Category Archives: JMU

I was nearly a stay at home dad…

The beeb have gotten a number of ‘doting’ dads to give them accounts of what it’s like to take a side step on the working treadmill and spend some time with your children. It’s quite an interesting read, and made me reflect back to the time i nearly did that, and how my life is now compared to what it could have been.

As I’m sure we’ve mentioned before, the original plan when Daisy was born, was for both of us to go part time, and share the time with Daisy this made loads of sense both personally (I wanted to spend time too) and financially (better tax breaks), but for reasons of Ruth being indispensable and me being a side show, It never happened. what actually happend was in their efforts to keep Ruth she never came back, and by forcing me to work full time, they lost me to a better job.

Now at the time we we’re sad, but if you think about where we would be now; Ruth would still have that annoying political mud-bath of a job, and I would be wasting away doing the same old projects that came around every 12 months. Instead – Ruth stays at home and loves not working with pooters (and some of the people). and I have a much much better job, talking to people and getting stuff done*.

Where are we now ? Well both through the need for money, and the joy of work moved up the career ladder and Ruth has been freed from the shackles.

This does mean I don’t get the extra time I wanted with Daisy which does make me a little sad. I’m glad she’s getting full time parenting, I think that’s real important, and even though I’ve moved on and up, I have consciously stayed in an environment where leaving work at 4:30 is acceptable (i get in at at least 8:30 so don’t complain!) and taking work home is an exception not the rule. So I still get plenty of time each day. I’m not a arrive home at 6:40 and keep the child up sort of dad – I’m much more a get in and have Daisy climb all over me for a few hours type.

Reading about the dads who spend more time off does make me jealous, and maybe one day I will get to a point where I can work maybe a four day week – but at the moment I also way-up how Ruth and I feel – and we are much happier and that must be a good thing for our kid(s).

*this is of course relative, i see that public sector getting stuff done is not quite the same as private sector getting stuff done, but it is miles beyond university getting stuff done.

How much better is this job?

I’ve just changed the design of the page, nothing to do with my job. Just while I was testing I searched for ‘bike‘ (I rode in again today first time since January). and found a post where i was complaining about meetings driving me mad – but that was my old job. today?

I had five meetings and it was cool. yes the meeting with finance was a bit draining but I enjoyed the day. Five meetings in a day at JMU would have seen me standing on the window ledge.

A Time to reflect

It’s almost a year since I left JMU to come work for the council, so I’ve been in some what of a reflective mood for the last week, thinking about how it’s all changed and thinking back to what I’ve done over the last 12 months.

It’s been a roller-coaster of a year really, especially when you consider that I had my last job for 7 years and in the space of 12 months, I’ve had two gone from developer, to manager and next month will be acting up to head of service during a transition.

The first thing I think when I look back is how I so much needed to leave that job (JMU). All the years of fighting the system to do anything, being constantly restricted by both the academic and political environment in the institution meant that I really had a lot of self doubt about both my technical abilities and my ability to actually do an honest days work.

At the time I said and I didn’t realise how true it was to become, but I considered the Developer job in the council a side step, a way off the JMU treadmill, something to open up both my horizons and my opportunities for progression. Of-course even i didn’t envisage going for the management job within 6 months, but actually it turns out 6 months out of JMU was all it took to show me how stifling it had been.

I am loving my current job. I consider myself much more of a people person than a sitting in a dark room coding one (although I do enjoy getting my head down a knocking out code), and yes even I think that some-days I have more meetings than is healthy, but talking to people, solving problems and giving advice is a cool job to have*.

The other really bit change is in my confidence levels, as I’ve said JMU was somewhat stifling, but it knocked so much confidence out of me it’s untrue. 12 months ago I would have said that i was outspoken, alaways belived in what i said and would tell anyone who would listen, but really looking at my day to day routine now, and the types of things I do everyday. I was a doddering fool, who was unsure of most things, knew that change was never going to come of it, so sat on most things because it was the easy way to live.

I don’t want you to get the impression that JMU was all bad, or indeed that the council is all good. The people in JMU are great people, and I do miss some of the office banter and camaraderie. There are technical areas where JMU is/was streets ahead, and while I knew this at the time, moving to another organisation just proves it. The council like any 19,000 employee organisation has it’s politics and I would imagine after a few more years it will get to me in similar ways to the politics of JMU, and my desk is somewhat small and my PC slow 0 but at the moment I change jobs so often these things arn’t getting me down.

So in summary: goshIi love my new job and my old one was worse that I realised 12 months ago.

*there may be a little more to it than this, but these are the peopley bits I really enjoy

bye bye cruel (jmu) world*

I’ve left JMU now, we did have the awkward leaving gathering in the middle of the floor, where loads of people came (Friday afternoon, nice stroll to the fifth floor). Stuart did the leaving speech thing, which he does much better than Jim. Summing up my 9 years ;he counts the placement year and the bit in-between, which I suppose you should if your being honest as to how long you’ve been there, it turns out a good summary of my career at JMU can be told in 5 stories

  • I had an incredibly badly written placement CV, but they gave me the job anyway
  • In my interview for my ‘real’ job, I was asked to identify earl gray tea bags from a line up and I got it wrong!, but they gave me the job anyway.
  • Stuart and I had a phase of going the ‘gym’ which in reality was the bar above the gym, playing pool,
    although I actually did some exercise at home and got some protein with discount vouchers with muscle food.
  • Stuart claims I poisoned him the time I introduced him to Vodka and Red bull in the 147 in town.
  • during my life at JMU I didn’t take things like stationary, I took the head of CWIS.

It was quite emotional, and yes I did have to hold it back (I am bloke!). I do think I will miss the place, but now is the weekend to look forward. I have new job on Monday must get excited! I will get all university sick in a week or two.

oh and I got loads of gift vouchers, so tomorrow I can go replace my busted digital camera, thanks everyone!

*Jmu World was the name of the news section of the website for quite a long time, you had to be there really.