The Job Spec

The Job Spec

When I met my career advisor, we did an exercise with cards of job characteristics. I thought this would be helpful in defining the general specification of what I want from work. The exercise is to place cards in columns from Very Important to Not Important. However, you can then move them into just 2 columns to make it more black and white.


  • Short travel distance to work (< 1hr). Or WFH AT LEAST 2 days a week.
    • 2 days at home would allow 4 work outs a week and a dog run every other day
  • Being able to balance work and home life
  • Being independent and making my own decisions but also having someone for support
  • Being given the opportunity to develop my skills
  • Demonstrating expertise and skills
  • Doing a variety of things. Being creative and generating ideas.
  • Being independent
  • Being respected for honesty and integrity
  • Doing exact and detailed work
  • Not being away from home alot
  • Being able to work at own pace
  • Stretch and challenge in my role
  • Flexibility both ways
  • Not being put under a lot of personal pressure
  • Not micro managed
  • Clear rules for development/role

Continue reading “The Job Spec”


Study that works around you and your life

Study that works around you and your life

Open University

Sticking with Software Developer from the Adult Directions_ My Careers list, the next interesting link was to the Open University which offers a WIDE range of Undergraduate computing courses  and Postgraduate computing courses. In IT, I feel I definitely want to improve and probably formalise my programming skills. I’m certain I don’t want to do this by going back to University and I’m almost certain I don’t want to study full time. In this context, the OU has an appeal as their courses offer Study that works around you and your life. I also like the idea of doing shorter rather than longer courses. However, the various courses, paths, and entry requirements are a bit of a maze so I would need to get some advice.


If I study I want it to tick these boxes:

  • Study from home
  • Study part-time
  • Study short courses, i.e. not degrees in one go

Plan UK

Another good development today is that I am now supporting Plan again! Remember I mentioned that I cancelled ALL my direct debits on R-day. Including all my charities 😦 Well, it didn’t take me long to regret that knee jerk reaction. The good news is Plan has now reinstated my direct debit and I asked them quick enough so I’m still sponsoring my  little’pen-pal’ John Mike in Uganda, who I’ve been sponsoring for the last 5 years.

The best way to impress an interviewer is with technical ability

Quote of the day comes from this New Scientist article:

” The best way to impress an interviewer is with technical ability”

The 2nd interesting suggestion on my Adult Directions_ My Careers list was the hilariously original:

Software Developer

There’s just no fighting it I guess so I started exploring the resources suggested with it, the first of which was BCS: The Chartered Institute for IT.

For the classically trained this is probably no surprise but for those of us that stumbled into IT it offers a HUGE AMOUNT of career based info.  It’s prompted me to kick off a whole page on Personal Development and Career Planning, as well as these notes:

Continue reading “The best way to impress an interviewer is with technical ability”

And your selected career is …. Software Developer

The plan today was to work on Plan B  so I headed over to Adult Directions to see what careers it threw up. Based on my answers to 45 Skills and 117 Likes and Dislikes, it decided I should be a …. Software Developer! SHOCK. Ok so there were some other suggestions:

Out of these, some did throw up some useful links to Job Sites. This is the first:

Analytical Scientist



Week 3, Day 1 : Happy Anniversary Again

Hmm, so I’ve discovered that you start a blog and then one week later, stop. Is that normal? I guess it is. I’ve been a bit busy with life which I suppose is a good thing. Life including my daughter’s birthday, a family party for that, my niece’s birthday, a family party for that, my Wife and other daughter going away to Barcelona for the weekend, a Bank Holiday, a trip to London for a Doctor’s appointment. Stuff like that. And also to be honest a bit of a rebound from the initial enthusiasm about losing my job. Yes, a bit of grumpiness, anger and ‘I cannot be arsed now’ with this finding a job/career/next step thing.

So where did I get? Well, the main thing is that almost immediately after the last post, a career advisor, John, from Penna got in touch with me and we met up at the end of last week. That was a good 2-hour wide-ranging get-to-know-you talk-about-finding-a-job session. It generated lots of notes, that I’ve been too scared to go back to, which I will blog about in due course.

Plus the nice HR lady sent me a bunch of feedback ( and praise ) on my CV so I spent some time producing some more versions.

  • Kick off meeting with Career Consultant
  • 1:1 Consultancy End Date will be July 29th so USE IT OR LOSE IT
  • Produced 2 more CV versions with HR feedback and Personal Statement

The article of the day is the rise of the middle-aged intern which mentions that Goldman Sachs, MetLife, PricewaterhouseCoopers, and Barclays now have internship programmes for older workers. Not sure I want to be an intern but some of the qualities of more experienced workers resonate with me like ‘resilient and adaptable’ and ‘sounding board and a mentor’.

Week 2, Day 1 : Happy Anniversary

I’ve been discovering in recent months,  Walden, by Henry David Thoreau. This quote I’ve stumbled upon is especially thought-provoking at the moment:

“The common experience is that man fits himself as well as he can to the customary details of that work or trade he falls into, and tends it as a dog turns a spit. Then is he part of the machine he moves; the man is lost. Until he can manage to communicate himself to others in his full stature and proportion, he does not yet find his vocation.”

Have I found my true vocation? That’s what I’ve got to find out. And so one week in, Happy Anniversary to me!, I have an appointment to find out about the service that Penna offers. And yes I am lucky to get access to a service like this as part of my redundancy package. A lot of people don’t.

It turns out to be a good meeting. The expectations I had turned out to pretty accurate. The nice lady I spoke to says she we pair me up with a career advisor for some 1:1 help. She’s a good listener and has some good advice straight off. It also feels good to be out having meetings with new people.

I have two themes in my head at the moment. One is a blue sky, step back, consider all options approach. The other is more practical and centres around planning what I need to find a job in a similar role and probably field.

She advises focusing on the planning and allowing myself some time to think about options so I don’t rush into work and leave myself with a nagging feeling that I should have taken the chance to work through it whilst I had the opportunity. I agree with her. I also asked whether I should dive into networking for a) practice and b) information gathering. She advises to work on the list of possible contacts and to hold off until I have planned what I want to get out of those conversations ( besides catching up with some old friends as well of course ). I think she is right here also.