And so what next after the RAF? The natural step seemed to go into the industry I had been working alongside. Hatfield seemed a bit to far to go when I wasn't being paid home-to-duty travel from Biggleswade as I was by the RAF so I gave BAC (as it was then) at Stevenage a shot. I tried to get into a design department but without a degree I didn't stand a chance.
However, I got lucky and was accepted as a Technical Author working in the handbooks section - so my C&G was not in vain!
Of course my aim was to work my way into what I really wanted - within the year I was working in the Tornado Automatic Test Equipment design team. Cutting edge digital electronics, optics and mechanics - right up my street.
After a number of different projects and roles my objective turned to Project Management - again no Degree so no chance. So I took the plunge and embarked on an Open University course.
After the first year BAe, as it had become, relented and my 2nd career moved on. Six years later I graduated with a BSc (Open) at Ely Cathedral - a moving experience.
I managed some interesting projects worked with some interesting people and learned a lot a great deal.
After some years I found the Company was changing and not in a direction that I was comfortable with. At the same time the last opportunity for voluntary redundancy came up. After a great deal of soul searching, guidance from a dear friend Mike The Mentor and a small prayer of my mother's (Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change those things I can and the wisdom to see the difference between them).
I took the plunge in 1998 and haven't looked back since. When I was going through the BAe telephone book to see who to invite to my leaving do I found that there were 180 people still there with whom I had worked and 130 who had already left the Company what a rich life experience!
.... Demob 2!