The short stagger to freedom..

OK as I sit here writing this its about 1.30pm on Sunday 9th of March – in a few hours time the mighty Bristol Rovers will have hopefully booked a historic slot in the FA cup semi-finals at Wembley and I will be getting carried away celebrating!

That said my main concern right at this moment is my impending move from a pretty safe and secure career working for JISC and or HEFCE with a nice, bullet proof Bristol Uni contract to the unknown (for me) world of freelance.  My last day as a Bristol Uni employee is April 4th so time is ticking and nerves are fraying.  Its a strange feeling it has to be said – I am sure its the right thing to do but its still scary.  I have been been pretty lucky the last 4 or so years when I was at JISC and worked with a great team and by and large got to do the sort of projects I wanted to – however my role attracted alot of responsibilities over time and while I understood the need for them and was compensated pretty well for them my time doing the stuff I really enjoyed became less and less and frustrations started to creep in.  So in a move motivated almost entirely by this frustration (and a little greed!) I took a secondment to HEFCE to help them with their commitment to Directgov, the governments uber-portal.  This was a biiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiig mistake!  While the team at HEFCE have turned out to be a good bunch and I have met some interesting people the level of frustrations around this project reached critical mass really quickly.  It was bad enough to convince me that I was better off making a move and trying to be my own boss for a while – so here I am – 1 month to go and in panic mode!

Thankfully things are starting to come together a bit – I am hoping to be based at the Hub in King Street, Bristol – a co-working venue thats been highly recommended (I am not the kind of person who can work at home all the time), I have a couple a projects booked in – enough not to have to worry about the mortgage to start with anyway, I’ve got this blog running as an online home and I have got all the forms ready to register as self-employed and all that comes with it.

The one big flaw in this master plan is pretty problematic..I have no idea of how to pitch for work – and if I am honest and a little uncomfortable doing it (when I do clumsily try!)  Long term I feel this might cause me a bit of trouble!  Thankfully I am not in this to get rich – just to stay interested.  My goal is to take projects that I believe in or am interested in and only take on enough work to retain my financial status quo.

Anyway one thing I do hope to do is become much more a part of the Bristol/Bath web community – there are some very talented people working in the West and while I know a few of them I realise I should make much more of an effort to attend things like SkillSwap and any other meet-ups that I find out about – its important to keep learning – especially when the very thing you are bringing to the table is knowledge and not alot else.

OK thats enough for now – will hopefully write something interesting soon – I will hopefully blog about the work I’ll be doing around the JISC and HEFCE conferences online in the near future as well as something else I have been working on for one of the projects I’ll be taking forward.