I left work a bit early today so I could be at home in time for my new PC to be delivered – with a timeslot of 5pm-9pm, I knew that if I left early, it wouldn’t turn up until round about 8:55, and if I left on time, it would have arrived at 5:05 and gone straight back to the depot never to be seen again.
Mere moments after I’d left the office, and the email get sent out telling the world of my promotion, which meant instead of getting home and finishing off some work, I actually sat and read a couple of million congratulatory emails instead.
It’s good (although slightly embarrassing!) to hear praise for ones work, but there’s ultimately something more important to me about getting through the interview last week, for it was the final vindication for a decision I made three years ago.
At the end of 2002 I was working as a Client Side Developer on complex (and occasionally eccentric) systems and I got to work on a lot of the big, important projects. There was just one problem. I was getting bored and wanted a change. At the time, there was only so many ways you could code a complex web application. Whilst the systems themselves varied in what they did, under the bonnet they were all a bit samey.
After some deliberation, I decided had two options – I could move on to another role in the BBC, or I could continue doing what I did outside the BBC.
Around that time, a redundancy round was announced as the department sought to focus more on systems and delivery, than content. They were looking for people to volunteer, and after much consideration, I decided to throw my name in to the hat. And after much consideration, they decided that as the department was refocusing on more complex computer systems, and I was someone who was good at working with complex computer systems, it would be a bit daft to let me go easily.
I’d already decided that if I didn’t get redundancy, I’d hang around for a bit and see what happened – some new roles were due to be created.
My mind had been moving towards production for some time, and in towards the end of 2002, beginning of 2003, I got the chance to work on a number of projects where I was let lose doing various productiony stuff – not a lot but enough to make me think it might be a good move for me. When some Assistant Development Producer roles came up in the early summer, I applied.
It was, I suppose, my last chance. There was a big part of me that knew that if I didn’t get the job, I was going to have to find something outside the BBC – I really needed that change.
Thankfully I got an interview – not that it went particularly well. For starters it was half an hour late because one of the panel was stuck on a train because the train in front was on fire. The room was small with no air conditioning. It was one of the hottest days of the year. Sweat was literally pouring down my face. This isn’t exactly the kind of thing that makes you look good, nor make you feel particularly confident. To add to that, I knew that I didn’t exactly have a huge wealth of appropriate experience to draw on and use in response to the various questions.
Despite all that, they gave me a chance, but even once I’d started the job, it took me months to decide that I had actually taken the right decision in moving away from development. It was a job that was completely new to me, and to compound things, I opted to start working on interactive TV which I knew next to nothing about.
As it happened, it did become clear that I was reasonably good at doing it, I got a good grasp of the technology and most of all, I did enjoy it. It all came together, and passing that interview last week was the final step on that path. It’s the step that says you got there, you did it reasonably well, and we think you’re right to go to the next level. It also says, on a personal level, that whilst things were a bit rocky a couple of years ago, it did all turn out in the end.
Incidentally, it’s 20:41, and the new computer has still not arrived…