We all face decisions at various stages of our careers that fall into the “stick” or “twist” category. When I worked for TSB Bank I faced this dilemma on many occasions. I flirted with the drinks, healthcare, insurance, armed forces and consultancy sectors as well as a few international locations. Most of the time it was a case of “stick”. Perhaps I was too cautious. Latterly I had family commitments to consider. These doubts were ever present…the words of my late father “You have a job for life son!” ringing in my ear.

And then a mainstream consultancy appeared on my radar. I saw the advert and thought why not. Nothing heard for a few months and then an interview followed by a whole day assessment. Woken up at around midnight and summonsed for a chat in the Bar…the offer was made. The big selling point was an opportunity to join another great company with a fantastic reputation. The sting in the tail was I had to take a salary cut. Sleep on it they said. By this time, it was 1.30ish so no chance of that. The next morning after a quick chat with my wife I decided to take the plunge and leave behind a very decent Banking career. The rest as they say is history. My reflection…one of the easiest decisions of my life.

Care to share the career dilemmas you have faced?

The New Millennium

We are now half way through 2023. What were you doing at the start of 2000?

I have very clear memories of the build up to the end of 1999. For those in business the obsession was IT and it seemed the doomsday scenario would unfold. Thankfully it did not. However, I faced my own doomsday scenario… the break-up of a business partnership I so hoped would be successful.

It wasn’t to be and as I met up with relatives to celebrate Hogmanay in rural Perthshire I contemplated what next. I don’t really know what happened, perhaps it was the extensive celebrations as everyone seemed so happy and optimistic, but I decided to go it alone rather than return to corporate life.

Setting-up and running my own consultancy seemed logical but it proved to be more challenging than I anticipated. Thankfully I had two clients, Tom and Ishbel, who got me off to a great start. And while there have been many bumps in the road I haven’t looked back since.

Why not share the main transition points in your career.

The not so easy creation of EasyGrading®

It all started with a conversation. What are you going to do next? I was asked. I haven’t really thought about I replied. Why not sell up? The business is all about me I added so there is no value in the business if I am not part of it. Rubbish! And so it went on.

That was around 5 years ago and while a very busy interim career got in the way the seeds were sown in that conversation.

I eventually found the space and time to think. Covid also helped create the impetus for change. I very quickly identified that the best way of creating value was to take all the know how I had gathered in a successful career and put as much of it as I could into a software package.  I had already developed specs for HR systems so that was the easy part. I had also designed many bespoke job evaluation processes so I knew what would work. Taking it from concept to reality was a whole new experience.

After numerous discussions, learning a new language around “front end” “back end” “wireframes” etc., and waiting a few months, I had something to try out. Software testing which I had done before consumed another month. Several iterations later I could finally approach clients.

Feedback has been fantastic and we have clients who have been successfully using EasyGrading® for over a year now. Our commitment to continuous improvement is absolute and we are grateful for the helpful suggestions clients have made…all requests have been met in full.

More to tell on this further down the line. Meanwhile why not describe some of the conversations that have helped shape your career.