Posts Tagged ‘Steam train’

  • avatar By vInspired Neil 23rd December 11

    Career Feeds Your Family … Volunteering Feeds Your Soul

    If you had asked the average five-year-old of my generation what they wanted to be when they grew up, chances are they would have answered “Engine Driver”. Steam Locomotives had an air of romance, adventure and heroism: we loved to read about the adventures of Thomas The Tank Engine; while on TV, Casey Jones was still Steamin’ And A-Rollin’ on the Cannonball Express.

    Of course my generation didn’t become engine drivers. By the time we were old enough to leave school, there were no steam trains in commercial use and somehow diesel and electric trains didn’t capture the imagination.

    My dream wasn’t to be an Engine Driver. I wanted to be Marje Proops: her column in the Mirror was the highlight of my week. Every Tuesday morning, I would rush down to the pile of newspapers at school like … well an excited schoolboy, really.

    The reality was that I would never have her job: I was rubbish at writing in those days, so unlikely to go into journalism; Counselling jobs seemed to be under-valued and full of paperwork (not to mention underpaid); and it would have been shameful to waste my good head for figures.

    But that didn’t leave my dreams in tatters. For while we pursue our aptitudes in our careers, we can also pursue our passions through volunteering. And while I couldn’t become the next Marje Proops, I was able to join the Samaritans. I absolutely loved volunteering there, working alongside some really smart, committed people who shared my passions. I was pretty much the youngest volunteer there, but found myself in an egalitarian and supportive environment. I still have fond memories of arriving at The Centre every week full of excitement (I get excited a lot).

    And while I was working during the day on a management buy-out in a small Ivory Tower with three directors and a wall full of spreadsheets, the interactions I had with people through my volunteering helped keep my entire life firmly in balance.

    If you still harbour a childhood dream of being an engine driver, why not try volunteering with the Bluebell Line, the National Railway Museum, or your local narrow gauge railway? It could be the most rewarding experience of your life.