8 years ago I was heading in to summer working hard on my MSc project. My head space was completely absorbed in it for two reasons. 1) It was a interesting subject, 2) I didn’t want to think about what happens next. The whole looking for a job after University is a scary thing, I didn’t know what I wanted to do or even how to start thinking about what I wanted to do. I applied for some network security type gigs, didn’t hear anything back.

My personal tutor at the time, Mark Johnson told me there were some research bods looking for somebody to write a bit of PHP for them. I told Mark I didn’t want to do PHP because it was boring and yet he still made me go to the interview. I met a chap called Oleg who evaluated me at the interview as ‘a bit pale but will do’. We agreed I would work with them for 3 months. ‘It’s a foot in the door’ I thought.

8 years later and my 3 month trial has ended. It’s been a cracking 3 months. I’ve worked on interesting projects with amazing and incredibly talented people. My only regret is perhaps not spending enough time and energy with some of them, but I won’t make the same mistake twice. As most of my colleagues in this department move on, I will move on with them. The people of this institution have given me incredible opportunities I could only have dreamed of when I started my summer MSc project. It was scary then not knowing what could be around the corner, but this summer having seen a glimpse, it is actually quite exciting.


Lorna M. Campbell · May 16, 2015 at 11:28 am

Nice post David. Amazing how 3 months can stretch into 8 years! In 2001 I got together with a colleague from Edinburgh University to put a bid in for a 12 month project running an educational content special interest group and now, 14 years later, here I am. This feels like a big change but I think there are lots of opportunities out there and I hope those networks we’ve built up with all these brilliant people will now have a chance to flourish.

JustMe · May 20, 2015 at 1:22 pm

I remember when you started in the department. How young you seemed compared to the rest of us old fogeys. It was like a breath of fresh air. You were (and no doubt still are) an amazing person who was reliable, supportive, and ready to help your colleagues, even when you already had so much on your plate.

It is exciting (and scary) not knowing what the next phase of your life will be. Whatever it is, it’s out there waiting for you and it will be wonderful. You’ll come across new ideas, meet new people, and experience something completely different. What fun! It may not appear straight away and sometimes we need the space to grow into the next stage before we get to it, so be patient and stay strong. It will find you.

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