Being Positive – Why I love my job!

As Brits we like to moan! We complain about the weather, we complain about queues, we complain about our politicians, we complain about each other. I’m no exception and I’ve been known to have be muttering under my breath for a whole variety of reasons. Maybe, someone is dawdling (I love that word) along when I’m trying to get somewhere, or a driver in front of me is being particular frustrating.

However, it’s a very slippery slope that can lead to always seeing the negative side of things. In reality we don’t often appreciate, or feel gratitude for what we do have.

There is a fantastic psychotherapist in the UK called Richard Nicholls who produces a regular podcast called Motivate Yourself (it was #1 in the uk podcast charts for a while, which was where I came across it). His short, 15 min monthly podcasts always seem to hit the mark, covering very relevant topics. His most recent podcast, titled “The Gratitude Attitude” was all about how we take things for granted. I’m actively trying to be a more positive person, follow many of Richard’s teachings and suggestions. It got me thinking about my job.

Most of us have a good moan about work from time to time. We complain that we are overworked, underpaid, and not appreciated. So, I decided to flip this on its head. I sat down to think about all of the positive things about my job that I am grateful for and decided to make a list. Here are ten things I came up with:

  1. I have a job

It shouldn’t be taken for granted. Not everyone does.

  1. I get paid a salary I can live on

Yes, many of us want a higher salary, but I see that as my challenge, to constantly improve my career, my prospects and my circumstances if I want to continue to climb the salary scale or the career ladder.

  1. I work with some great people

Extremely talented, professional individual

  1. I get to meet lots of people

In a customer-facing role, I constantly meet new, exciting, and interesting people

  1. I get to travel

My job gives me the benefit of regular travel both in the UK and internationally. I have seen places I wouldn’t have otherwise visited had it not been for my job.

  1. I work with cutting-edge tech I like technology

That’s why I work in IT. Working for an IT vendor I constantly get to play with the latest and greatest innovations.

  1. I work in a great industry

Cyber Security is hugely topical with the growing number of data breaches year on year. I am in the thick of the industry trying to protect organizations

  1. I get to balance my home and work life

Unlike some previous jobs where I was away a lot, my current job enables me to spend a more time at home with my family.

  1. Recognition

Ok, this one is a bit vain, but who doesn’t like to be recognized when they are working hard and doing a good job? I seem to have a good reputation at work, which means I get positive feedback.

  1. I’m healthy

Is this strictly related to my job? Maybe, maybe not. My work does involve lots of sitting around at desks, but also means I am in a clean environment, and, my working flexibility means I can pop out for that run if I want to. Give and take is important.

Could I have written a list of 10 negative things about my work? Of course I could. However, I chose to focus on the positive. Concentrating on what is good and what I am grateful for. All too often I see colleagues moaning about what isn’t working, or what they don’t like and that only leads in one direction, an endless downward spiral, which isn’t where I want to be.

Don’t get me wrong, next time you see me, I won’t always be a ‘happy clappy’ euphoric individual. I might even still moan a bit, but I am trying to be more positive.


Protecting Children Online

Over the last two days I have had the privilege of participating in a summit of industry experts to look at innovative ways that technology can help prevent online sexual abuse of children. The event, organised by WeProtect, brought together over 80 individuals from around 40 companies to look at the threats and how they can be addressed.

It was great to see so many competitor organisations putting their differences to one side, leaving their company affiliations (and egos) at the door and instead working together, as individuals to come up with solutions to these very real threats to our children, not just in the UK, but globally. There were some fantastic and inspiring ideas generated that I hope we can build on and, as an industry, start to deliver over the coming months.

Of course, as expected some of these solutions are not overnight fixes and there is no silver bullet to solve this problem (or it would have been done already). However, there were some very pragmatic, tactical solutions that are eminently achievable without hvaing to move mountains.

It was a real honour to work with my industry colleagues at this event on such a difficult and emotive subject that everyone at the event was so passionate about. It’s time like this when I am really proud of the work that the collaboration of great minds can produce.

What makes a good presentation

Working in the field that I do I have to present and receive lots of presentations. A few months ago I started to get really frustrated with the poor quality of people’s presentations. Sometimes, this was their speaking, sometimes it was their slides or materials. I decided that I wanted to change the way that I approached the whole issue of presenting.

Therefore, I have spent the last few months trying to improve my presentation skills, both in terms of speaking and the material that I use. One of the great inspirations for my change has been Garr Reynolds, whose book, Presentation Zen has really helped me to understand the good and bad points of design for powerpoint presentations. As a result of reading this book, I have started to change my approach. Here is an example of some slides I created which I have used recently in a couple of presentations I gave.

I have only used these slides on internal presentations so far, but they seemed to be received well compared to the more traditional approach. Hopefully, if he saw these, Garr would be proud.

The only problem I have with his approach is the length of time it takes to not only prepare the presentation content but also any accompanying handout (if required). I’m sure, as I get more used to this approach I will become quicker at it and can re-use much of the content.

Presenting, however, is not just about the slides that you use. In fact, sometimes you don’t even need slides. The most important part of any presentation is the message that you are trying to convey and the way that you get it across. I am currently reading Presenting to Win by Jerry Weissman and, whilst a lot of what he talks about is common sense, its amazing how many presenters seem to leave common sense at the door.

So, when watching presentations, how can I tell if the presentation is good or not. Simple, am I captivated? Lawrence Lessig is a fantastic example, as shown in the video below.

I’ve never heard Lawrence speak before and aren’t particularly interested in copyright (the theme of his presentation). However, for the 1hr 5mins that he presented, I was absolutely captivated. His combination of conversation and supporting materials made a very enthralling presentation. It just goes to show, a good presenter can capture his audience regardless of what he is talking about.

Is ALL water a wishing well?

I have this theory which seems to bear out no matter where I travel to in the UK…..

When I was a child I used to throw pennies into wishing wells and make a wish. As I grew up I noticed the security protecting the coins getting stronger (however, I digress).

What I have noticed now for a number of years is that any expanse of water contained in a public place becomes a public wishing well. You may notice that all of these places have coins thrown into them. These include water features in shopping centres as well as water fountains outside.

What happened to the good old wishing well and why do people find an urge to thrown money anywhere where there is water?