00:00:04 My name is Chris H. I’m a fitness advisor in the sports department at John Lewis, Oxford Street. I will help people who want to buy a piece of fitness kit, and I’ll talk to them about what their fitness goals are and then link them to the product. I’ve always been a fitness, my passion is for fitness and anything to do with fitness, and I’ve been a personal trainer and gym instructor for the past twelve/thirteen years, so I thought, well, the sports department is a good place to work in, and advising people is something I’ve always done, so I had an idea that I’d like to create a kind of service for fitness that I could use my skills and still do the job as a sales assistant at the same time, and thankfully the business has backed me on that.
00:00:47 When I was at school, it was very hard to think ahead what you really wanted to do. I actually had thought I wanted to be doing electronics or an electrician for a long time. I stayed on an extra year to get the qualifications I needed but by then they were phasing out these things called apprenticeships, and that wasn’t the route I had to take. I then stumbled into just doing a job rather than the career, and I thought ‘I’ll do it for three months and end up in the same business thirty years on’.
00:01:15 When I first joined John Lewis, I joined as a… what they called a flying squad in those days. It’s really a fill in. You go where the help was needed, so I was loading lorries, I was delivering things to customers; I was stacking shelves in the stockroom. Then that job developed more and I became what’s called a section manager, which you looked after a warehousing section and you had a small team under you. That I quite liked, and from there on the job started to change and I was doing different jobs at that role.
00:01:52 After about twenty-five years in the business, I decided to have a break, and I gave myself a few goals I wanted to do. John Lewis paid me for six months to not work for them. I could go off and do whatever I wanted to do and I would still get paid each month, and I spent some of that time in Barbados for about six weeks to catch up on my background. This is the first time I’d had an opportunity to go back and re-look up my birth place, see the road I was born in, the family I hadn’t seen as well, and the other part was to try out personal training as a business. I’ve always wanted to think ‘I can make some decent money doing this,’ and again it’s the passion that I had. And for three months I tried that and it seemed to work quite well.
00:02:35 With the family making an influence on careers, I think it has a big say. For me, I found that having children made a big, real difference. I thought ‘Actually, I’m not just working for myself anymore now. I need to be successful at what I do so that I can provide for my family.’
00:02:54 In my life outside of work, I have quite a few hobbies. There’s been the kick boxing, kung fu, self defence. I’m a personal trainer as well. That has some recreation because I like to train as well, so I train with some clients, and I meet people from all walks of life, which is something I really enjoy, and that’s something that will always be a part of what I do and a passion for what I always do.
00:03:13 In five year’s time, where I would like to be would be sipping a rum punch on a beach in Barbados, having to perhaps check on someone else in the business that I own, who would be heading up an elite sporting fitness company. That’s a big dream that I’d like to have. Realistically, I can see myself creating a fitness advisory set up in every branch around the country and being the person who manages that.
00:03:47 I don’t regret the fact I didn’t go to university or actually take on further education, but my daughter now going to university next year has made me feel quite proud that I’ve been able to help steer her into that direction and hopefully one day she will get a decent job that she can look after me.