I started at Creative Lynx on Tuesday 5th August 2008, which was just after a bank holiday. That day was also the day the company moved to a new office in Princess Street.
Back then the E-Comms team consisted of the team lead, Brett, Dan, a very bright .NET developer, Mike Fosbrook, who was our front end developer and my first mentor, Dave Burrows, a previous placement student and another precocious talent, Chris Bramwell, a developer that started a few months earlier, myself and my fellow placement studio Shahin Rostami.
The whole company was quite small back then, I think I was employee number 42. If truth be told I struggled in those first few months. Shahin was already excelling and had much better knowledge than I about web development. I was being shoe-horned into a front end role that really didn’t suite my skill set and I couldn’t make my square peg fit into that round hole.
There was a point where I was worried that I wouldn’t even last my placement. I was pulled into a meeting room with Brett and Dave after a bit of confusion that meant they thought I hadn’t done a job they asked me to do. They wanted some software installing on a laptop and I did it but the software required a reboot to start and I didn’t reboot it so they assumed I hadn’t done as they asked.
From that point on I redoubled my efforts and made sure I checked my work. I worked hard, I worked long hours. In the meeting Brett said he wanted me to make myself indispensable to the team, and that’s exactly what I did.
By that stage I think we all realised that I wasn’t going to be a front end developer but I had good people skills and the team needed someone to talk to customers and diagnose problems for colleagues, I effectively became the support guy as well as doing a bit of development and a bit of dev ops work when required.
I was really starting to find my groove and felt part of the team. Creative Lynx was more like a family than a business at times. We all worked hard together and we played hard together. We’d all go for a drink after work on poets day, there was a togetherness that was the complete opposite of what I experienced at HMRC.
As my placement was coming to a close, colleagues were starting to ask questions about what we were going to do when I left. I’d achieved my goal, I’d become indispensable.
In the summer, Dave Hunt asked if I had time for a meeting over lunch. I assumed it was something to do with asking me to come back when I finished my degree, I’d already been interviewing people to take over from me but hadn’t found anyone right at that stage. At that meeting in the San Siro (since closed down) he outlined his vision for the future with me heading up a team responsible for Technical Support, IT and Software Testing. He was going to allow me to hire someone to help but he wanted me to stay on permanently.
However, I wasn’t going to give up on my degree now, not when I was so close. After all, if I lost my job at Creative Lynx I’d have nothing to fall back on. In the end we agreed a compromise, I would continue to work as close to full time as possible and I would finish my degree over two years part time. I even got Creative Lynx to agree to paying my course fees.
Now my future was secure and I’d still get to graduate – I think I pulled off a great deal that day!