December 2010 – A Year in Review

Well it’s that time again where I take a long look back at all that this year’s been and wonder what’s in store for 2011.

This year has been a bit of a mixed bag so to speak as there have been more twists and turns than a corkscrew. In January I experienced working for the French (I won’t say any more other than that it was an experience!). I also discovered that freezing cold Winter’s have made a return and saw the havoc that snow can wreak on your working day by getting stuck at home for 2 days not getting paid, which for a contractor is the worst thing that can happen!

The slight thaw in February also marked a change in my life when I suddenly started losing sight in my right eye. It was put down to a combination of high blood pressure and high cholesterol. In the space of several weeks I saw my sight go from slightly fuzzy to an ever increasing blur which caused me some problems in getting around without bumping into people, especially those ***tards who just cut across me when I’m walking! Sheesh.. the nerve of some people! The really scary thing was how I used to go to the gym 3 times a week and absolutely hammer myself! I suppose things could have been much worse…

March saw my return to the unemployed masses and going through the fortnightly ritual of presenting myself at the Jobcentre Plus offices to collect my pittance of an allowance. A family of 4 trying to survive on £100 a week JSA is nothing short of a miracle. As someone who has worked for almost two decades I am not afraid of work and have done everything I could to provide for my family.

I managed to get a short contracting gig in April at one of my own former employers. It wasn’t the most challenging of jobs, just setting up Apple Mac Books which none of the staff wanted because they weren’t the Pro version and unboxing loads of monitors and swapping out clunky old PC’s for shiny “cheap” laptops. Like all contract work, there was a lot of internal politics going on and I found my contract cut short to make way for some modern apprentices. It’s funny the things you’ll do for a £8 per hour. Seriously though I came to realise that my work ethic doesn’t go down well with the Public Sector which seems to like getting away with doing as little as possible for a whole lot more money than I was getting!

After that things calmed down a bit and I returned to the usual drudge of spending lots of time at home counting bricks. But something had changed in that I was now giving serious consideration to going it alone. That process actually got started and went as far as me becoming a Limited Company Director and in the process of setting up a website.

In September I had decided to explore another avenue I had previously missed out on. I had enrolled on a PTLLS course, which for those unfamiliar stands for “Preparing to Teach in the Lifelong Learning Sector”. Back in 2009 I had been looking for employment advice and one of the things that was suggested was that instead of completely retraining I should look at becoming a trainer and take advantage of the skills I have gained. The course itself was really good, I would never have thought that in 11 weeks I would be standing in front of a class actually delivering a lesson. I decided to do something away from the usual IT stuff people know me for and gave a 30 minute lesson on Japanese for Beginners.

October saw me pursuing interviews at a frenetic pace. In the space of two weeks I had gone through no less than five interviews, enduring a tyre blowout on route to one appointment. The penultimate one being the one I got in the bag!

Christmas has been pretty good for the family, we didn’t get to treat ourselves to a new TV as I would have liked but other financial considerations had to take precedent this time around. Maybe next year!

So what’s in store for me on 2011..? Well there are two things that I have on the horizon, one is that I will be back in hospital for an eye operation to try an clear up my vision. I have no real idea of how that will affect me but I guess I’ll just have to muddle through the best I can. Secondly, I have my 3 month review at work and I can’t help but feel a little anxious given what has happened to me in the past. I suppose one of the good things is that I was asked to take over from one of our former team members and specialise in Web Hosting in addition to my normal support duties and that can’t be a bad thing!

Other than that 2011 is pretty much a blank canvas that will hopefully paint a prettier picture than that of previous years.

So whoever and wherever you are here’s wishing you a Happy New Year!