OMG! It’s been a year!

I have really been neglecting this blog. Considering that I’m paying to have the damn thing hosted, this can’t stand.

So what has happened in the last year? Quite a lot really.

First of all, the new job mentioned in the last post. If I’m honest, I’m not happy in that job. I’m not going to go too far into specifics. Suffice to say, the University of Westminster is a good place to work; they are very generous towards their staff, I am well paid there, I get a ludicrous amount of leave and the benefits package is very good. However, the job isn’t for me. I feel far too pigeon-holed. I miss the depth of work from my old job, the amount of responsibility that I had. I don’t like being third-line only very much. I don’t like being sat at my desk all day, every day. I don’t like not being able to get my hands on hardware occasionally. Perhaps unbelievably, I even miss the small amount of interaction that I had with users. I’ve been keeping my eyes open for new jobs and I saw a new one about two months ago. In fact, I even applied twice; the first time around I didn’t get through to the interview stage. It seems that they didn’t recruit in the first run so they re-advertised. I got some feedback from the man who is in charge of recruitment and I applied again. The second time, I got invited to interview.

I went to the interview. I thought that I had messed it up entirely. The first part of the interview was the technical part. I was expecting a test along the lines of almost every other technical test I’ve taken, i.e. “What is a FSMO Role?”, “Why can’t this printer print?”, “Who do you prioritise, the headmaster or a classroom that can’t work?”, you know the sort of thing. Instead, they gave me a series of scenarios and twenty minutes to put some thoughts down on them. While obviously they were interested in my technical skill set, they were more interested in how I approach problems and how my thought processes worked. When they were analysing my answers, there was one question that they asked which I really made a pig’s ear of and which I couldn’t answer. A very awkward silence ensued while I desperately tried to understand what they wanted from me but in the end, they put me out of my misery. Truth be told, I was almost ready to walk away at that point.

The panel interview came after with the ICT Manager and the Head of Performance and Recruitment. That went a little better although I did give a very arrogant answer to a question: They asked if I thought I could do the job and I said that I wouldn’t be sitting there if I didn’t. I cringed almost immediately. Argh.

So anyway, I couldn’t have done too badly as I got the job. On 1st August 2016 I shall be starting work for the Haberdashers’ Aske’s multi-academy trust in New Cross, London. My job title will be IT Systems Administrator. It’s closer to home, it’s more money, there is going to be a lot more variety and responsibility and it’s in an environment that I think I’ll be much more comfortable in. I’m a lot more optimistic about this job than I was about Westminster and I’m looking forward to starting tremendously.

So what else has happened in the last year? Well, I changed the hosting provider of this site. I originally bought space from GoDaddy as it was cheap for the first year. However, subsequent years were stupidly expensive so I said “Bugger that” and changed host. My site is now hosted by SGIS Hosting who are a lot more reasonable and migrated this site to their servers for me. They give you less space and bandwidth than GoDaddy but I have more than enough for my purposes and I have some space with which I can mess about with outside of WordPress if I want to. The only major disadvantage is that I now have to keep WordPress up to date manually.

More significantly, my girlfriend and I have moved away from Hertfordshire. This made me sad, I really loved it in Harpenden and I miss the place a lot. However, it was necessary for reasons that will probably become clear later on in this article. We moved into a nice flat in Beckenham. The rent is a lot more but travel costs are considerably less so it more or less evens out. With this new job, travel costs will be lower still.

The last major thing that has happened is that I have become a father! My son was born on the 25th May 2016 at 10.47. The preceding month and the first week of his life was by far the most stressful time of my life! Towards the end of my girlfriend’s pregnancy, there were complications and he ended up being born early and very small. He was taken to the Special Baby Care Unit (SCBU) at our local hospital where he was looked after for about a week. He was in an incubator for about two days with a glucose drip in his hand. After that, the drip came out and he was put into a cot. In the end, all they were doing was feeding him so they decided that it would be best to send him home. The birth was also very hard on my girlfriend, she ended up staying in the hospital for as long as our son.

If there was ever a cause worth donating money to, it is a SCBU. If you’re reading this and are feeling generous, please feel free to have a look at the Princess Royal University Hospital SCBU Fund’s JustGiving page and chuck a few quid their way. If you don’t want to donate to my local one, please look one up closer to you and donate to them instead. They all (not just the PRUH’s, all of them everywhere) do wonderful work under extremely difficult circumstances and they all deserve far more support than they get.

Anyway, our son is the primary reason we have moved to Beckenham. My girlfriend’s family is from around here and her sister lives nearby. My girlfriend wanted that support network close to her for when our baby arrived. I understand that and support it so here we are! On the whole, it’s a good thing as my girlfriend and our son are both getting much better care from the hospitals down here. In addition, I wouldn’t have been able to get the job in New Cross if we still lived in Harpenden so I’d probably still be stuck as Westminster for the foreseeable future.

So in summary, on a professional level, the last year has been pretty mediocre. On a personal level, despite the stresses and heartache, it’s been awesome. Once again, I toast the future! I’m looking forward to it once again!

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