It’s becoming a bit of a tradition.
It started off in 2012 as a way for me to help break the ice at the plethora of Christmas parties and networking events I went along to.
Then last year I took it up a notch and assumed the role of a quasi vox pop commentator to help me gather my material.
Maybe it’s the wannabe ‘talk show’ host in me, but I actually like talking to complete strangers and I think catching people off guard is fun. So I thought I’d do it again.
Of course I also asked a few close friends to help out. But I asked everyone exactly the same question.
“What’s the one thing you wish you had known at the beginning of 2014?”
Of course some people preferred not to say much, while others gave me that awkward look (I’d seen it last year too!). But for the most part people were pretty happy to share their thoughts.
So to all those people who happened to be waiting with me in queues or working at the airports, hotels, theme parks, frozen yoghurt stores, rent-a-car outlets, cinemas, supermarkets, service stations, and even those few lifeguards who were happy to chat … thank you for being such good sports!
Sticking to tradition, I have decided to split people’s responses into the same two categories as I have over the last 2 years.
Careers and the world of work
“I wish I’d known Maggie [not her real name] would make my life hell, quit at the worst possible time, and take me to the cleaners. I should have just sacked her when my gut told me to!”
“I wish I’d known how hard it would be to find a new job. I would have looked harder!”
“So I got through the year without hiring anyone new. Good for the bottom line but I am now ready to curl up and die. I wish I knew how bitter I would be feeling.”
“I wish I known how important it is to set goals. I didn’t set any last year, and I really don’t feel like I’ve accomplished anything.”
“I just wish I’d stuck to the “hire for attitude, train for skill” philosophy. Unfortunately I didn’t.”
“I wish I’d known that one of our biggest clients would just dump us and take their business elsewhere. All that hard work for nothing.”
“I wish I’d known that a week after taking a voluntary redundancy that my wife would also be made redundant. The last few months haven’t exactly been easy.”
“I wish I’d known how much value I would get from a business coach. I should have engaged him long ago!”
“I wish I’d known that I wouldn’t be able to recall ‘that’ email I sent to a client. She wasn’t happy and neither was my boss.”
“As brilliant as The Lego Movie is, I wish I’d known how many people in our office would literally start referring to everything as ‘awesome’ … because it isn’t!”
“I wish I’d known that after being headhunted back in September, and after 7 interviews, that they would still be no closer to making an offer. Talk about indecisive!”
“I wish I’d known how damn hard it would be to find a business partner. I really don’t want to do 2015 all on my own again.”
Family, pop culture, and life outside the office
“I wish I’d known that what school you send your kids to can cause arguments in friendships.”
“I wish I’d known how many idiots would still insist on swimming outside the flags, end up in an extremely precarious situation, and just expect us to come out and get them (often without a word of gratitude!)”
“Who knew that the Bondi Hipster look would go global? I even saw them in Budapest! I wish I’d known that having a beard would be so cool!”
“I wish I had never even let my daughter watch ‘Frozen’ the first time. I think I’ve (I mean we’ve!) now watched it at least 50 times. Sorry … but all I want to do is LET IT GO!”
“Who knew I would succumb to the pressure? It seems I now add kale to everything. I’m still not even sure if I even like it!”
“I wish I’d known that the real estate prices would continue to climb.”
“I really wish Facebook hadn’t done their 10th Anniversary ‘look back’ videos. I remember it made me look like a complete alcoholic!”
“Why is it that there’s an app to help me find my iPhone, and yet ‘they’ still can’t find a missing aeroplane? It just doesn’t make sense.”
“I wish I’d known that compromising my exercise regime would result in joint injuries.”
“I wish that I knew I was going to be burgled at the beginning of 2014 and I would have bought a safe for Christmas in 2013. Bastards!”
“I wish I’d known about those ‘selfie stick’ things before this holiday. Then I wouldn’t need to ask you to take a photo of me and my son! Would you mind?”
“I wish I’d known that as teenagers get older they completely lose the ability to sound a consonant.”
“I wish I’d known how long it would take me to get over the jetlag. I would definitely have asked for more time off!”
Personally I wish I’d actually been more aware of what Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) was before being invited to take part in the Ice Bucket Challenge!; and I also wish I’d known how long it would take me to actually to grow a mo’, and then how irritating it would feel!
Tell us what you wish you had known at the beginning of 2014!