About the Jolley'sA brief history of Paul Jolley and the Jolley Family
My name is Paul Jolley and I grew up in a small town in the 1970’s in central England. I had a normal happy childhood and had a great upbringing from a loving and supporting family. My first job was working with my father in our hometown, but after 3 years I knew there was much more out there in the big bad world. I then quit my job and moved to Birmingham.
The big bad world did not turn out as I expected it to! The only difference from my hometown was that I was now in a bigger city working in a bigger company! I had twice the responsibilities of my old job and also much more stress than I previously had. I spent 3 years at the same position in Birmingham, but then on a wet damp autumn day sometime around the year 1993, I thought, ‘’there must be something more out there for me ‘’? With that, I applied for a job working with Carnival Cruise Ships working onboard, Carnival at that time mainly sailed out of the port of Miami, Florida.
Working on the cruise ships was a great period in my life. On the ship’s there was always so many interesting things to do and see, and with so many interesting people from all walks of life working there, it was never a dull place to be! That being said, after five and a half years on the ships, I needed something else. Again in my life, I wasn’t sure what I wanted, but I knew I couldn’t find it on cruise ships. I quit the job and went back to my hometown to spend time with my parents.
After a year of living back in England, I realised that England wasn’t the place for me anymore too. I knew whatever I was looking for was out there somewhere, but not in England. Desperate to move again, I contacted an employment agency who gave me 3 options. Either I could go to Suriname, Moscow, or The Gambia in West Africa. I randomly choose The Gambia! A couple of weeks later I was on a flight to West Africa.
Being a lover of gadgets and technology, Africa posed a few challenges. Most days I found myself relying on just 4 hours of electricity a day with no internet or hot running water. I also had to put up with mosquitos, some the size of a small bird, trying to attack me on a daily basis. Before I left England I remembered thinking, ‘’Africa, now this is going to be exotic’’! I looked up exotic in the dictionary, this was not it!
I called the employment agency and told them about my living conditions, the food and my working conditions. They basically responded by saying ‘’get on with it and stop complaining’’. I thought this isn’t the life for me and I should return back to England. My return flight to England was not due to leave until the next week, so I decided to see out another week, how hard could it be. The next night at work I met May. I somehow mustered up the courage to talk to her and told her I had a day off the following day and would she have time to show me around the town? Surprisingly, she agreed and we went on a luxury boat trip down the river to James Island.
Exactly to the day, a year later, we were back in England and getting married. We stayed in England for 5 long years and during that time I worked very hard! I had 1 full-time job, but I also ran 2 businesses at the same time. In those 5 years in England, I bought and sold 4 different properties, and started, and then sold on 3 different businesses. For many reasons, too many to list here, I decided to pack things up and head to China.
In the 5 years I stayed in England I had been back and forth to China regularly so ‘’culturally’’ I wasn’t shocked by the place at all! In fact, it was quite the opposite for me. I loved China. I loved its fast paced environment, its ever growing infrastructure, and its simple and friendly people. After living for a short period in Guangzhou, Zhuhai, and then Hong Kong, I decided these cities were just too fast paced for me. I then chose the most beautiful city, right in the middle of all these crazy cities to make my home!
I bought a house and made many great friends with a beautiful community and surrounding. Some time later, I had a son called Jake, and again everything went from being easy and relaxed, to super busy and chaotic.
I started a software company some year’s later and over the years I transformed the company to deliver many different IT services to the clients. The core business being E-Commerce Platforms, Warehouse Management Systems and Custom Web Designs.
I co-founded a successful supermarket chain business specializing in selling imported goods to Chinese people.
If you’re to ask any of my friends or family, what kind of person is Paul? The first thing most of them will say is ‘he’s always got a huge smile and a booming laugh’.
I have a super power, I can see the best in people and things, and I just hope they see the best in me!