At one of our regular dinners, a friend of mine was recalling when he started working for his current company.

It was something like 20+ years ago.

He just turned 50 now. At the time, he was an enthusiastic young man starting his career.

He told us about this man named Mick, who was working alongside him in the office.

He was much older than him and not too far from retiring.

He remembers saying to himself: “I don’t want to be like Nick” or “I don’t want to end up like Mick”.

“What’s wrong with Mick?”, I asked.

“There was nothing wrong with him”, my friend replied. “I just couldn’t see myself becoming him”.

Mick was old, my friend young at the time.

Mick had spent his all career in the same company, probably in the same role.

He was not very sociable and would not go out much with the younger folks that, through the years, had joined the company.

Mick was alone. He had no wife or partner.

My friend didn’t want to be like Mick and last thing you know, he is still there twenty plus years later.

In 1991, Italian songwriter Gino Paoli released a song called “Quattro amici” (“Four friends”).

The song was about a group of friends regularly meeting at the same café for nearly 30 years.

They are so excited and full of enthusiasm. They want to change the world:

Eravamo quattro amici al bar
Che volevano cambiare il mondo
Destinati a qualche cosa in più
Che a una donna ed un impiego in banca
Si parlava, con profondità
Di anarchia e di libertà
Tra un bicchier di coca ed un caffè
Tiravi fuori i tuoi “perché”
E proponevi i tuoi “farò”

The group starts with four friends. Year after year, one at the time, somebody drops off until there is only one friend left:

Uno si è impiegato in una banca […] Uno è andato con la donna al mare […] Gli altri sono tutti quanti a casa.

At some point, four young men come to the café for the first time. Like his group of friends, they start chatting about changing the world.

I remember when I was in secondary school. At the time I wanted to become a computer programmer and create videogames.

Then I realised that mathematics was not my forte and decided that I wanted to be a writer.

I was reading Hesse, Baudelaire, Rimbaud, Foscolo, Goethe.

I wanted to sleep under the stars. I wanted to be free.

At the end of secondary school, I didn’t know what I wanted to do in college so I chose Political Science.

It was the course I liked most of the subjects from.

I then set out to become a politician and change the world.

I soon found out that I was neither very political nor had much interest in politics.

Eventually, I pivoted to digital marketing and left Italy for Ireland.

I have worked in digital, first as an employee and then as a business owner, since 2006.

More recently, I made another pivot to real estate, overseeing a project to renovate some apartments in Italy.

I might not change the world, but I am not going to be like Mick.

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