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Low Steppage

Because of the issues with the car last week, it meant I actually got out a lot less than usual.

I’ve written before about my general aims to get out more, walk more and so on – although I do a lot of walking anyway, in comparison to most people.   As part of that, a couple of years ago now I started using the FitBit activity trackers and so on, which allowed me to keep an eye on things.

I have a 5,000-step-per-day ‘target’, which I normally blast through (although some days are closer than others) and average around 50,000 steps per week. Last week, for the first time since getting the FitBit,  I did about half that, and didn’t reach my daily target on most days.

A lot of that was simply that I was working from home, rather than in my office in Milton Keynes. That meant I didn’t go out for a walk in the morning, nor to get lunch and then take the ‘long’ way back to the office – all of which contribute to those totals.

Additionally, I wasn’t feeling great – just a bit burned out, and with this nagging cough (nothing serious, it just keeps tickling and being a twat) it meant I didn’t want to go out as much as I usually do.  And then not doing my usual weekend stuff of going to the cinema, walking round Milton Keynes etc. – it all conspired to make it my worst week in two years.

Of course, my worst week’s activity is still a lot better than that of a lot of people, but it’s annoyed me anyway.

A Remembrance of Shitbags Past

Yesterday, I got a call from an agency about a new job role – ‘Lead Developer’, great salary and good upcoming projects. It sounds like a fantastic role, and the company in question certainly know the value of buzzwords and marketing when it comes to this kind of thing.

Sadly – well, amusingly – it was for the same job/company as I worked for in Summer 2014.  I didn’t write much about it at the time, because it ended up going down the route of taking legal advice etc., so wasn’t worth causing extra hassles by writing here and naming/shaming.  (Not least because the owner of the company, known around here as ShitCo, wouldn’t feel any shame whatsoever)

It was not a good job – and was probably one of my worst jobs in the last decade. Not least among the issues was having taken the job on a salary offer of £x (and that was the salary on the contract , when it eventually appeared) but then the company deciding to pay me £10,000 less.

Coupled with working idiot hours and so on, yeah, it wasn’t a good role or time at all.

I ended up leaving after three months, with no notice (although my contract did say that was OK within the initial trial period) and nothing lined up to go to. Not that that’s ever stressed me out, as regular readers will know – and indeed, I was working two weeks later, at the contract I’m still working on now.

So yes, speaking to another agency about why I wouldn’t be interested in that role was entertaining – the agency couldn’t understand why they were looking for a fourth ‘lead developer’ in less than a year, but our conversation made things somewhat clearer for them, it’s fair to say.  And the words “lying” , “scheming”, “disorganised”, “manipulative” and “unholy motherfucker of the first order” never even passed my lips.

Leaving 2015

It’s the end of 2015, and for the first time in a long time, it’s been a good year. It’s had its ups and downs for sure, but the general direction has definitely been upwards and positive.

On the ‘ups’ side, we have…

  • worked all year on the same contract, which has made things a lot easier
  • built up some savings, for the first time in at least a decade
  • started up my own company and business, plus laying the groundwork for next year’s developments
  • been out to a good range of restaurants, and had a long weekend in Edinburgh
  • done some writing, and developed some ideas for working on in 2016

On the ‘downs’…

  • When I say ‘worked all year’, I mean it. Holidays and breaks have pretty much not happened. Certainly nothing more than that long weekend in Edinburgh
  • I’ve not built up the savings as much as I could/should have – but that’s been down to stuff with the car, the restaurants, and actually having a decent year of non-monastic living
  • having my own company again means I also have to deal with HMRC, Companies House, and bastard accountants
  • I haven’t actually finished any of the writing things

So it’s all swings and roundabouts, but all told it’s been a good year with a lot of stuff I’m really pleased about and/or proud of.

A Christmas Lunch

ScroogeWeirdly, today I’m going to a Christmas Lunch with my current client company. It was completely unexpected – I’ve heard them talking about it on the days I’ve been in their office for the last month, but hadn’t been invited. Fine by me, it’s hardly something I’m going to take offence at.

But last week the boss invited me, and changed my day in the office in order for me to be there.  At which point it’s kind of churlish to refuse. (Even by my standards)

So there we go – my fourth work-based Christmas thing ever. At least it’s only a lunch thing.

Ghost Town

ScroogeAccording to the BBC, today is the peak day for travelling around the Festering Season. Schools break up, companies close down, and people piss off on holiday – so there’s travellers alongside the commuters and so on. Supposedly, there’ll be more than 13 million journeys of at least 20 miles, which makes it even less of a joy than usual. (Which seems about right for the Festering Season, but then, I’m a cynic)

That figure’s an odd one though – journeys of at least 20 miles? Does that even qualify as a journey these days? In my head (which we all know is a strange place at the best of times) 20 miles is barely a trip, let alone a journey.

Round here, it’s been weirdly quiet all week – regardless of whether it’s on the roads, in town, or in the office, a lot of people seem to have already stuffed off. Which makes it all very peaceful. I suppose it’s easy for small companies (2 or 3 people at most) to take longer breaks and so on.

As it is, I’m working right through ’til the 24th (as usual) and so are the companies I’m working for at the moment. I don’t mind – but then, I’m not travelling, or doing much over the Festering Season.


Slightly Less Festering Than Usual

ScroogeThis year, most of my working week has been spent in my own small office, away from people and corporate bullshit. It’s been highly beneficial to me in general – despite realising I’ve been doing this all year with no breaks – and I’m far, far calmer and more content than I’ve been in a long time.

The run-up to the Festering Season has reminded me of this again – primarily because I’m just not filled with as much loathing of the Season as I usually am. I’ve not been nagged about being a Scrooge, or had to listen to all that interminable “Oh, but the run-up to Christmas is the best” bollocks, along with all the witterings about who’ll do what (or did what) at the annual work Christmas Do.

In short, doing my own thing has been hugely beneficial all round.

I still don’t like it as a season – it’s not something I dislike just because of the bullshit of others – but I’m certainly feeling less hateful than usual. It’s really quite odd, but in a good way.

Mind you, I’m still glad it’ll be all over in two weeks’ time…

2015/16 – Business and Work

At some point in the coming year, I’ll be changing contracts. That’s just par for the course (although I’ve been in the current one for a year now) so it’s not a worry.  I’ve mentioned it before in relation to finances and so on, but this post is going to be more focused on the work side of things.

One of the bigger changes within this year was that I’ve also gone back to working through my own limited company, instead of through PAYE Umbrella companies, which means I’ll be better off in the long run.

I’m pretty much sure that I’ll be sticking with contracting for the coming year at least. There *may* be a perm role somewhere out there with my name on it – but I’m not convinced, and not looking for it.

In fairness, I have had some good perm roles (or as they’re sometimes known, “proper jobs”) along the way. However, it’s also valid that every single role I’ve fucking hated (or has involved working for an utter shitwhistle) has been a perm role. The last couple in particular have left me not wanting to go back down that route for the moment.  (And yes, that could come back to bite me on the arse, I know)

So for now, I’m aiming to stick with the contracting.  Along the way I’m also looking at developing some of my own stuff properly – like the writing post, I’ve got a huge number of ideas on the go, but unlike the writing post, I’ve got a goal, a target, and a particular product/concept to focus on.

There’s a timeline for that, which is the end of this 2015/16 process. At that point, there’s a conference and exhibition going on, where I want to be able to have a product I can launch and discuss with the target market.

That’s the goal, and the plan. Things may arise to change those aims, but for now it’s looking promising.


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