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Friday, May 02, 2008

I swear blind I'm having more senior moments these days

... And I openly slurp my tea in public! I think it's time for a nice sit down to accompany.

My housemates are either on the home stretch twoards finishing - or have already finished (in Iain's case) Uni now; I've still got a year left.

It's going to be a little strange next year, but still fun. Time to really start getting down to business, I have a job to try and find well in advance AND a final year project to plan. And write.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

All work and no updates makes Christopher a lazy blogger!

Wow, I've been bad! Bad Christopher, naughty Christopher. No updates from Christopher for too long, so apologies if you've been expecting a quality read.

If you're expecting a quality read from here, you may be sadly disappointed. ;)

So, what's going on in my life at the moment? Well, I'm now two-and-a-bit months into my placement at Revolver in Wolverhampton, and I think I've just about got used to regular getups and 7pm finishes (wow, just like the rest of the working population!) Going to Indycom next week at the BPI HQ (Westminster, just by the London Eye, and I'm really looking forward to that - I love getting the real insight into the machinations of the music industry, and I'm really, REALLY looking forward to MIDEM too, that's going to be absolutely brilliant (potentially a once in a lifetime opportunity!) so I really want to make the most of that when it comes around.

Oh and thanks to the boss, I'm now also fully (self) trained in SIP VoIP phone system installations - you wouldn't think it'd be as complicated as our install turned out to be, but bloody hell, it wasn't half tough! You can ring me direct on 0121 2700 878 now, and it goes straight over the interwebs to my handset (how cool is that!)

This whole year-out-in-industry malarkey still feels a bit odd to me though, seeing my housemates doing their final year work and keeping more usual student hours (getting up at the crack of noon, staying up until 5am...), while academically I'm almost on hiatus - and what really worries me is the fact that I'm going to have to find new digs to live in next year, because all my other housemates are in their final year now. Uh oh... I hate change. But change is inevitable, one of the only other things you can be sure of besides death and taxes (if you aren't taxed to death, that is!) We have new kittehs at home, two lovely little black kittehs, and they are teh cuet! So I've been using them as an excuse to go home at the weekends recently ;) The free food and clothes washing is also a benefit, but teh kittehs are tehwin.

You'll excuse me if I go all soppy and act like a 6 year old, I just lurrrrve little kittens. :D
Anyway, at present I'm currently working on the revamp of the Revolver site. We're moving our hosting to the TIC (my faculty and where I also go to uni, incidentally!) and so I'm knee deep in server transitions, audio digitisation, metadata, iTunes synchronisation and I'm also fixing computers. I seem to have become the Revolver IT Department, but at least it's something I'm good at. Hopefully when all this transitional stuff is sorted out, I can get my hands dirty with something a little different, but this stuff takes time so I'm going to put up with it until it's all sorted for the time being.

It snowed the other day! That was really weird... Oh, and I got my HC2 form through the post again, so I can get free NHS prescriptions, free dental treatment, and discounted specs and free eyetests for another 12 months! Woohoo! If you want an HC2, here's what you do: get in touch with the NHS' Prescriptions Pricing Authority (the PPA), give them a ring on 01912 035 555 (the 0845 number just puts you through to the same people anyway) - request an HC1 and they send it to you in the post. You fill it out, providing any required documentation (bank statements or payslips if you're doing paid work, or proof of student status along with any financial awards such as student loans you might be receiving) and send it back to them. You're then income assessed and sent your HC2 in the post if you qualify - but unlike many aspects of the NHS, if there's a problem you don't have to chase them, they'll ring you! They even give you a postage paid envelope to send it back in, how nice is that.

So yeah, at the moment I'm generally in a good mood! Maybe it's because I've just had lunch, mmm food. Oh, and I'm doing some other blogs - my Beta Test Blog has become Into The Unknown, and I'm getting warmed up now for About Brum. My Dad and I were discussing blogging versus old-skool paper diaries the other day, and he expressed his bemusement with how so many people blog and why he doesn't think it's really worth that much effort given that if you wanted to write a diary you're better off writing in a diary proper... Which raises an interesting question - why do so many people blog? I'd never keep a diary (I'm not disciplined enough), but I really enjoy writing a good blog entry. Odd, isn't it... If you're reading this and you have a blog, besides from possible financial rewards, what are your reasons for blogging?

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Rule Number 1: Think Before Hitting Publish

...That wasn't very clever of me. A while back, I wrote an entry on this little blog - as I usually do, just off the cuff and without any planning or drafts, very much like just putting down what I felt at that exact moment in time. I was less than positive about my employer for my forthcoming placement, and this evening I received a phone call from one of the guys about this.

How did they find out? Apparently they'd got someone new in as a Press Officer, and evidently they're a fan of Googling for the company name and scouring through the results to find any relevant information - can't fault them for doing their job, if they found my blog they must be REALLY searching thoroughly! But this hit home hard, because I'd never considered in a million years that something I'd just written quickly without even really thinking about it would turn round to bite me in the arse, and I was very unfair in what I said.

You read about people who blog for Microsoft or big City law firms who get subsequent punishment for saying things they shouldn't have, and now it's my turn to get a bit of it. The original post has now been shuffled off back to the ether from whence it came for a very good reason, but the damage is done - I'm not sure if my placement is still on, pending further discussion with the label's boss (who's currently on holiday, and I fully expect to have a long telephone conversation with when he gets back), but the decision's entirely up to him.

Why did I write what I did in the first place? Well, I might not say it, but I'm very nervous about this placement. I want to do well, and I look forward to all the opportunities for getting experience in the industry along with all the years of experience my employers already have, but at the same time the other part of my brain is constantly worrying about how I'll cover costs, find enough money for rent, money to eat, money for uni fees. The uni fees are a bit less of a problem, because they're halved if you do a sandwich year, but at the same time the student loan is halved (whoever thought of that idea needs a smack). Unfortunately, none of the other costs involved with a tenancy decrease - rent has gone up, in fact, along with the utility bills, other living costs, and food's always a factor you can never reliably predict. I'm currently working nights - an unloved thing, and something I'm really not enjoying at the moment - in order to try and build up enough reserve funds to try and get me through next year, hardly the most enjoyable way to spend your summer, so in that respect I'm a little bit jealous of people I speak to who've been offered paid placements. However, I also understand that with other companies in other market sectors, their larger budgets and suchlike - but by the same token, the wealth of experience I can draw on next year is invaluable in comparison, something I think I forgot about. The previous concerns haven't gone away though, so it's something I'll just have to work out - just like everybody else. I'm always pretty worried about how I'll get along - I don't want to run out of money mid-year and have that disrupt my placement, because I want to become part of the team and help the company grow and become more successful.

However, a few sentences written in haste without much thought to their consequences might have ruined all that, and I'm gutted. I can only hope that my boss-to-be recognises that I'm 100% up for the placement, and takes into account all the effort I've already put in and work I've done even though my placement hasn't properly started yet. I'm grateful for all the opportunities I've been given already, and any I may get in the future - nothing's a free ride, especially in these years of tightened pursestrings and slimmed-down operations affecting all aspects of the industry, and I don't expect to be given one. (particularly not now). My original post stemmed partly from me worrying about my own finances, partly from worry about what exactly I'll be doing next year as I still don't fully know what's going to be expected of me, and partly because I want to make sure that I fulfil the criteria of my placement as specified by my University in order to qualify - and complete - the sandwich year requirements.

This is a big thing for me, having the chance to get a year's worth of experience in this industry, I've underplayed that aspect - the offer that's been extended to me is a great one, and I don't think I've expressed my true feelings enough on that. I've certainly made an effort, but that's all probably been overshadowed by this mistake. It's certainly not the best start to any placement... I can only hope it doesn't have further serious repercussions for me if I have the opportunity to pursue a career in this industry in a few years to come, because one of the things about this industry is that if one person can read it, they can tell their friends, who tell their friends... And in no time at all, you're being laughed out of the building. This may have also irreparably damaged relations with the company and my University too, something which I'll be even more frustrated with myself about, because you are both a representative of your Uni and the company you're working for, and I totally forgot about that too.

Here's hoping that the placement's still on in two weeks' time, because I really want to do it - and I hope my mistakes prove to be a lesson to everyone who might think 'oh, that'll never happen to me.' Think before you write, because you might never have it so good for a long time.

The only consolation in this matter is that I'm fairly sure I have a nil readership of this thing, as it's completely uninteresting, but I knew that for a long time.

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