Tag Archives: work

New beginnings and the end of things

New beginnings and the end of things

Wednesday. Seven years ago I was still only just six months into my job as Web Designer for the School of Social Sciencs and Law and had just completed my first major project to overhauled the fractured school website – 42 templates I say(!!) is about 41 too many – and relaunched the new Department of Law website. Four year’s on and the university had the new CMS and I was champing at the bit to get in it. Over the intervening three years I have seen our server limp on requiring regular warm words and encouragement to keep it going.

I have been developing websites within the unversity CMS for about three years – indeed I launched the first mini-site to be hosted on it outside of the main site, and have since developed some other, not insubstantial sites (Do you know how many poems are in the Poetry Centre website? I do. Lots. And I migrated them all. I kept finding them hiding behind others, it went on forever…).

Today though, I passed a major milestone and migrated the School of Law website completely off the old webserver and into the sparkly new CMS. And you know what, it switched over pretty smoothly. I’m pleased. One down, four to go, and few more miscelaneous minisites and intranets and I’m done. Maybe that day of turning off a webserver that I really shouldn’t be responsible for maintaining is actually in site.

Onwards, then… to my self-imposed deadline of 1 May to get the other four core departmental sites migrated.

The longest week

I have had, possibly the longest, most-tiring week of my working life. After months of planning the project that I was leading on finally came to fluition: Virtual Open Week. Following on from the modest success of our Virtually There days last April, this was going to be bigger and better than before. Where last time we had settled for one live webchat for each department (five in all), this time we were going for one for every, single subject (with the exception of languages which remained grouped together) totalling 16 sessions across four days, totalling eight hours of live broadcasts.

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Understandably I’ve built up a fair amount of TOIL this week, what with working a full day last Saturday finishing off the virtual tour, and then an hour or more at the end of each day making sure the email reminders were primed and ready to go for the following day… this all means that for my mammoth 23 days off over Christmas I only have to take 4½ days of actual holiday! Now that’s what you call a win!

Still dog-tired now though!! :-\

 

Inspiration escaping me

Inspiration escaping me

This evening I find myself tired. In my day job, it has been Open Day, and the October one is one of our biggest and most important for next year’s recruitment. I always feel a bit of a fraud for being tired after these because other’s should be far more tired than me, but it is still quite an intense time helping potential students get the most from their visit. I guess that’s why. The weather this morning, was to be honest, dismal. It was very, very wet, but we were still busy so that was good, and this afternoon it cleared up and this evening has been the most beautiful of autumn ones. I’m sure that overnight all the trees have suddenly started properly turning! The changing of seasons is always something that inspires me…

I’m also being inspired to write again. It now being four months since I subbed Mr Tumnal to a couple of publishers I’m now planning on finishing it up for a pre-Christmas Indie release. I’ve realised for this that I need to have a cover professionally made for it, and have contacted a few designers. I’ve already had some brilliant early sketches from Silviu Sadoschi, who has previously designed the cover for my friend, John Scotcher’s The Boy in Winter’s Grasp. I’ve also made contact with Alexandra Allden, the sister of a colleague of a colleague of mine. Talking to both Silviu and Alexandra have shown me that a professional cover design was not the prohibitive expense that I thought it was going to be, and have enthused me with the idea that I really can do my story justice, and I am excited by the prospect of working with either.

I’m also finding the need to get stuck into my next story leaching out of me. I’ve written short stories in the last year, but I’m finding my fingers aching to write the next novel. And here’s the thing? Which of my many ideas is going to my next? My natural home is one of magical realism, but the one I’m not sure if the next I feel closest to is magical? There’s a twist, and its a really good twist, but I’m not sure if magic lies therein. I guess that’s not so much of a problem.

I just need to get my pen out and place the first mark down and write.

On the sixth day of advent: a reduction in my carbon footprint

On the sixth day of advent: a reduction in my carbon footprint

I’m on holiday! Oh yeah! 😀

It’s been a long ol’ week, and not just because of the second 10-hour day at work, but its over now, and I’ve even got an old office chair I was able to take home with me in order to fulfill the requirements of the homework setup…

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I’ve also now applied for my bus pass. Work offer an interest-free loan system so that the cost of the annual season ticket – a MegaRider Gold Plus with Oxford SmartZone – is spread out across the year and taken monthly directly from my salary. Hopefully it should arrive sometime next week when I’m on holiday, ready for my final week’s work of the year.

I’m still coming to terms with the not being able to drive the car (which I am still the policy holder on my insurance for but not a named driver on!), but I am also kind of looking forward to the adventure. I should be able to further smash my reading targets for the next year, and hey, my climate footprint will be going down. Who knows, it could be fun… (well until I’m standing in the rain and the dark at a lonely bus stop…)

On the fifth day of advent: a long day

On the fifth day of advent: a long day

Worked a 10-hour day today, thanks to Emma kindly dropping me off at work and then collecting me again at the end of the day. What it did mean though, is that instead of working my normal 8:30 to 4:30 hours, in order to fit in with Emma’s 8 till 5, I ended up at my desk from 7:30 to 5:30…

Still, I feel a bit more confident about things now. My boss has been brilliant about my news and is supporting the idea that I should be able to work from home home more regularly to complement me getting the bus mostly. And I’ve resolved getting to band. Neil, our new conductor, lives, like our last two out near Northampton and is able to drop by and collect me on the way to band so that’s good.

Something that I did find a bit much to deal with today was the bombshell news that my brilliant boss is not going to be my boss for much longer. Come February she’s leaving us for a new job elsewhere. For me, this is just at the point when I really glad that with things how they are, that I had a nice supportive boss. I really didn’t deal with that very well at all, and all but burst into tears in her office! Which was okay, because she is understanding like that.

 

Productivity, and the mutually beneficial relationship

Productivity, and the mutually beneficial relationship

Today has been a highly productive day at work in which I have refreshed our faculty/departmental news pages with a new look to manage the new design (okay, its about nine months old already…) of the main website. The news pages for one reason or another are hosted in a WordPress install and so a certain amount of wordpress-fudgery has been required…

I wouldn’t say I was a highly experienced or adept WordPress designer but I have learnt a thing or two about how it works over the years, and I do have all number of instances of it working in various ways in my main work, my freelance, and personal life. Today, I was able to bring all of these influences together to fix the faculty news pages quickly. It was just an added bonus that in doing so I was also able to solve a problem on both this personal blog, and the Abingdon Concert Band website.

From The Guardian: Disability in the workplace: ‘we’re not rain man’

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/08/autism-career-ladder-workplace

Penny Andrews has recently been employed as a graduate trainee librarian at Leeds Metropolitan University. She beat over 200 people to her post, despite having Asperger’s syndrome, dyspraxia and cerebral palsy. Andrews’ employers have more provision for disabilities than most, but she feels that her circumstances should not be the exception, saying there is an undiscovered workforce out there, with ‘a pool of untapped talent’ among people with autism

From The Guardian: Disability in the workplace: ‘we’re not rain man’

http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2013/mar/08/autism-career-ladder-workplace

Penny Andrews has recently been employed as a graduate trainee librarian at Leeds Metropolitan University. She beat over 200 people to her post, despite having Asperger’s syndrome, dyspraxia and cerebral palsy. Andrews’ employers have more provision for disabilities than most, but she feels that her circumstances should not be the exception, saying there is an undiscovered workforce out there, with ‘a pool of untapped talent’ among people with autism

Originally published at shepline: the journal


New things

Today I got to see the inside of the new content management system. Powered by Ektron the new system goes live to replace the main site at work and then I shall move my sites over after to it so I have been looking forward to get my hands on the system. It is going to be quite a steep learning curve but from my first impressions… I think it’s going to work.

And then the snow came

Today’s snowfall has been much-publicised, so much so that both Kirsty and I arranged yesterday to work from our respective homes. When it came to this morning there was just the lightest of dustings left on the ground from yesterday evening and I could definitely have driven in to work, but I knew this would be silly. Whilst a lot of people seemed to be commenting online about how much of a fuss over nothing everyone was making of it, I knew that it wasn’t the getting to work so much as the getting back from work would be the problem.

By 8 o’clock the snow had started to fall, and by 10 o’clock the inches were mounting up. by 2 o’clock in the afternoon work was beginning to close already because of the weather. I had definitely made the right decision; being far more productive at home than I would have ever have been had I gone into Oxford and spent however long on the road trying to get home again.

When Emma got back from work – her last day at Bicester Vets – we went out again and she drove me to the butchers in Launton to get our meat, I had a walk around the local park in the snow before retreating to the warm indoors to wait for the shopping order to arrive which arrived only 2 minutes late! Tomorrow, we will have to venture out to get our veg from the market, and if we can, a new bale of hay from Fringford. A walk in the snow would be nice. I think my favourite image of the day was the one above of the witchhazel seemingly flowering out of snow.

I love snow. 🙂

On the eighth day of Christmas: yearning for the sofa

So with the feared 2nd January, so I had to return to work, which was okay and I was productive, but I did find myself yearning for the sofa and my book. Come the afternoon I had to console myself with a bar of chocolate…

After getting home and doing the shopping order for Friday, I made sure I grabbed some sofa time to read a couple of chapters before making dinner. Next up, I just need squeeze in a bit of writing time to Mr Tumnal and I will have rescued the day.

On the nineteenth day of advent: the last working day of the year

Yesterday was the last Tuesday that I would work this year. Today was the last day I would work this year. That said, to say *day* might be pushing things a bit. After a morning trying to finish things off – difficult with a flaky and unreliable network drive – Team Marketing headed out to The White Hart in Old Headington for our austerity Christmas lunch ans Secret Santa.

Far from being a serious affair of tightly kept secrets, from the start we were all keen to piece together who might have whom. Everyone knew who had Kirsty; Amy knew who I had; both Claire and Robert had strayed over the set £3; Emrys had admitted to his containing two presents with 2p change; I had let slip that mine was exactly £3 and not purchased from a chain store; and Nicola’ s had been purchased with Danish Krona.

The steak and ale pie that I had was delicious. It would have been nice to have a washed it down with mulled wine but I was driving. All in all a very nice way to end the working year…