Keith Everett
funny story

A Funny Story That Really Isn’t That Funny At All

Gosh, I think i’ve always been an Entrepreneur ever since I was knee high to my Dad, well, it seemed that long. I’ve had quite a lot of ups and downs (like you do), anyone who tells you this is an easy life is lying.

One of the saddest days though stems from a funny event. Hence the title of this post.

Here’s my story. This happened around 20 years ago..

I have been in and out of running a business for what seems to be an absolute age, nearly all my life, however when it does go a bit belly up, you have to recover, recoup and restart again. For me, this often meant getting a job (gasp). I hated working for others and being told what to do, but I would do it anyway just to build up capital again.

On The Buses

One such job I had was working for a bus company. I had held a bus license for a few years and often turned back to it when I needed a job. For many times I was very glad of it. It was mind numbingly boring work but it allowed you to switch off and plot and plan your next business idea as it didn’t take an awful lot of mental work to do the job.

It was basically driving a rather large cornflake box around all day, picking up passengers and dropping them off. It took a reasonable amount of skill, but not too much.

I made a lot of friends in the workplace and one guy, i’ll call him Jim, used to pick some of us up and take us into the bus garage each morning. He was one of the management staff and although it was white collar work, he would often be working 50 or 60 hours a week.

Jim must have been around 65 at the time as he was shortly due to retire..

Jim used to tell us about how he had managed to scrimp and save over the last 40 years to be able to afford two houses. He lived in one locally and he had another one down on the south coast of England, (Brighton) by the beach that he had let out and was looking forward to retiring to. His plan was to sell his second house and with that money, finance his retirement, living by the sea.

All seemed to be going well for Jim, he was a nice friendly guy who always helped people, he seemed to make our job better just by being a kind and humorous guy.

The End

No, it’s not the end of the story, but it does have a sad ending.

One day, cheerful Jim dropped us all off at the bus depot, it was his last day of work, he was retiring that day. He went into the bathroom, closed the cubicle door, sat down and DIED. Jim had a fatal heart attack, it was Monday morning and Monday’s (early) apparently are quite a common time for people to have a heart attack.

We were heartbroken. Poor old Jim, died on the toilet.

The Takeaway

Having plans doesn’t always mean you’ll reach them. God or whatever you choose to believe in may have other plans for you. Call it the will of the universe, fate, bad luck, etc, etc.

Here in the UK 1 in 5 men die before retirement age. You have a 20% chance of not reaching the age of 65, and remember, when you do, you also have a 1 in 2 chance of getting cancer. The biggest cause of death in men is cancer and the 2nd biggest cause is circulatory disease. I’m not trying to scare you here. I’m trying to emphasise that working day in and day out 5 days a week for 50 years may not be the best way to transition through life.

Stress kills, and in my view many jobs actually cause that stress. So in effect, your job could end up killing you, especially if it’s stressful and sedentary.

At the end of the day we are all vulnerable human beings. Although we are meant to be an advanced nation, we haven’t really made much progress when it comes to work. In fact, it’s got worse. People are working longer hours and working longer years. Spending 40 or 50 years of your 70+ yr life working 40,50, 60hrs a week doesn’t really make sense. Sure, we all have to pay bills, but if we don’t progress past the standard level of thinking about work, we just fall in with all the other people doing the same.

So, what’s the alternative?

What else is there, I hear you ask.

The problem is, once you’ve been in the workplace for so many years, you’ve programmed yourself to believe there isn’t much of an alternative. I remember one of my friends who hated his job, he complained about it every day yet did nothing about it. When I asked him, why he didn’t do something else, he replied “What else is there?”

Well, if you believe there isn’t one, then of course there isn’t. But, like most things, there is and alternative. Not everyone is cut out for working on the internet or working from home, but most people can upskill their life, learn a new skill and work less hours. Nothing is easy, I’m not pretending it is, but if our good friend Jim could come back to life now, would he still do the same thing?. I wonder..

Life is a learning curve, you can take notes and adjust or you can ignore the warning signs…Death tends to be final, once it comes, there probably isn’t any going back, however by creating less stress in our lives, we can (hopefully) live a bit longer…

Have a great day


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