I can see clearer now

In which the worst thing to happen to me becomes the best.

I’m currently sorting through my old paperwork and in amongst the details of my mortgage and tax statements I have invoices for old cars and instructions for TVs that I no longer have. Yet I also rediscovered one of the most important letters I have ever received, my termination of employment from a certain opticians*.

It would seem odd to be happy to find a letter that says you are no longer wanted, and at the time there was some bitterness about it, but like the dinosaurs in Jurassic Park life found a way and I now realise it was one of the best things ever to happen to me. This isn’t one of those thoughts I have while crying into a glass of scotch trying to convince myself it was good, but a genuine belief that being discarded by them gave me a helping hand to have  a better life. I owe them a certain amount of thanks for how my life has turned out since then.

They have also given me a benchmark for how bad life can be, and it allows me to see the same in others. No job is worth your mental health and as the opposite of the saying goes, what goes down must come up. Even when I start to feel a low in life coming on I remember that the important thing is to bounce.
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Just doing my job

In which I thank myself with some flowers.

I have a thankless job and I’m happy with that, I feel awkward when I’m congratulated and just want to reply with “just doing my job, maam”. Ignoring the problem with referring to my manager as “maam” it also causes me problems in getting ahead in business.

The main issue is I belive my job (kind of like a
executive specializing in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration or a transponster) is a service job. It my my role to help others do their roles better. I’m a caddy or a buttress, I should only be noticed if I’m not doing my job properly.

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When I grow up

In which I dream of creating dinosaurs and winning The Ashes.

When I was little(r) I played the “when I grow up” game. I knew what I wanted to be, it was going to be fun and exciting and ever so adventurous. I would change the world! I did not sit and think “You know what, I want to be a data analyst”. It just happened that what I have is an aptitude for crunching numbers and making spreadsheets. I was never going to be a NBA basketballer so I choose the world of Excel and datasets.

I was going to be doing any number of different occupations, I had the whole world in front of me and nothing to stop me. So what happened? Continue reading “When I grow up”

Having an office cold – Part II

In which I manfuly spread my disease.

I love this song by The Cranberries.

What I don’t love is the office cold, which is just lingering like some feral youth on the street. Being all up to no good and just generally causing nuisance.

Even when I think it’s gone it makes more comebacks than Michael Jordan. Not the highly successful Bulls kind of comeback, this is the Wizards multiplied by his attempt at baseball style comeback. Continue reading “Having an office cold – Part II”

The path to London doesn’t glitter

In which I refuse to turn around at the sound of the bells.

I come from a town of small proportions so I am used to urban areas of a certain size. I like how compact everything is, and particularly the low volume of human beings that never seem to get in my way or are just ‘there’.

So when I have to travel to any city I’m full of dread, there are very few I can tolerate (San Francisco and New York) but one sprawling mass is at the bottom of my list,I keep getting made to go by work, and for anyone who has read the title of this post it will not come as a surprise…

London.

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Summer dress code

In which offices insist on cooking men’s legs for ‘decency’.

The office thermostat has currently been set to Fuerteventura, or the winter air-con settings have been turned on at work. I think this is an acclimatization exercise so it doesn’t feel so warm when I get outside in the sub-30c heat. The other option we seem to have is artic, so I have to pack warmer clothes and a pair of mittens to be able to use my computer.

At the moment though it is too hot, it is either due to the multitude of screens I now have (and would like to keep), the wall that is painted the same colour as the sun or the fact I have to dress in long trousers whilst the fairer sex flounce around in flimsy materials. The worst part about this is that, just like all office scenarios, they complain it is too cold and want the heating turned up. Do they not know that us men are warm blooded? We are too hot when skinny dipping in the methane pools on Titan?

I once got in trouble with my manager from the unnamed opticians for wearing the same type of clothes on a dress down day as most of the females did on a normal business day, apparently men do not get a summer dress code. Why did my uncovered toes suddenly become a health and safety issue when others stumble around on a daily basis in heels? I do wash them.

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The new professional me

In which I become the person at work I want to be.

It is the end of the year, or at least it is at work, and as a result we have our end of year reviews to do. Throughout my whole career I have struggled with these as I don’t have the tendency to look back over what I have done as I prefer hurtling full steam ahead.

There is also the small problem of having to write about myself. Hang on, you might say, you have been more than happy to witter on here about La Vie en Geek so what is stopping you doing the same on a formal document.

If I choose to write about Frodo or getting a haircut then it is not important, I try to avoid important, but the end of year review is going to determine any pay rise or bonus I get. I just wish I could be that person who takes my career by the scruff, maybe some kind of Werewolf with ambition.

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Presenting like a ringmaster

In which I assure the public
my production will be second to none.

Perhaps the greatest exponent of the “Wow” moment was Steve Jobs, it could be announcing the iPhone or pulling a MacBook Air from an envelope or maybe even the classic “One more thing…” showstopper. Even now, years after his passing, the WWDC conference (which is happening today) is seen as a classic example of delivering jaw dropping moments. It will be the focus of huge amounts of press coverage, with weeks of analysis and clips everywhere.

The success of the Apple presentations are all about ’emotion’, their products are not for the masses but for the ‘creators’. Like the famous 1984 ad it is about thinking differently and letting the product speak for itself. Apple don’t like to talk about specs, they like to talk about what using the product feels like.

I wish I could do presentations like this, but the sad reality is that most of the presentations we will do are more jaw-drooping than jaw dropping.

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More than a spreadsheet

In which there are countless ways I’m not just a ‘numbers’ guy.

One of the most frustrating descriptions of my job is that I’m “The Numbers Guy”. We’ve just done a personality profile exercise when I wasn’t in the “You like spreadsheets” group there was a few incredulous looks. He uses Excel so he must love writing formulas and doing tables?

What if I told you the answer to that was “kinda”, of course I take some pleasure from a well presented set of stats but I do it because I’m good at it (and helps pay the bills) but very few people ever dream of being an analyst when they are little. Even now at the age of 34 (just) I don’t wake up excited about the prospect of firing up a new .xls file.

Instead of being a numbers person what keeps me sane is the fact that I can use this skill to be a more creative person.

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How cold can an office be?

In which I don’t mess with the settings because they have the snowflake on.

The office thermostat has been set for the summer, and it has been agreed that the temperature should be “South Pole”. A quick check of the weather on Google shows me that the only places on Earth that are colder can be found:

PIC-Cold Places (1)

 

No strike that. Thanks to either global warming, sun spots or liberals there is no place on Earth as cold as our office. Fox news plans to use us as evidence to throw in Al Gores face.

Continue reading “How cold can an office be?”