A new chapter

People keep on asking if I’m excited to be starting a new job tomorrow. Oddly, I don’t think I am.

I am keen to do well, to make a difference, to learn, and to be recognised for achievements, but it’s not translating into excitement right now. I am starting to find myself very slightly nervous, though, which I think is healthy.

It’s been a good summer. You don’t recognise, when you’re a child, what the gift of six weeks of holiday in the summer actually mean – not until it’s gone. This year, since I had a packed August full of days off, when I found a new job I asked if I might start in September rather than mid July, and I have had two months of glorious freedom, watching my savings shrink throughout.

I didn’t do everything I wanted to this summer. I never took skating lessons or sailed a dinghy across our nearby lake. But I went to the theatre a few times, I took some photographs I’m pleased with and I generally relaxed. I had planned to bone up on javascript and get more familiar with newer technology for the job, but I’ve eventually foregone that in favour of having a stress free time. Likewise I didn’t blog on the topic of work, coding, testing and websites. But that’s ok.

It all ends tomorrow and my primary regret is out of my control – for the last week I’ve been ill with a horrible cough which I’m going to be taking to the office on my first day. I’d normally take time out until fully recovered, but I’m nearly there and failing to turn up on your first day can’t be a good start.

So, I’m packing a work bag (brand new, like a Back to School weekend!), checking out my route, and wondering who I’ll meet and how it will go. One of these days I’ll let you know, too.

Leaving the BBC

I joined the BBC in 2006 after a spell of unemployment. I was nervous initially, wondering whether I’d fit in, or meet the expectations of my new colleagues, and whether my skills were strong enough. I settled in quickly though, and set to work crafting elaborate templates for editorial staff to use to produce flat HTML. After moving from a company that used an Oracle back end and embedded Perl in the web pages (in a similar way to how PHP first started embedding code), I was a bit surprised to be crafting XML as the most dynamic part of the pages we created.

One day (ha!) I’ll write up some of the many things I did in my time at the beeb, but the relevant part here is that after a long time as a dev I wasn’t finding any route forwards, and I was working at a location I hated because of the commute it imposed. Only after we moved back out of Broadcast Centre and back to the centre of London, did I recognise how much of an impact it had been having on my work life balance and mental health.

I switched roles along the way and found a voice as a respected tester who was quickly promoted to be a senior and a lead. I’ve enjoyed being part of the “leadership” of iPlayer Radio on the web, but there are many changes afoot, the most personally impactful being a relocation back to W12. As soon as that was announced I started looking for an alternative, as I’d told myself “never again” and I like to keep my promises. Especially when they’re to me!

Although I looked at both dev and test positions, it was a development role where I found success and I’m heading to GDS in the autumn. I always said that people who finish one job on Friday and start a new one on Monday are doing it wrong. I had some holidays booked for August, and my notice period expires in July, so I’m taking a summer to have fun before knuckling down – although I do want to spend a bit of time brushing up my out of date javascript.

I wrote a big handover document before I left the BBC, and I am planning to turn some of that into blog posts in the near future, so hopefully that will be of interest. Meanwhile, though, I’m doing super fun things like discovering a wasp nest in the garden and getting stung.

Maybe I’m doing it wrong…

Smart Things!

I signed up to trial some “smart things” from Samsung recently. I had no idea whether I’d be accepted but I was very interested in the chance to try out some geeky tech things for free. All I had to do was justify why I wanted to be involved and hey presto, a package would be sent to my designated pick-up point. So when they asked why I should get to try their shiny toys out I responded to say that this was me picking them as much as the other way around – and asked if getting my hands on their kit would be enough to convince me that I need to introduce the internet of things to my life. I see innovations like washing machines that can be switched on from afar, and heating that can be controlled by wifi and so far I’m not seeing the value. This is for a couple of reasons in the case of these particular examples. First off, if I can get my washing machine to go and pick up all the clothes for me and ingest them, at that point it’s worth switching it on from afar. Otherwise why would I not just set it on a timer delay rather than marvelling over making it go from afar? And as for the wifi heating, we spent a day with friends the other side of London this weekend just gone. I’m glad it was warm weather because they couldn’t turn on their heating. Why? Because they were in the midst of a struggle to change internet provider and left without any broadband. Their smart thermostat was therefore rendered useless.

So, I’m waiting to be convinced. Sometimes I’m an early adopter, but this time I’m a little late to the party. My package has been picked up but we’re off away from home for the weekend so it will not be used until next week, and I can’t even recall what I’m expecting in the pack.

Tune in later to find out with me!

Here’s their own blog regarding the trial: https://www.theinsiders.eu/campaigns/blog/14/9093/blog.htm