Well where do I start?
OK so why not at the beginning, Well before my legitimate (well you know what I mean, before school leaving age) employment days over 35 years ago now, I would mimic my father who was a self employed Engineer / Motor engineer and I would absorb all that he taught me not just about engineering but all life's other things like how to respect other people and give them the level of respect they deserved. At the age of seven I was desperate to learn to drive and expressed this by getting caught by dad one day moving a 'For Sale' car back and forth in the driveway of his workshop, 'A Triumph Mayflower it was now I remember', so off we went with a big booster cushion to Martlesham runway in the old 1958 Ford Popular and an hour later I was driving (off road) like an expert, well from this point on I had my own old bangers that I would be given by customers and with the skills handed to me from dad, I would work evenings & weekends alongside him through into my mid teens for pocket money, petrol and parts for my passion: Car's
At fifteen I left School to begin work with dad (and despite what they say about father & son working relationships) I think we worked well together, in 1968 dad bought the garage in Otley and this was a huge step for him and a even bigger commitment, at 16 I passed the motorcycle riding test and then again at 17 the car test, all the time working in the garage and learning 'real engineering & repair skills', not this throw it away and add a new part stuff, 'like for instance', rebuilding a petrol lift pump, or overhauling an alternator.
Still with a passion for driving, in 1975 I took and passed my HGV Class 1 test and deserted dad and the business for 8 months (I always felt guilty as this was a very demanding time for the business) while I drove for a Tipper truck haulage firm and the Co-op removals division to gain some experience, I later came back to the garage and we also invited an old school chum Les Osborne to work with us.
In the early 80's Les and I took over the business and added a Light haulage division too. By 1985 I decided to give up the motor trade and take a career break and I went off to train as a Equine riding instructor for a year (this is where I met my Denise ... ok so I ran off with my teacher.. Don't we all wish we could ?).
All this time I was learning not just about teaching or business protocol and management, but learning life skills, and although I'm quite a shy person, the respect that my father taught me to show to others, allowed me to communicate with people on a level that reflected their own. I can honestly say that to this day I have only rarely met anyone that I disliked enough to cause me concern.
So as I rolled into 1986 I mounted the "Gravy Train" and began earning real money as an Contracting HGV 1 long distance driver, this gave me an opportunity to see most of England, Scotland and Wales from the cab of a Scania 142 where again my people skills allowed me a far better treatment and respect than some of my more rude and down right ignorant counterparts, I would get loaded or unloaded and be on my way, where others were kept waiting for hours by some warehouse manager that just needed a simple smile and a thank you to bring him around.
Well it was at this time where I became interested in technical reading and in particular computer science and programming, with time on my hands and an Amstrad portable PC (don't laugh, I still have it in the attic), I began an open learning Computer Science A Level course and with the help and dedication of my tutor Pat Heathcoat, my cousin Ric and the support of Denise, I'd beaver away into the early hours to finally pass my grade. I used my new found Clipper programming skills as my practical coarse work, which I then progressed on with, developing it into a complete Transport Management application, "I was hooked"
I continued driving, and performing network installations at the weekends at a number of Demotrack client's offices, I also continued with software updates and code conversion in my spare evenings, again for Demotrack, usually while parked up in the truck. Not to make too much of it but I've always worked hard to get to where I am and this was no exception.
Eventually the lure of the IT office grasped me by the throat and I said goodbye to the road, I still keep up the HGV licence and do the odd changeover for a local haulage company, why? 'because I can'
1989 through 1995 I began sharing the rewards of my new skill-set as I began the life of an IT Consultant. They say "Life begins at 40" so I can honestly say that for me IT life began at forty. I was offered a programming/stress testing contract for BT in London and worked hard for that 18 months doing what I now do best, cleaning up where someone has started something and walked away with all the information still inside their head and not a sheet of A4 to support it. I'll reverse engineer, research, study, stabilise and document what I find and usually provide a supportable solution that can be handed on to a general support team. I was actually working in London just at the time that Paula Yates (Gelldoff) was divorcing Bob. As her solicitor was in the next door office I'd bump into her and the press regularly, such a waste for someone so young to loose her life like that.
Moving on ....
Around 1997, Ric 'who was now working in the BT Martlesham IT Labs', offered my CV to his boss Richard Clark who conducted an interview with me at the Black Tiles pub one evening over a pint of shandy, and later that week offered me a job at the labs as part of his 'Rapid Delivery Support Group'. This was a dream come true working closer to home no more 05:45's from Ipswich to Liverpool Street, though don't get me wrong I enjoyed every minute of it and met some great people while commuting back and forth.
Well through to the end of the 90's and into the millennium my workstack covered everything from VB, Windows, Unix, Clipper, Perl, SAP, Lotus, Oracle .... you name it I worked with it broadening my skills as I went. Richard was a fantastic mentor and his professional approach to everything in business was to be the mould that I used to shape my own career.
The millennium came and went, aircraft were not falling out of the sky and Microwave ovens did not run riot through our towns and City's as so many had expected, 'though there were some interesting quirks we had to resolve with some of the software we managed!'. Along came the .COM era and BT's contract rates began to stagnate so I moved to a small company 'Smart421', with some really interesting project work I was able to broaden my skills even further but all good things come to an end and so I completed a major scripting sub contract and then moved on.
I took a few months out to grab a bit of formal training and setup my VISP (initially as a hobby) and then later returned to BTexact to support the www.btexact.com website and some other interesting Intranet projects, this was great as again I was doing what I enjoy most and working with new technologies, but 12 months later as the BT restructuring tightened it's belts and began reducing rates I again took time out to refresh and enjoy life.
Ok so by now you can see the pattern emerging here, work, work hard and then notice that I'm being taken for granted so step away, regroup and start again. Well yes! the one thing I do believe in is 'enjoying what you do', I've always been lucky enough to realise when I'm not enjoying my work, be it the constraints put on it or the lack of financial respect from someone who probably knows nothing about my work and the value of what I deliver. And anyway who wants to work 24/7 x 365 > 30 years ? All I ask is a fair days pay for a fair days work and a little respect, 99.999% of the time that's exactly what I get, any other time I just step away 'Life's too short for anything else'.
So after four months out to refresh, and back I am again at BTexact, doing what I enjoy, working in the BTInternet applications team and getting involved in all the trimmings that goes with it, Unix Admin, Security, Scripting, MS desktop connectivity, software releases .... bla ..bla ..bla. Interesting times as BT hook up with Yahoo, then again (another new pattern forming here) BTexact dives into another restructure and along comes all the shenanigans that go with it and so again, it's time for that side-step.
Well the break was short lived as I was scanning the Jobserve website “as you do” and spotted an interesting role described as IN (Inelegant Networks) located in either Ipswich or Antwerp. Well I thought that sounds like something interesting! (well the job in Ipswich will suit me fine anyway) So I called the agent `just as a matter of interest really`, she forwarded a copy of my CV to the client and I got a call 2 hours later with a telephone interview. Another 12 hours passed, I then got a call from the UK director of the client who said “ok so how soon can you be in Antwerp?”. Well I was hardly ready for that news with my passport having expired some 3 years prior, and the paint brush still in my hand dripping varnish from where I had just started some long awaited DIY at home. Anyway a day in Peterbourough to get the passport sorted then off to Martlesham Lab's for 3 days then down to Maidenhead and with 2 further colleagues we were on our way to Belgium. Only to find out that I'm now managing the Alcatel-Lucent side of a project I'd just left in BT! Strange if not small-world. So anyway, throwing myself into this new role expecting it to last the 3 months advertised or maybe extending to 6 here I am (at time of update May 2013) still doing a job I enjoy and still managing to learn something new almost every day Eight years on. However, again nothing lasts forever and the product I'm contracted to is EOL and will be closing down at the end of June 2013 and my contract expires with that product so I will be out there looking again
That brings us up to date (well at the time of writing 05/2013). With many of those domestic jobs still waiting to be crossed off the list, and a recharge the body and mind still pending
You can download or view my full CV from the links on the home page
To be continued .....
Always Under Construction
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