The Worker's Page

Dear Sir or Madam,

You are at the vinceunlimited Worker's page. A new place in the vinceunlimited universe where I can collate all the relevant stuff from the site for a particular type of professional, in this case the working, business sort.

Related Links

Yours sincerely: Vince Poynter
Version m5.197 24 Sep 2018
First Published: Version 5.030 4 Dec 2017



vSearch by Date

March 2013 - August 2012 - July 2012 - March 2010 - May 2006 - September 2005 - May 2005 - October 2003

vSearch by Title

Brief History of my Employment - Executive Summary - Genius Rights - Home Work - Olympics 2012 - Remaining Unlimited - Smart - Soul Trading - Word Minutes Template - Work Musing - Working Time



March 2013

Soul Trading

Contract or permanent, that is the question?
Whether 'tis nobler in the industry to suffer
the slings and arrows of outraged employees
Or take arms against a drying sea of Contracts

I apologise Mr Shakespeare but your soliloquy does help present a conundrum I have wrestled with lately.

Contract or permanent, that is the question? And I think the answer lies in time.

Often employees are subject to a three month trial. I'm not sure of the legal validity but it is common to hear this. So, if someone has lasted just three months in a company as an employee you may be entitled to ask why? On the other hand Contract work, being more ephemeral means three month assignments are more commonplace so the same suspicion may not arise.

However extend that duration to one year and there is real dilemma.

Consider first that this was a permanent position. A year as an employee initially suggests that the role was sufficiently carried out. The 'three month trial period' was easily surpassed so any failings would show well within this time but why just a year in a 'permanent' post? Questions of unfulfilled ambition and restlessness start to emerge and no one wants to waste money recruiting this attitude. Is there natural negativity here?

However, look at the exact same individual taking the exact same job on a Contract basis. This time any trail period was over in the first week and Contracts are usually job based so a whole year assignment suggests a successful conclusion. Here there is only a feeling of positivity.

So unless that employer is offering more than a year of work go Contract. And who can guarantee more than a year these days?

So permanent positions...

...by opposing end them: to die, to sleep
No more; and by a sleep, to say we end

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.197 24 Sep 2018
First published: WordPress 13 Mar 2013



August 2012

Olympics 2012 [Extract]

The concrete, interlocking, five Olympic rings high on a hill overlooking Portland

My thoughts about the Olympic Games started earlier than most.

Yes we all had a passing interest when we heard that we beat the French in the first game of the season by winning the rights to spend a fortune on the spectacle. But a lot of thoughts turned elsewhere very soon. After all, you can only do so many laps of French gloating.

A BMW 3-series 320d painted in the orange, yellow and white Olympic branding
An official Olympic branded BMW 320d passes by close to my front door

But I thought there may be quite an overlap between the OGs and myself.

I earn my tech-spend money in construction and moved in close enough circles to think I may get some work out of this massive money pit. Not only in planning and commercially running some of the work but also in the likely delay and disruption claims that seemed sure to follow in the subsequent three years.

But the Lord Coe & Co had other plans and secured the construction via an alternate consortium who for some peculiar reason managed to build it all on time and within budget. Leaving me with no pie encased finger and nothing to pick over later.

I was never asked to lift a finger to help. And from history it seems this was a shrewd move by LOCOG.

Ahem.

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.193 12 Sep 2018
The Full Blog First published: WordPress 20 Aug 2012
The photographs were taken by the author and added to the website in Version m5.193 12 Sep 2018
The header photograph shows the concrete Olympic Rings structure erected on the hill above Portland, Weymouth and was taken on 2 October 2014, more than two years after the 2012 Olympic Games had finished
The other photograph shows a special liveried Olympics 2012 sponsored BMW car and was taken in Southampton on 15 Jul 2012



July 2012

Smart

Does it pay to be smart?

If you are in the need of new staff you want the best don't you? You want someone who is smart. Your business needs smart. There's enough dumb around and smart is better than stupid, right?

All positions are about risk and opportunity and if you hire smart the risk is reduced and the opportunity increased. A smart manager will hire smart staff. Don't you agree? Or maybe not?

You need to fill a role and you meet a really smart candidate. This candidate will present great future opportunity and fantastically improve your business. It's a no brainier. You want smart and there they are right in front of you. All you have to do is make the offer.

But you hesitate. You know there is a real downside to smart.

Firstly, smart is good, possibly too good for the role you have in mind. Smart will soon become disenchanted and want to move on so you will have to hire all over again.

Or smart will move on taking all your company skills with them. Nothing worse than having smart only for smart to get better and then move to the opposition.

Even worse smart may rise through the ranks. You know smart rises to the top and between smart and the top is you. If you're not smart, smart may become you. It takes a brave person indeed to hire someone smarter than they are. Are you that brave?

All I can say is that I'm smart. But don't worry. I'm not quite as smart as you.

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.192 11 Sep 2018
First published: WordPress 19 Jul 2012



A Brief History of My Employment [Updated] - 1978 to 2012

A photo of the author's busy wooden working desk showing a chair with jacket over the back, files, drawing rolls and telephone
The busy office desk of a Heating Engineer in the late seventies

I received a formal office based apprenticeship with a medium sized heating company where I learnt all required skills from estimation to commissioning and final accounting of industrial and commercial mechanical services projects.

As a Mechanical Services Engineer my duties included specification interpretation, basic design, draughting, sub-contract negotiation, site meeting attendance, quantity surveying including budget control, commissioning and documentation preparation.

I single-handedly supervised contracts varying between ten thousand to three-and-a-half million pounds in value.

Within this period I sought further experience and set out to find additional challenge. I worked outside the industry in sales and marketing for a while but no clear opportunities developed so I took an offer to rejoin the construction industry again, then moving to a leading player in the market.

Shortly after this the Managing Director of a heating and plumbing company, who wanted to start a mechanical services division, approached me. My experience within the commercial building services market was called upon to create a department from inception.

I was given a free hand and within the three years of running the department as a General Manager I autonomously ran more than forty contracts won from valuing over two-hundred tenders, turning over half a million pounds and making a small profit after start up costs.

With the company I honed new skills including labour recruitment, supervision, training and termination, department budgeting, finding and developing client relationships and accountancy.

I initiated quarterly and yearly departmental financial and progress reports and was instrumental in helping the company grow from a small poorly administered outfit to a vibrant professional concern by encouraging staff meetings, standardising and tidying presentation techniques and developing CDM and Investors in People formats.

Despite my development of new contacts such as the local University and the national Gas Company it became clear that my hopes and expectations from the department exceeded the financial risk that one of the directors was prepared to take.

I chose to join a better-funded organisation to improve my personal reward and commenced work with another southern based, mechanical services company overseeing several contemporaneous projects as a Contracts Manager. This included sole commercial and engineering responsibility for projects.

The author sits at his working desk, on the phone with a laptop opened in front of him.  A large photocopier is seen in the background under the window.
The job had similarities but the technology had developed

In 1999 I decided to develop the professional side of my skills and seek new contacts in a more commercial environment within a more stimulating and progressive field.

I choose to work through a London based company and became self employed to maximise my potential. This enabled me to respond better to a modernising market.

Most of my work at this time was carried out for a respected London based group of companies, as a Senior Contracts Consultant. They provided continual work for me from March 1999.

My duties had been varied and I encouraged my client to offer me a wide range of assignments. The projects were within the contractual and commercial sector often with high profile clients, usually within a team.

I had been engaged in prestigious multi-million pound contracts, dealing with issues such as valuing multi-million pound variation accounts, researching contractual documentation, asset surveying, setting company bonus schemes and working with legal departments on claims and adjudication cases.

As an illustration of this, at the beginning of 2003 I was appointed as a specialist planner, working with Primavera [P3] software, for an eminent E&M company within the rail industry, providing me with over a year’s specific experience working with specialist planning software both on new programming and time slice analysis as part of sub-contract claims.

During 2004 I worked as a Quantity Surveyor involved in track replacement on the London Underground network and in 2005 I commenced working within the commercial department of a Motorway and Trunk Road Maintenance team as part of a £85m/annum project. My role was to value the £9m trunk and motorway works and resolve a £5m line painting final account.

In 2007 I worked on another rail project, requiring understanding of standard signalling methodology plus the new cutting edge European Interoperability ERTMS radio signalling system set to become standard across the future UK and European networks.

Between 2008 and 2010 I worked as a Principle Quantity Surveyor on Ministry of Defence [MoD] housing refurbishment projects in the South West including having responsibility of a £9m project where I played a key role in defending a £1.8m adjudication claim.

In 2009 I decided to set up a Limited Company, IMPRECE Limited, to offer further options to my clients and increase opportunities for expansion.

Then later in 2010 I valued a 500 item variation account on a £2.7m mansion conversion in West London.

I then returned to a PAYE position in 2012 with a southern Mechanical Services company as a Senior Quantity Surveyor. My role being the commercial supervision of all contract projects across the business providing specialist surveying advice, working on the most technical and challenging projects, producing applications, preparing adjudication material, negotiating final accounts and debt recovery.


A Summary of My Skills and Experience

  • More than 25 years project planning, engineering and commercial management within the construction and associated industries

  • Commercial skills [Quantity Surveying] including contractual correspondence, variations and claims - Experience in Disruption and Loss and Expense with knowledge of adjudication and arbitration

  • Procurement, planning, resourcing and supervision [including using proprietary software – Asta Primavera P3, Powerproject, TeamPlan and MS Project]

  • Specialist Building Services, construction, rail and road industry experience

  • High speed and competency of spreadsheet calculations and word processing with good knowledge of various desktop publications and database applications

  • High level of computer literacy in Windows and Apple Macintosh including internet understanding, website creation using source codes [this whole site is hand coded in HTML, all self taught], basic networking and problem solving

  • Design, calculations, coordination and drawing [manual and CAD]

  • Client liaison, arranging meetings

  • Public speaking and event organisation

  • Sub-contractor selection, negotiation and supervision

  • Ability to decipher and interpret legal and contractual documentation

  • Technical documentation writing [Operating and Maintenance, CDM, Health and Safety]

  • Estimation and financial skills within the tendering environment

  • Recruitment, employment, setting and administering bonus schemes plus training

  • Management skills including budget control, staff relations and report writing

  • Experience in seamless adaption to variable company processes utilising rapid understanding of new software

  • Security cleared [MoD WWW rated]

  • Incident reporting and fire awareness trained

  • Experience in setting up a Limited Company from inception including branding and marketing

Selective Work Assignments

A selection of the major roles that I carried out and the projects that I worked on.

  • 1978/1982 - Technician Heating Engineer [Apprenticeship]

  • 1982/1984 - Various temporary works, then Warehousing and Sales

  • 1984/1993 - Mechanical Services Engineer

  • 1993 – Part time Consultancy Engineering

  • 1993/1994 - Project Engineer

  • 1994/1997 - General Manager [Mechanical Services Department]

  • 1997/1999 - [Mechanical and Electrical] Contracts Manager

  • 1999/2011 - Self Employed Contracting [see below]

  • 2011/2012 - Senior Quantity Surveyor

Self Employed Contracting

List of the major contracts I worked on as a self-employed Contracts Consultant.

  • 1999 - Quantity Surveyor, Assistant Claims Consultant and commercial support roles on projects including the Canary Wharf Nat West Tower and the London Underground Jubilee Line Extension claim calculations

  • 2000/1 - Asset Registration in Retail and Banking

  • 2001 - Administration of Bonus Scheme on two major Tower Construction Contracts in Canary Wharf

  • 2002 - Setting Up Bonus Scheme for a main Mechanical Services Company

  • 2002 - Adjudication Research for a Sub-Contractor Claim within a large London Property Development Site

  • 2003 - Planner as part of the London Kings Cross Underground redevelopment producing base-line programmes for Camden Depot, including work breakdown structuring, logic linking and costed resourcing

  • 2003 - Extension of Time Analysis, work breakdown structuring, logic linking of activities and printing of Gantt charts following Building Services Construction at St George's Hospital, Tooting

  • 2004/5 - Quantity Surveyor for Metronet Rail Infrastructure responsible for valuation and submission of Metronet overground rail replacement possession works

  • 2005 - Claim preparation following Building Services Construction at St. Charles Hospital, Kensington

  • 2005/6 - Highways Maintenance Quantity Surveyor responsible for £9m part of RCS's £85m Area 3 Term Maintenance motorway and trunk road depot maintenance works and minor schemes, including calculations for a £5m line painting final account

  • 2007 - Rail Quantity Surveyor for rail signalling projects including ERTMS

  • 2007 - Sewage treatment plant Quantity Surveyor providing cost reports and variation negotiation with Thames Water for plant upgrades

  • 2008/10 - Principle Quantity Surveyor on £9m Ministry of Defence housing renovation project in the South West including all calculations for defence of a £1.8m adjudication claim

  • 2010/11 - Quantity Surveyor for £2.7m account with over 500 variations during a refurbishment contact on a Holland Park mansion in West London for an extremely high net worth client

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.188 5 Sep 2018
First Published: vincepoynter.co.uk Version 1.00 in Mar 2005
Reimagined to 2005/6 in Version m5.080 9 Mar 2018
Self-employed data added in Version m5.082 15 Mar 2018
Updated to 2010 in Versions m5.151 13 Jul 2018 then m5.177 21 Aug 2018
Updated to 2012 in Version m5.188 5 Sep 2018
The first image is of the author's working desk taken around 1979 and was added in Version m5.080 9 Mar 2018
The other image is of the author working during the early noughties and was added in Version m5.080 9 Mar 2018



March 2010

Home Work

Today I am working from home. No, really, I’m at home and working. I’m not just messing about on my computer. It’s real work.

I know it’s work because I have to open an Excel spreadsheet. As usual, it is a complex, multi-formatted workbook with SUBTOTAL functions and my Mac’s pretty little spreadsheet, Numbers, does not seem to support these professional tools.

As a result I have had to install Sun's VirtualBox which will allow me to load in my copy of Windows XP and the MS Office package on to my Mac.

I really do not want to do this, other than for the fascination, as it will be like fitting a Kia sunroof with ill fitting lock into my Jaguar.

The process involves adding Sun’s VirtualBox, Microsoft’s XP, the XP SP2 disc, MS Office 97 Suite [I can’t afford the extortionately priced upgrade, alright], adding AVG virus protection, then running several dozen Windows Updates, each of which wants to have its very own restart.

I will then be able to fire up the Excel sheet.

All of which is very time consuming and will mean I won’t be finishing early today.

Despite working from home.

Which I am.

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.156 19 Jul 2018
Written as an entry in MyDiary 27 Nov 2009
First Published: Version 3.0 Mar 2010



May 2006

Genius Rights

My own brand of genius emerged again today.

I have been tasked with assembling some notes about my client's current business practices. As part of this I have to jot down some ideas for efficiency improvements, a task that an idea's man like me can relish.

However, to me, this raises interesting questions about intellectual property ownership.

Normally IP will reside with the company, provided such IP is undertaken by the company but my circumstances are slightly different.

As a self-employed man, working through a third party my role is fairly rigidly defined.

I am certainly not directly contracted to the company I am working in and have not been employed with my novel abilities in mind. I am just contracted to do a standard day to day job efficiently.

So if I bring in my own brand of innovation the company I am working for will benefit unduly. And you can be sure there is no process to reward such special talent. I can't even complete the company staff suggestion form and claim my pony because as a contractor I am ineligible.

But if I don't exercise my full potential I will be cheating the world of my input. This is why I'll go only so far but not all out.

Again, my natural talents defused and demeaned.

So to my idea. Well after all that it doesn't seem so great. They can have it.

In many ways you have just had the best bit.

Author: Vince Poynter
An 'extract' from the vinceunlimited Blog article 'Genius Rights' version m5.123 dated 30 May 2006
Blog Article First Published: Version 2.03 25 May 2006



September 2005

Executive Summary

I'm being reassigned.

One reason for my reassignment is the imminent conclusion of a current task that I have been working on for a client.

The last job to be done is create an Executive Summary compiling all the raw data that I have produced over the last few months.

Whilst doing this I was moved to consider why they are called Executive Summaries.

Surely an Executive, having achieved such a high rank, must be able to absorb facts and data in a manner better than others.

Therefore the summation should be entitled Idiot Summary.

I feel the fact that it isn't proves the real ability of Executives.

Author: Vince Poynter
An 'extract' from the vinceunlimited Blog article 'Well Executed' version m5.117 dated 22 May 2018
Blog Article First Published: Version 2.02 29 Sep 2005



Remaining Unlimited

Following a close friend's change of job recently and his necessary formation of a limited company to serve the position I resurrected thoughts about my own position.

Professionally I work as a sole trader (self-employed) but could form a company to trade through just as many of my work colleagues do. However a call to my accountant friend dispelled any myths about saving tax and threw doubt about the promises of limited liability.

This all meant that the novel company name I created yesterday was now redundant. Shame. It was surprisingly difficult thinking up a relevant, short and memorable name that was not previously registered in Companies House and could be purchased as a .com or .co.uk web address.

But I did manage it.

Well, did you expect otherwise?

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.106 25 Apr 2018
First Published: Version 2.02 20 Sep 2005



Work Musing

Have to attend a work related interview today and it has made me think again about my career.

I work in the construction industry, not through choice but fate. I despise everything about it but year on year the fiscal reward has been growing.

I dislike the way that it limits creativity, is a male dominated, brutish, dirty environment and now only concerns itself with money.

Service and pride have become lost concepts and the industry is full of parasitic consultants. I should know, I work as one!

I work mainly through one agency and they pitch my skills to suit the job - I have become a specialist in nothing more than fitting into any role they ask.

Whilst this provides interesting variations in an otherwise tedious job it does prevent me from climbing up away from my present level into further management. A role I would be much more suited for, mainly because that is where all the hyperbole I have learnt on the way would be of most use.

Author: Vince Poynter
An 'extract' from the vinceunlimited Blog article 'Work Musing' version m5.104 dated 23 Apr 2018
Blog Article First Published: Version 2.02 8 Sep 2005



May 2005

The Working Time Proposal

The Working Time proposal is part of the vinceunlimited Political Concept which was published in 2005 to offer some alternatives to the Status Quo of British politics. Because nobody wanted all that double-denim in Parliament.


Working Time

Local Networking

The Nightmare

I am slightly biased here because currently I spend about thirty percent of my working day commuting and use a range of unpleasant forms of public transport.

I know this doesn't apply to everyone but the more you commute the more you will appreciate my radical proposal for work.

I cannot claim it is a brand new idea but one that no-one seems to have the commitment to implement.

Until now.

Local Working

I propose that we scrap all unnecessary commuting by utilising a range of political incentives.

It is about time we started to use the technology that we have created to ease our working lives.

It is about time to work from home.

I know that some are already doing this but this should be the norm, not the exception and there are three basic things that we need to make this happen.

Basic Thing One - Trust

Much of my work over the last six years could have been done at home. The underlying reason behind this not happening is lack of trust.

Clients and employers are reluctant to trust an individual to work from home because of an irrational fear that instead the employee would be watching daytime television because let's face it we do.

We need to get out of this cycle.

Employers should trust the worker and employees should not abuse the position.

After a while it will become the norm so this basic thing is a temporary problem.

Basic Thing Two - Facilities

This is where the key to the solution lies.

People working from home shouldn't necessarily actually be doing it from their own house.

A network of village and town facilities should be constructed to allow workers to gather together, locally, to share resources such as administration, copying and paperclips.

This would ensure that everyone would network together and not die of boredom in front of the tele.

The current 'national' offices would be transformed to serve as occasional meeting places.

An added bonus would be the national construction programme that this would generate.

Basic Thing Three - The Political Will

That is served by this page of this website.

Downside

The negatives may all really be positive in the long run.

Firstly, the reduction in tax revenue on 'commuting fuel' and other stealth taxes like the financial gain from speed cameras.

Then there would be the reduction in use of public transport services.

And finally Ken Livingstone would have to raise the London congestion charge to about £5,000 per vehicle to make it economical to run.

Upside

By re-engaging community spirit and having more hours to work rather than be in the car or on the train we would all be able to complete our work within three or four days instead of five or six.

Isn't that what we all expected computers to provide us with in the first place?

Exceptions

There will always be some exceptions to the rule.

Airline pilots will still need to commute to Heathrow, they will not be able to transform their front porch into a runway and make the in-flight bookings on their kitchen table.

Sportsmen will have to gather together unless we all want to watch Michael Schumacher take on Pablo Montoya using a Playstation network link.

And the Changing Of The Guard is much more impressive all together in The Mall than simultaneously in Basingstoke, Oxford, Little Thrumpton and Portsmouth [or wherever the Guards live].

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.089 28 Mar 18
Political Section, including Working Time [previously entitled Work], First Published: Version 2.00 May 2005



October 2003

Word Minutes Template

Take a minute to read this

Image of a Windows XP screen with multiple windows open
I've been looking for over 120 seconds now. There must some minutes in here somewhere

The thing with big software applications is that they are so well developed that they are often hard to fault.

Thousands of pounds and man-hours go into producing a top class product worthy of the fortune you have to spend on it.

Or rather thousands of dollars, because let's face it. The yanks have got it all tied up.

So when I came across a need for an elementary layout in a powerful popular application I was surprised by its omission.

Microsoft Word '97 doesn't have a standard template for minutes.

How did this occur? Surely when they were beta testing the product they would have held meetings.

And minuted them.

Have I discovered a secret here? Do they use Lotus Ami-Pro in Seattle? We should be told.

By the way, I have created a template myself. If you need a copy, send me a request.

And if Bill Gates is reading this. Get in touch. You'll find my hourly rate very reasonable. Compared to yours.

Author: Vince Poynter
Version m5.030 4 Dec 2017
First Published: Version 1.00 in Oct 2003 and reproduced here in full, unedited
The links were added in Version m5.030 4 Dec 2017, along with the image which depicts a Windows XP desktop with multiple windows open