Thursday, September 18, 2014

10th Birthday

This blog was 10 years old on the 12th September 2014.

It began at the end of a very bad period of my life; the early 2000s were not a good decade for me or millions of other people, particularly in the developed world.

I'd returned from the United States in 2001 just after 9-11 and surprise surprise I couldn't find work. 

When I did get a chance of something, it was to finish in second place in job interviews (often after a gruelling and expensive-to-reach second interview). This happened at least three times, perhaps even a fourth. 

Perhaps this process affected my mind - when I finally did get a job it ended in a rather nasty and brutal fashion, although rough justice was served by the office closing down a few months later. A period of desperate financial and personal trouble followed.

With savings gone and a couple of good friendships trashed in the process (can I ever forgive those people for not helping? If I'm honest, probably not). I was forced to take jobs that I normally wouldn't have considered - most of them were contract roles paying less than the salary I'd been earning ten years before. 

By the time I started the blog, I was doing the worst job I've ever had in a company I hated and despised. My immediate colleague was an eccentric but also kind enough if a bit cold at times. My immediate boss was a decent and kind man (coincidence: I knew knew his sister from university). But the boss above him was the one of the nastiest pieces of work I've ever encountered in an office - a filthy despicable piece of shit.

Of course I didn't know it at the time but life would improve within a year or so (See the Resigned entry for September 2005). I'd start a contract with a really good company really going places! Two good men I'd meet there would have an important influence on my professional life - one that extends to this day.

I still don't know why I started the blog - Work was awful and so was my life - perhaps it was a way of writing something I wanted to write rather than for the dreadful company I was in and keeping.

After the initial flush of enthusiasm I decided I would write one entry a month, and pretty much kept to that from 2005 all the way to 2009. Does the data from the web show those to be the peak years of blogging? Perhaps so - they certainly felt like it at the time. Undoubtedly the peak traffic for the blog and the only time it's been in the public eye was during the trial of serial killer Steve Wright. I knew one of his victims, see the entry for October 2005, which features a somewhat disguised Gemma Adams. I followed the trial from day 1 through the local press and actually went myself in person after doing a night-shift on one of the days. It was a fascinating gruesome business, not least because I'd been interviewed by the police four times during those crazy days of autumn 2006.

Since those days the blog has continued, albeit sporadically, and a recent article in the Guardian  wondered if blogging was dead. I suspect that author Onur Kabadayi may well be right - certainly none of the amateur blogs I used to link to and enjoy reading are still going, which is a dreadful shame. I miss the likes of David Young, Amy Knight and especially my great friend Dave Ramsey. I believe Facebook killed most blogs - it certainly put this one on a care and maintenance program, although Twitter played its part as well.

So what of the future? I find it hard to imagine this blog celebrating a 20th birthday, but for the time being I see no reason to shut it down. It's a wonderful record made up of snapshots of what seemed important on a given day between 2004 and 2014. It's an important decade for me, as at the start, at 39, you can just about persuade yourself you're still young - after all less than four years ago you were 35, which most people consider young. But today I'm 49, and within six months of being 50, which is no way young. As for the world, it covers the last five years or so of what Time magazine called The Decade from Hell. I wholeheartedly agree with Time - for me it really was a decade of broken dreams, getting older, having my confidence smashed by forces outside my control and not coping very well. 

Thankfully, meeting the lovely Mandy at some point in the Spring of 2010 made it all worthwhile. But by god I wish I'd have known that on some grim winter evening in January 2005.

And so much for all that. 

Thanks for getting this far, thank you for your interest in the blog and I hope that at least some of the entries have made you frown or made you smile.

- roGER 



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