When the stars align…

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There has been something of a hiatus I’m my blogging of late, due mainly to the fact that I have experienced some significant changes in my working life, which have more or less consumed me for the last 4 months!

For very nearly 30 years, I worked for BT Plc in the UK and on September 1st, for the first time in adult life, I started work with another firm! As you might imagine, this was a fairly big deal for me!

Back in June, BT Wholesale, where I’d worked for the last 11 years, carried out a structual re-organisation, and I found myself without a role, but not unemployed. This was not a disaster as BT seeks to re-deploy people into new roles within the organisation where possible – something which can work out well for some people, although it is very unsettling. Either way, it gives one space to collect ones thoughts and decide on a course of action.

This was the second time I’d been re-deployed, the first taking me from a role I really enjoyed and placing me into one I didn’t, a situation that lasted about 20 months (although I loved the people in the team). After a lot of effort on my part it was recognised that I was actually in the wrong role and so I was moved to something more suitable; technical pre-sales. It was generally a positive experience work wise, but organisationally I found it challenging – mainly due to management style.

June –  So for me (along with many others) re-deployment once again beckoned but this time it was a ‘re-org’ too many. I hated how powerless I felt in the wake of it and for the first time in many years I started to think about the world ‘outside’.

Someone told me that Virgin Media Business (VMB) were looking for people with my general skill set, and so without any real expectation of success, I sent off my CV – the worse that could happen was that it would be good interview experience, right?

I was therefore very pleased to be asked for a telephone interview, and then (with a jolt of nerves) invited to a face to face interview. I loathe interviews and always feel that I struggle with them. The day arrived, I felt sick, but knew that I’d done all I could to prepare. Girding myself with a Starbuck’s fruit toast and coffee I arrived at Virgin Media’s HQ in Hook one Friday afternoon for what was to be the first of two interviews.

I’d been interviewed by VMB previously, and although unsuccessful then, I’d found the process to be a positive experience and was hoping to find the same on this occasion; if anything it was even better than before. I’d prepared well, but the way the interview was conducted was such that I was put at ease from the moment I met my interviewer’s.

By the time I got home again, I’d receive an email asking me back for a second final interview, which was a good sign, and the following week was put through my paces in a more practical interview, with a scenario and role playing element. Never very comfortable these things, but it went OK. A week later (although it seemed much longer!), I was offered the job! I was over the moon!

Handing my notice in to BT was a slightly strange experience as I never really expected that I would do that, but sure enough, I finally left BT on 31st August after a career with BT lasting 29 years a couple of hundred days! A period which had seen me grow up, get married, have two kids (now young adults!).

I’ve now been in my new job for about 3 months, and I’m really enjoying it. There is a lot to learn about how they do business, about the capabilities, the networks, the processes etc., but I’m well supported and I feel like I’m settling in now and adding value to the business I joined. I like the people, the organisation and the general ethos. It’s interesting to see the differences from BT – some good, others not so good, but above all though, I like the fact that I once again enjoy going to work! That’s priceless!

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My BT citation for long service. Signed by Sir Michael Rake, Chairman of BT Group. This now resides in our downstairs loo – not out of disrespect to BT, but it’s as good place as any to keep it!


© Richard Debonnaire