I guess most people are like me and that most of their friends are either current or former work colleagues. This is great in some ways, as it gives you lots of things in common. I still meet up with a guy I worked with the best part of two decades ago and we still laugh at the same incidents from our time working together.
However, I also remember a smart guy once telling me that it is a good idea to make friends with people from all different walks of life. I thought he meant so that you could learn about different aspects of life and not get boxed into one way of seeing the world.
Time to Get Some Friends In
It turns out that he had all sorts of problems sorting out his new house and was fed up paying over the odds for dodgy jobs carried out by the tradesmen he had hired. His rather cynical plan was to befriend a plumber, a carpenter, an electrician and whatever other tradesmen he might need to hire in the future.
I simply couldn’t bring myself to make friends with someone just to get them to go work for me on the cheap, although I could certainly understand what he was driving at. I had suffered a few bad experiences with tradesmen in the past and having a few I could trust would certainly have been an advantage.
The most urgent job I needed done at that time was the rewiring of the electrics in the house we had just bought. An old lady had owned it before us and it looked like the wiring had last been looked at in the 1940s. The first electrician we called in said that it would cost a fortune to replace and the second one said that we should call in the guys from the Antiques Roadshow to check it out.
Careful with the Shower
It was going to cost way too much to get the rewiring work done so we left it as it was for the first year or so we lived in it. Going to take a shower was like playing a game of Russian roulette but apart from that the poor wiring in the place didn’t really have that much of an effect on our lives. However, we knew that the whole system could go down at any time and that a fire was a real risk.
The months drifted on and a new guy started at my work. I worked in an insurance office and this guy seemed a bit out of place. It looked like it was his first office job and he struggled to take in the processes.
I ended up mentoring him and we hit it off well. I have always been a patient person and I genuinely didn’t mind spending a lot of time showing him how to do things. He was smarter than he first appeared to be and once he had gained a degree of confidence he turned out to be a very useful worker.
One day we went out for a drink after work and I asked him what he worked in before. It had never crossed my mind to ask him this before. He said that he was an electrician by trade but that he had wanted to try something different before it was too late.
I approached the subject of my home’s wiring rather sheepishly, as I didn’t want to seem to be taking advantage of his good nature. He said he would be delighted to sort it out for me and anything else I needed done. I think I did things the right way round by making friends with him before finding out that he was an electrician. Now I just need the same sort of lucky coincidence with a plumber and a plasterer and I am sorted.
You don’t need to be best friends with an electrician to know that looking at energy efficient transformers is a smart move these days.