Sunday, 20 December 2009

Job Opportunity

Whilst I love my job, the hours are killing me, the night shifts especially. My whole life for the past fifteen years has been about live music, and I just can't go to gigs if I have to get up for 6am or start/finish work at 10pm, so I've been looking for job vacancies.

Unlike my previous desperate measure of using agencies, I've been checking websites of manufacturing companies I actually want to work for and wandered back to the vacancies page at Linn Products, who I previously worked for from 2002 to 2007 as a manufacturing engineer.

Linn have are advertising the position of Digital Marketing Communications Executive. This is something I'd love to do, but sadly they ask for some appropriate qualifications of which I have none apart from the fact that you are reading this right now.

So I thought I'd demonstrate my complete unsuitability for the job by blogging about it here.

I loved working for Linn, they're a great manufacturing company, they know how to do IT right and they truly believe in what they're doing in high end audio. It still amazes me that the stuff I was doing listening tests with was the best audio quality in the world, me.

Their website has improved vastly since I last checked it, with some rather busy user forums and the MD Gilad having a blog there. He says some interesting stuff to, like declaring that the CD is dead, and streaming is where its at, and how for Linn vinyl is outliving CD.

Whilst the last time I saw Gilad was probably the day they sent us all home, May 2007, the last time I remember seeing him is in the street, down the way from the Alldays in Kelvinbridge. I spied him in the distance, and kind of didn't want to bump into my boss outside work Mr Burns style, I nipped into Alldays to hide. To conceal my true reasons for hiding in the shop I had to buy something and all I could great was on of those huge 1Kg Dairy Milk bars. And so I was nibbling on the corner of it when I wandered back outside again, bumping into Gilad. I ran away muttering something about really needing chocolate.

I could however be confusing Gilad with Colin from The Smittens.

I reckon they're lookalikes. Here, check out this video, same body language and everything.

Crazy stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

So, they were always trying new management things at Linn, Six Sigma and the five S's. They had this neat problem solving scheme where any problem could be classed at N, P or T. Where the solution to the problem was Not within your control, Partially within your control and Totally within your control. I that that was it.

We had weekly appraisal things, where you had to set yourself goals and report on your progress, like learning Python or writing a test plan. One of my goals was to do a company blog, and after months of reporting to my team leader that no progress had bee made, that the marketing team had been blanking me or just gazing blankly when I mentioned the internet, I figured it was actually a T-type problem. Setting up a blog was entirely under my control.

For a week or so, my appraisal progress was going great, traffic to the hi-fi engineer blog was slow, but slowly growing. Until one day I put up some photos a designer had sent me of a new product, the Keel, being manufactured. Its a solid lump of aluminium, machined so that it's the record player armboard and bearing housing thing. When those pics went online the blog started to get traffic from the hi-fi messageboards.

In the first hours first it was a few hundred hits, I could see the locations spreading as daylight hit the continents. When the traffic got into the thousands, I got scared. The marketing folk didn't know about this, they weren't going to be pleased. I tried telling my team leader, but he didn't really get the urgency of the situation, so I emailed higher and higher up the company structure until a message came back for me to shut down the website, make it go away.

I tried, but then the hi-fi forums started to go on about its sudden disappearance.

Oh, the whole episode was a mess.

I got in trouble, it wasn't quite a disciplinary thing cos I'd been quite open about it all, giving regular reports, and asking permission before posting stuff. Its just that I was a lowly test design engineer, trying to do marketing stuff.

And a few months later I was one of the 30% of employees who were made redundant.

And that's why I'm here today, working the night shift at a sandwich factory in Wembley on a Saturday night.

I should be wandering home from How Does It Feel or Little League.

Also, it won't really help that I slung this video up on YouTube of me practising levitation in a demonstration room at Linn. It was a Saturday morning, I had to test a load of 3K-arrays for the Artikulat speakers and I was bored. Then again, the folks at Linn's IP address already know about that one.

On the plus side demonstrating any suitability for the role of Digital Marketing Communications Executive, my blog has more subscribers that their managing director's. (23 subscribers to 7 subscribers). Although I don't for a second imagine that mine gets more traffic, just that mine has more people who want to read it regularly. Yeah, how do you like dem apples.

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