Thursday, 9 October 2014

2014 : the year I got jerked around and ultimately didn't care

This year isn't over yet and I've already had two of my favourite contracts and met some great people. Life has settled well and I consider myself very lucky. Despite that I have had some fairly minor but consistent irritations which have not stopped me writing, but have stopped me posting to the blog. Here are my excuses. (Blogpost backlog will follow).

How not to visit someone
Easter 2014. Following the end of my Telegraph contract I ended up taking off six weeks to accomodate Easter and big visits from friends and family. Visits didn't happen for various reasons including neighours cats needing feeding.

How not to hire someone
Spent a fairly idyllic summer working for Camelot which ended, apparently, with a job offer from Google!
While handling exciting offers and interviews from several other companies, one agency, Identify Networks, arranges a mysterious interview with a company called Arris, heavily hinting that their client is Google - but they can't confirm it. I attend the interview, which keeps me waiting for half an hour (not a good sign in retrospect) but seems to go very well. Within 24 hours I'm told that I have got the role and only a few details need to be confirmed - among those the name of the mysterious client. Time to celebrate!
Following morning I'm called by the agency who tells me right off - the client is Google! and...  the rate is way below what I was led to expect at the interview. But I can't turn down Google right?
I did (I was angry).
When they returned with a slightly improved offer, still well below what got me to the interview, I declined again.
Finally they came back with the original figure. I accepted! Only a few details need to be confirmed. Time to celebrate!
Next day I was told their figures had been wrong and - unless I accepted their rate this time the chance to work for Google was gone for good.
I told them to stick it. Would I like to talk it through with the manager at Arris who I'd got on so well at interview?
No. I was too angry.
By now I didn't believe the agency and I contacted the manager I met at interview via LinkedIn and Google+. He convinced me that the work  was long term and he couldn't afford the rate mentioned at interview. OK I said. We'll talk after the weekend. On the Monday.
And on the Tuesday the agency told me (via email) the role had been given to someone else!

How not to inspire someone
I had one big music festival holiday booked for 2014 and a week before it started the promoters were still telling all it would sell out - then it was cancelled with three days to go. Luckily WorldCon came to the rescue.

How not to enlist someone
I attended a taster session for a Masters degree in Cyber Security in July. I found myself inspired by the first words of the course organiser  "the situation is catastrophic" he said "we need everyone".

Two months later in October, two days before the course starts, I'm still not 100% I'll be on the course despite months of trying. I've had to apply twice, write a pleading letter and almost beg over the phone. I was told I'd get a career development loan to finance this (July), then I wouldn't (August), then I would (September) then I finally found that I wouldn't.... by driving 200+ miles to the address I told the loan company NOT to send the letter. They've just sent their final reply back to that same address despite endless phonecalls emails and a written note because "It's the only address we're allowed on the system".
I ask you - if cyber terrorists were able to interfere that process - would we notice?

Even the usual North Devon complications couldn't ruin the surf this year
Like I say, it all ended well perhaps because silver linings make everything much shinier. I got an idyllic Indian summer spent in Devon ending with an exciting new long term contract way more interesting than "Google" (Having been interviewed in the lobby of a hotel I never actually saw any evidence of Google).

Anyway - if you cared why it went quiet - that's why.

Lesson of 2014 is the lesson I learned from the road trip - If you start relying on others for your life don't expect to live it

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