An unusual perspective on knowledge-work

In the 1930s my great grandparents won contracts to transport goods by canal from London to the Midlands, using horse-drawn narrowboats.

The canal out of Brentford (where the river Thames meets the Grand Union Canal) was a bottleneck and queues formed there, slowing things down. Lost time was lost money. My grandfather, who was in charge of the family stables, often arrived at 4am to get horses and harnesses ready, just so the bargee’s could gain competitive advantage from an early start.

The narrowboat crews worked incredibly hard, in all weather, with frightful conditions. There was absolutely no guarantee of employment. Each week the working men would assemble in my great grandparents back yard to be told if they were required that week. For those that weren’t there was no social security. No work meant no rent money, no food on the table, no cash for a few beers.

Now, think about this for a moment … don’t we, as knowledge-workers, live privileged lives?

Notice things you’re grateful for – about your consultancy work?

Here’s some ideas that might help.

  • Interesting, challenging, projects that allow you to do your thing, give you more experience, and build your confidence.
  • Organisational culture, flexibility, and earning potential – which enables an amazing lifestyle.
  • Access to innovative technology that makes things cheaper, faster, easier, and better.
  • Teamwork that delivers results and value for clients.
  • Mentoring relationships that give you advice, insights and encouragement.

What things were you taking for granted?