Regeneration: You were expecting someone else?


Colin Baker's regeneration as Doctor Who.

Twenty-Twenty-Two is Twenty-Twenty-NEW. Yup - time for me to regenerate into a new job. To recap - five years ago, I started at GDS in the Open Standards Team. Two-and-a-bit years later, I took a 6 months secondment to NHSX to do Open Standards. Eighteen months later, they finally let me go. I joined the…

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How many of my colleagues are replicants?


You're in a desert walking along in the sand, when all of a sudden you look down and see a tortoise crawling toward you. You reach down and flip it over onto its back. The tortoise lays on its back, its belly baking in the hot sun, beating its legs, trying to turn itself over, but it can't. Not without your help. But you are not helping. Why is that? Answers available are Is this the test now? What desert? Tortoise? What's that? Do you make up these questions or do they write them down for you? What do you mean, I'm not helping?

I hate the way modern workplaces make you beg for feedback. Something about the forcing of humanity into little boxes and vague sentiments really gets my goat. So, this year, I added an extra question to my validation-seeking questionnaire. As well as asking how I did this year, what I could do better, where we…

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Weeknotes - Lustrum


Terence Eden standing outside Number 10 Downing Street.

lustrum lŭs′trəm A ceremonial purification of the entire ancient Roman population after the census every five years. A period of five years. Five long years ago I quit my job in the mobile industry and started working for the Civil Service. It has been an "interesting" period! On a personal level, I've gone from GDS,…

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Outdated Advice For Job Applicants


A golden envelope.

I was recently asked to look at some advice for new graduates entering the workforce. It was the usual mix of helpful, obvious, and trite. You know the sort - tailor your application to the job specification, make sure your CV is spelled correctly, don't give up, etc. In the middle of it, was this…

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The unreasonable effectiveness of simple HTML


The HTML5 Logo.

I've told this story at conferences - but due to the general situation I thought I'd retell it here. A few years ago I was doing policy research in a housing benefits office in London. They are singularly unlovely places. The walls are brightened up with posters offering helpful services for people fleeing domestic violence.…

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All Good Things


Paul Mcgann as Doctor Who.

Well, that was a whirlwind! After 18-months at NHSX, my 6-month temporary secondment has reached its end. It's always hard when a job finishes. The secondment was twice extended, and that let me carry on defining open technology standards for the NHS. Now it is over and I'm a bit sad. The pandemic seems to…

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A holiday is a great way to prevent a messiah complex


Last Monday was a Bank Holiday in the UK. The Tuesday was a "Privilege Day" - a day off for Civil Servants for the Queen's birthday. Thursday was my wife's birthday - which I had booked off ages ago. So I decided to cash in my TOIL and take Wednesday and Friday as holidays as…

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When part of your job is *not* caring


Many years ago, when I worked at Vodafone, we had a senior network engineer give us a talk about keeping the network stable in the hours after the 7/7 bombings. He was completely dispassionate. He spoke about analysing network traffic, predicting demand spikes, routing around damage, physically securing sites, supporting the emergency services - and…

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My WFH Set Up


A corner desk, laptop, chair, vertical monitor and assorted junk.

Inspired by my friend Meri's WFH Setup Tips, I thought I'd share my home-working setup. We've moved house recently, so I'm still finding my feet - but as I work from home fairly often, and have a bit of RSI, I thought I'd show you what I've got and how I use it. The desk…

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Common CV mistakes made by Senior Leaders


Skills with arbitrary scores on them.

I hate writing CVs. But I love reading them. I recently had the chance to review applications for some fairly senior positions at work. I'd like to talk about some of the common - and downright weird - mistakes people make on them. I promise you these are all real - only lightly adjusted for…

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