Like all the best ideas, it came to me in the shower one morning, in spring 2007. My employer had just had some bad news about its future funding, and I was thinking that it really was time I got my act together and, well, did something else.
It isn’t that I disliked my job, or even that I dislike it now. When you work for The Firm, as it shall be known from here on in, you become proud of what it does. If you don’t, you shouldn’t be working there. But I realised that my job had peaked, and any future opportunities there weren’t really likely to appeal. And a decade on from rolling up there one day as a bright-eyed, fresh-faced newbie who was still living with his mum and dad, the stresses and strains were starting to show a bit. Well, they’d been showing for years, but now was the time to take corrective action. The Firm has a habit of making many of its staff “native” – at best, living in west London clusters where they find friends and live happy lives; at worst, promoting a lazy group-think where nobody really remembers what it was like to live outside a west London media cluster. I’d long ago decided to dig in and stay in south-east London, my home and where I’ve always lived, so was never going to do that. But long working days and a lengthy commute were taking their toll.
Later in 2007, the opportunity came. I turned up for work on an autumnal day off, and was told the news. My department was to be obliterated, I was to get a whole new set of bosses… and the chance, maybe, to get out of work with a nice pay-off. I’d done some rough sums in the shower and deduced that I could make redundancy work for me. I had a think, panicked a bit, and went for it. I took the train to a hill in north London, looked across the capital, and toasted a bright new future.
Except I didn’t get it. But this July, another chance came up. I seized it with both hands, and it’s been confirmed. I leave in March, after 10-and-a-half years of loyal service to the cause.
Since then, the world’s changed a little. The economy’s tanked. I’m going to leave into a far harsher world. I can forget about raiding that ethical shares ISA for now, damn… but I still want to do it. Yes, I’m probably mad, and I have no definite plans for the future as yet. But for my own happiness, this needs to happen.
That’s where this blog comes in. I’ve ranted and raved on message boards and blogs for years under daft pseudonyms, but – because of my job, and because enemies of The Firm like picking off its staff who have opinions on anything – have never really put my name to anything. That’s got to change, and it changes right now. I’ll be watching my mouth over the next six months, but it’ll be good for me to do that. And out of that, hopefully, will be a collection of thoughts, opinions, and discussions that will do some good; even if it’s just giving you something to read while you’re just doing some work. And after that? Well, we’ll see.
So, welcome to 853. And please, make yourself comfortable.