Job leaving rituals in the WFH era


Laptop covered in stickers.

One Friday last year, I posted some farewell messages in Slack. Removed myself from a bunch of Trello cards. Had a quick video call with the team. And then logged out of my laptop. I walked out of my home office and sat in my garden with a beer. The following Monday I opened the […]

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I've reached a local maxima in my career


Terence Eden standing outside Number 10 Downing Street.

(Welcome to #NaBloPoMo - National Blog Posting Month. I'm publishing a new blog post every day in November.) My employer encourages employees to have "career conversations" with their line manager. And I hate it. I don't resent them for making me participate, and it's probably good for me to engage in a little introspection. But […]

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Two Anniversaries on One Day


A passport stamp from Immigration Canada. The date is 11th October 1999.

I'm off to a wedding in Canada which means dealing with the bureaucracy of the Electronic Travel Authorisation. The form asked me if I'd ever had a previous visa for Canadaland. As it happens, yes! I spent a year studying in Ottawa. Well then, said the form, you'd better tell me your old visa number. […]

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How To Write A Cover Letter For A Job


A golden envelope.

I've just finished reviewing a few dozen CVs and Covering Letters. Almost all of them were awful! Candidates - I beg you - make this easy for me! I have been given a fixed set of scoring criteria and you've given me a 2,000 word essay on your life, loves, and hopes for the future. […]

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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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