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Tuesday, 30 September 2014

6 Months Until The Job Centre.......

So Scotland said no (just), the North London derby was a dire affair, another Tory chap jumped over to UKIP, Blighty is back to bombing Iraq and the Lion King has now overtaken the Phantom of the Opera as the most successful stage musical of all time (and has actually become the highest-grossing thing in box office history). And that there ends your short and sharp weekly news update from me (hire me BBC).

In terms of news from me - I've started a new diploma (and got 97% in the first assignment), I've started work on the second album (more on that at a much later date), Matt's album has started to go live (so check it out) and I've discovered that I am frankly no good at skittles. But what I really want to speak about in this post is something that I've mentioned (but glossed over) in the last few posts - and that is my impending jobless state / freedom (whichever way you choose to look at it).

With 6 months to go until you are unemployed, how do you feel?

Ok, I'll get to where I'm at right now, but I want to quickly start by giving you a bit of context (and answering an inevitable question) about the redundancy situation (because if I'm going to speak about this whole thing I might as well paint the whole picture). So here we go:

There had been talk of our office closing for a number of years, but on the 31st March I had a phone call saying that the plan was for the office to close (on March 31st 2015) and for the work to go to our office in Solihull (I've spoken more about what I was up to / got up to that day here). In very simple terms our current office has half of it free, and the building in Solihull where the rest (of my part) of the company works currently has the best part of a floor free. So the logic behind the plan is simple (and to answer the inevitable question) - yes, I completely understand it and if I was in the decision making shoes I would probably have made the same decision. Following that, we were all given the option to go and work in Solihull, and in the last month or so I (alongside loads of others) have decided that I won't be taking up that option (I've been helped along the way by knowing that my job doesn't exist in the new structure at Solihull and I would have to go for something different). So anyway, that's the background with that - but now I need to answer the real question. How do I feel?

How many truly life changing moments do you think you have had in your life? How many moments have you experienced where your life has taken a definite turn after a massive event (planned or unplanned)? The events of Chapter 9 last year were heart-breaking for Cass and I, and they were a landmark of our time together, but as far as I can work out our lives haven't taken a change of direction following that. But March 31st will be one of those change of direction days for me (and that's not just me building it up). I've spent over 10 years of my life working for this company (which isn't bad considering that I was only planning on a 6 month stint) and the very simple truth is that I have no idea where life will take me following that day (apart from hopefully on a big holiday!). I've got an idea about what I'd like to do, but that's not necessarily what I'll end up doing (in fact I'm fairly confident that it won't be). But the really bizarre thing for me is that despite the uncertainty over the future I feel completely at peace (and I'm not just saying that either). I've been reading back over past chapters over the last few weeks, and I've now started to realise that I've been getting mentally prepared for this moment for a while (see mentions of crossroads in previous chapters).

So, there you have it - the first part of my answer is that I'm at peace with the decision I've made (not to push for a job in Solihull) and I'm calm (and perhaps more worryingly a bit excited) about the future and what it may hold (cue brief January mini-meltdown). But that is only half of the 'how I'm feeling' part.......

Now I mentioned that I was only planning on doing a 6 month stint, yet I've been working for the company for over 10 years and I've (probably quite naturally) spent some time reflecting over the last few months on why I didn't do a runner 6 months in and go back to working in music (aside from the obvious answer that I don't think my liver could / would have coped). Now don't get me wrong here I enjoy my job (most of the time) and I've been lucky enough to have done a few different roles in my time with the company and learnt a fair bit as well. But would my actual job have kept me in the company for so long? Absolutely not. Next up is pay, and yes I'm paid quite well for what I do, but those of you who know me know that money is not a major motivation. What about facilities then? Well one of our toilets has been broken for at least half of my time in the office (not by me), and whilst we do have a lake (when it rains) in front of the office it isn't actually meant to be there and when you couple that with the fact that part of the roof leaks when the AC is on overdrive I think that facilities is definitely out (and I'm still bitter about the Northampton office having the bar taken out before we started working there!). Benefits? I've got a pension that I'm sure I'll be grateful for in later life and if it hadn't been for the company it's very unlikely that I'd have even started one by now. So that's all good - but it certainly hasn't kept me here. Job satisfaction? I've had some good days where I've left and thought 'I'm really satisfied with what I've achieved today' but I've also had some days (which I'm sure that you can all appreciate) where I've left the office and have wanted nothing more than to have a meltdown in frustration (which we would need to be followed by a beer). How about a lack of other options I hear you say? It might surprise you to know that I actually have had other offers in my 10 year stretch (and I've gone for other jobs but not got them as well) - but crucially I haven't come back to my job disappointed from not being offered something different, and if anything (bar an initial day of slumping) I've ended up being more motivated. And I still (unless I've just got back from holiday) don't get the 'bleurgh work tomorrow' feeling. SO WHAT IS IT? And the answer is without any question - the people.

The very first cast list in 10 Resolutions featured people that I work with and throughout the course of the 18 or so months that I've been posting I've lost track of the number of people from my office that have made the cast list. And they aren't just random mentions either, these are people that mean so much to me that they deserve mentioning in the cast lists as they are a major part of my life. But this goes far beyond just me (although I'm probably the soppy one), the difference between my office and 99% of the other offices in the country is that we aren't just colleagues - we are friends. We stand up for one another. We care for one another. We encourage each other. We have fun together. We fight for one another and when one of us is hurting we stand alongside them to help pull them through. We are a community and a family. And I could not be any prouder to have been part of it.

It has been a blessing and a complete honour to be able to work in a place with so many amazing people, and I'll be forever thankful that I've had the chance to spend time with people that have graduated so far beyond being my colleagues that they are now life-long friends (whether they like it or not they are stuck with me now......). So this post is for all the people of GCC, both past and present. Wherever I end up has an impossible act to follow (and yes I'll inevitably be coming back and reminding myself of my very high and unrealistic expectations for a new workplace on the 1st April). I have faith though, after all I was only meant to be at GCC for 6 months and look what happened. Who knows what could happen next.......
HoweHoHSo how am I feeling about redundancy?

I'm at peace about the future, and want to make the most of the next few months with my friends at GCC (and yes I could have just answered that in a sentence - but where would the fun have been in that)

Remember that you can keep in touch with 10 Resolutions on Twitter and Facebook - and please feel free to ask some questions that you'd like to know my thoughts on :)

Speak Soon. Keep Safe. God Bless.

P.S Congratulations to Tommel (Tom and Mel) who are now expecting their first little bot! Conversations to call it Andi however have not started particularly well (I have patience).......

P.P.S Does anyone want to offer me a job? :)

Thursday, 18 September 2014

My thoughts on Scottish Independence

It's been so long since we've last spoken that I can't exactly remember everything that's been going on or everything that I've been up to. So here is a brief update: I've lost a stone and a half, Arsenal won the FA Cup (to put me finally out of my Arsenal slump), my dear friends Tom and Mel (Tommel) and Leon and Hiya (Hion) got married, I had an amazing week in Portugal with Wifey, the 30th birthday party run was completed with the twins (Lewis and Chris), I became the Godfather to the beautiful Amelia, I've spend time with loads of great people (so many in fact that I can't list them all), RIVERcamp this year was phenomenal and it looks very much like I'll be being made redundant at the end of March (a decision I'm at peace with). There is obviously stuff I've missed out and stuff that I've forgotten about (that is probably really important), but that pretty much is the recap. I've also realised since we last spoke that I've got so far behind with 10 Resolutions and what has been going on that any new chapter in it's entirety would be far too long - so for the time being at least I'm going to focus on really short rambles, perhaps covering one question per post, with maybe a short update about life, the universe and everything in between thrown in for good measure. So not one to shy away from the big questions, here we go:
What are your thoughts on Scottish Independence?

Ok, to tackle this question I first need to make something very clear. I have no interest in politics. And before you start saying that I should be (as politics affect everyone) I'll continue by saying that that I have no interest in politics because of politicians. I'm not convinced that there is any massive difference between any of the major 3 parties and the idea of UKIP or the green ones coming into power scares me more than being stuck in a room full of Justin Bieber and his soon to be built clone army (so I still vote).

But the main issue that I really struggle with is that I can't relate to politicians. There is a general misconception that all politicians have gone to private school (which isn't true) however a sizeable number have gone to Oxford or Cambridge university or have been brought up in the very wealthy top end of society. I wouldn't speak about what it is like to be a millionaire as I've never been one (and probably never will be), so my issue comes when politicians start to speak about the poverty line and issues really affecting the working class (as the vast majority of politicians will never have experienced the problems that a lot of the people in the country face on a day to day basis). How can I relate to someone who has no idea about my situation? Now please don't get me wrong here, I'm not saying that I've experienced the problems that so many people in the country have, I've been so lucky to end up where I have (and I'm not scared to say that) - but what I am saying is that there is an ever increasing gap between the majority of people and politicians and until that starts to change, the view of politicians in the country for the most part will remain.

So politically, that's where I am. But what do I think about Scotland leaving? Well, if I'm honest, if I was in Scotland I think I'd probably just vote yes to cause a bit of chaos (as I'm convinced that some will). But I'm not massively convinced that anyone has really explained to the Scottish people what their vote really means (and I'm not entirely sure that the 'Yes people' have really thought through what will happen if they actually win and the consequences of that victory for both sides if they do). It's not like the general election where no matter who you vote for you pretty much get exactly the same moulded thing (No matter the brand, Corn flakes are in essence Corn flakes it's just that the recipe may be slightly different for each brand). This vote has consequences - and I'm not sure that enough people realise that (in England or Scotland).

My gut feeling is that the vote will go against the 'Yes' this time around (probably as there are too many question marks over what happens should Scotland gain independence). But I'd be very surprised if there wasn't another situation like this in my lifetime. And with a more organised approach it could well be that Scotland has a border control before too long.  

On the positive side though, imagine if Scotland gained independence and it came to the general election campaign trail and our clown of a PM was asked what he did in his time at the helm of our country......

I'll leave you with my favourite quote from the campaign:

"What are they going to do - invade?"

Speak soon

God Bless