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a blog by Chris Barrow

Flying to Italy for Christmas

A very early start – 3.45am alarm call, 5.00am cab to the airport, 7.15am flight from Manchester to Milan – I am now at 25,000 feet above France and have just finished answering the overnight batch of emails. My eldest son Jonathan, 18, has been working North of Turin in the ski resorts and called late last night to say that he’d had enough and was coming home. The call was from a pay-phone in Turin station, to say that the train to Milan was 4 hours late – this at 11.00pm local time. So goodness knows where he will have ended up and I’m doing a worried parent trip for once (although the other “voice” says I was 2 years in work at 18 and well able to handle myself). The reason for his return is slave labor. The promise was free board and food, a job working at a PC for 3 hours in the morning and 3 hours in the evening, plenty of time to snowboard in the afternoons and a low but acceptable wage of 80 euros a week. The reality was sleeping in a hovel, working 12 hours a day, 6 days a week and taking any work that his unpleasant boss decided, including a “straw-breaking” 12-hour shift washing pots. So for once I can sympathise with his decision. The story made me recall that, when I was a teenager I had some rough work including shoveling the proverbial on a pig farm all day Saturday and being refused entry to my bus home because I stank (had to walk miles) – that job lasted one day. Also a summer job in the warehouse of a local food store, having boxes thrown at me all day to stack and carry. At the start of the summer I was a weakling with nightly bruised arms. By the end of the summer I had muscles and could throw those boxes back just as hard. Experience of adversity is a great character builder but I hope my son gave his boss “the finger” as he left! Yesterday, I enjoyed presenting a second webinar in the last few days to our Chicago Mentees in the Million Dollar Coaching Practice programme. We looked at Strategy 7 – Low Cost Marketing and Strategy 8 – Professional/Personal balance. This was my first opportunity to share my thoughts and plans to develop “multiple streams of income” into my practice, following another splendid presentation by Andrea Lee in Toronto. I’ve prepared a Powerpoint slide that summarises my three-year plan and, such was the positive response yesterday that I’m considering turning this into an e-lesson in the next few weeks. I’ll be working in Italy for the next 2 days (just a few yards from the photograph at the top of the blog) and will be dashing next door to the Hotel Barchetta to get on-line once a day. Good old Telecom Italia are now promising our broadband connection in the apartment sometime after the New Year – by which time I will be back in the UK for a month.

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