Trainer - Financial Services

What do you do for a living?
I have three jobs at the moment. I am a Training and Development Consultant working mainly within the Financial Services sector. I am a Crew Manager in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (retained) and I run my own Antique and Curios Shop.
How did you get interested in what you do? What advice was available to you when you chose this career direction?
I started out in Financial Services purely by chance. When I left the Royal Air Force I had no idea what I was going to do and a friend said I would be good at selling and got me a job as a Financial Adviser. It sounded like good fun and the money was very good, so I thought why not! I found out I was very good at it and was asked to train other people and pass on my skills, which got me into training and development. I found out very quickly that I really enjoyed training people and for some reason I seemed to be very good at it. 
There was no advice for this, as with most of my life I look at the opportunity and see if I can make it work and go for it. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.
I joined the retained Fire Service because it sounded good fun and I had a fear of heights and enclosed spaces so I thought this was a good way to overcome these fears. I had never thought about being a firefighter till I saw the advert, but the adrenaline rush is hard to explain. Again there was no advice but I started this when I was 30 so I probably didn't look for any!
I started my own antique shop because I like antiques and history and my dad used to do it as a hobby. When he died he left a lot of stuff so rather than sell it at auction I started a shop to see if I could make it work and it turns out I can. The only advice I had was not to do it, or only people with years of experience can do that. Bring it on I thought and so far so good!
Q What was your journey to reach the role you are in today?
Pure trial and error. I left Peebles High School with 2 Higher grades, went on to college and got another 3 Highers ( I wasn't allowed back for 6 year. I don't think the Rector liked me). I then tried a University Degree in Social and Management Sciences  at Napier but to be honest I spent more time in the Union playing pool and drinking so that came to quick end after 1 year. I then started another course in Film and Photography and even made it to Rome film school. But again I found the course a bit dull and gave up. 
I became a barman and DJ in Edinburgh for a few years as well as working on building sites. My girlfriend (now my wife) was not impressed with my career choice at this point. I then saw an advert in the paper saying photographers wanted. Having done half a course in this I thought I was more than qualified so I went along to the address and it turned out to be the Royal Air Force!!! So in order to impress her with my maturity and commitment I joined the Royal Air Force. Nobody I knew thought I would even get in let alone make it through training. I did however and had a great job in the Intelligence world mainly photographic but lots of other sneaky beaky stuff. This was the making of me, it helped me mature and find out what I was capable of and what I could do with a bit of discipline. It's not for everyone but I loved every bit of it.
After 3 years I decided they weren't going to let me be the boss so I thought I would move onto something else and thats when I ended up in Financial Services and moving back to West Linton, (something that I had promised myself as a teenager I would never do!!! Ha)
Talk me through a day in your life... what sorts of things would it involve?
As you can imagine my life with 3 jobs can be very busy, no day is the same. On one particular day all three of my jobs were involved which is not uncommon. It went like this:
0200 in the morning when I am called to fire at a large agricultural shed. I spend 2 hours up to my knees in mud trying to pump water up to the fire. I get back to the station at 0400 to sort out all the gear and remember that I have a flight at 0700 to London for a financial services business meeting at 1030. I get home, shower and change and jump in my car for a mad dash to Edinburgh Airport. I attend my meeting where everybody thinks I have been out partying all night as I look rather rough and tired. I then have a mad dash across London with some antique watches to sell to a dealer I work with in London. I finish with a fine dinner in London with friends and nice bottle of wine, thinking who else has a day like mine!
Financial services is very fast paced and exciting environment which is both challenging and rewarding on many levels but most days are about helping people fix problems.
The Fire Service is different every time we go out the station but it normally involves physical hard work, lots of lateral thinking around problems and incredible team work.
The antique shop is all about spotting opportunities, taking calculated risks and more often than not hoping for the best.
Was it your planned career at 18?
No way! At 18 I was going to be a film director and was going to change the world with my amazing vision and talent!
What did your mum and dad want you to do?
Stay out of jail! That is no joke! I think my mum would have liked me to be a minister and my dad just wanted to get rid of me as a financial burden so any job would have suited him! My elder sisters were very academic and stable in what they wanted to do so I was a bit of a worry. I think my parents worried that they would be stuck with me for ever, little did they know that living with them was my worst nightmare and I would have joined the foreign legion to get out the house. However Napier university seemed like an easier option!
What advice would you give to someone interested in your career?
Have a bash if it doesn't suit you, try something else and if that doesn't work try something else and if you keep doing that till your 70 at least you can say you have lived.
What other directions could you go in/ work in within your field other than the job you have chosen?
Who knows, tomorrow I might decide to become an astronaut! I have used my training skills to work with young people and young offenders and if you learn how to sell you can sell anything anywhere/
I remember someone telling me a story (made up I think, but it sounds good anyway). He said that a  famous writer was  booked to give a lecture at Cambridge University on how to become a writer and to pass on his advice and words of wisdom to students. He had an audience of 300+ wannabe writers waiting for his words of wisdom. He stood up and said 'Hands up who wants to be a writer?' which everyone did. He then said 'Then go home and write!'  and he walked out the door. Sometimes life is that simple, everything we need is there in front of us, we just need to take the first step.
In the case of brain surgery I like my surgeon to be qualified and trained but other paths in life just require the courage to have a go!