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May 17, 2017

Redundancy: Bad news, but also good news!

Being ‘let go’

I found out last month (April 2017), the day before my birthday, that my role was being made redundant as of May 19th 2017. My last day of work at Cheshire Datasystems will be Friday 28th of July.

I’ve not posted about it on these pages before the ‘due date’ for two reasons: I was still recovering from my broken ankle (see previous post) and I didn’t want to ‘rock any boats’ with colleagues in work, or the head of HR who’s been dealing with the situation(s) that have led to this outcome.

No one else is involved company-wise and no details will be posted on this site about the situations that led to this (for CDL) quite unique outcome.

Not the first time, but hopefully the last ..

It’s not the first time I have been made redundant, however this was 12 years ago when IBM closed down the Liverpool-based helpdesk as Royal & Sun Alliance wanted a ‘better deal’. All of our jobs were farmed out to IBM India.

I still have my red Buddha statue that was given to me by the guy who was going to convert the Helpdesk Information (HDI) that I had kept up-to-date. I really didn’t envy his task as he was going to attempt to convert the RoboHelp-based project into Lotus Notes!

A ‘modern’ technical author

I turned 47 last month (April) and I find myself back on the scrap heap; it’s very daunting, yet challenging as to what I do next? Especially as I still have (I hope) at least two more decades before I head off to the retirement village 🙂

The problem I have is not the loss of my job as the redundancy pay will keep me ticking over for a few months in the worst case scenario. The main problem I’ve found (based on recent job searches) is that I could be considered as ‘out of touch’ with modern technical authoring skills that employers want.

There is an assumption that a modern technical author, within the software industry, also needs to be a .NET / JavaScript developer (ex- or on a part-time basis). Ergo there is an assumption that I will know everything there is to know about JSON, XML and APIs. However, these technologies aren’t really used in my current role – unless it is a case of putting them into a document in order to ‘make them look pretty’. Off the top of my head, I’m aware of 3, maybe 4 documents that I’ve looked after in the last decade that needed regular XML updates putting inside them.

Time for some training

Handily, the professional LinkedIn account comes with a free Lynda.com account, so that will help. There are also technical writing courses in Udemy that I can purchase. It looks like it will be a case of using my 10 weeks’ notice to dive into the above methodologies and learn all I can about them.

My VBA skills will come in handy for some scenarios, but I also have to seriously think about learning JavaScript and/or a .NET language. The skills that I’ve picked up whilst running this website and the two others I have, and getting to know a basic level of WordPress, will also come in handy.

My Word Toolbox will continue though ..

I am going to continue the development, so no worries there. Having spent almost 3 years keeping it going, means that I am not going to give up on it yet. The Document Reporting functionality is near enough complete, but I have hardly looked at the code whilst I have been recovering from the broken ankle.

Anyone who has ever broken their ankle can tell you how difficult it is to just sit at a table for hours without their ankle (especially the ligaments!) reminding them that it’s in pain. So, bear with me and hopefully the normal service will resume 🙂

However, looking for a new role comes first. I will post this blog post on my LinkedIn profile and see what kind of reach it gets and take it from there.

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