BRAIN FOOD: Sir Alastair Morton - If I had to start again

BRAIN FOOD: Sir Alastair Morton - If I had to start again - I left university 43 years ago with no intention of using a law degree and went into capital-intensive industry and infrastructure. Apart from five years in the City, I have stayed there ever sin

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

I left university 43 years ago with no intention of using a law degree and went into capital-intensive industry and infrastructure. Apart from five years in the City, I have stayed there ever since, on both sides of the public/private frontier, moving on six times to new challenges in the course of an interesting business life - do you fancy mining in Africa, North Sea oil, and a Channel Tunnel, for instance?

Would I go dot.com now? I certainly do not sit here thinking I wish I could - at my age I am happy to be one of the mechanics renewing the modern world's infrastructure.

What would I advise a young graduate today? I am sure I would quiz him or her about basic business instincts. Is (s)he a broker, a lender, a trader, an investor, a builder, an entrepreneur, a retailer, or a researcher?

Most working unhappiness comes from being in an occupation that does not go with the grain of your personality. If I had to start again, I just hope I would be as lucky as I have been in finding and following my grain in a world that currently - and probably briefly - does not care that our society needs structures and goods to live. Does our young person really believe we can all live on computer print-outs and ephemeral home services?

I think I would advise a young graduate to qualify as a professional to be mobile worldwide - please, not a lawyer! He or she should aim to run and, if possible, part-own companies that grow profits over time by developing the space and environment of our lives.

How fusty! ... Sir Alastair Morton was co-chairman of Eurotunnel 1987-1996.

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