Summer budget 2015

Well, I certainly feel the we are all in it together anthem now following the first fully Conservative budget since the late 90s. UK Contractors working as one-man limited companies, and owners of small businesses generally, that realise a lot of their income in the form of dividends are being hit hard in the next tax year (i.e. from April 2016) which means, I expect, that many contractors will drop out (back to permanent employment) and others will put their rates up. Essentially, our tax bill Read more […]

A journey to Sweden

After working in Swansea for over two years, running and overseeing a wide range of infrastructure related projects, I wanted a big change and was pleased to be asked to take over a deeply troubled project in Sweden. I have never been to Sweden before let alone worked there. The project has had many project managers before me and really needed a different management approach to drive to a satisfactory resolution for both the client and my organisation. The client was not especially pleased at Read more […]

Farewell to one client and a great team

After around two-and-a-half years working on an account in South Wales and running a wide range of projects, I find myself finally rolling off of the account. This is longest I have ever worked in one place since joining PricewaterhouseCoopers over 10 years ago. (Transfered to IBM when they aquired the consulting arm of PwC.) I was getting a little concerned about being on one account for so long as that kind of defeats the point of working for a consulting firm as I enjoy working with many Read more […]

Living in a flat v. living in a hotel

All of my assignments since joining PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting over ten years ago (most of which have been with IBM of course since PwC sold their consulting business) has seen me living in hotels at least three nights most working weeks. Until my last assignment that is. For the last two and a bit years, I have been able to reside in a flat rented on the Marina in Swansea (the photograph shows my view from the patio doors of my flat). Now, whilst Swansea would not be my first Read more […]

Resisting the iPhone 4

For the last 17 months I have been the relatively happy use of an iPhone 3G on O2. I have made extension use of the device and it has become an integral part of my life. In principle, I would prefer to use an Android phone as I am more inclined to the open standards nature of that platform that Apple’s closed-shop mentality BUT the Apple choice just works and is so easy. I bought on an 18-month contract, so am free to do whatever I want now. Oddly, for a phone, its primary use has not been for Read more […]

You know you have been a consultant too long when

When I first joined PricewaterhouseCooper back in 2001, I was sent a guide on when you know you have been a consultant too long. I happened to see this today when searching for an old email. YOU KNOW YOU’VE BEEN A CONSULTANT FOR TOO LONG WHEN: 1) you refer to the yield of the tomato plants in your home garden as "deliverables"; 2) you can tell the copier repair person at the client site exactly what’s wrong with the machine and what parts need to be replaced; 3) the new client Read more […]

Echo from the past: Butterley Engineering 1985

A lifetime ago, I worked for a heavy engineering design and manufacturing company in Ripley in Derbyshire. Sadly the site was run down last year with business transferred elsewhere within and without the holding company. The manufacturing site has some historical relevance though and the website and forum has been tracking the demolition works.A friend pointed out to me a recent posting of a copy of a 1985 company magazine featuring news about improvements to the site and a photograph Read more […]

Working at home

Every time I work at home, I make the same mistake: I forget to take breaks. I do not eat enough (not really a major loss for me) and I end up very stiff with my back hurting like hell from sitting in the same position for to long. I also often end up too cold as I am sitting still for so long. On the other hand, it is nice not to be constantly interrupted and be able to get on and concentrate on some critical tasks. My wife now gets up around 5.45am so she can go for a swim/gym session before Read more […]

A weekend in Swansea

Last time I rented a flat, I was unmarried and living in Ripley in Derbyshire. The flat was something of a come-down from living in my own home, but I’d had to sell up because of some bad business deals (actually, trusting someone too much – we live and learn). I was at the time working for Butterley Engineering as their IT Manager.Whilst living in Ripley, I met the woman who a year later I married and we moved into a rented house in Hemingford-Grey in Cambridgeshire. After renting and owning Read more […]