I am Dolly Parton

This post is brought to you by the Dolly Parton song ‘Nine to Five’. You’re welcome (hey, it’s been stuck in my head for days now, just thought I’d share the joy). As I think I’ve mentioned, I got a new job late last year. I now work in a big office (well, two, actually) for a large business (no names!). It’s been quite a learning experiencing and a lot of change; it’s my first foray into the world of contracting, it’s a more defined role than I’ve had in years, and it’s in an environment which has a dress code, a clean desk policy, and which is about as far removed from the software company I used to work …

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Professional Pride

My official job title is Product Operations Manager. I’m still not quite sure what that means as the role is still fairly new to me, and to the company. My main day to day role is to help the team of Product Managers, Product Architects, Business Analysts and UX designers shape and scope out the next product release. We take a feed from Product Strategy which encompasses analyst data, customer commitments, improvements to help our own project staff, new features that we can market and sell, and those which continue to make our product better than many others out there. I take pride in my job, I don’t like making mistakes, I don’t like things not working, I am always …

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House of Cards: What can I learn?

Fear not, I am a fan of House of Cards so there are no spoilers here, a fair spattering of melodrama perhaps but that’s all mine and, for what it’s worth, I quite enjoy it. I am easily affected. I take on traits, mannerisms and tropes with no real forethought and file it as part of the continued development of my sense of self. I am not Francis J. Underwood nor to I ever hope to be. Yet there is admiration of that character. He is aware of his flaws and has set his own moral compass, living by it, apologising to no-one. He has a long term plan, a vision of where he wants to be and will do whatever …

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If I wasn’t doing this

What would I be doing? When people ask me, if you could do anything, what job would you do? Well, I tend to flippantly respond by saying that I’d be a Zookeeper. Part of me believes that. The part that loves animals, that finds them fascinating and would love to spend more time around them. Part of me doesn’t though, because Zoos make me sad for the most part. I find myself torn between the desire to see these beautiful animals in the flesh, and then usually appalled to see them caged up, prowling round and round. Wildlife parks seem to be better, for the most part, as it tends to be the small enclosures that trouble me the most. So, if …

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Insomnia

I’ve had insomnia on and off for years but in the last year or so it’s started to occur more frequently. I’m starting to figure it out though and it’s definitely work related. It seems that, during periods of high stress, my insomnia kicks in. Beyond that I’m a bit hazy about why I wake at 4 or 5 in the morning, wide awake, regardless of when I went to sleep. I’m trying to track how fatigued or tired I feel at the moment to see if there is a pattern there but all that’s really doing is highlighting the things I stress and worry about and, obviously, that then allows my brain to focus on them and worry and …

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The Best Google Reader alternative

It was only back in December that I pondered this but with the news that Google Reader is to shut down I find myself revisiting some of those choices. I still use Google Reader heavily, I consume it mostly through the website itself and via Reeder on my iPad, so it’s annoying that they are pulling this service. But, as the adage goes, you get what you pay for, so I find myself, once again, revisiting the ‘what am I willing to pay for’ line of thought. There are a few alternatives to Google Reader out there, I’ve tried some myself in the past, and already the tech blogs are offering their ‘best alternatives to’ posts. But for me, the new …

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Everything Changes

A new year, a fresh challenge. I’ve been working in the Technical Communications field my entire career. From those first days, stumbling my way around FrameMaker 4 with only a vague idea of what I should be doing (and largely using the FrameMaker User Guide as a sample of both approach and layout) to my current incarnation as Product Information Manager which involves running a team of 6 technical writers, looking at what other services we could offer to other parts of the (now) global organisation I’m part of, not to mention running a developer community website and generally advocating a product view wherever possible. Actually, make that my previous incarnation. As of today I’m changing roles, with a new …

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Going Global

One of the challenges the team will face this year is how to coordinate the creation of product documentation with geographically dispersed teams, across different product lines. At present we have engineering teams in Glasgow, Belfast, Limerick, Jakarta, Sunnyvale CA, and Bedford NH, building four products and maintaining five other legacy applications. Currently we have six technical writers in Glasgow and one in Belfast. Initial assessments suggest there is a bit of a resourcing gap (a separate issue I’m dealing with) but beyond that the main challenge will be figuring out how to best work with these disparate teams. I have asked this question in a couple of places and had some excellent responses. Some cover things we had already considered but …

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Ho Ho HOLIDAY!!

The festive season is upon us, cards have been posted, presents have been bought, and in a couple of hours I’ll head home, leaving work behind until early January. 2012 has been an interesting year. We started the year with a challenge, one of making the information we produce ‘findable’. Cutting across more than 20,000 topics of information, it was always going to be a big project, particularly as we still needed to keep up with product development. As the year draws to a close the final pieces of this mammoth project are falling into place and should, fingers crossed, be launched in the first couple of weeks in January. From my viewpoint, it’s been an excellent example of giving …

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Going Paid

Yes, I know, first world problems and all that, shut up… With the news that Instagram can now start selling my photos, something I didn’t agree to when I signed up, I’ve been looking at what services I use the most and wondering if I might be better to switch all my online/digital actions to only use paid for options. Don’t get me wrong, I understand the need for companies to make money and that offering services for free isn’t ever going to be properly scalable until you reach a critical mass (think Facebook and Google). What really irks me about the Instagram change is that I don’t have an option other than to stop using it and delete my …

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