It’s important that I bring understanding, expertise, and experience to what you do. Here’s a brief reverse timeline of my work, approach, and other topics I’m interested in.
At the end of 2015, I decided to diversify my business, becoming a professional freelance writer. It’s taught me about collaboration, understanding client needs, working better, writing clear briefing and scope documents, and delivering the best work I can. I’m continuing to refine how I work and learning more every day.
When I’m not writing, I’m reading, listening, watching, or discussing. I love educating myself about business, science, tech, and psychology. I’ve got a deep interest in ethics, politics, finance, and living in a way that has a minimal impact on the world.
Although this wasn’t a formal job, it still took up most of my time through 2013. In 2012, my wife and I decided to move from the UK to the US, and it’s still the biggest project I’ve managed. I learned about the importance of downsizing, how to deal with (endless) bureaucracy, and the need to stay focused and stubborn to get things done!
Starting up my own business is one of the best things I ever did. It let me use all of my previous business knowledge to create the type of business I wanted to work for. It also involved learning a huge amount of new skills — Client relationship management, marketing and advertising, financial management, payroll, accounting, tax, people management,and more.
I enhanced my existing skills like project management, productivity, and business processes so I could do everything quickly and easily. Automating as much as I could became very important, as I needed to free up my chargeable time.
Due to the after effects of the recession, my business decided it needed to reorganize itself. I was brought into the HR department to help manage organizational change through IT. This involved dealing with very difficult communications and trying to maintain a positive culture while employees were dealing with big changes. As a result of these changes, I was made redundant and left to start my own business.
This is where my main interest in writing started. I noticed that IT project managers weren’t very good at translating technical requirements and changes into messages others could understand. I created the role of IT Communications Manager — I was an interface between IT and the business helping them deliver major projects by communicating with end users. I was heavily involved in training, communications planning, managing stakeholders, strategy, and more.
I also took over our reporting function, producing easy to read reports that gave our execs the information they needed to make informed choices. I combined that with a new IT user satisfaction survey which interviewed and scored how IT services were performing based on feedback from our employees. We then built these results into our service improvement plans.
On a personal level, this is when I started to get interested in investing, looking at stocks and company fundamentals and building a portfolio.
Following on from business and project analysis, I moved into a more senior management role. Part of my responsibilities were looking after IT services and dealing with incidents and problems that stopped those services functioning. I dealt with many other IT service areas including capacity, availability, change, and more. Project management was a growing interest, and I managed several small projects for IT service improvement.
It was at this time I became very interested in personal productivity. I had so much to do I needed to keep track of all my tasks, actions, and deadlines. I learned about the “Getting Things Done” approach to personal productivity and have used it ever since, and now combine it with Kanban and Trello.
In 2001 I joined a large, multinational financial organization, in the Information Technology department. I was responsible for business analysis — Working with business areas to understand the projects they needed and translating their needs into project requirements. I also carried out financial analysis to help manage IT and business costs.
After my time in retail, I moved into office management. This is where I started to learn how larger organizations ran, the relationships between people, and why company culture is such a powerful driving force. It’s also when I started to put systems of my own in place to make the office more efficient and productive.
Like many people, I started my career in retail. Although these were early jobs, they still taught me skills I use today. I learned about point of sale systems, stock control, financial reconciliation, customer service, and the importance of good management. It was helpful to see how teams worked together, and how systems and technology could support those teams.