Stuff about working for a living.
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Last summer I was made redundant and started the hunt for a new job. Naturally this involved a few interviews.
One was a rather informal-ish chat (well it was in a branch of Starbucks) with the owner of a small design agency. Whilst talking he seemed to keep probing around how I'd find a new role after so many years at the BBC. One of the things he mentioned at least twice was that I'd probably get less annual leave in a new role.
I said that yes, I probably would. I'd been at the BBC long enough to qualify for long service leave and it was nice to have the extra days, but as I told him, I wasn't unduly worried about having less leave.
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When I re-emerged back in the job market over last summer, I’d forgotten how variable some recruitment agencies could be. Some can be very good indeed. And some can verge on the useless.
Seeing as some of you have asked about work stuff since I left the BBC…
In my early days as a junior product manager in the BBC’s interactive department I once asked a senior manager for a business case for the change he was asking for, and was looked at as I was mad. He just wanted it done. Then he ran away. The Invisible Requirements Monkey had struck!
So today is my last day at the BBC. I joined Auntie with a three month contract in January 2000. It was Greg Dyke’s first day too. I like to think that I taught him everything he knew during his stint there. Somehow I managed to last eleven and a half years before saying goodbye.
How I’m looking at transferring my products and knowledge to the new BBC Red Button team in Manchester
Announcing what I’m currently working on
Whilst I said no to following my job to Salford some time ago (a whopping 18 months in fact) some people within my team have recently been brought into scope for the move and as such it’s barely a week that goes by that doesn’t involve some exciting news or inspiring knowledge appearing in my inbox all designed to show just how great the new offices will be.
Baring the minor miracle of getting some dream job, it means I’m likely to be leaving the BBC next June, pocketing a redundancy cheque in the process.
I was off work last week with a disturbingly early-in-the-season bout of flu but whilst I was sitting on the sofa watching Star Trek re-runs on Channel One and CBS Action my team quietly launched a new version of BBC iPlayer.
One of the things I’m always keen to do on large work projects is a bit of user testing - where we get real people to come in, try using our services and see what happens. The idea is to see what works, and more importantly, what doesn’t.
It’s been kinda interesting reading the stories in the press about the BBC and its water cooler bill.
If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes for big red button services like Wimbledon, well there’s now a little video to watch over on the Press Red Blog.
It’s been a bit of a roller coaster ride ever since the announcement that the team I work in - the TV Platforms department - would be moving to Salford in 2011.
I’m just going through one of my periodic blogging droughts, not helped by the last week and a half at work just being constant, never-ending hassle and mental effort caused by relentless firefighting. If something could go wrong, it probably did. Oh and to make things worse, half the team are either ill, on leave or exploring the delights of Manchester, on the “familiarisation trips” the BBC is running to try and persuade London based staff that Salford really is the place to be.
You’ve just spent two hours getting into the office, delayed due to adverse weather conditions and ironically the worst problems see you stuck about one minute outside your destination station. You get in, past the snow men sentries outside, brush the snow off yourself and realise the office is deserted.
It was back in 2004 that the BBC first announced its plans to move some departments to the North, thus reducing jobs and money spent in London. It’s well known that part of the move, Sport, Childrens, Five Live and a slice of New Media would move from London.
Whilst casually browsing the a job site, one job set the “Apply! Apply! Apply! alarm bells ringing, so I created my first dusted off my first CV in eight years and clicked send. Alas they didn’t even want me for an interview, however the rejection email was top notch!
At work it’s appraisal time. I don’t like appraisal time. Cos that means I have to write everything up that’s been said so it can sit in the old virtual filing cabinet for 12 months until this time next year when it can be dusted off and I can sit with my line manager and see what I’ve achieved off my last set of goals, so that I can get a new one and write that out. At which point I’ll end up writing another of these blog posts telling you all how I hate appraisal time.
Well it’s 6 May 2008 and that can only mean one thing. Yep, it’s the day after May Day. And of course it’s the launch of Freesat and the formal launch of Phase 1 of BBCi on Freesat. That is, baring any last minute technical issues or problems.
It was June 2004 when the BBC’s move of several departments from London to the north west was first announced. The department I worked for (and still work for) was one of those highlighted.
If you’ve ever wondered quite what a Senior Development Producer working on interactive TV products gets up to for a living, now is time to find out. And if you’ve never wondered, now is the time to find out. Below is how one day panned out.
The last few days at work have been a bit frantic, as I’ve been busy rushing around trying to get up to speed with a great big huge monster of a project, whilst at the same time trying to ease the handover of another great big huge monster of a project onto someone else.
Tthis week, BBCi won the International Interactive Emmy award for Best Interactive Television Service. Woo!
I have to say, I am getting just a little fed up of seeing the offices I work in, on TV.
I’m currently sat at my desk at home staring at pictures of cakes and stars. There’s a reason for this. And it’s to do with work.
Last night after work we had one of those rare moments - and end of year review, followed, of course, by some celebratory drinks.
Today was my first day back in work after a week off. A week that included (in part) relaxing on the Isle of Wight, following by sitting around the house for a few days doing very little. Ah, lovely. So after all that tranquility, what did I return to? The delights of an all day planning meeting…
Today was another big day in BBCi land thanks to the latest launch from one of the projects I work on. Although you probably won’t notice any difference…
In accordance with the the new BBC ‘Guidelines on Employees Personal Weblogs and Webspaces’, I am hereby informing you that I, Andrew Paul Bowden, have a personal website that includes a weblog.
I recently moved desks at work, which has had some unual implications.
It’s good (although slightly embarassing!) to hear praise for ones work, but there’s ultimately something more important to me about getting through the interview last week, for it was the final vindication for a decision I made three years ago.
In my desk draw at work is a box full of about 400 business cards which I got given not long after I became an assistant producer.
As you may or may not have heard, the BBC Broadcast has renamed itself. It’s done this cos it’s not part of the BBC, being now owned as it is, by an Australian bank, who are of course an obvious owner for the company.
Wow. Either someone has decided I can take 17 months off work, and only decided to tell me 10 months in, or someone was testing a new system.
I’m working at home today, which is something I don’t normally do as I find it rather boring being stuck in the house by myself, and I usually end up missing about 15 important files that I can’t access as I’m working via webmail alone.
Things that I have done today.
Today I got my new copy of the BBC Editorial Guidelines. A hefty tome at 226 pages. There’s even half a page about interactive TV.
Every year the BBC’s R&D department holds a host of open days in their lovely base in Kingswood Warren, to let people know what they get up to. And every year I get myself booked onto one of the open days. Every year I manage to miss them.
Well the day got off to a good start when I woke up at 4am and my body completely refused to go back to sleep.
This is why tomorrow is difficult.
What with redundancies and things, you may be surprised to find out that there aren’t that many promotion oppertunities for a hip, young, trendy dude like me (will you just stop laughing, PLEASE!)
The usability of meeting room names is not something that has generally attracted much attention in this world, but perhaps it should if the BBC experience is anything to go by.
In case you’re wondering - and I’m sure someone will ask if I don’t mention it.
I went down to the fourth floor at work to have the old weekly line management chat, and well the view from their windows - superb.
The frankly spooky coincidence about signed TV programme listings.
Due to industrial action, the author is currently waving pieces of paper around and thinking of interesting things to say. Normal programmes will resume shortly.
Was it really 2001 that I spent months working away on the new, amazing BBCi web search?
Don’t you just love those days when you’re in the middle of writing a long, pretty tedious document that you just want to get out of the bloomin’ way, and then the shared drive where the file sits, dies. In fact it’s the shared drive with all your documents on it, meaning there’s actually very little work you can do?
There’s more to life than travelling to work…
I’m now working in a building that can - in theory - broadcast 500 TV stations at once. But the light switch doesn’t work.
Five years after I first set foot in the place and I’ve just left Bush House for the final time.
I keep feeling I should take a picture of my desk at work for prosperity. I think it’s becoming a piece of art. Perhaps it’s the way that it’s filling up with an ever increasing plethora of set top boxes.
It’s depressingly predictable I know, but there comes a point in every project where you get the "Oh… bollocks!" moment. The moment where you look at it and some blindingly obvious problem that only a simpleton would have missed, rears its ugly head.
On the day that we found out about the first UK blogger to be sacked by his employer (well that we know about anyway) it’s fittingly appropiate that the hot topic on part of the BBC’s internal message boards was guidelines for BBC staff who blog about work stuff.
In a few weeks time I will sadly no longer be making the trog to work up to the delightful Bush House. For us in New Media, this delightful location in the heart of London’s west end will just be a distant memory, for we’re moving to the less glamorous White City.
Oh course you can never say never. Who knows what the future may hold - especially in five years time. But there are times you have to think about that future. And right now, it doesn’t matter what the BBC says or does. I don’t want to go back to Manchester.
I love Bush House and I will miss it when we leave.
After many months of work, one of my big projects finally got submitted to the Quality Assurance (QA) team yesterday. It’s slightly late but it’s finally met a major milestone in the project.
This is the tale of Project Duck and how it interacts with Project Hen. Oh and with Project Heron. And Project Albatross. And all this relates to Project Robin too. Oh and have I mentioned Project Sparrow yet?
Normally work away days fit into two categories - dull and tedious, or arty-farty with stupid exercises crap. But sometimes they have their uses…
Today has been a little… odd.
Don’t you just love it when internal project names end up on big documents that are released to the public?
The news that Michael Grade will be the next chairman of the BBC was (as has been reported by the media) welcomed by most of the staff at the BBC.
It was perhaps the biggest example of the BBC staff ‘making it happen’. A full page advert in the Daily Telegraph yesterday paying tribute to the work done by Greg Dyke, and asserting their belief that the BBC should continue to be independent, and continue to be an independent organisation that best serves the public who pay for it.
Many people will have seen the staff response to the resignation of Greg Dyke as Director General of the BBC. I like many people were completely gutted by his decision, but he made it and I respect that and his reasons for doing so
Ever had one of those days where you reach a moment realise that whilst you’ve spent months planning on something working in one way, but right at the last minute, you realise that actually you may be required to implement a completely contradictory and incompatible way instead?
Fire! Fire! Just a quick example of my skill of shouting that there is a fire, for today I became a fire warden.
I hate feeling unproductive at work, and yet for seemingly the third working day running, that’s exactly how I feel.
This morning on my desk was a piece of small brown card that said in small dark brown letters "Nothing is ever perfect".
Should you be in Bush House in London this Friday, there will be a cake stall for Children In Need.
One of my last tasks as a Client Side Developer at the BBC has now snook online.
Today I struggled with some HTML. Does this set a worrying path to technical oblivion?
Deep in the delves of Bush House is a room full of set top boxes. They are there for speed testing…. And it’s fun testing. Oh yes.
The end of an era. After three and a half years, I’m no longer a Client Side Developer… Bye bye my old friend Mr HTML….
Having only had two permanent jobs in my entire life, I’d forgotten about that strange period of time as you begin to wind down in your current role and prepare yourself for the new one.
I’ve got a new job! Wahoo!!!!
New offices and not enough space. Anyone for a game of tennis?