Work for me has gone through several phases since leaving school and the family “nest”.
Phase one was when I was working in the UK for trading companies in the late 70s and early 80s. I learned to buy and sell physical commodities, mostly food products. I became familiar with letters of credit, sales contracts, and had my first encounter with overseas clients. I made my first overseas business trip at the tender age of 22 and over the next year or so, visited the Republic of Ireland, Saudi Arabia, Dubai, the Canary Islands and Mauritius.
Phase two was when I “fell” into the shipping business, also in the UK. From the mid 80s up until the early 90s I worked for ship owners and agents in the UK, covering such trade areas as the Far East, some short sea services and finally, West Africa. I started off with container vessels, then moved into dry bulk and then Ro-Ro. I became somewhat of an expert in optimizing stowage of breakbulk and outsized cargo on Ro-Ro vessels calling at semi-developed ports.
Phase three was when I joined an international shipping services company. After a year in the UK, they posted me as country manager to Thailand, followed by Singapore and then entrusted me with a regional management position in Asia. This period covered the years from the early nineties up until the present day. This is where the bulk of my experience has been gained. The business fields have been mostly port agency and logistics. Along the way, I have been involved in:
Management of small-medium sized companies
International sales and marketing management
IT management and development
Quality management systems
Establishing new companies (and closing down one or two old ones!)
Liner agency representation
Tramp agency representation
Development of sales training programmes
It seems easy to list these activities, but each line has behind it many hundreds of hours of toil, hundreds of successes and a few failures. In the course of these years I visited a total of 47 territories on five continents. I directly managed 7 companies in two countries and supervised the activities of a further 18 companies from a distance.
I have now drawn a line under this and started a new career, managing a beach club in a picturesque corner of Thailand. I hope this will lead to many more fascinating experiences in the months and years to come.
So far, so good!