June 28th, 1998.

Who wants to be little?

So after more than nine months of diligent and loyal service, my soon-to-be former employers have decided to 'can' me after my contract of employment with them expires on the 3rd of July. That outcome is sad but I fear completely predictable.

So after such an amount of time why is it that the powers that be have not chosen to extend my contract in the light of their shortage of people to do my job? Well, the reason is clear. It all comes down to a strange but obvious character clash between myself and a senior manager who for the sake of this article I will call Janet Small.

Miss Small is an academic who enjoys, with great glee, her academic and management status. Academia is a comfortable place for her and she worked hard to get where she is. She didn't do all those years at Universities to have some upstart like me come in the back door of opportunity. If I want it, I should be made to sweat blood and tears just like she did.

Perhaps I am being harsh on the Little Captain? Maybe I'm not? All I know is that, while I have been at this place I have encountered much of what I understand is a common problem within education establishments. The problem of educational snobbery. If you have a degree and suck up to all the right people then you'll go far (or as far as anyone who works in education can). If you don't have a degree, then you'd better be real good at the sucking up part or you'll never move out of the narrow view of some, as the heathen who somehow got through the door.

Would I have taken the job if I had known it was this way in the corridors of power? Well... yes. I think that out of all the management bullshit and political posturing that goes on there, I have taken some valuable experience. Plus the fact that I have met some great people who I am sure will be great contacts in the future. People like Darryl Waterhouse (also soon jumping ship himself) have been a great help to me, assisting me with various web design tasks I have undertaken over the 9 months. Without the help of these people, especially Darryl, I would not have been able to make Mad Mail and other sites, the huge success they have proved to be.

Also, meeting people on the courses I assisted in teaching out at the libraries has proved to be on occasion most fruitful. Then there's another point. How many jobs do you know that would award you 11 weeks of vacation in 9 months? Despite my entitlement, that is the total time I spent on holiday while working here. All of that time was on 'full pay' if indeed you can call what I earned 'pay'?

Yes despite all the obvious problems that this place has, I have managed to come out of my time there with more than I had before. The future without the security of the 9 to 5 life doesn't look nearly as gloomy as it would have done had I not spent nine months there.

I am facing the future with renewed confidence in my abilities. Janet Small may not believe I have what it takes to get the job done, but she is in the minority by a vast margin. Customers of my soon-to-be former employers, 'Internet Express' and 'Internet in Libraries' all believe that I have the skill, determination, and talent to make my web design consultancy project work.

So thank you very much workplace, you may be big and all that, but when the free European funding runs out you'll be in the same 'real world' that I am now in and have been in since I left education back in the 80's. You can do your little smug sideways smile and think your snobby thoughts about how I am just another uneducated dreamer with no real chance in the big wide world.

Smugness aside, what matters is the drive and determination that is required to make a success of anything. When it comes down to it, the fact that I don't have a degree will be wholly unimportant in my future. People will want to know what I can do, and how I can do it. The proof of the pudding is in the eating of the cake, not the presentation of the recipe.