42 of 365

Did you see the apprentice final live last night?  Carina Lepore won.  She wins a £250,000 investment into her business from Lord Alan Sugar.  Over the whole process she has always come across to me as perhaps the most down-to-earth and authentic business person.  And I was very glad that she won.

The runner-up Scarlett Allen-Horton was quite a formidable opponent.  Clearly more confident in the pitch – at least from the edits that we saw in the episode.

Carina pitched her artisan bakery in South London and her plans to expand it into a national chain.  Scarlett’s business idea was a recruitment company aimed at female engineers and manufacturers.

The apprentice is an entertaining  TV program.  I am influenced a lot by the personalities of those involved.  Warming to some like Thomas Skinner and feeling much less endeared by other like Lottie Lion.

During the show last night the final two candidates had to pick their teams.  Carina picked Pamela Laird first and Thomas as her next team-mate, whilst Lottie was picked last.

If you had to pick your team now – from your work colleagues, classmates, or friends and family – who would you choose and why?

Make a list, it might surprise you!

Thanks for reading,

Graham.

41 of 365

Today I made an extra special effort to get up earlier than I normally would in order to write.  In the 40 previous blogs posts I have created in 2019 (sequentially numbered “1 of 365” to “40 of 365“) I have followed a set formula.  My formulaic approach is to simply write about whatever comes to me of interest and time-box the writing in order to get on with the rest of my day.  I see no reason for this approach to change even after a break of over 4 months from writing.

During that break, in the UK, there has been a terrorist attack on London Bridge and a general election, the Premier League has started (Liverpool F.C. have a healthy lead) and I’ve been back at work in my day-job working on data strategy tooling for a financial institution.

So what can I tell the world ?  What is my message to my audience today?

I’d like to share this quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:  What is success?

To laugh often and much;
to win the respect of intelligent people
and the affection of children;
to earn the appreciation of honest critics
and endure the betrayal of false friends;
to appreciate the beauty;
to find the best in others;
to leave the world a bit better,
whether by a healthy child,
a garden patch
Or a redeemed social condition;
to know even one life has breathed easier
because you have lived.
This is to have succeeded!

This was shared with me and my colleagues by a senior manager at work at the start of the week upon reflecting on the successes of the year.  I hope you have enjoyed reading it.

Thanks for reading

Graham.

40 of 365

The rhythm of the ‘copter cutting through the sky
over the horizon as a plane soars by
the busyness of busy-bods setting up for sports
doggies playing friendly games doggies of all sorts

the sound of the clanging gate in the corner of the park
the chirping in the trees, not spoiled by a bark
the excited child’s voice as she throws her dog a ball
surrounded by a peacefulness, enveloped in it all

Sitting on the bench where John Vaughn watched the birds
hanging in the gentle breeze my litany of words

 

39 of 365

Monday morning each week I travel to Southend.  And I usually stay 2 nights in a Bed and Breakfast courtesy of AirBnB.  This Monday has been no different.  The drive is about 90 minutes – 75 miles on the motorway door to door.

On the way home last week on Wednesday evening I was very tired.  It has become a habit of mine to stop when I’m tired, but because this journey is so short –  I try not to.

Staying away from home for a couple of nights give me time to catch up on paperwork.  Today I have bought some extra paperwork with me.  I am hoping that this will become somewhat of a routine, because I am very bad at doing ‘admin’.

When I was younger I hated a routine.  I didn’t like the mundane habits, I used to get bored of them.  Nowadays I find a sense of comfort in a routine.  I sit in the same place when I get the tube into London.  I sit in the same desk, even when we’re hot-desking, I have the same breakfast and I have the same drinks.  I watch the same TV programs.  I listen to the same songs on the radio and watch movies that I’ve seen before.

Something tells me that I have to try and break through this in order to achieve my full ambition.  I’ve been thinking a lot about what to do with my life and career when this contract is finished at the end of the year.  I’d like to do something bigger and better and change not only my lifestyle but my working practices and direction in life.

At the age I am I feel like I’m running out of road.  I don’t want to stay in this comfort zone, I am looking for ways to break out of it.

Watch this space and thanks for reading.

Graham.

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Denise, Mari and Me.

Today was the day of the 10k run.  Denise and her friend Mari came and picked me up about 8:20.  And we arrived at Adam’s Park just before 9:00 a.m.  We had to sit in traffic for about 20 minutes as we arrived due to the volume of runners trying to get to the ground.

It was a humid day but not as hot as last year.  I had trained whilst on holiday, but haven’t been running regularly lately, so I was not expecting much of a good time.

I was pleased that I managed to run most of the first 8 kilometers.  I walked both of the major hills, I stopped at the water stations and after 8k I had to walk quite a lot of the rest of the route due to just being out of energy.

All in all – it was very enjoyable – especially as Caroline, Alice and Holly came to cheer me over the finish line.

I was expecting to see the greenhouse in the garden when I came home.  Unfortunately the person I had hired to move it – did not think it would just take the morning and couldn’t spend the whole day moving it.  Hopefully he can do it on Thursday.

Thanks for reading and have a good week.

Graham.

 

37 of 365

The weekend is here.  It’s been a long time coming after a long week.  Tomorrow I have the Wycombe 10k.  And we are also having a greenhouse put up.  We found one this week and as luck would have it, a card came through the letter box from a handy man who could put it up for us.  So fingers crossed by Sunday afternoon it will be in the garden.

It’s been a long week and I’ve been very tired.  I think it was a culture shock going back to work and the heat hasn’t helped.  Today, I want to have a relaxing day around the house pottering.  There is a lot to do,  but sometimes it’s knowing where to start – and sometimes just starting.

The plans of working on comedy seem to have fallen through.  Erik has gone back to Sweden.  I didn’t get to meet him and recording some stand up seems now like a long shot.  I have been asked to compere at a talent show on the 12th September, so that looks like my next thing on the agenda.

I haven’t got much to write about, because this week’s mostly been work.  So I’m going to stop now.

Thanks for reading.

Graham.

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The Greenhouse

We’ve been wanting a greenhouse for a while and recently we found one.  It’s available – but we have to find someone to dismantle and assemble it for us in order to transport it into our garden and get it set up.  There is a small time window for this as the lady is going on holiday.

Will keep you posted.

Thanks for reading.

Graham.

35 of 365

I heard about a new skill yesterday – that of the data translator.  Essentially from what I could determine the data translator sits in between a data scientist and a business person to interpret the data requirements for that business area and ensuring the data scientist understands those requirements and is able to provide the data in a way that the business person can interpret and make sense from.

The data translator skill-set seems to be one in nascent demand.  I could only see a tiny handful of roles requiring that skill-set, for example, on JobserveAs I mentioned the other day, I feel like I am in the right place at the right time regarding this new wave of demand for skills in the data arena.

As a serial contractor, I’ve always taken it seriously to keep my skills up to date and to add the maximum value in the role I’ve been in at the time.  I am very much looking forward to understanding more about how I can embrace these changes in the industry.

Thanks for reading, bear with me whilst I focus on my work for a while and I’m sure I’ll get back to more personal topics in due course.

Graham.

34 of 365

I’m starting to get back in the swing of things work-wise.  Time off when mum passed away and a couple of holidays later, I’m now back to work in the 2nd half of the year – with a contract that runs up until Christmas.

The thing front and foremost on  my mind has been the changes that are being introduced to IR35 that I wrote about on Sunday.

Since then I have read a couple of more articles that suggest big companies are still debating as to how to implement the changes.  One article stated that HSBC has initially used a broad-bush approach but now appear to be using the legislation to rationalise the contractor work-force by engaging them through a larger professional services company.

I see this change in legislation as an opportunity as much as a risk and will be discussing with an ex-colleague this evening to share ideas and options.

Thanks for Reading

Graham.