The saying goes – what difference a year makes! This time last year, I had just been informed my job would transferred over to India within two years and that our existing contracts were being terminated to be moved over to a new third party provider. I was not looking forward to the new year, as I started 2013 with more fear than any excitement for the future. Life was going to be testing for the foreseeable future. Slowly things began to get worse before they got any better.
Over eighteen months I had built up a good friendship with many of my colleagues, including a small band, of like minded individuals whom happened to live in and around Slough. We got on very well and most importantly worked extremely well together. Surely enough though, with the news breaking just before Christmas of the forthcoming changes, many had decided not to wait on-board a sinking ship, instead almost on a weekly basis, we were saying goodbye to not just colleagues but people we called our friends.
At first I was keen to stay and show some loyalty but within weeks the atmosphere in the office changed and with a constant stream of people leaving, what little motivation remained was at an all time low. I had to find a new challenge, a new environment and most importantly a permanent position.
Rather than just focus on work, I know it takes up a big chunk of our waking hours. I thought it would be good to also focus on some of my highlights from the last twelve months. By no means as action packed as previous years (2011 or 2012) but plenty of highlights, including my recent birthday weekend in Barcelona. A long weekend away with the boys in Newcastle followed by a rush flight back to London to see Beyoncé in concert at the O2.
In terms of my personal fitness, I started using a personal trainer – Errol for five months from January until May for twice a week sessions at EasyGym. My level of improvement over the the first half of the year was incredible and if I could afford to, I would have liked to have continued with these sessions. In the end, I left EasyGym, as I started my new job at CA with a free gym in the office. My fitness goal for next year is to lose one stone, with the help of MyFitnessPal and the purchase of a fitness tracker (waiting for the international release of the FitBit Force in February).
For charity, I raised over £300 for Movember in my second year of taking part in the event dedicated to raising money for Men’s Health. It was fun to be part of a group of 22 male colleagues, rather than just a handful in my department, as was the case at MS last year. I will not be taking part for the next few years, to give my face a break but also to stop harassing my friends and family to donate.
Gadget wise, the year started with me purchasing a Nexus 7 tablet and to be honest, I have never looked back. The device is used regularly throughout the evening as a second screen while watching television but also when out and about to guide us around a new place, or catch up on BBC TV via the iPlayer (now the Android application allows offline downloads). To say it has changed my life would be perhaps going a little too far but it has made a big difference. Plus being in a single laptop household, it enables me to quickly check things online or queue downloads without having to switch on the laptop and when my aging HTC Desire is just too slow and fiddly. The seven inch tablet has not completely replaced the laptop though. There are several things that I cannot do or rather prefer not to do on the tablet, such as banking. In terms of mobile, I am still yet to upgrade my personal mobile phone but did get a Samsung Galaxy SIII, even though it is my work mobile. I had promised myself the moment I got a permanent job I would go out and spend part of my first month’s salary on a new mobile. In the end I did not need to as I was able to order the Samsung Android device through my IT department. Although, initially I was provided with an iPhone 5, which I duly returned.
Television has probably for the first time beaten movies, as the number one entertainment source in our household. Suits returned for series three, which was better than series two. (For the record, I still have not identified the associate!) Something I thought would never happen. Other shows have continued to simmer along as usual, some with the difficulty of losing a major cast member. New shows on the scene have included Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD which I really enjoy, even if the target audience is the mid teen market. We finally got into Luther and watched all series of Sherlock back to back over the course of two weeks. Looking forward to his turn on New Years Day, even though I prefer Jonny Lee Miller in the titular role on CBS show Elementary.