Come with me on the journey - there are many stories to be told as I head on To Importanter Stuff.
Sunrise in Canada (2022)
A Leap Of Faith
I have been lucky1 in my 40-year career as “the IT guy”, from accidentally becoming a Computer Operator to eventually ending up as the Head of Information Systems. There have been opportunities, many of which I have taken, and (thankfully) very few disappointments. I've worked in several countries, with various systems and processes, and so many talented and decent people - you can all take a bow now.
All through this time I have always been involved in activities that are now called volunteering (or giving back), but to me, these were as important as much of the work that I was getting paid to do. In more recent years I have been getting greater personal satisfaction from these activities as I experience the rewards and joys of simply giving.
And now, I'm at a crossroads. Too young (stop laughing there at the back!) to pack everything in, and not too old (I still hear you laughing) to have the energy to give even more. As I look ahead, and to the left and right, I've decided that it's time to take another road.
My past (and my immediate present) is full of multi-national and corporate entities (important stuff), a place that has allowed me to enjoy a life of Plenty. And it was, in the main, good. But I now believe that there is a time for Enough, where I get to share some of my experiences of Plenty with many who will never experience Enough.
My future (this is quite a leap of faith) will be in a place of social care and humanitarian aid (importanter stuff). My new road is sketched with light lines where I hope to find the right opportunity to make big differences in a small way.
And before you say it out loud - no, this is not my mid-life crisis moment (I had that years ago!). This is me reaching a point where the importanter stuff will take precedence over the important stuff.
Here's to a life of Enough!
1 Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity - Seneca.
40 Years The IT Guy
"Go for it," Shirley said, "you're bound to get it!". I applied, not realising that she also wanted the Computer Operator position in Molex, Shannon. It was May 1983; I was 17 and on a work experience programme with ANCO.
Jobs were scarce then, most of the people I studied the leaving cert with were headed for foreign shores, and most eventually returned with stories and fortunes (or so I heard!).
With the encouragement of my manager Stevie Walsh, I applied for, and became, "the IT guy" on this day, my 18th birthday - 40 years ago.
Overnight I became a millionaire. My salary was x3 what I was earning on the ANCO course - £4,950/annum. Truly, in the money.
And after 40 years, I'm on the wind down from the fantastic journey that has been. The future is more coloured, with fewer 1's and 0's (although I'm glad to say I've been more the human face than the screen face of IT over the years).
Come with me on the journey - there are many stories to be told as I head on my Importanter Journey.
Here's to the next 40 (or so)
Feel Free To Donate
Our Ask Of You
Asking does not come easily to either of us, we don’t ask often. But it seems less difficult when our asking is really about our giving.
As Joanne & I begin our Importanter Stuff journey that will take us to many in need in the coming months (and year), we ask that you become part of our Giving (where those of us with relative Plenty can give to those that rarely have Enough).
Phase 1 of our journey will be with our friends (they now feel like family) in Belarus. We will work with Brother Liam and the Burren Chernobyl Project as we visit several homes for the young and old living in state-run orphanages and asylums in Belarus. Of course, we will visit all (y)our favourites in Gorodishche, but this time we will spend an extended period in Belarus and get to meet many new faces (and bring your love and support to them).
Phase 2 will see us working with Gerry Clancy (a family friend for many years) and Refugee Support Europe. We plan to work with people that are fleeing difficult situations in the homelands and looking to make a new life for themselves (and their families) in Europe. Presently there are centres in Moldova and Cyprus, each catering to different situations and groups from Ukraine and North Africa.
Keep in touch with us by following us on Facebook or LinkedIn, there are stories waiting to be told.
** Note **
We are vetted/approved by the above charities to work with them on their worthy projects. But for us, we also look carefully at the core values and financials of the charities. We work to ensure that ALL the funds raised go directly to the projects and that little (if any) is lost in admin/overheads. The funds that we raise will be brought and spent locally, meeting the needs of those in need and having a positive impact on the local economy.
Within Sight Of The Finish Line
The symbols of my present life (the white shirt and the lanyard) are screaming at me. “Stay”, they say, “it’s safer here”. “And you know it so well”. And in a way, they might be right!
I’m within sight of the finish line, but I’m checking myself constantly to make sure that I finish the race with a sprint. In just two weeks I will be moving from the safety of the life I’ve been so invested in for 40 years and will start on my journey to Importanter Stuff (I must update my spell checker to let it know that my made-up word is now firmly part of my new vocabulary!).
The first phase of our plans, in our world of giving, is now firmly set - the Visas for Belarus are applied for and arriving to us on Tuesday next. Two months of Orphanages, Asylums, Convents, and language challenges await (yes, I did say Convents – you’ll have to check back regularly to see what I’m talking about). Our second phase is “in the bag”, just a case of nailing the dates now. And our third phase is starting to unfold!
Am I excited? – Yes. Am I nervous? – Oh Yes!
The decision to turn my world upside down and inside out was not taken easily (or recently). This has been inevitable for quite some time (but I was in denial, and at a stage of my life where doing this would not have been possible).
We’re raising funds for the two charities that we will work with in the first phases of our new life. Burren Chernobyl Project (based out of Ennistymon in Ireland) and Refugee Support Europe (based out of Brighton in England).
I’m not done just yet, there’s the final weeks of handing over all that’s in my brain to my successor (and before you say it – I know you were thinking it – that will take more than 10 minutes!).
As those of you that know me would expect, I’ve installed some parachutes and safety nets. But my intention is not to use these, and to move further from them in the coming weeks and months. But leaving 40 years of relative comfort behind will not be easy (and I say that whilst still in the “comfort zone”). But as I’ve said, to so many people since my first post here, – I would hate to look back in years to come and regret a decision I took too long to make (or didn’t make).
Stay with me here where my world of #ImportanterThings will unfold (and yes, of course, there will be a book 😉).
Symbols Of My Past
The Last Shirt!
The Final Countdown
It’s the final countdown (I bet you’re singing that now – and the bad news is it won’t leave your head for the next 8 hours . . . you’re welcome!).
The crisp white shirt lies in waiting for the last time, albeit adorned with the motif of my future. Importanter Stuff is about to become a reality.
40 great years behind me as The IT Guy, and many more ahead to make a difference to those that seldom experience enough. I consider myself to be such a lucky man.
To those that have donated to our projects, thank you so much. We will spend the next 12 months honouring your contributions and bringing joy and love to so many. To those that wish to become part of the journey, have a look at what we are planning to do and help us at https://www.idonate.ie/crowdfunder/donosullivan
But, most importantly, join us at www.rineanna.com to watch the journey unfold. There are places to visit, things to be done, songs to be sung, people to be hugged, and . . . life to be lived.
Go raibh míle maith agat
Thank you very much