in Weeknotes

Weeknotes #277 — Work experience

Doing much better, busy making mischief again
Doing much better, busy making mischief again

Rewarding, but knackering. My youngest son was with me for a week of work experience while my wife was away staffing a Year 6 residential trip. After four days of regular office hours, my son was ready to drop. But, he did so well and I’m so proud of him.

Back when I was his age, you could go to an office and reasonably expect to be given productive things to do. Some of my early jobs involved lots of data entry — taking a bunch of handwritten forms and copying the data by hand into a computer. In those innocent days, typically the computer itself would have a password as opposed to the individuals who used it. It doesn’t work like that anymore. Instead, he spent time with me in meetings and had individual sessions with around 20 of my wonderful, generous colleagues throughout the week. On the rare occasion he didn’t have much going on, he sat at his desk working through some freeCodeCamp tutorials on a laptop.

Usually I have days full of meetings and then spend two or three hours catching up with work at the end of the day. But this week we had to get out of the office on time in order to get home, get the family fed and make sure everyone was all set for the morning. I then found myself trying to cram in as much as I could before I found myself falling asleep.

We’ll both have fond memories of the week. It was so lovely to share a bit of working life with him. From what I can tell, he got a lot out of the experience and understands much more about working life.

Ollie got better every day and now seems almost back to normal, a remarkable turnaround from last week where the emergency vet indicated that he could be on death’s door. Strong cat! 💪

This was a week in which I:

  • Had the regular programme and project meetings.
  • Had a kick-off meeting with a real estate/construction/facilities specialist whom we plan to work with. I am hoping that by bringing him on board, even part time, it will free me up a little bit and help to de-risk our projects.
  • For the first time since they were awarded the contract, met with the general contractor team who will be doing the construction work in one of our offices and showed them around our space. We’ve made a plan for them to work on site next week so that they can rapidly develop their plans, ask questions and validate assumptions.
  • Had meetings with our sister company to review the latest version of the construction project costs as well as the planned changes to the shared mechanical, electrical and technology systems.
  • Met with our CEO to review the total cost projections for our real estate and facilities portfolio for the next decade.
  • Discussed with my team about how I want to use our two vacant roles to take us in a slightly different direction.
  • Gave an update on our real estate projects at our quarterly senior management technology town hall meeting. As much as it would have been good to be there in person, joining the meeting remotely gave me the opportunity to write a script and read it as if from an autocue.
  • Helped a colleague to figure out the next steps to prove that a system isn’t working as it should be, so that the team responsible for it will prioritise fixing it.
  • Heard that a project will be delayed until next year. Although this isn’t good news in itself, it helps in that it means our team will be pulled in one less direction and can focus on the projects that are still on track.
  • Listened to feedback from one of our senior executives on a leadership conference that was held the week before. We got to watch a fascinating interview with one of our key clients. For those of us who don’t work directly with external clients every day, it gave us invaluable insights into the impact of our work.
  • Enjoyed a Learning Hour on a tool that has been built to track the expiry dates of service accounts.
  • Attended a Technology Leadership webinar hosted by our Group CIO and COO.
  • Decided to give the weekly cycling club ride a miss. The weather didn’t look too good and it was all the excuse I needed to opt for a lie-in on Saturday after what had been an exhausting week. I opted for a ride on my indoor trainer instead, looking out of the window at the rain coming down.
  • Managed to catch a couple of Euro 2024 football matches. If it was another year I’d be following more of them but things are just too busy right now.
  • Spent one of the days at the weekend catching up with work. It’s not great to work on the weekend but I’m so glad I prioritised it. For me, anxiety builds up when things feel like they are out of control. It was good to take each topic — finance updates, where we are with fitting out meeting rooms, creating the next Steering Committee pack — and get on top of them.
  • Does anybody want a pianola? It belonged to my nan who recently passed away and family are trying to find it a good home. I have so many fond memories of playing the piano rolls as a kid. Unfortunately we don’t have room for it in our house, otherwise I would gladly take it in.
New home wanted, apply within
New home wanted, apply within

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  • I’m gutted to catch up on the news that Stages Cycling seem to have gone out of business. I bought a Stages SB20 smart trainer back in February 2023 on a 0% finance deal over two years and am still paying it off. The trainer needs a smartphone app to control the virtual gear settings, so I’m not sure what I’m going to do when it’s time to upgrade my phone but the app is no longer available.

Next week: Another four-day week in the office.

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