Things I’ve Learned At Work


I just moved my technical blog from private hosting to Medium. It’s been gathering dust for the last few years as I transitioned away from hands-on development into management and leadership. The further I’ve moved in that direction it’s meant less coding and so less code-related discoveries to write about. It was inevitable and unavoidable, which I’ll get to later, but the point I’m trying to make is that I plan to revive this blog by writing more broadly about my experiences and things I’ve learned at work.

You won’t find answers to your work-related problems here. I have simply gained some experience and learned a thing or two over the years which I don’t mind sharing. If any of this helps a reader gain a different perspective on challenges or decisions they’re facing, that’s great. Other posts I’ve written share solutions I’ve found to various technical problems but, as I’ve said, you won’t find answers here. These posts are different.

I don’t know how to use Medium properly yet, but I’m not going to wait until I’ve learned every nook and cranny before I get started. One of the first things I’m noticing, that’s kind of funny to me, is that it won’t let me do two spaces after a full stop. I know that’s old fashioned now, but it used to be a thing and I’ve found it a hard habit to break. I guess that makes me ‘old school’ these days. My background is secretarial, by way of explanation, but that’s a story I’ll come back to another day.

I also noticed Medium has this ‘series’ feature so I’ve decided to use it to gather these stories together. I have no idea how this works yet, I’ll figure it out as I go along.

Incidentally, this leads me to my first tip for anyone starting out or stuck in a rut or trying something new — don’t wait until you think you know something up, down, inside and out before trying something, just get stuck in and learn as you go. I’ve just decided I’ll make that the topic of my next post. I spent the last 20 mins rambling off topic before coming to the realisation it was a story in itself, so I’ve lifted it out. I’ll publish it shortly. This is only the fifth paragraph and I’ve already created stubs for three different stories! I’m starting to think this series was a good idea.

I started my working career in London back in 1993. I’d had odd jobs before then, but when I packed two suitcases and left home I was on my own. I had to start taking care of myself. This meant the same as it does for everyone else — getting proper full time work, finding somewhere to live and paying for bills and food. When I arrived in London, I went to a recruitment agency that same afternoon and I started my first proper job the next morning.

Proper job #1 was as a temporary receptionist at a small family-run company in North London. Here, perhaps the most unlikely person taught me by example (an example I have never forgotten), that it was a good thing to roll up my sleeves and get stuck in. I’ve been lucky enough to remain gainfully employed ever since, and it’s been quite a journey.

In this series of posts I’ll share my experiences and things I’ve learned along the way.

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