New Job, New Achievements

Sometimes life just gets so busy, so crazily involved, that I forget what I’ve achieved – if Marcus Buckingham is to be believed – this is not a good thing for me – plus this might save me time for my PDR in future!

At the end of August 2015, I finished with CODEC at the University of Durham, sold my house – having decluttered severely, and moved on to a new post as Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University, so what have I achieved in the last 4-5 months?

  • Taught on four modules that are new to me, including taking over unit leadership for one – which I’ve got lots of ideas for – and if you could fill in this brief questionnaire = much appreciated, with the accompanying reading/preparation, learning new software/processes, team-meetings, lectures/seminars, marking, and much (e)paperwork… and sitting in on a number of other people’s lectures to ensure consistency! Given a guest lecture to Events Management students.
  • Taken responsibility for Level 5 students – staff/student liaison meetings happening – including being a contact for pastoral support for a number of them, and the joyous task of chasing up any poor attenders – firm but fair does it!
  • My department has around 50 academic staff alone, as well as many other staff, and I feel that I’ve got to know many of them already – very friendly, supportive, lots of give and take.
  • Few more bits of press … over the last year have been approached by both This Morning and NewsNight, but as happens with these things, they reach out to several – so you might/might not actually end up on the media … take it lightly!
  • Learning to use Slack and Trello for team-teaching, as well as the more traditional Dropbox and Google Docs, etc. Whatsapp, email, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn can all come into play for team comms too! Todoist and Toggl continue to be helpful, with Wakelet replacing Bundlr for link saving.
  • Joined an online book club to discuss digital/tech, etc. – now I know what books I own.
  • Been to a number of short events about: LinkedIn, Creative Manchester, Mentors Meetup, eExpenses, introduction to unit leadership, intro to MMU classrooms, Grow with Hubspot, putting a resource list on Moodle, engaging with education for sustainable development, 2 x Apologetics Without Apology lectures with Elaine Graham, Being B2B, Tools and Trends on the Horizon, and Outsmart – the new Out-of-Home organisation. I have my intro to MMU 20/1!
  • Been to a number of networking events, including #TDCMcr, #SASCon, Manchester Digital and Twitfaced socials, and spoken to 200+ at Premier Digital 2015 – for which I shortlisted some awards.
  • Met with a number of suggested research or industry contacts: Dave Day, Alison Goodrum, Alice Kettle, Rosie Shirley, Rosie Dawson, Marie Page, Jim Aulich, Steve Kuncewicz, Peter Cobley, Karen Radcliffe, and had various chats about future research directions within team (and plenty of thoughts firing off in my own head which trying to capture!) Meetings with MMU’s Creative Industries Knowledge Cluster, Visual Culture Working Group, NW Digital Leaders.
  • Possible Book Cover?Working on the conversion of PhD to book has involved further work on the book proposal, sorting out a load of files, 2 days in the British Library, various (unsuccessful) emails about the foreword… wonder if this will be anything like the book could look like!
  • Arranged a handful of events with Digital Fingerprint … now very limited in availability, but obviously it’s valuable to remain as a practitioner for my teaching role – commissioned writing work is easier to take on. This includes continuing to provide some curated links for Beyond Chocolate Facebook page.
  • Kept house in rented accommodation, and purchased a house which should be ready for April. Having finished my physical declutter, the e-declutter is well underway after Christmas, then it’s just the online presence to sort (I rolled 3 websites into one last year), and the books to read!
  • Caught up with a number of old friends (not enough!), and made several new ones in quite a number of evenings out in Manchester … my mum was able to visit, and I managed to visit Stoke-on-Trent, Burton-on-Trent, Winchester, Leominster for a funeral, Liverpool, London – which included a day with GWL, and Christmas with my parents – at which I mostly slept.
  • Tested out contact lenses (unsuccessfully – and causing a surprising amount of stress), and finally picked frames for my first pair of varifocals!
  • Undertaken several trampolining classes, found a hairdresser, but still sorting out church, karate club, walking club, and a much needed beach holiday.. oh, and a garage!

That’s not bad for 4-ish months is it…! Right, back on with writing more lectures, etc.!


My ‘Done’ List…

I find my ‘Todoist‘ app wonderful, but sometimes, especially for someone who is motivated by a feeling of achievement, have to celebrate what have done these past couple of years! How do I recapture this sense of joy that I got from the one run I made on my own on a surf board in Australia in 2007!


In summer 2012, I searched, bought and moved into ‘my first house’ in 6 weeks flat, starting a new job in Durham on 1st September 2012.


So, CODEC constitutes 80% of my working week. I moved up for a contract until August 2015. I have signed a new contract to August 2018, although it is still funding dependant, but there are promising leads for that! It’s been a difficult couple of years with lots of challenges, moving offices, seeking to find friendships outside of college… so I’m thinking of a few of the things I’ve done:


It was getting to a stage where I was spending around 120% of my working time on CODEC, so at Christmas I started to re-focus and re-address, with renewed vigour – to own the label given by a radio station ‘thought leader in digital culture’. Taking on some business coaching to develop Digital Fingerprint – which needs to provide 20% of my income, with a USP that people think it’s worth getting me down (usually down) from Durham.


In June 2004, I passed my PhD viva ‘with no corrections’. I keep promising to get it written, and this year have actually allocated some time, and am fighting to retain it!

  • Interviewed for LA Times and a German newspaper re ‘Keep Calm and Carry On
  • Started the conversion of PhD thesis to book, with help from Dr Martin Polley (who was my PhD supervisor)
  • Met with Henry Irving, who is working on a publishing history of the Ministry of Information.


A few final thoughts on this. As someone with declared mental issues, I am thankful that these are managed through medication and exercise. Life has to be more than work, right … although I’ve not managed to really “just sit still” – always something to do, read, think about… or sleep to be had!

  • Swam a lot, gained yellow belt in karate (nearly ready for orange, apparently), with a few Body Pump/Jam thrown in + lots of walking through London, etc. Plans to walk lots of the local region have not yet exactly taken off, aside from a one day hike!
  • Learnt 250 words of Brazilian Portuguese (in the last month) using Mind Snacks.
  • Made it on holiday to Marrakech, and off to Portugal next week. Some visiting of family & friends (not enough) – with a few National Trust and Alnwick visits thrown in + Merry/Bryony ordinations, and a handful of visitors in this direction (those who can get over how far away it is)! Not enough simply hanging out with friends, though I get some great chats with friends on FB, etc… especially Mel and others who try and get me to slow down or sit still…
  • In the first year I painted house, a lot, furnished on a shoestring, and this year have been having a better go at gardening (3 raspberries so far!).
  • Counselling and coaching sessions are always hard work, but worthwhile. Sourced and shared stories on Beyond Chocolate.
  • Making participating in ‘Faith and Fellowship’ housegroup from Carrville Methodist Church a priority, whilst thinking about if/where might want to be on a Sunday (Tuesday at College = my main service).
  • Been learning to switch off earlier in the evening, seeking to not spend all evening working, nor up late with TV/book. Hmmm…
  • Dealt with a number of technology issues – just had 4 extra MB of RAM put in laptop – SOOOO much faster!
  • Decluttering, including kitchen cupboards (I used to hoard).
  • Streamlined finances, paid off debt to parents, still working on Student Loan (2016!) .. and of course mortgage!

Once the PhD is turned into a book, a couple of articles written, paperwork has been scanned, photo albums complete, and a bit of a digital declutter, then everything becomes forward looking.

This is not necessarily comprehensive & I reserve the right to add things if I remember them – this post is for me really!