Friday, 30 March 2012

Word's starting to leak

that I'm on my way... over the last few days I've had a series of emails from various geographical locations but also a number of photographs which people have taken along the way - mostly me in body armour looking dishevelled but a couple of more civilised looking snaps like this of dinner in Al Qadisiyah, Baghdad last November. We had a lovely night sampling local dishes, followed by a cinema night watching a bootleg copy of 'London Boulevard'.

I guess most people who read these posts probably think I'm barking mad or have masochistic tendencies, but I have truly enjoyed (almost) everything I've done; had some superb experiences and met some absolutely fabulous people along the way. I'm pretty sure that it's influenced my perspective on life for the better.

Friday, 16 March 2012


seems to be one of the more favoured 'values' that major organisations like to bandy about. There's been a lot in the press recently due to the resignation of Greg Smith from Goldman Sachs. The press relating to his open letter to the New York Times has been mixed. Whilst many have applauded his stance, morals, and courage of his convictions; many others have said he was idealistic and naïve. Having worked in business which are predominantly about the delivery of skills/expertise through manpower for some 12+ years now, and my personal view is that staff are frequently no longer seen as an asset but simply a means to an end.

On a personal note, I'm currently viewing first hand how someone who has served a business for many years, with an exemplary record of performance, no absence, and obvious measurable results; recently praised by the CEO in front of their peers, their success cited on internal posters; has been turfed out on the quiet without any due consideration. A pretty damning indictment of one of that business' alleged core values. Shocking stuff!

PS. The 'values' pic is from Enron....tiny bit of irony....

Monday, 12 March 2012

It's like living in a revolving door!

so much change and stuff to get my head around at the moment.....

Some positive - Young Blood has been accepted on both a Masters course in Human Rights & Genocide Studies and a Law conversion course and is now trying to decide which to opt for from a future career perspective as well as work out the practicalities of funding, and moving from the Steel City etc.

Some not so positive - an issue which I am not permitted to blog about but will basically make me the sole provider for the Frosties in the very near future. Talk about shock to the system!

Just when you think things are stable...All change....

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Being asked the impossible

is a pretty common occurrence in my current job. Today we heard we are the preferred bidders for a project in Libya. The bid was submitted quite some time ago and at that point I raised concerns about the feasibility of manning it should we be successful. As usual I was patted on the head and ignored....So here we are with contract mobilisation 2 weeks away and no real plan. I love our Business Development guys (not) :o/ Needless to say I envisage having to go out there to sort out the mess. Even if we are able to sort out a transfer from the existing incumbent we’ll have to screen and vet etc. To say it'll be a challenge is a bit of an understatement...the current provider is a Franco/Hungarian outfit which will make it a challenge in itself...never mind the backdrop of Libya itself.

Somehow people seem to reckon I'm capable of sorting this stuff out....Me with my grade B at 'O' level in French donkeys years ago, and my one word of Hungarian - 'Goulash'!

Anyone got a Babel Fish I can borrow?

Friday, 9 March 2012

The deed is done

I've handed in my notice!!

Much as am relieved to be able to have done so, I can't help feeling slightly bad as my leaving causes my boss a bit of a headache. He's a thoroughly decent chap and the working environment has been so much better since he came; but this is a good opportunity in so many ways; I feel I need to grab it, scared though I am of the step up, not to mention the possibility of failing.
My head's in a much better state than it's been for a while. It's been a horrible period of uncertainty/ambiguity for the last seven months...the work situation and my previous boss's behaviour meant I felt constantly culpable, vulnerable or both!! fried my brain, but now I can move on and draw a line under the whole thing.

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Decisions, decisions

Well I reckon I've taken ample soundings & advice from those who know me well work-wise (particular thanks to Ms. Cor-Blimey & Mr. Futures Positive). After mulling things over considerably the decision is to take a punt on the new job. It's not about the dosh, more about the chance to leave behind the crapola of the current place, and try something different. I know diddly squat about the new sector, but then again what did I know about security or the Middle East 2 yrs ago, and probably considerably less re. electronic surveillance & cyber security etc. 12 yrs ago...but managed to blag my way through a career in both those sectors ok :D

I had a good natter to my prospective boss about some housekeeping stuff such as the amount of travel involved/time away from home so I could square that away with the sproglets as they are the ones who feel it most when I'm not there. They get why I want to do it, what it means for them etc. and have encouraged me to sign on the dotted line, so I spent the afternoon filling in a stack of forms accepting the position, and signing up for death in service, medical cover etc. Only thing left to do is have the conversation with my current boss....gulp!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Flipping heck!

just when I'd started to think about staying put an offer of employment lands in my in box!!! If that had arrived a couple of months ago I would never have given accepting a second thought but things have improved at work; I have a new boss and approval to get the staffing levels closer to where they need to be and consequently am enjoying work again.

The offer is highly tempting but I think I'm having a mild crisis of confidence and need to try to reason out my concerns....I've actually showed a couple of friends the job spec and asked them to take a critical view on whether there's anything that they think is beyond me. I can't help fretting they want something i can't deliver. I mean, I have no idea about their business sector at all, nor half the countries they operate in!! There's a stack of stuff to do, half of which I've never actually put into practise on that sort of scale.... plus no direct reports so all influencing.... Can't help worrying it's too big a step for me....