Disclaimer: The content (ideas and information) of and
any views expressed on any part of this Website or blog are my
personal views and does not officially represent my employer's
view, past or present, in anyway.
Monday 11th October 1999 was the first day of the rest of my
working life. I was a scrawny, shy, gawky looking 16 year old
boy who'd just spent the summer of '99 dicking around with my
mates. Suddenly, they had all left me and gone back to
school. Yes, school. They had gone back to the hell hole we
had just spent 5 years slagging off and to really stick the knife
in they'd gone back of their own bloody accord. I didn't know what
I was going to do and quite frankly, I was shitting it.
So with cash quickly running out, I decided to get a job,
imaginative I know. I applied for some jobs and got 2
interviews, one at Natwest and another at a Private Bank. I
asked the adults around me (you know , the people who
seemingly know everything) and every single person I asked
said "Go with the Private Bank - they are solid as a rock
and they pay well" as it turns out - every single one of
them was talking utter bollocks…
Fast forward to 2008, I had blagged my way through a few
Banking positions and ended up in IT, I had also miraculously
managed to wangle a move down to London. I was finally earning some
decent cash, as those clever dicks had predicted almost 9 years
earlier. However, there was one thing that they didn't
predict…. the Company going tits up. Yes, the safe and "solid
as a rock" Company that everyone had seemingly urged me to join,
was well and truly fucked. And to top it all off, Natwest,
the company I almost joined was given squillions of cash to stay a
float. The jammy bastards.
It was Wednesday, when they told us all. Contractors were
fleeing their desks, squawking on their 'phones, trying to get
themselves a new job. They knew they weren't getting any
cash, most didn't wait until the end of the announcement.
Strange people that none of us knew, were in and out of the
building, carrying boxes of documents, muttering between
themselves. Rumours spread like wild fire - we owe billions,
we are all getting sacked and the furniture is getting picked up
that afternoon, Jenny from accounts is actually a John. Well,
alright I made the last one up but you get the idea. Some of
the new employees, still green behind the ears, just walked
out. Probably numb with the realisation that they could have
been safe at another job, far away from this chaos and confusion. A
job that a little over a week ago they told to shove it. That was
going to be an embarrassing phone call…
And so to the rest of us. A few went home. A few went rather
pale and started tapping on their keyboards with more vigour and
enthusiasm that had not been seen for years. Most of us
though, went to the pub and got completely hammered. The landlord
of the local pub must have thought Christmas had come early. We
drank that place dry and spent a fortune. Probably quite a silly
thing to do considering the events that had happened just hours
earlier. We didn't care though, we took the following day off and
watched daytime TV. Now that's what I call a hard days work.
And so here I am, still at the "rock solid" Private Bank, the
masses of staff that once roamed the office have been whittled down
to just a select few. There are no deadlines, no pressure, no
bollockings for having an hour and half for lunch. We still
get paid, a pension, holidays there is even a training budget
available. Overtime is scarce these days though…..
Sounds like heaven? It isn't.
The boredom sets in quicker than you'd think. If you don't
try to keep busy then you will end up doing nothing for days.
You find yourself struggling to get up to go to work let alone do
any work when you are there. I know it sounds like a normal
job but it's much worse. You know that anything you build or
maintain is going to get the chop. What is the point in
putting your heart and soul in to a new application when it is
going to be on the scrap heap within the next 12 months?
Some people have given up, patching things together in the hope
they'll last a bit longer. Pride in your work is virtually
non-existent, people take weeks to complete a task that would have
previously taken them a day at most. I'm not saying things don't
get done but lets just say the enthusiasm for doing a job well done
isn't really there. Why spend more time doing it really well when
no-one cares as long as it works?
The thing is, it's different for me, I'm a Software
Developer. Technology moves too fast for me to sit about
doing nothing for a couple of years. I'm trying to keep up
but I'm already behind. It takes a lot of effort to stay at
work and read about Unit Testing and Test Driven Development when
the rest of your work mates are off down the pub for an impromptu
Don't get me wrong, if the shit hits the fan then it gets fixed
quickly. Probably quicker than when we weren't broke. People
are eager to do work but only when the work finds them. It is
similar to that age old saying - If it ain't
broke, don't fix it. Well no one is going to start
any work unless there is good reason to. Especially when there is a
nice friendly pub down the road.
I don't expect your sympathy. To be honest, I'm expecting a
barrage of abuse. Depending on which way you look at it, it is
either right place right time or wrong place wrong time.
Either way, I'm in some kind of place and I don't intend on leaving
it…..not yet anyway.
This section will be short for obvious reasons - I cannot see
into the future. And let's be honest, if I could, I'm doing a
pretty poor job of it so far.
I've managed to get myself involved in an Open Source Project so
I'm hoping that will keep me busy. It's all new technology to
me so I'm on a learning curve that is so steep Everest is getting
pissed off at the size of it. I've started attending
Developer Days and meeting other Developers. They all have proper
jobs whereas I don't really. Some would say that when
discussing this an awkward silence slams in to the conversation but
it's an ice-breaker if anything.
I'm hoping that I can keep myself busy, keep myself up to date
and I might even make some good friends along the way.
A few people have asked if I worry about what I'm going to do
when I finally get the boot. The honest answer? No, I don't -
what's the point. No one really knows what the future has in
store but lets be honest, it's not as if we don't have a say in how
it works out.