If you want to be a union boss, you need a clear vision of the future.
Peter Jones, the candidate for general secretary of the University and College Union, has that in spades.
When he announced he was standing for the post, he said: "I know what it's like to be on a picket line. I know what it's like to lose your pay. I know what it's like to be sacked for being a trade union activist."
All of which seems to have prepared him well for later events, at least in his personal life. He has just been made redundant from his job as a lecturer at Deeside College in north Wales, where he taught employment law for trade unionists.
The college puts it down to lack of demand, but courses about trade unionism continue to be among the most vulnerable to job losses.