Drop The Baggage Butterfly!

This new job is going well, Much better than I expected.

All is well, the people, the money, the challenge which is a step but from my previous roles but I’m embracing it and putting the effort in and overcoming.

All is week apart from the travel east every day to Edinburgh which is a pain in the derrière.

Time is money and it’s still worth it, not just for the cash but for the new skills which are more transferable going towards my next role.

That’s how it works.

You can’t go from junior doctor to principal consultant overnight. It’s taking the right steps to take you in the direction you want.

In my case it has been from apprentice engineer in shipbuilding, engineer, draughtsman, cad draughtsman, cad developer, database developer, DBA, database designer, solution designer, solution architect.

In most of those changes, I was at the same company.

For example an engineer in the yards to being a draughtsman was a different skill set is a significant jump.

Similarly at different company, I changed from cad developer to database developer.

Do you know what happens when that occurs?

Continue reading “Drop The Baggage Butterfly!”

Did he jump .. Or was he pushed?

The year has barely started and I’m out of one job and starting another already.

But did he jump or was he pushed?

Did he quit or resign?

A bit of both really. But when push cane to shove I got in first!

Well I was already on the look and had today’s fresh start lined up. A 6 month contract as a Solution Architect at a major financial institution in Edinburgh at a day rate that’s hard to refuse.

Yes I can be bought! 😀

Truth be told though, that last job was a nightmare.

I was bored rigid. Yet somehow squeezed between a rock and a hard place based at a demanding customer site with lack of support from the consultancy down south.

No moans, no slagging off, that’s below me and the job served a purpose of knowing what I don’t want to do but enjoying the easy commute of being back in Glasgow for 6 months.

My probation period is up this Friday coming. My manager made a point of coming up to see me last week.

I knew what was coming. So I got in first.

Now I’m on “garden leave” and they’re paying me for the month.

Whoop-De-Doo!

Shame they don’t know I already had this contract lined up.

Now I find myself heading east towards Edinburgh and looking back in time to the many occasions that I’ve worked there and did this commute before.

The train is much less stressful than the car. A breeze by comparison and gives one time to relax, a bit of browsing, reading or writing.

Looking forward to today, a little bit anxious like any new start, but I’ve did this many times before.

I’m tempted to say .. wish me luck .. but in this life you make your own.

Happy New Year!

Work Stories – A Beggars Dilemma?

 

Do you hate working for a living?

I don’t,   I’m not over keen on forcing myself to get up and out every day,  dragging my sorry ass into an office to do something that even if it is creative and pays well, isn’t what I’d really be doing

i.e. lying on a beach

I’m back in Glasgow after 2.5 years out at a Global Communications company in Livingston,   it’s good to be close to home,  an easy commute and back home for 5:30pm allows you to have a bit of a life .. or put your feet up in front of tv if you so desire.

But I’m bored,   there isn’t enough of a challenge and now after 4 months it all feels quite repetitive .. and the pay isn’t what I’m used to.

Still,  beggars and choosers eh?    Sometimes the lucrative contract work just isn’t around in these testing times and you just need to take what you can get and be thankful that some corporate provider helps keep the wolf away from the door.

But last week,  I did an interview with a major pensions and investments  company in Edinburgh,   a second interview on Tuesday on the phone and today I got the job.

It’s a positive doozy .. or in Glaswegian .. a Belter!!

A better day rate than I’ve ever had,  even before the economy crashes of 2001 and 2008 and we started bringing in workforce from all over the globe which provided the supply to fill demand and kill wages.

Happy daze .. I made a fortune back then .. enough to pay off the mortgage,   a wife and later a partner .. but lets not go there.

A fool and his .. yep you betcha!

But here’s the rub,   is it all about the money?

Is it ever all about the money?  or is it always about the money?

What about the quality of life?   Getting home at a decent hour and being able to .. what?   I don’t really do much in the evening anyway.

But the reality is,  working in Edinburgh will get me home at 7pm.     Do I really want to go back to that?    Not really.

Is there a balance?

I don’t think so and I’m not going to start asking about working from home before I’ve even started .. as a contractor that might be a bad sign.

I’ve told them I’ll confirm on Monday.

But next year I have a daughters wedding to pay for and you know how this is going to end.

 

Wolf – Last Christmas?

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Of course I miss you, it would be stupid to think that I didn’t.

A couple of years together thrown away a puff of anger, hurt feelings and faux outrage.

Faux?

Because we are both proud people and although we were both in the wrong, our pride doesn’t allow us to apologise and climb down from our moral high ground very easily.

I know that I upset you, you know that you upset me, but is worth throwing away a bright future for the sake of some relatively petty issues?

Probably not.

So why are we allowing this to continue to fester and the distance between us to grow?

I’ve already said sorry. I don’t think I can do anything more.

How many apologies does it take? Continue reading “Wolf – Last Christmas?”

Alone With #ThePretenders?

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Chrissie Hynde surveyed the room before her,  a sell-out of 3000 souls all seated expectantly in the Glasgow Royal Concert hall.

“It’s not the Barralands,  is it?”   She quipped before bursting into her first song Alone,  the title track from her new album.

My brother Duncan and I smiled at each other and with a quick look at the mostly grey heads in front and all around us,  we had to agree. Continue reading “Alone With #ThePretenders?”

Supply, Demand, Fear And Loathing in the UK Software Industry

Fear And Loathing

John and I have worked together a few times over the years.

The first time was back in 1998 during the halcyon days of deregulation when the government was throwing money at the utility companies in an attempt to open the energy and telecom markets and make buying electricity, gas or telephone services more competitive.

That was the party-line anyway but the real reason was in making money for the people who already had the money to invest, i.e. the Tory Party demographic and the banks, pension companies and institutes which could make huge profits buying the UK infrastructure at bottom-dollar prices and their share prices doubling over night.

As individuals working in software development, there was lots of money to be made on that gravy train and even although John and I were comparative bottom-feeders, we still made a relative fortune on obscene hourly rates, but that’s supply and demand for you.

Deadlines were tight, the date at which the market was set to open was fixed in stone and our employer Scottish Power was desperate to be one of the first PES’s with its foot in the door and it’s grubby little hands in your wallet.

Of course the reason that deadlines were tight was because the early days of analysis and design had been undertaken by some of the major consultancies of the time, IBM,. Logica, Cap Gemini and they were too busy lining their own pockets with the freely available money directed from the public purse to actually give a t0ss about getting the job done.

They talked a good game, as they always do, the project managers and analysts were the kind of guys who were good at drawing boxes to represent systems or data sources and then drawing the lines between them to represent processes and data flows.

You know the type, all talk, all confidence and delivered nothing.

I hear on the grape-vine that these guys are still out there now, 20 years later working in banking and the privatisation of Scottish Water, the latest gravy train to come along offering free money to those who talk a good game.

It’s not really strange to find that these guys all know each other, a cabal of frauds masquerading as leaders when all they are good at is leading any unsuspecting PLC up the proverbial garden path.

Of course by that time, budgets have been agreed and half spent, lots of documents have been produced with diagrams of boxes and lines but not a lot of actual detail and no infrastructure or software architecture which will implement the new business requirements.

That’s when they call us bottom-feeders in, the mercenaries who drift from contract to contract getting the work done on a decent daily rate extending the contract as long as we can to keep the dosh rolling in as long as possible or until someone else makes us a better offer.

1998 and Scottish Power went live with half-@rsed systems that didn’t work, that had been badly designed and sparsely data-populated.

Let me elaborate, some @rsehole who will remain nameless had been so focused on the data flows to communicate customer comings and goings with other market participants that he had completely missed any changes to the customer service screen to deal with the new data flows and the changes.

Another @rsehole in charge of data population decided that half the customers weren’t in scope for initial population. So on day-1 when these customers decided to get their electricity elsewhere, their data content fell down the cracks between the systems never to be seen again.

Yeah, of course it caused a stushie, there were customer complaints, OFGEN were involved, but the consultancies didn’t care, the @rseholes didn’t care and the bottom-feeders like John and I aren’t weren’t paid enough to care.

If the truth be told, what John and I did, with most of the development team was party hard on the money we earned on the gravy train that seemed that it was never going to end.

Every time our contract was renewed there was another £200 per week thrown on the deal, a sweetener to keep us motived and interested, sticking with the project to get it over the finish line even although we knew that it was fecked. We were paid to fix the bad software, write the missing parts and cleanse the data, all of which should have been complete before the system went live.

Here’s a unobvious truth, a software developer will earn more money from a bad project than a good one and I can assure that we made a fortune.

There were quite a few marriages ended in that period. But that’s another story for another day.

That was then, this is now.

But back to John, he’s a good guy for a hun. ( Rangers Supporter )

Continue reading “Supply, Demand, Fear And Loathing in the UK Software Industry”

Stepping Stones – Education, Investment, Careers, Family.

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18 Months ago  I wrote the following about my son and his journey through education,  getting a 2:1 degree in Cell Biology from Glasgow University and his frustration at being unable to get a job and I could see that it was getting him down that all his efforts hadn’t produced a result but some of his friends who had chosen other paths were starting to make a decent living as police officers,  joiners, etc.

As his dad,  I was worried about him,  particularly as the 18-25 year age group is the highest suicide rate for males.   Possibly because at that point in their life they realise that it hasn’t quite turned out the way they expected or that it looks on tv.

So I funded him through his Masters degree at Strathclyde Business school and we were both delighted at the volume of jobs that were waiting for him as a result.

https://dancingbhoy.wordpress.com/2015/03/09/train-stories-the-journey-continues/

When he was given a few offers,   we talked them over and decided on a job in Edinburgh with less money than one in Glasgow but with better long term prospects.

Frankly the job at Barclays Bank in Glasgow might have paid a few grand more but it was a dead end,  mopping up and investigating claims but not using the business analysis skills that he learned in his masters.

So he started at a software company in Edinburgh on a lower salary of 20k and has been involved in the design,  analysis and testing of their products.  Becoming a project lead for some of their key products.

Ironically he has picked up some more technical skills like database design and SQL as part of his role.   I say ironic, as that kind of technology and IT bored him when he was younger and he wasn’t interested in learning them .. but now he sees their value,  not only in the work-place,  but also as a means to making a decent living.

After a year,  they had bumped him to 25k,   more than he would have had with Barclays.

Unfortunately 2 weeks ago,   RBS closed down their separation and sell-off of their brand Williams And Glyn as a separate business,  causing his company to lose a lot of work and he was given his redundancy notice.

As expected,  he was worried,   he stopped in at mine after work for a chat and a bit of advice and perspective.

I told him that he should view this as a stepping stone,  that he had been making progress,  that he was investing in himself,  learning to talk the talk and walk the walk and that he now had sellable skills and experience.

Did he believe me? Continue reading “Stepping Stones – Education, Investment, Careers, Family.”