Sunday, 22 December 2013

A busy year...

This has got to have been one of the busiest years I've had.
My day job at  the Co-op Bank became a real challenge as I found myself being moved from my Data Architect role into a more generalist Senior Solution Architect one, on a very complex Programme. There was a greater need for Solution Architects than Data Architects in the Coop at the time and so it was a case of me getting my head around a new role and a part of the Banking Group that I hadn't looked into at all in my two years with the company. I accepted this change in my role, although I did discuss it with more senior people, but as this role was not what I had specialised in over the years I also started to look for opportunities outside of the Co-op.
Whilst this was going on Accent UK was having one of its busiest years as far as Conventions and publications were concerned. We had had tables at more than 10 events (with Colin doing an additional two without me) by the end of the year.
On top of all of this my daughter Jemma has had her first year of exams and is at the stage where she needs to consider what she does for her A levels, and where she does it. This is always going to be a tough time for parents as you want to advise but need to step back and not take control. It all has to be their choice in the end. It is their life.
Hard work all around then.
I know I wouldn't have been able to cope if I didn't have the good fortune to know and work with a lot of really good people.
As I sat on the train going home from the last of this year's Christmas Parties I reflected, in a bit of an alcoholic stupor (supported by a whole load of drunken footfall fans who belted out the one song they knew... for the entire journey), on  how many good people I had met at the Co-op and how I'd miss them as I take on a Data Architect role at Lloyds (yep, I had managed to secure the role that I wanted).
Cracker Joke from first Co-op Xmas party.
I have made some really good friends at the Co-op and I realised that working in a city really helps. It's nice to be able to pop out for a coffee and chat at lunchtime, or to pop into a pub for a quick beer and chat on the way home. To get out of the office environment. My previous job at Barclays (looks like I'm collecting Banks) was more of a campus, self contained set up, in the middle of nowhere. This meant that when the day was done everybody just got into their cars and went home. I'm not sure what it'll be like in my new role but I've promised myself that I'd work at keeping in contact with my friends at the Co-op and also look up some of my old ones from Barclays, I really shouldn't have let so much time pass without getting in touch.
I guess I've discovered that I really am a bit of a people person.
We discussed this one a bit on the night of the Party..
it reads wrong to me... surely the little candle would go out first.
When it comes to Accent UK, I've always split the workload with Colin, but this year has seen our on going title WesterNoir go from strength to strength. Gary Crutchley and I meet up every week or so to work out a bit more of the plot, and Gary not only produces the wonderfully appropriate artwork but also fleshes out the first draft of the script, leaving me to merely edit it and suggest a title. This has helped enormously and I will go so far as to say that we wouldn't now be looking at print dates for issue 4 if Gary hadn't invested so much of himself in the project.
My best Christmas Cracker toy this year.
And finally, when it came to helping Jemma it was my wife Jane who was always there to listen and provide advice when asked for. We'll see what Jemma decides to do when she gets her results, but I commend Jane on playing a background role, answering questions, providing advice when asked for but never suggesting or recommending.
So, what am I trying to say ?
  1. I guess I've realised that it's important to take the time to sit back and think about your life once in a while, rather than just carry on rushing into each new day.
  2. I guess I've realised how important good friends are and how lucky I am to have so many.
  3. I guess I've realised that with good friends around you you're less likely to get swamped by it all, and...
  4. I guess I've realised that if you want a nice quiet journey home then not to get the 9.04pm train from Manchester Piccadilly to Crewe.


  1. Ah, lovely thoughts Dave, alcohol inspired or otherwise, good to know that you're just a big softie after all, although I realised that a long time ago, when you confessed to being a fan of the Twilight movies :)

    I think you've time to squeeze out one final post before the year end to maintain your batting average!!

    Have a great Christmas and looking forward to spending more time out West in 2014!

  2. Wise and lovely words Dave, you will be hugely missed by all your friends at the co-op.....not least by myself. It has been a similarly busy and stressful year for me but made easier by working with you so thank you again for all your help. I only hope your new colleagues appreciate how lucky they are to have you joining them. Right, enough of the serious stuff, back to that candle joke, read it again....

  3. Hi Colin, Yep.. .you spotted that '42 posts a year' trend. It happened by accident the first year, needed a little focus the second and a lot of last minute posts the third. This year though it has kind of happened all by itself. I think I'll name the last post of the year .. The 42nd Post.
    Here's to 2014... should be another busy one from an Accent UK perspective.

  4. Thanks Claire. It's been very much two sided... your timely advice and support have really helped me manage the pressures that come with the role and the strong characters around us. Shame you couldn't help with my 'unread email' problem though, 8500 unread emails in three years must be a record, not one to be proud of though so I won't be letting Guinness know.
    As to the Great Candle Debate... I'm thinking of starting a survey...