Just like you would find on a CV, here’s a brief list of places where I’ve worked, what I did and why I left (if I did).
When I first started working, I used to be a member of bar staff at a pub called “The House” (now known as “The Tavern”), located on Linthorpe Road in Middlesbrough. This helped pay for my everyday life every week, but really I was still scraping the barrel.
Then everything went downhill for a while! I lost all interest in University, The House wasn’t giving me enough shifts and there weren’t any full time positions available, so I applied and got into Garlands Call centre working in Sky’s sales department full time. I was there for about 5 months when I had been promoted to Team Leader. This had really made me into the person I am today, because it helped me gain vital team leading skills I never had before. However as time progressed, it became clear that due to my overwhelming technical knowledge, my efforts to improve the way management dealt with their statistics started to fall on deaf ears and eventually I felt that I could do a lot better. At this point I had been looking for more permanent work elsewhere. Then I remembered that I live in Middlesbrough, and there are almost no jobs available to anyone who hasn’t got a degree which doesn’t involve working behind a bar or on the phones in a call centre.
In the end, I quit from Sky and moved to Wanadoo Technical Support in the same building in November 2004. This was more up my street, but it still meant that I was on the phones talking to people for 8 hours every day. My talents here were mixed blessings, really. Granted, I was considered THE person to ask if anyone needed any help, and I had been given additional training in other areas that a number of people hadn’t even touched upon. Unfortunately, the training I received was not within the areas that I really wanted to progress to. I had given management a number of requests to go onto more managerial teams and I’d not heard anything back, even though people who hadn’t applied were asked to join them.
By the summer this became really aggravating and I realised what I had to do. I reapplied at University and moved onto part time work with Wanadoo (Now Orange Broadband). I found this extremely useful because (1) I wasn’t in as much so it wasn’t quite as annoying, (2) it meant that I was one of the most wealthy students in my year, which allowed for more boozing where necessary, and (3) it was a constant reminder of why I went back to University in the first place! It gave me even more momentum to see it through!
At the end of July 2007, Orange decided to get rid of all the part-timers in technical support and focus on full-time. As a result, I was moved to Outbound Collections, calling people up and asking for money that they owed us. I was really upset at this change, because it meant that I was working in a much more confrontational position. No one likes being told that they owe money and I was doing this every evening! Thankfully, all this happened just after I’d finished my University degree, so changes at work weren’t going to effect my studying or my results.
I was in this position for 7 months (I’m still surprised today that I stuck at it for so long) before I was accused of one of the worst things imaginable in a call centre: call avoidance. Of course I was innocent, but because of all the rubbish that I had to put up with for so long, I handed in my notice and left in March 2008. This became one of the best decisions I ever made, as it gave me the opportunity to search for more appropriate work where my degree could become an asset.
Two months later, I was accepted to work at Digital Umbrella in High Peak as a Web Developer. This position had really opened doors for me. I thought I knew what it took to work as a Web Developer/Designer when I applied for the position, but in fact I ended up learning a great deal. I was introduced to new ways of designing websites using Adobe Fireworks, and taught how to better understand programming logistics through ASP/VBScript. All the experience I’d learnt in this position since May 2008 has allowed me to deal with clients all the way through the product lifecycle – from the beginning of their projects, all the way to the end – as well as developing new modules for our in-house CMS system (Like interactive calendars, blogs, eNewsletter facilities, and questionnaire builders). I’ve even let my artistic flair run riot with rather abstract designs, which can be seen in my Portfolio (now, in my honest opinion, rather extensive).
I had this position until February 2011, when Digital Umbrella was sold to ESP Projects in Sheffield. I was employed by them for 3 months as part of the deal. It was here that I learnt more about creating WordPress websites and modules, as well as further developing my knowledge of Joomla. My contact wasn’t extended due to the lack of web work that even they were getting, including what they got through Digital Umbrella.
Once my contract came to an end, I was unemployed for six weeks. I used this time, not only for applying for work, but to also do some freelance web work, clean up my website, and research into Object Orientated programming, specifically OOPHP. I had touched upon Object Orientated proramming at University, so it made picking it up that much easier. Of course, even though I was keeping myself busy, I was going stir crazy! All this time without having a proper work routine was driving me mad. Then… I suddenly had three interviews across three days. I don’t know whether it was luck or fate, but I was offered all three positions!! In today’s uneasy economic downturn, I had the unique opportunity to actually choose where I wanted to work.
Since I had the choice, I went for the job with Zimo Communications as an OOPHP Web Developer. They were a digital telecommunications company, providing phone numbers for businesses and organisations. My work involved working as part of a team to re-make one of their sister sites. It gave me the opportunity to learn about the Zend Framework and get some experience working with the MacOS. Sadly, this position was short-lived, as I was made redundant after two months due to a change to the business strategy. Naturally, I was rather miffed at this, since I had a choice of three different jobs, and I ended up choosing one that would end my employment so quickly, so of course I was right back where I was before.
I was unemployed for another 1 1/2 weeks before I got a job at Country Attire, a locally run country clothing retail website. I was staggered at the size of the operation they ran, and was thrilled when they offered me the Web Developer position. I work in OOPHP with the eCommerce system Magento, as well as various other systems and supporting the existing technical support staff. It feels very much like when I worked at Digital Umbrella; friendly, hard working, and satisfying.