I'm honestly interested, I've never really had the pleasure of doing anything else but a lot of people seem to be drawn to/into this industry.
So, other than an unhealthy love of rain, sweat and/or customer services, what did you do beforehand and for how long, what drew you towards this industry, which part of the industry were you drawn to and were you right in your preconceptions of the particular 'job' that you have chosen?
I personally have always been drawn to the idea of running a campsite for some reason.
I grew up with a Grandad who worked at Kew, and I was gardening from soon after I was out of nappies.
I left school after A-levels and went in to garden work, but then fell in to the advertising business in the '80s. I spent nearly ten years as a food photographer, and was twice voted "Sandwich Photographer of the year". I got a mention on the Terry Wogan show the first year! I learned very fast that there were huge amounts of money to be made, but the stress was not worth it. I got a lot of flattery, but not often paid....
When the advertising industry collapsed, we ventured in to catering through our food-industry contacts. We did a lot of exhibition work, but you can't make minimum wage most of the time in the food industry.
So, it was back to gardening. Starting from scratch, it's easy to build up a business through working hard and knowing your stuff. I've tried landscaping, design, employing staff, pretty much everything, and ended up as a one-man-band doing contract work.
Would I change? As a 45-year-old who's had three careers I'd say yes, if the opportunity seemed right. The days of working one job for life are long gone, if life takes a different turn then go with it. The great thing about our industry is that you can return to it easily.
Worked in a clothing factory for 3 years, did gardening as an income booster on the side. Finaly got bored of working in factory and went to collage to train as a bricky with the intentions of doing gardening and landscaping when qualified. Realised it would be best if i got some experiance on the trowel so took a job as a bricky/ groundworker whith a local developer. Worked with them for five years learnt a lot ( mainly how not to do things!!!) Im now in my 3rd year of trading as a landscaping/grounds maintenance business and recently took on my first employee (self enployed). Busy busy busy!! will never look back!!
I was a Policeman for 15 years but retired with a ill health pension.
I know work fewer hours and earn more money than I ever did being a plod. The customers are far more friendly and the hours even more sociable.
I don't miss the job one bit and I don't have to put up with so many jumped up, power crazed dishonest, lying, cheating bluebells (That's all I could think of without being rude).
I love being outside rain or shine but I hate working in the cold. I have the entire winter off and during this period I travel for 3 months on vacation.
The physical work keeps me fit and I find my work very rewarding in so many ways.
Who wouldn't rather do this than be plod?
Ex-Forces, worked in IT for a few years before being drawn into working in the great outdoors, love it. Only wish I'd done it years ago.
Funnily enough I've always hankered after running a campsite too, many similarities I guess.
Worked for a large broadcaster in TV News for 28 years. I finaly got fed up with being faced with graphic images every day of my working life and left to turn my hobby [ woodworking ] in to a living. Still struggling a bit largely due to the fact that I won't work indoors - exactly the opposite of most other chippies. I love being outside, even in the rain and hated working in am air conditioned windowless building.
i've always been in horticulture, ever since my degree (in engineering!), - but I fell into it by accident as I applied for retail management courses having decided I couldn't work in an office. - As luck would have it, Homebase offered me a place on their course, but "only" as a garden management trainee, and doing an 18 month course including block release at Hadlow. My Mum laughed as "you don't know a Pansy from a Petunia", but that was 20 years ago, and i've gone via Homebase, Country Gardens and Wisley to having my own company specializing in pruning propagating and planting. I wouldn't do anything else.
Like Jonathan, I couldn't work in an air conditioned office, - even my home office has views out over the garden, and I stay in it as little as possible