking, put down, deadline pressure shit with no appreciation when you meet it, that when I look back I really should have punched each and every one of them repeatedly in the face as soon as it happened. But it happens so slowly and builds in time to something really horrible within yourself and there is just no release. You hope it gets better (they tell you it will), but it just doesn’t. ‘Next year we will be able to pay a bonus if you all work harder this year’ – yeh right!

    Example. Last few years at my old job, the Xmas get together was something to behold. Due to company embarressment financially, the directors thought they could get away with organising a pub lunch at which they would contribute the sum of £10 per man. TEN WHOLE POUNDS. Read it again. £10. I spent more than that on sandwiches in a few days. So over a whole year of hard work, dedication, working late, not being ill, finding company work, keeping clients happy, getting stuff built, earning profits at about 30% of £150k of work brought in by myself alone and over £750k as part of a small team, we could look forward to that feast that £10 would buy. Needless to say I didn’t attend. It’s like this across the whole country, so get used to it mate.

    I’m not beating you over the head with this but as a professional, well qualiified and experienced too, would you feel a little bit more than miffed to have such a wonderful Xmas box as that? Oh an that is on the back of a pension freeze(never had one so didn’t bother me). Pay freeze for 3 years, No bonus payments, two 10% pay cuts and another one coming, threat of short time working (why? when I was actually efficiently earning profits?) and some real unpleasant shitty attitudes in the office. Needless to say, enough was enough and I was out of there and formed my own company.

    Guess what happened 6 weeks later, yep, they went under and were bought out by another company (probably for that £10). They immediately halved the company & closed half the offices as well.

    Good thing was that the Board had not included themselves of a staff register (Fools) so when they turned up for work the next monday (after that dark Friday at 5pm where the told people about the company folding and to get their stuff and leave in 5 mins!) the Board directors were stripped of mobile phones, laptops, credit cards (already stopped) and not allowed back into their offices without security supervision for more than 10 mins to collect their possessions. They were also visited at home to collect any other office kit they had. FUCKING BRILLIANT! – I would have paid good money to have accompanied them to see that happen.

    There is no doubt that I would probably have been kept but put under close scritiny for another 3 months to keep my job. More stress as if we needed any more. But, no, I was out and free as a bird. I did have a rough start as everyone who said they would give me work, didn’t AND someone hacked my account and stole ALL of my money. I was living on loose change savings and fumes in the car. Fortunately a good mate client gave me a job and paid up almost immediately, saved. These guys are regularly feeding me work so I am surviving and happy and well.

    Since then I have earned more than I ever did before, people pay me direct, say thank you and treat me with a hell of a lot of respect and friendliness. I never knew a nice world existed outside. I am still blinded by it.

    To make this more poinient, at present I am taking over a job from someone who is in just that same position of hopelessness that I was. He is leaving a company I locked horns with professionally a few years ago. No hard feelings that I won that tussle professionally because we both earned our fees and got paid which is crucial thesedays. They actually sought me out – that’s only happened once before, back in 1985.

    I will be working for them as a consultant part time doing his job which he did full time. I met him to go through his workload and could see in his eyes the same look I must have had. he was leaving, dissolusioned and a bit of a broken man. I felt for him, I really did, but work is work. I didn’t feel like a jackal stealing his food but as a professional brought in to do a specific job. He leaves next week. When its done I’m off doing something else but not tied to that company. It’s regular work and you just can’t tun it down. Its also on very good mutual terms too.

    So, if I have any advice to give you its to find something you are really good at and can earn enough money just to get by doing it, then do it on your own. You will be treated much better than working for/under someone.

    p.s. Thanks for your dedication to your job, contribution to our national safety & security and for being a good British human being. Keep flying high mate. The view is better up there than down here.

    From Per Ardua Ad Astra – To the stars through adversity (just looking up at them is near enough) ….

    to Non illegitimus Carborundum. I have only just learnt this.

    Regards,

    Steve

  12. Good luck with your moving and your new life. If you don’t miss the job then it’s certainly the right time to move on. Am sure it will be a bit strange for the first couple of days but you write as a well rounded person and you appear to have a family that is ready for the move to. Am sure Lily and Mahsa will be happy growing up on a new home – they both will put their stamp on it straight away no doubt! Hopefully I will still be able to follow your news on here and twitter, love the comments on ‘beer for a year’! Again, all the very best on your moving and make sure you have the beer, kettle and teapot packed in the last box loaded and first box unloaded!

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