Dangerous Electrics in India – Shocking – Deadly

If you think the electrical standards are bad in the UK, wait til you see India!

I have been to 25 countries and the electrical standards in India appear to be by far the worst!

I am an electrician from the UK. I have worked all over the UK in a variety of properties. I would say the standard of workmanship in the UK really varies. I have seen amazing work which I would call art and then I have seen stuff that makes me shudder because they are so dangerous! In general, I would say standards are less than acceptable. I come across far more poor work than good work.

I left the UK in the summer of 2018 to travel with my family. Since leaving the UK I have been to Iceland, Canada, USA, Mexico, Barbados, Australia, Singapore and India.

Being an engineer and in the electrical game since I quit school, I cannot help but make observations of electrics and fire safety wherever I go. It can be a great skill because fire safety and understanding the dangers of electrics can save your life. In some ways it can be a nuisance because I just cannot turn a blind eye.

Everything in this blog post are my personal observations based on my knowledge and experience from my career in the UK. Nobody can make a complete accurate engineering judgement on electrics by using the eyes only. It requires more senses, tools and test equipment to provide a full record of condition.

If you have been to India and you are from a western country, it is one hell of a culture shock. It is so busy, but more relevant, the health and safety standards are terrible. You only have to walk through the airport and outside the airport in Delhi to grasp the standards by making a few observations of workmen balancing on the top of flimsy ladders in the middle of passengers walking by with no barriers and the way you can step onto the street and risk your life by being run over or falling down a hole!

I have bounced between Delhi, Agra, Jaipur and Rishikesh. I have stayed in hotels and home stays which are lovely and some places which are not so lovely. The streets in towns are absolutely chaotic. There are people trying to sell you things, doing business, commuting, and living. There is so much to take in it can make you head hurt, but at the same time is such a wonderful experience – I actually love travelling across India.

Then you see the electrics; single core cables lashed across a street to power up street lamps, cables jointed together with cellotape, open feeder pillars which I assumed are live where little kids are playing nearby along with a cow scratching her side up against the enclosure, and light fittings open to the elements. I am not sure IP ratings are considered within the design application!

The electrics are dangerous all over

I rented one apartment which was really basic. The apartments tend not to have many sockets or lights which is fine because I only need a socket for phone and laptop charging. In this particular apartment, I had a problem with the shower. I reported it to the landlord and they called out a plumber. The plumbers had to change the shower mixer. Their drill had no plug and the lead was joined several times. Oh, by the way, in India, it seems that not one person carries out a job, it takes several people. I have no idea why, but at least there is no such thing as dangerous lone working or getting lonely in general. One of the plumbers just shoves the two cores of the lead directly into the socket outlet. This seems to be rather common! I have seen many appliances without plugs where the cores are shoved into the outlet. The issue with this is in the event that someone pulls one of the cores out whilst the other remains, you are left with a live exposed part at low level.

I seriously dislike the Indian socket outlets because the plug pin entries are huge and not shuttered allowing foreign objects to enter. I am very used to the British Standard BS 1363 socket outlet and plug, which I believe is a good design. I don’t have experience with all plug and socket types around the world, but of all the plugs I have played with, it really has been the best! If you believe another is superior, feel free to put in the comments below. Please do not say the North American plug and socket or the Australian because I have extensively looked into both and both have huge flaws! In fact, check out this video I created regarding the dangerous US plug socket.

Watch a video and code dangerous observations with me

You can watch a video of me taking you round an apartment carrying out a visual observation of any electrical defects where I ask you to note down your comments on the condition of the electrics and how you would code them if you were carrying out an EICR (electrical installation condition report).

Whilst on my travels around India, I often see poor electrical work and dangerous situations, including fuse boards in busy public places with the covers off and access to live parts, cables unclipped, damaged and without mechanical protection, lack of IP ratings suitable for the environment and external influences and single core cables tied to metallic conductive structures.

Fire safety is a huge concern in India!

What I find more concerning is the lack of fire safety. I haven’t been in one property without noticing some sort of fire safety defect (to UK standards).

A lot of apartments seem to have sliding bolts on the inside and bolts on the outside. It is a fire safety issue should a fire occur! Someone can lock the door from the outside and you cannot get out! When I’ve been in the bathroom, my kids have locked me in multiple times. My son managed to lock in our neighbours in their home and fortunately we could hear them knocking to let them out.

These locks are not suitable on doors used for escape during an emergency such as a fire.

I see so many detectors sited in recesses and against obstructions which wouldn’t be compliant in the UK. There is a complete lack of escape lighting and signage. God forbid there is a fire. I make sure I know my exit strategy, discuss with my wife and hope for the best!

When I have seen poor electrics in the UK, it is a combination of poor training, incompetence, commercial pressure, attitudes towards safety, ease of entry into the industry, lack of skilled people and little enforcement. I have no doubt it is no different in other countries and the culture decides on how bad it can be.

Are the British Electrical standards better than anywhere else in the world?

I think the British Standards, as in the technical documents we which are published as the guides to work from are written fairly well (with some exceptions), but it doesn’t mean everyone in Britain works to them! The physical standard of work in Britain does seem far better, especially compared to the lesser developed countries, but that is no excuse to not desire to increase the standards in the UK. We should be the world leaders in safety to protect the general public. Just because the UK statistics of death or injury by electric shock may be less than another country doesn’t mean the UK government is doing everything they can to protect the public. We should strive to aim for zero injury or death by electric shock.

It is so important to create an attitude towards electrical and fire safety, that being proactive is more important that being reactive. The former can reduce the latter, yet UK legislation is quite clear on duties, but has little enforcement. It is down to the client to ensure duties are met, but many organisations lack understanding of compliance and duties and rely on external companies. I also feel it is a conflict of interest having the client in charge of electrical and fire duties as well as the client controlling the finances of electrical and fire safety. It is somewhat of a farce. At least I feel the UK is further advanced in electrical safety.

Where have you been where the electrics are shocking?

Written by Dan Jackson AKA Dans the Engineer in Rishikesh, India.

Is The Electrical and Fire Industry Broken?

This blog post was originally published on June 24, 2018, I am re-publishing it to show everyone who follows my new blog on danstheengineer.co.uk and my career path.

Dangerous electrical system in a basement of a mixed retail/office block in Oxted, Surrey 2017

At the end of this month (June 2018), I will not only be exiting my business, but also the industry I have been working in since leaving school. I am leaving to travel the world full time with my wife and kids and have booked a one-way ticket out of the UK. You can see our announcement here.

Many are asking me what plans I have when I get back and what I will do for work when I return. I have also been offered many jobs in various roles.

The truth is, I don’t have plans to come back. I don’t know where I will be in 6 months’ time, in a years’ time, in 3 years’ time. That is sort of the point! We stop off in Iceland first in August and have booked one-way tickets. We will adapt and mindset will alter on our amazing journey and I will remain open minded.

I have very mixed emotions right now.

I have been in the trade for 15 years and I boast some fantastic achievements in my time here. The last 12 months have been the most memorable and my career has been at an all time high…. I was accepted into The IET: The Institution of Engineering and Technology as a Fellow, I helped set up the #E5 Group as a founding member, turnover and profits within my business are at an all time high, I setup my YouTube Channel – Dans the Engineer which has gone rather well, carried out some prestigious projects and I have many contact me online to ask for my advice, help and guidance (which I am happy to).

Many didn’t expect my decision to leave but I have my reasons. I will openly admit that I love and loath the electrical and fire industries. I am a geek at heart, love the technical and engineering aspects of my job, love meeting interesting people all over the UK, building relationships and completing fantastic projects. BUT, the industry requires improvement. The type of improvement I mean is increased safety and procedures to prevent people getting hurt, or worse still – deaths.

My content online, articles written, and YouTube videos were to raise awareness of issues we face, to improve standards and to help people. It is something I am very passionate about.

This is where it gets complicated for me. I spend god knows how many hours focused on work and my business, learning and researching within my field of work. But my new Venture is to enjoy time with my family, watch them grow, travel and take some time out for me. We are filming Our Venture Beyond on YouTube and Instagram so others can follow what we do.

I decided that when I exit I will stop my focus on the industry and to focus on my new lifestyle. It is something I have to do for my family and for me.

Since announcing my decision to leave, many people including industry influencers and leaders have got in contact either wishing me well, thanking me, and/or offering something for the future. Honestly, it is very overwhelming!

I love innovation. Any company who change the game by making a great product and making a difference is just brilliant – Linian Clips.

I do have a few final things to say though.

The electrical and fire industries are very similar in many respects in that each industry is very vast in what it covers but legislation is similar for both.

What I am about to say in generally speaking about both industries.

Anybody and I mean anybody can work on fire alarm systems…. Worrying right? In fact it is the same for electrics too. Legislation allows this which I will touch on in a minute.

A person or organisation who owns or is in charge of a property is also responsible for the electrical and fire safety. It is down to them to determine how they do this. There are many ways to achieve this but in my honest opinion, this is a slight conflict of interest due to money. There is little way of enforcement to be compliant.

Responsible people can have work carried out with the intention ‘to be compliant’ but it doesn’t mean they are compliant, and it is down to client / person ordering the work to ensure it is carried out correctly. The problem with this is that the client needs to either be able to assess the work carried out themselves or contract somebody who can on their behalf. There is a risk of relying on the contractor carrying out the work to ensure they have done it correctly because it is a conflict of interest in many cases. The way contractors make money is by pricing a job, there will be a margin on labour and materials so the quicker they complete a job, the more profit there is. They are hardly going to highlight to you any issues because it will cost them! There seems to be a horrible culture in the industry where many have reduced costs so much that it is very easy to be so tight on making a profit that there isn’t room for any errors. When there is, many cut corners to maintain profit at the risk of reducing safety! Don’t get me wrong…. there are some fantastic contractors out there who consciously think about their actions and strive for a great install regardless if it won’t make as much profit as they hoped.

The accepted level and quality of training needs improving. Training providers seem to be in battle with each other to provide the cheapest training possible to win over clients based on price more than anything else. It seems to be the accepted by society. We all like a bargain but the quality can vary so much and can make such a difference. Some trainers will be happy making a little margin which is fine, but there are too many courses available which do not offer a good outcome for the trainee. That is not ethical.

The level of knowledge and skill has been watered down. It is very easy to do a short course and get some tools and start working on life safety and electrical systems. System that can cause fires or prevent suitable means of detecting fire. It is an important job and there is far more to it other than it just ‘working’. Courses I have attended and feedback from others suggest that they passed the course via a very easy system such as multiple choice but walked away not really knowing everything they should do. It seems like the pass result percentage is what matters and measures the success of the training. A bit like the UK education system. Unfortunately, that doesn’t help the student. Correct and suitable training is vital!! IF people knew what they are doing and the dangers caused by their actions, they would have more of a chance in installing systems to a better standard.

Attitudes towards management of systems can completely change how effective a system is. I could install a brilliant compliant system, but if it isn’t maintained adequately, it is only as good as the day it was installed.

That doesn’t stop someone dying, does it?

I came across a project recently where the client has a procedure where the contractor has to sign a permit to agree that they will make good any penetrations to fire compartments to ‘the best of their ability’ as part of their works. They sign the permit in the morning, do the work and bring back the permit at the end of the day. When I carried out a survey I noticed tons of cable and pipe penetrations in the fire compartments, it was like swiss cheese and informed the client that clearly previous contractors have not installed fire barriers. The client turned around to be and said, ‘I have this bit of paper that says they have installed fire seals to their work’. I was gobsmacked!!!!! That paper DOES NOT STOP SOMEBODY DYING IN A FIRE!!!!

Common sense seems to be a thing from the past. It almost seems like we are trained to be robots who cannot think for themselves outside their pre-programme. I say, step outside of the norm and think for yourself. Question everything!! Why do we use this cable. Why do we install smoke detectors there. As a parent it can be funny at first but then frustrating when your child keeps asking why…. but honestly, I encourage my kids to ask why. Then we explore the reason why together.

Who on earth designed that?

In 2017, BS5839 Part 1 was revised and one of the good changes in my opinion was that manual call points are to have covers. So there is a plastic cover that you lift before activating the call point. This is to reduce false alarms by people accidentally pressing them. It is a great idea and has reduced false alarms in the many properties that I manage. But I have seen so many covers installed but have old signage above them advising how to active the call point by pressing it failing to provide the vital information that you need to lift the cover first! It seems obvious to people who are in the know, but in an emergency, a layman may not know this and it reduces the chance of activating an all important system. An example of this was a very fancy building in London I was in recently had manual call points with covers and pointless signage above and all the smoke detection was literally right by an air conditioning ventilation system blowing air into the room. If there were a fire, the smoke would be blown away from the detectors so manual call points would be vital because I believe the smoke detection to be pretty ineffective in this premises.

Who on earth designed that? Design is so important but what is more important is that the design is to be verified by the designer once installed. I strongly believe in third party consultancy where the consultant designs a system based on the clients needs who signs design documentation, oversees the installation and commissioning and testing, then signs a verification of the system to effectively takes responsibility of the system. This is supposed to happen with fire alarm systems but often what happens is either the contractor is the designer and carries out verification or a third party does it but doesn’t sign the documentation at all and leaves it to the contractor as well. Going back to my previous statement, I believe this is a conflict of interest.

If a third party was involved from the outset, it would be in everybody’s interest to make sure everything is how it should be! The problem being is cost. It would cost much more contracting a consultant or third party but can a client who isn’t able to make the necessary judgements themselves afford NOT to have a third party? I mean, I know clients responsible for the electrical systems and fire safety who have never read or even heard of the Electricity At Work Regulations 1989 or the The Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005. Guess what? Both are free. Click each link and you can download it. Every person involved in systems and management inside the scope of these documents should read them from an apprentice to a manager. They really are not complicated.

I walk around premises all the time and notice issues with fire and electrical safety. The problem is, you cannot un-see them. It could be a pub where a fire exit sign is pointing down instead of left. Or a hanging exit sign which is double sided effectively directing you back into the property. I believe that exit signage is confusing to the layman. Professionals keep saying it isn’t confusing at all. Well of course it isn’t confusing to someone who deals with it day in a day out but in the event of an emergency, the majority of people who need to understand signage, won’t. When I was in the US recently in Disney World, Orlando, in most of the areas, the signage is so clear I felt confident I would be able to find my way out. Every sign was electrically illuminated, directional, says clearly EXIT, and was supplemented by low level signs in places. It just made sense yet I was standing in a very large shopping centre in the South of England the other day and it has the smallest exit signs only located at the exit point which are not obvious unless you look for them because generally they are not at the main entrances and the colour clashes with the colours of all the fantastic shop front displays. It is confusing in normal circumstances. I hold little hope when the place is full of smoke!

Poor escape signage in a pub / restaurant I noticed whilst on a jolly up with the #e5 group in Coventry.

A few years ago a client has a fire in their property and it was reported that people struggled to see to get out due to smoke filling the place as the emergency lighting did not illuminate. Well it wouldn’t! It is run in FP200 fire rated cable and only activates when the mains fails. The mains didn’t fail because the cable withstood the fire! Nobody could turn on the functional light due to the panic of the emergency and didn’t want to locate the switches as they were near the fire.

And just to clarify to a few contractors…. exit signs are not necessarily emergency lights. Think about it.

Just because a contractor is part of a CPS (Competent Person Scheme) does not mean they are competent and/or carry out works to the relevant standards. It is up to the person ordering the work to carry out due diligence to assess if they are able to carry out the work and then review the work is acceptable. Cost SHOULD NOT be the main factor on choosing who does the work and just because they are part of a CPS is not good enough due diligence at all.

Remember, the British Standards are a GUIDE. However, unless you have sufficient knowledge and experience to deviate from the standards, you should stick to them as the minimum. There has been many situations where I have deviated as a designer but I have been happy to take that responsibility without reducing the risk of the level of safety of the system(s).

I believe we all have a duty to improve standards in the industry and can all make steps to assist this:

  • Individuals and companies to continue training externally and internally
  • Review management procedures
  • DO NOT put pressure on time to complete tasks but penalising individuals but also financial incentives to complete tasks in impossible times. There will be errors in this way
  • Stop boasting how cheaply jobs can be done. I am all up for saving money where possible, but under cutting others usually isn’t as transparent as it may seem. When cost goes down, often quality does too
  • Putting safety first…. always…. without compromise. Let’s go to bed every evening, knowing what we have done could save a life
  • Use this fantastic site as a forum to help each other, share experiences and ideas. There are some seriously clever guys and girls on Linkedin who can provide so much help. This is pretty much what #e5 is all about so being part of it is to help each other.
  • Remember that people are humans and not robots
  • We all need to earn a living, but let’s not allow offers to suffer as a result of greed

In the words of Paul Meenan, we should have assurance, not insurance when talking about electrical and life safety systems. Ask yourself, have you done everything you possibly can to ensure you have done your part including highlighting any shortfalls on the parts you may not necessarily be responsible for. If not, you may be breaking the law!

Grenfell was a national disaster but speaking to professionals within the industry, it is no surprise a tragedy like this occurred. The problem with fire and electrical safety is that it only tends to be apparent there is a problem when an accident or disaster occurs, not before hand. IF all fire measures were in place in Grenfell, it may have been a different story. One where many people wouldn’t have lost their homes and lives.

This is how I see ‘The Industry’

I am about to leave my company to set off on an amazing trip, but I believe that every one of my team who works for my company matters. Whether it be my head electrician, my fellow director, receptionist, clients, the guy who supplies my materials and even the cleaner! We all have a role and together, we are a team. The team cannot operate without the team players. This is how I see ‘The Industry’ . We are all involved and linked together. We have our roles and the goal should be to provide safe systems to protect each other and the public. If one team player doesn’t pull their weight, the goal will not be achieved.

I could keep going with this but I hope you get the idea of what I am talking about and can relate, maybe stop and think about a few things I have mentioned.

I would post lots of fancy pictures for this article but my van got broken into and my photos were on a hard drive that also got stolen. Those photos probably will mean nothing to the thieves but little do they know, that they are evidence that could potentially save their lives one day!

Now you’ll have to excuse me because I am currently doing some research on mountain hikes 😉 Must go!

Tradesman van broken into parked in the car park at the Excel in London


Written by Dan Jackson AKA Dans the Engineer in Kent, England

How Much Do Electricians Earn?

There are reports of electricians earning £156,000. Do electricians really earn 6-figures a year?

I am often asked “How much do electricians make?”. Having been trained as an electrician myself and then going on to employ dozens and dozens of electricians over the years, I appreciate my personal experience with rates of pay could very much vary to that of others. I thought I would take to the internet and ask real electricians how much they earn to dig deeper into whether or not it was a myth that electricians earn 6-figure salaries.

The results were quite astonishing!

I asked over 500 electrical professionals on LinkedIn and Twitter to provide some input on their pay and put out a poll on Twitter to find out electricians earnings for 2018-2019.

The Daily Mail reported in 2017 that: Electricians are earning as much as £3,000 a week as they cash in on a chronic shortage of skilled workers across the country.

That amounts to £156,000 a year – around six times the average wage and more than the £150,000 earned by the Prime Minister.

I find this hard to believe apart from exceptional circumstances.

A Twitter poll to discover the earnings by electricians

On my twitter account @danstheengineer I created two polls to ask twitter #electricians how much they earn. One poll for the employed and the other for the self-employed.

According to the Office of National Statistics the average salary for an electrician in the last year has risen by 5% to £32,315. This is the highest increase seen in the trades with plumbers following at 3.9%. That is £123,685 shy of the £156,000, the Daily Mail reported. Just a few quid, ey?

The JIB are an industry trade body who publish guidelines on electricians hourly rates of pay on their website. However, be aware that not all employers will adhere to these guidelines. It isn’t compulsory for employers to be registered with the JIB which means employers can pay whatever they wish providing it meets government minimum wages.

From and including Monday 7th January 2019 the JIB suggests that the national standard hourly rates of pay if you have your own transport are:

Electrician – £15.46

Approved Electrician – £16.77

Site Technician – £18.88

And for those who work in London or the south east you should expect:

Electrician – £16.86

Approved Electrician – £18.28

Site Technician – £20.57

There are different grades of ‘electricians’ and the JIB sets out a requirement of how to achieve the grade. Many in the industry look at the JIB rates as the guideline regardless of whether they are registered with the JIB or not.

An electrician is someone who serves an apprenticeship and qualifies once obtaining an NVQ level 3.

An approved electrician is an electrician above who has at least two years’ experience as an electrician and has passed a further course on inspection and testing and periodic testing.

A site technician is someone who has 5 years’ experience as an approved electrician and has a higher level of qualifications such as the electrical design and verification course.

You can find out more about JIB grades here.T

The Survey – How Much Do Electricians Really Earn?

I asked electricians, how much they earned per year, if they were PAYE employed or CIS self, employed, if they worked for someone or made their own sales, hours worked and what part of the country they worked in.

The people who participated in the survey varied from employees of large companies, site electricians only working in construction, business owners, one-man bands, recruiters and managers.

I have broken down the survey results to 3 parts of the country; London, where the pay is greater than anywhere else in the country. Northern Ireland, where the pay is less than anywhere else in the country. And National which is anywhere apart from London and Northern Ireland.

I have then split the wages into 3 groups within the location; Working for a company, one-man bands and company owners. Someone working for a company is an operative who is ‘hands on’ who is either employed or self-employed who doesn’t make their own sales, but instead works directly for one or more contracting companies. The grades of operatives is similar to the definition that the JIB uses. A Technician would also be a QS (qualifying supervisor) or a highly qualified supervisor. The ‘working for someone’ category also includes electrical managers. The ‘one-man band’ category is an electrician who works alone, self employed or has their own company but doesn’t employ anybody other than an apprentice. A one-man band sources their own sales oppose to working for another company. A company director is an owner of an electrical contracting company who employs multiple staff. They might be partially hands on.

For the purpose of clarity, the operatives and electrical manager roles have been calculated at 40 hours per week. It was incredibly difficult to ascertain the hours worked for company directors and one-man bands, so the pay is calculated simply at the amount they earned within the 12-month period. All pay is the annual wage before tax.

Survey results

As you can see, there is a distinct trend in wages for the operatives working for a company as the grade increases. Electrical managers tend to earn slightly more than an approved electrician and less than a technician electrician. One-man bands earn similar to that of an approved electrician and company owners seem to earn less than many operatives!

Electricians in London earning far more than in Northern Ireland

Pay really varies across the country. Electricians in London and the South East typically earn far more than anywhere else. The pay in Northern Ireland is far less than elsewhere. Many have told me this is due to the cost of living in these areas. Having lived near and worked in London my whole life, I can confirm it costs a small fortune to work and live there! Interestingly, some recruiters who provided their input claimed that their clients will pay the higher rates in larger cities, not just London, such as Cambridge. Recruiters also claimed that the rates the electricians were paid didn’t really vary if someone was employed or self-employed.

The self-employed seem to earn slightly more than the employed electricians, but often someone who is self-employed often will have to pay for their own transport, they are not always entitled to holiday pay, and generally do not receive a company package like those who are employed.

The pay for self-employed one-man bands seems to be particularly poor compared to those who employed because of the hours required to run a small business, the stress and pressure of ensuring they have enough work.

Company directors earn much more, right?

When I quizzed company directors on their pay which often is less than the electricians who work for them, they would often say there isn’t enough money in the company to pay themselves anymore. It seems there is a similar trend between the one-man bands and the company directors!

There were some electrical managers who earned excess of £65,000 per year, but generally they worked in specialist areas such as hazardous environments responsible for maintenance and on-going upgrades.

Some electrical project managers reported earning in excess of £100,000 per year, but, worked 70+ hours.

There are some job adverts for roles as an electrician claiming to pay £32 per hour such as Aspect Maintenance Services on Total Jobs or Pimlico Plumbers advertising £60,000 – £100,000 per year on Indeed.

I spoke to an electrician who has worked for a company who claimed he can earn £100,000 per year. The business model is that the electrician is to be self-employed or have a Ltd company who essentially sub-contract to the company. The electrician then uses a company vehicle (which they lease from the company), and are notified when a job comes in. The electrician is to buy their own materials and the client is charged by the company at the companies’ rates which are usually far greater than national average. The electrician then invoices the company for their times and materials used. This figure; the invoice figure, is their pay. The electrician I spoke to about this didn’t earn anything near the 6-figure salary.

If someone was contracted on this model, it wouldn’t surprise me if they could make 6 figures a year, providing they worked every hour under the sun! But their pay certainly doesn’t reflect what they actually earn as a wage because it includes their overheads to operate their ‘business’.

As you can see there are so many variables to someone’s wage when working as an electrician. Pay generally reflects experience, level of qualifications and location in the UK. But do electricians really earn £156,000 per year? I don’t think so. Have any input to add? Feel free to comment below.


If you are a business owner and want to grow you business, have a look at my one-on-one business coaching.

Written by Dan Jackson AKA Dans the Engineer in Rishikesh, India

Holy Crap!! I left my great career to travel the world… Have I made a mistake?

This blog post was originally published on November 5, 2018, I am re-publishing it to show everyone who follows my new blog on danstheengineer.co.uk and my career path.

I’ll explain my background a little.

I quit A levels aged 16 to work to earn money. Soon after, I started an electrician’s apprenticeship which I loved! I worked my way up the ranks very quickly and aged 22 I started up an electrical contractors’ company which grew year on year.

Aged 30 I decided I wanted more from life than working every awake hour 6-7 days a week, the stresses of being an employer, the pressure of a very hard industry and wanting more time with my family.

I had fantastic security of income to pay the mortgage and to provide for my family, a 5-bedroom hillside house with a great view, good cars, and a business which turns over £1.5M per annum.

In the year 2017-2018, my career was at an all-time high. I had been accepted as a fellow of the IET, I helped set up the e5 Group, my YouTube channel Dans the Engineer was growing and gaining lots of interest, business was booming, I had a great client base, and I was given plenty of opportunities within the industry I was about to leave. 

I left the UK aged 31 to embark on an adventure of a life time early August 2018. I am writing this 3-months into my full-time family travel journey lying in bed in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

I certainly left on a high! 

My family have now travelled across IcelandBC CanadaAlaska, California, Nevada and Arizona to where we currently reside in Mexico.

My life is completely different to what it used to be.

I have absolutely no idea what day of the week it is and that really doesn’t matter…. apart from Sunday’s when certain things aren’t open. That can always be a pain.

My life used to be full of strict routine, procedures and schedules. Everything was a timeline. 

I still have timelines now, but they are far more flexible other than flights and key dates.

The only ‘routine’ I have is working out, eating and bedtime. A word was introduced to me recently which I would like to replace routine with; ‘rhythm’.

Typically, I get up when my body tells me it wants to which is around 6.30am. I work out in a gym if I’m near one or a park if the weather isn’t terrible. I then come home and wait for the family to wake up and make us breakfast. My wife then works out and I get the kids ready for the day as well as myself – although getting ready myself usually involved throwing on a top and shorts and I’m done! 

We love food and being vegan, we have to plan where we eat if we choose to eat out but we try to home cook as much as possible if we have a kitchen. In between eating we carry out the usual family chores, but we try to explore in the location we are as much as we can.

It might be a walk on the beach, checking out a town or going to a visitor attraction. It all depends where we are, and we try to be as active as possible…. but we all need rest. So, we do that too! 

My wife Poppy does our travel planning which is time consuming so when she needs the time I will take the kids out. Essentially, we have swapped roles. She was a full time stay at home mum. I worked. I spend a little more time with the children than she does, and she does more ‘work’ than I do.

I also have this huge amount of time that I have never had before during adulthood. We are always doing something but even on a walk up a mounting or around a lake, I don’t need to think about where my engineers are tomorrow, or if Charles has the quotation he was asking for.

I literally have time to think about whatever I like plus to enjoy being in the moment. And this is an important point…. I am totally living in the moment.

The transition from my old to new role has presented some main changes. Another point I would like to make is that I often replace the word ‘change’ with ‘develop’. So here are some of my main developments:

1. Being a main carer of my children.

This is something I never thought I would be doing. I enjoyed fatherhood in my old role but I looked at work as an escape because parenting is tough. I no longer have that. Do I find it hard??? Hell yes!!!! Parenthood is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do.

I’ve had to adapt my parenting and self to be able to deal with the mental challenges parenting brings. 

I’m not going to lie. My skills still need tweeking but I’m getting there! 

My kids have taught me more than anyone else. I learn from them all the time so it is important for me to embrace this role change and absorb what I can whilst having fun teaching my them and myself.

2. The sense of importance.

Being a business owner, I felt my team relied on me and in some sense they did. I had responsibility on ensuring they had work, were paid, we were paid, projects were completed, and materials ordered.

I’ve worked my way up the career ladder, so I’ve always had responsibility due to always managing but now I no longer have that responsibility.

This was tough. Sure, I have responsibility being a father and husband but that hasn’t changed, but the responsibility that I had with work has totally changed.

I grew up thinking that one must work. One must bring back bread to the Family home and provide – very traditional thinking. I thought that was essential as part of being male. 

Now I am very open minded. I’m not sexist and I welcome change but when that change is implemented it doesn’t mean I can adjust within seconds. I need to process the changes, especially when I have had certain beliefs my whole life. 

When I started travelling and no longer worked for my old business there was a huge hole inside and I started to question who I am and what my role is. I became paranoid that my wife may think less of me and wondered what I offered her. I developed anxiety.

I realised my job defined me!!!!! It was self-importance.

I thought that my job was everything I was, but now I realise how stupid that is!!!!

I’m not just what I my job was. I’m a father. I’m a husband. I’m a friend. A sibling. A son. 

Although I no longer bring home the bread, I support my family. I teach my kids. I encourage both my wife and kids to do whatever makes them happy and support them however I can. 

I have had so little time before travelling to think about myself that I have actually forgotten who I am and have neglected self-care!!!

I know that feeling important was perhaps egotistical and slightly delusional because the truth is my old role has been fulfilled by someone else. Whether or not they do the same job better or worse than me, I don’t know, but they have taken on the responsibility that I thought was so important. Do the engineers call me up asking for my help (not going to lie, I’ve had a few phone calls) but in general, no they do not. It isn’t my job anymore. 

A JOB is temporary thing. YOU are not.

I’ve realised this now, but I know I still need a focus to exercise my mind more than anything. My wife and I are implementing our future plans. To maintain some sort of focus I work out each morning, I read, I eat as well as I can on the move, I meditate and socialise when I can.

I’m spending as much time enjoying what I can, when I can. I’ve started to look after myself!

Since working on myself I understand that when my mind and body is in a good place, I am at my optimum. This is important, so I provide positive energy which transfers to my family. It dawned on me that all the time in my old role I was overworked and practising self-neglect, I was transferring negative energy to my family because I wasn’t happy.

My advice to anyone….. balance is key. You need to work to earn money, but you also need to be happy and do things for yourself. You will not be at your optimum performance if you’re over worked and unhappy. Employers should also take note of this. People are human. Not robots.

If you manage a team of people who are directly affected by you, if you provide bad energy to the team, they will absorb that whereas if you are providing positive energy, they will benefit too! Who wants to be around someone who is always stressing, negative and unmotivated???

3. The relationship with my wife

We have always had what I believe is a good relationship. We care for each other and support each other. We always seem to be on the same page and agree on most things. The extent of arguing is a disagreement about something but that’s it. We laugh more than anything else.

We are with each other ALOT. We don’t see friends regularly. We don’t have an escape from each other (not that we need one). 

We are best friends as well as being married but our bond has grown. We have created a stronger team. We are fully aware of each other’s strengths and weaknesses and help each other where needed. This is so important when travelling because you need team work!

I think mutual respect is vital in any relationship. Understanding each other’s roles and being happy with what each of you provide, whether it is marriage, friendship or a business relationship.

We have become incredibly open with each other. The way to explain it is that you have friends you may talk to about certain topics but not to others. Well, we are that friend in all cases and no topic is off limits.

Our very strong relationship has got stronger!!!!

4. I can do whatever I want to. I can be whoever I am.

I don’t need to answer to anyone but myself.

Obviously, I have to consider any repercussions of my actions, but I don’t have to answer to society! 

I don’t have to do the same as everyone else and don’t have to meet others expectations.

Every country has its own culture which I enjoy learning but as a foreigner, I stick out like a sore thumb in many places. People may already judge me as a tourist which is fine, but nobody’s judgement will influence how I do things, how I dress, or how I act.

I just have to ensure that my family unit are well, and we are living life how we wish to! 

I am essentially at the start of my journey on Our Venture Beyond and hope it may inspire you if you feel you share similar struggles with your life! I will be posting more blogs as I go and hope to share my experiences with you.

The answer to the title of this blog post – I left my great career to travel the world… Have I made a mistake? HELL NO!!!!! I feel free. I feel like me. I am enjoying every second and have zero regrets. I have realised how unhappy I was and how negative my life was but when you’re in the thick of it, it is easy to be blind sighted. Do I know my future and is it secure? Nope, but that is the fun of it. I am in my own story book and I don’t know what is going to happen next!!!!

Written by Dan Jackson AKA Dans the Engineer in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

Meet Your Coach – Dan Jackson – About Me

My name is Dan Jackson AKA Dans the Engineer. I am originally from Surrey in the UK, but I travel the world full time with my family and I am a business coach. I am a digital nomad!

I served an electrical apprenticeship in the UK, set up an electrical and fire alarm contractors aged 22 and grew it to £1.5 million turnover per annum within 8 years.

I sold my shares in my business so I could spend some much-needed precious time with my wife and two young children.

In this post, I am giving you some further background information about me, what I do and how I can help you. I may come across as a bit nuts, it might just be true!

Diving through the waves at Lucky Bay in Western Australia – The best Beach I have been to! – Instagram @danstheengineer

My clients come to me to help them grow their business, for personal development, marketing, sales, social media strategy and / or to create a better work life balance.

The reason they come to me is because I have been there, done that, bought the T-shirt, then sold the T-shirt.

I am not all talk and no trousers. Everything I teach or post online is from my own experience. I have evidence to prove it all. I have been featured in a variety of press articles including; The Independent, The Daily Fail, I mean Mail, the IET, Sparks Magazine and IFSEC Global.

I have had a colourful career in the electrical and fire industry. My experience is vast, I’ve worked all over the country in multiple sectors and I have relationships with world leading manufacturers, organisations and individuals. My career highlights include:

  • Being a founding member of the e5 Group
  • Becoming a fellow of the IET aged 30
  • Contributing to industry leading technical publication – Napit’s Codebreakers book
  • Tendering, being awarded and running fire alarm upgrade project of the prestigious 15th century grade I listed historical property – Knole House
  • Selling my business to achieve my dream – travelling the world

Life is full of hurdles and so is business. I wasn’t fortunate to have any mentors. All of my ups and downs came from first-hand experience including being knocked for £60k, winning a contract for the fire alarm upgrade of a 15th century historical property which I project managed, creating all of my own marketing techniques, employment and competing in a market full of cowboys and chancers!

I started blogging about parenting when my first child was born as I was up all night and had nothing better to do. I turned blogging into a business tool, which then developed into creating YouTube videos on my channel Dans the Engineer and regular social media content. All of which contributed to business success and personal development. It is likely you have found me and are reading this due to my knowledge on social media and marketing strategy.

Besides coaching I am a freelance author and content creator. It is work I can do remotely, and I love doing it. I write articles for media companies including technical content and content that will provoke engagement. I also create social media strategy plans for organisations.

Ethics are the forefront of my business morals. I used to treat people like shit! It was only when I had a child, my mindset completely changed and instead of treating staff like robots, I treated them like humans. Compassion goes a long way. I reduced staff turnover, increased morale, had less guys in my team but increased profits! I actively promote employers to reduce hours staff work to increase productivity. Yep, you heard me.

All my methods and techniques are self-taught, and I utilise them to help others. I provide another perspective to business owners because often the guys at the top have nobody to go to. I am that person. I believe in team work and believe collectively, more minds can produce so much more than one, providing communication, direction and ethos are aligned.

My core values are; keeping things SIMPLE, remembering we are HUMAN, and ALTERNATIVE thinking.

In my personal life, I have faced many challenges that we all tend to face in modern society but the big one for me was having such a crap work life balance. I worked like a dog for the majority of my working career with little gain. Now you’ll find me on the beach more than you will find me working #beachlife.

I believe in looking after myself both physically and mentally. Working smart is something that can be taught, and efficiency of individuals and companies is vital to increase profit and available TIME.

I believe time is more valuable than money, but you must go on a journey to find your opinion out yourself. Many of my clients come to me to help create a better work life balance and it is something I am very passionate about.

Exploring Wilson Prom, Victoria, Aus – Instagram @danstheengineer

I am vegan, I am a family man, I research a lot about the environment, I am a feminist (yes you heard me, I’ll explain more another time), I LOVE travel and believe we should show compassion to every being that roams this planet.

I invite you to follow my Instagram @danstheengineer where post about my day to day life to show you the man that lives an alternative lifestyle who many dream of. Honestly, it’s not that exciting. Well maybe sometimes, if you call swimming with sea turtles, seeing humpback whales, learning to trapeze, living in the Bajan jungle with a pack of dogs, being robbed by Mexican police, going inside an Icelandic glacier or randomly getting a boat from Alaska to San Diego, exciting. To me, it’s normal!

Although I have wild hair and I’m slightly crazy, I am honest, I am open minded, I am caring, I love to help people and I have very alternative views and tactics, I am actively working for many clients showing incredible results. Check out my reviews to find out what they say! My CV is also available upon request.

Running a business can be very personal at times and it has been critical to us rely on his level head, knowledge experience. Having Dan Jackson as a consultant has been an absolute asset to the company.Stephen Wallach20/09/2019
Dan has been coaching us since May this year and we can not thank him enough for his expertise, knowledge and experience, He has a positive outlook on work and life, and it’s fab to bounce ideas with a likeminded soul, we will continue to work with Dan and look forward to many more sessions and chats putting the electrical industry/world to right! Thank you DanChris Thompson23/07/2019
Would recommend dans service. Drops in little nuggets of information that get your thinking cogs going. No bs approach and no general management stuff, just brilliant info tailored to your businessneil robinson22/07/2019
I’ve known Dan for nearly three years and our relationship is built on trust and respect. Dan will go out of his way to help anyone in trouble and always offers sound advice. There are few people in the world who look after others, just because it’s the right thing to do, as such, Dan is always seen doing volunteer work online, or in person and trying to change the world around him for the better. I would have no hesitation in recommending Dan, as you will be in safe handsAdrian Davey20/07/2019
I approach Dan after watching some of his Youtube videos. We start chatting, and he helped me improve my business, the way I promote my work, how to offer better services for my customers, plus many more He is knowledgeable, friendly, helpful, and approachable. Don't hesitate to get in contact you won't regret it. Many thanks for all your valuables bits of advice, Dan.Laurentiu Martinescu07/07/2019
Dan provides so much value with his business coaching. It has helped me improve my sales technique which has led to greater profits and converting more surveys and estimates into orders. My business efficiency has increased.Harry Kellermann05/05/2019
I can’t say anything but great things about Dan. Both as a person and also the fantastic service he offers. Dan has gone above and beyond in helping me and I can’t thank him enough. His knowledge has helped me improve my business and more importantly helped me as a person which I think is something that is very rare to find. If you are considering Dan’s services I would stop considering and just get on board! Can’t thank you enough Dan!!Joe Cooper29/04/2019
I have been working with Dan and using his services as a business coach since February this year. His help, advice and knowledge within his expert field are second to none! He has a wealth of experience within the electrical and fire industry. Through his coaching sessions I have been able to ensure all the right processes and procedures are in place and have made some great connections! I highly recommend Dan to anybody seeking help within their business! Top man! I for sure will continues to use Dans coaching services, thanks Dan!Daniel Nickson25/04/2019
Dan has been mentoring me for some time now and I have been following him on YouTube for some time too. His knowledge and real life experience is very unique and his mentoring sessions allow me to look at my business as someone who is not only a tradesman but someone who runs a business, who has a family and other commitments . He has helped me work out my day rate, taught me how to deal with customers so I can attract the right customers and how I should always behave ethically whilst doing so. Thanks Dan for all your help, I will be continuing with our sessions as I have a lot to learn and Dan has a lot to teach.AMF Contractors13/04/2019
I've been taking mentoring from Dan and I am really impressed. His knowledge in contracting is incredible and his methods are genius. The focus is partly on my company but also my personal development and my whole outlook at work is different. I really enjoy work now. Dan has taught me how to attract the right people, employees, clients and general people around me!Scott McRae12/04/2019
I signed up for business coaching with Dan to expand my electrical contracting business. It helped me see my business in a different light. Overall It has been a very positive experience and I will be contacting Dan for some more sessions at some stage.Adam08/04/2019

If you ever want to reach out to me, hit the Whatsapp button at the bottom of this page and give me a shout. I might be on another time zone to you or up a mountain, so please be patient if I don’t get back to you quickly.

Best wishes

Written by Dan Jackson AKA Dans the Engineer in Rishikesh, India

Do you need to be registered to work as an electrician in the UK?

I have been asked many times over the years; do Electricians need to be NICEIC registered?

The short answer is no, there is no requirement to be registered with the NICEIC. In fact, there is no requirement to be registered anywhere to work as an electrician in the UK.

Anybody can legally work on electrics regardless of qualifications or experience.

However, working on electrics other than your own home that you live in (not including property that you rent out), falls under the  statutory legislation – the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989. It is a free government produced document and can be downloaded from the gov.uk website.

Any electrical works other than in your own home, come under the scope of the EAWR.

The EAWR doesn’t state that you need to be registered anywhere other than to comply with the EAWR which is statutory meaning you MUST adhere to the document.

Electrical companies whether they are limited companies or sole traders can be registered with a competent person scheme. There are various competent person schemes such as the NICEIC, Napit, Elecsa and Stroma who inspect your work and procedures and approve your accreditation under their scheme if you meet their criteria. The competent person schemes are very similar, but some operate in different ways. The schemes have their own ways on how you can certificate works. You do not need to be registered with one of the schemes and do not have to produce certification through any of them. You can be accredited by a scheme and produce certification however you like. It is entirely optional to choose to be registered with one of the schemes. The list of companies registered with a competent person scheme is publicly available via their own website.

Individual electricians can become an ECS gold card holder if you have a JIB or SJIB (if in Scotland) recognised UK competency based qualification (electrotechnical Level 3 NVQ or a formal UK electrotechnical apprenticeship) plus a formal BS7671 qualification in the current edition of the wiring regulations in force when your application is made. Individuals are not assessed on site on competence once obtaining the card but when the card expires, are required to carry out an ECS health and safety multiple choice examination, which in my opinion is very easy. ECS have recently announced that to renew the card, the individual requires to have completed the course on the current version of the wiring regulations BS7671. The register of gold card holders isn’t public so the public cannot check online whether the holder is actually registered. This card is for individuals, not companies.

Electricians can become an ECS registered electrician if you have an NVQ Level 3 and competed the current update course of the British wiring regulations BS7671. The register of ECS registered electricians isn’t public so the public cannot check online whether the holder is actually registered. This card is for individuals, not companies.

Companies can become JIB registered which is a membership with the JIB designed to help companies with employment including employment terms and conditions, employment benefits such as healthcare, and financial support for training. Companies who have JIB membership are required to abide by the JIB National Working Rules which includes minimum rates of pay and requirement for operatives to hold valid ECS cards such as the above cards mentioned.

Companies can become members of the ECA if they meet their criteria. The ECA provides business and industry support with technical, Health and Safety, networking and resources.

Individual electricians, companies or main contractors can become Sparksafe registered. Sparksafe operate a licence to practice. It is client led who choose to have workers on their electrical projects to be Sparksafe registered. Every worker is assessed by Sparksafe for competency. Electrical workers can have one of three licences; QE – qualified electrician, REW – restricted electrical worker or AE – apprentice electrician.

Electrical companies whether limited companies or sole traders can become an electrical registered competent person which is an agreement and register between all competent person schemes mentioned earlier (NICEIC, Elecsa, Napit and Stroma). Even though the title of the register is electrical registered competent person, it isn’t a register for individual electricians unless they are sole traders. It is basically a list of all companies registered with any of the mentioned competent person schemes. It doesn’t list all the individual electricians who have ECS gold or ECS registered electrician’s cards or Sparksafe licence holders. In fact, it isn’t a register of competent persons at all. Perhaps very misleading for the general public.

It is all very confusing and more so for the consumer or client to ascertain who to engage as a contractor or who to assess as ‘competent’.

Electrical certification isn’t required to be registered anywhere or with any scheme either. Certification is very important because it is a document that demonstrates that the electrics are safe for use. Certificates produced are typically given to the client and a copy retained by the contractor.

What is required under Part P of the building regulations in England and Wales is that various works in domestic premises are to be registered with the local building control. This can be done through one of the competent person schemes as they have easy access portals to building control, but you can also contact the local building control directly. Registering the required work requires a record of the address, type of work, the installer and certificate serial number.

Anybody can carry out domestic work and they do not have to be registered with anybody or any of the competent person schemes.

Some believe Part P is a qualification or accreditation. You might hear a tag line from an electrician saying; “I am Part P registered” or “I have taken my Part P”. Part P is a document – Approved Document P: electrical safety dwellings and explains what type of work is required to be notified in dwellings (domestic properties). Document P states: “The persons responsible for compliance with Part P are the people responsible for building work (for example, the agent, designer, builder or installer). The building owner may also be responsible for ensuring that work complies to the relevant building regulations”.

There are some very good electricians operating without any registration or accreditation but without any third-party checks, the client or home owner ordering the work is risking hiring somebody who is not a competent person. It certainly doesn’t mean the individual or company isn’t competent. Hiring someone via a competent scheme or an electrician who has an ECS card also does not guarantee competence. Confusing hey?

The EAWR regulations which covers any electrical work other than DIY work in your own home, places a duty on the person ordering the work with the exception of a consumer.

If you are an electrician or owner of an electrical contracting company, you may be thinking “why would I become registered with any scheme or organisation if I don’t need to? Or which electrical scheme shall I register with, what’s the benefit?”

The incentive for registering with a scheme or gaining accreditation is usually because the client may have their own requirements whom they contract to carry out electrical works.

For example, many letting agents and clients would often require contractors to have NICEIC accreditation. Companies carrying out large construction works often require operatives, whether as PAYE, contract or self-employed, to hold ECS cards.

Some schemes also provide benefits to their members or accredited contractors such as technical assistance, some provide legal advice, some provide employment assistance.

To conclude, legally, you do not need to be registered as an electrician to carry out electrical works in the UK. There is no single register of ‘electricians’.

If you are an electrician and want to know if you need to be registered, the answer remains the same; no. Individuals do not need to be registered and companies do not need to be registered. Although, depending on what type of work you carry out, what sector and industry you work in and client requirement, you should consider registering to the relevant body or scheme otherwise you may not meet their requirement and therefore restrict yourself to whom you can work for. Each scheme or membership has its benefits for the individuals or company, and it is simply optional. I like to describe it as ‘a commercial decision’ to choose to whom you become accredited by or join membership with.

Written by Dan Jackson AKA Dans the Engineer in Delhi, India.

Why I Am No Longer Proud To Be British – BREXIT

Brexit. What a joke. Yet everyone has something to say about it!

I am British. I was born in Britain – England to be exact. I have always been proud to be English. Being English has always been important to me but I always like when Britain pulls together so I would say to many I am British and that I also used to be proud of being British.

I am currently travelling the world with my family. I left the UK in the summer of 2018 with a one-way ticket. To date I have been to Iceland, British Columbia, Alaska, California, Nevada, Arizona, Mexico, Barbados, Florida, Australia and I am currently in India!

I have already mentioned being from England, Britain and the UK. Either way, they typically all mean the same thing to me.

On my travels, I speak to many people and often Brexit comes into conversation. Not so much in Mexico or India but certainly in the other places I have visited. I have spoken to people who simply follow the media, but mainly Brits who have moved abroad or non-Brits who have once lived in the UK. The ‘outside’ perspective of someone who has experience living in the country is very interesting. These people have been Dutch, German, Australian, American, Canadian, Spanish, Swiss, and many more.

They obviously ask my opinion Brexit. I am very upfront from the outset and advise them that once I left the UK, I stopped following UK mainstream media so am not fully up to date with Brexit. The reason I stopped following mainstream media is because it isn’t always factual, it is biased in some form and it is mostly negative. The news isn’t always relevant to me. News articles are created from ‘stories’ that would be popular. The more people would find something interesting whether negative or not is more preferable to publish simply due to popularity. The more people read or watch the media, the larger the advertising potential it has. Media also massively influences people’s thoughts processes so it wouldn’t surprise me if everything was written in a way that was paid for to sway the mindset of the reader. This crooked world is run by greed. Money talks unfortunately and runs the majority of decisions on governmental scales to smaller individual scales.

Anyway…. What do I think of Brexit??

I voted for Britain to remain in the EU.

When I heard the outcome of the United Kingdom EU referendum held on 23rd June 2016 which was that 51.9% voted leave, that was when I decided I wanted out of the country I once loved.

Let me explain.

To date, bearing in mind it has been almost 3 years since the outcome of the British EU referendum, I haven’t heard a single justified reason that has evidence to why the UK should leave the EU. Not a SINGLE reason!!

What I have heard is stories and predictions.

Now, many of you who know me and follow me on social media will know that I do not base all my thoughts and feelings based on facts, but actually I base a lot of it on gut instinct and following my heart. Obviously, logic plays a huge part and that is what I often use in business, because I have to!

I started an electrical and fire alarm contracting business in 2010 near the start of the recession. I was based near London and London was still booming despite construction and the building services industry struggling in the rest of the country. However, the recession really messed up my trade and industry during that period.

Many clients used it as a way to reduce the market value of the services from an electrician simply because many were out of work. When that happens, people become desperate and reduce prices and some even worked for cost or for a loss!!!!

Prior to 2010 starting my business, I worked for a well-established company working all over the country and I earned fantastic money. I was young at the time – in my early twenties and had no children. Life was great. I wouldn’t think twice about splashing a thousand pounds on something. I was made redundant because the company I worked for were into their bank overdraft (or so I was told) and it was taken away by the bank leaving the company with immediate cash flow issues which couldn’t be resolved. Everyone was made redundant overnight.

It led to my opportunity to start my own company and boy it has been one huge learning curve. Learning to be a businessman is very different to being an electrician.

I was a shareholder of my company until 2018 when I sold my shares to travel so I was at the helm of the company for 8 years. The business steadily grew over time to turning over shy of £1.5M before I exited.

At first, things were tough. Partly because it was a start up business but also because we were in a recession. However, 2015 was a turning point. Organisations, companies and individuals had money to spend. The sales of homes were crazy. In parts of the South East, you could put your home on the market, have an open day the following Saturday, have a dozen people round who saw the property for 15 minutes and entered a bidding war to buy it! It was nuts. All good for my industry because there was money and value on spending for installations and maintenance.

Up until 2015, wages in the industry typically hadn’t risen at all. From a point of view as a business owner, I couldn’t charge any more than what we did because the market didn’t allow it. It was still recovering from the recession and how the market rate was massively reduced. Clients were still really keeping costs down and held lots of power. Again, money talks and the UK safety culture tends to understand it has legal duties but neglects responsibilities by passing the buck. Something that shouldn’t be done *cough* Grenfell.

2015 was different. There were tons of work out there. It was amazing. Without being completely ridiculously priced, I could name my price and it would be accepted providing I could deliver the timescales. Fortunately, I had a great team and working short notice wasn’t a problem. Clients would struggle finding an electrician who was available, so I ensured I was available and charged accordingly. Wages were on the increase and so were the market value rates. All good!

When the EU referendum outcome was announced, that all stopped. Home sales decreased. The amount of work declined a little but clients continued pressure with lowering costs again. The prospect of higher wages became all but a dream supplemented by higher overheads to run a business. I noticed cost of living was generally rising in all aspects of expenditure. Nothing went down, it all went up!!!

Up until the referendum, I saw the UK economy from my point of view rise from the recession and was onto a good thing. Once the outcome was announced, it hasn’t moved forward one little bit!!!!!

I spoke to many business owners in a similar position to me, peers and friends about Brexit and I didn’t hear a good enough argument to leave.

“It’ll save the NHS millions” ….. Oh really?? Tell me how…. With evidence.

“We can farm our own foods” ….. Sure we can. UK oranges sound lovely.

“We need to get Great Britain back!” ….. Hmmm. Okay.

“We need to stop immigration” ….. Why? This country has repeatedly been invaded time and time again and immigration is our history! Many have said this who work in construction because they claim foreign workers come over to our country and take our construction jobs. Firstly, the need to build new properties and to maintain existing is relative to the population growth. If it suddenly stopped, it would lead to a huge hole in the need to build new homes and commercial premises. Construction would suffer!!!!!!!!!

Now when people say that foreigners come over to the UK and steal British jobs, I can’t help but roll my eyes. NEVER have I ever thought to myself, someone has stolen my job because they are foreign. I would think that because they offer more than I can to an employer. This is bold and I mean it….. Many Brits are bone idol and LAZY! Yes, you heard that. I come from a council estate in Surrey. It is working class for sure and although there are many very hard-working people there, equally there are completely lazy people who think the government owe them a living. They have capabilities to work but the UK system allows people to be lazy. The majority of people from my home town are white English.

We are brought up in schools thinking Britain is great! Great Britain!!!!! We are led to believe our ancestors sailed around the world making our mark in America, Australia, Asia and Africa and it creates some sort of self-importance. Let me tell you, I have lived in Barbados recently – a country that was cut down, destroyed and created to farm sugar and tabaco worked on by slaves!!!! The history is frightening. There should be no ‘pride’ in that. The brits done this in many new lands across the world killing people as they pleased. It seems acceptable because we forced our social norms and culture across the world dismissing that any others could live any different. Again, all for greed. For precious metals, for land to farm on, oil, and slavery. Money is a man-made product yet, proves to be the most valuable.

Spending time time at the Taj Mahal, India – on my travels

I voted remain because the economy was on the rise in my opinion, business was flowing in the right direction and although there were huge problems in the UK at the time, I didn’t see that leaving the EU would solve issues. In my opinion it would create more.

The aftermath in the UK was weird. It felt like it was divided by the narrow minded who were using racism as a driver for a decision, people who saw value in the EU at the time and people who really didn’t give an F or didn’t have a clue.

Now I don’t think Britain should remain in the EU forever, but at the time and at this time, I think it would be beneficial to stay. There are many countries who are not in the EU who operate very well but you can’t easily compare them. I spoke to some Brits who originally voted not to enter the EU back before I was even a dirty thought on a Friday night and they express how they voted leave simply because Britain hasn’t been the same since and shouldn’t have entered. Comparing back then to now is completely and utter madness. Post war was a very different time. Society was different and so was technology. You can’t compare 25 years or 50 years to now!!!

Speaking to foreigners who were in Britain at the time all have said the same things to me. They didn’t feel welcome in the UK. To work in another country requires bravery in some respects because you have to slot into their system. You wouldn’t do it if you didn’t feel they offered you something different to your own country, but diversity is a good thing. If everybody had the same views, came from the same background and did the same thing, you can prevent development because you can’t progress if you use the same practises time and time again without change. Britain needs a change for sure, but I don’t think leaving the EU is the change it really needs.

I found that many people around me based their views on racial influence and hearsay on how better off the UK will be to leave the EU. When someone does this, I switch off. I’m bored of it. Someone please tell me something factual! I am open minded and always willing to learn something. I’m even open to changing my mind.

We cannot trust politicians because it is their job to polish a turd. There is always an alternative motive – usually financial for somebody. Like the media, popularity is important because popularity makes money. Influencing how we live our lives has huge benefit to business and where those with money invest their money. We are simply sitting tax ducks waiting to declare our tax returns to HMRC. The rulers are laughing. We pay for everything!

If I could completely live out of the system, I would!!! But it isn’t easy, isn’t cheap and provides little security. So, I have to suck it up and do what I feel is sensible from time to time. Anything in life has a compromise. I just feel we shouldn’t do everything for this man-made story called money.

As for my future, I have been out the country for 9 months now. I don’t miss it a bit and I love travel. I enjoy learning about British history and society because it fascinates me. Fortunately, I happened to be born in a country where I have white and male privilege. It sucks for those who don’t because believe me, if you travel India and see the poverty first hand, it might make you stop and think about how hard you feel your life has been. I feel countries with privilege should use the ‘power’ influence positive change throughout the world. For now though, I feel the average Brit is sucked into capitalism and materialism because we know no different and lives could be improved at home in many ways. My decision to leave was because I saw a decline in lifestyle, individual money and prospect. I’ll be back at some point because the system forces me too! Plus I better see my family at some point!!!!

Let’s see what happens in Brexit next.

Written by Dan Jackson AKA Dans the Engineer in Rishikesh, India

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