• I graduated with a degree in Zoology and joined IBM in 1977 (it's just what you did then...a career in computers...made for life). As a systems engineer I was shit. But you could hide easily in a big corporation. Then moved to account management and sales based in the city. Fun. Loadsa money. And started a family. Way overstretched myself financially. But kept up the hours and the appearances and the credit card balances. Raising a family was fun. But I knew it would end somehow. My marriage eventually failed (I screwed around) and I decided no more debt. No more borrowing. And no more work pressure. However I carried on in the same job selling Tech and services but taking no shit. Lived in a v cheap ex council flat in Poplar. Made reasonable money but destroyed credit cards and cleared debts. Sold car. Sold motorcycle. Sold boat. I made some fabulous worthy friends in that council block. Real folks. Loved a breakfast at Chrisp St market, a newspaper, and a wander around the Isle of Dogs at the weekend. Bliss. All the time doing only what I wanted to do at work. How empowering it is to be able to say 'No'. It also got me into some screaming arguments with senior managers but oddly it also gained me respect. You can guess I'm older. 61 now. And that counts for something when you say 'No'. I met a lovely lady in not dissimilar circumstances and we said 'Yes'! Married last year. Wee flat in E Finchley. No debt aside from a manageable mortgage. I find myself based in Mayfair now. It's turned out ok. How smug do I feel? Very. And one day I will be a zoologist.

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