Sack me for this blog

This post is dedicated to my good friend who just got fired because he writes a blog which has some very very small related stuff about work.

The real reason is that his company is cutting cost and have targeted him.

There is no doubt about it, this will get messy. The claim is very dodgy, his blog is much less revealing than mine.

When I saw his tweet, I said to him, I am so fired too. But come on, there wasn’t anything confidential whatsoever, it is the most tiny of evidence that the company has used. Shame on them!

Everyone is obviously supporting him and I should expect the full tribunal thing coming up. But still at the end of the day, the job is gone, may be just little bit more compensation.

So I thought will I get fired, might be I just need to check all my blog entries now to see if I have offended anyone.

But I know that I would have the decency to say it to their faces too.

At the same time, I should also read my contract, to see if writing a blog relating to work break any rules.

In the modern world of facebooking, blogging, tweeting. It is so easy. I think we have to sensible here, if there is commercial sensitive material leak then yes. But there are many grey areas.

Just to balance it,

I love what I do, I have no intention of giving up what I do. I love all my colleagues, they are all great. Everyone is a superconsultant.

If you still don’t know what I do and who I work for then google “the best environmental consultancy in the world”

I AM NOT JOKING, but the first result is really it… unbelievable!!!

This should do to show my true appreciation of my employer, so please don’t sack me…..

long may blogging be continue…


SKM Chief Exec Interview

Employee-owned firm plans for “significant growth” as latest acquisition boosts sustainability & climate change skill base

Simon: Climate Change Rules!


It is second-time lucky for Sinclair Knight Merz (SKM), the Australian professional services firm, which announced yesterday that it is in the midst of purchasing one of the best-known names in UK environmental consultancy, Enviros.

SKM bid for Enviros several years ago, but could not compete against Alfred McAlpine, explained SKM chief executive Peter Dougas, speaking with Environment Analyst.

Times have changed and Carillion’s decision to sell the consultancy less than one year after it bought it as part of a package of companies owned by Alfred McAlpine has been to SKM’s advantage (Environment Analyst 17-Sep-09).

Announcing the impending sale, Carillion said that SKM has agreed to purchase Enviros “for a net cash consideration of some £27 million, subject to completion balance sheet adjustments”. Carillion will use proceeds of the sale to reduce net borrowing, in line with its objective “of reducing this at the year end to below the half-year level of £146 million”. A further announcement from Carillion will be issued once the sale is complete.

Whether the final price paid by SKM proves lower than the headline £27 million figure or not, the Australian firm will have purchased Enviros for less than what Alfred McAlpine paid in 2007. The deflationary impact of the recession is clear: at the time of Alfred McAlpine’s purchase, Enviros was valued at £30 million.

Having been purchased three times in the space of just three years, Enviros staff may be pleased to hear that their latest owner takes a long-term view of its acquisitions and that “significant growth” is very much on the agenda. “We think Enviros has addressed recessionary impacts and our plans are for growth,” said Dougas, implying that further redundancies at Enviros are not on the horizon.

Dougas also said that SKM hopes to find a way to allow Enviros staff to share its parent company’s employee-based ownership model.

While the UK market is not expected to grow substantially in the short term, SKM operates globally from 42 offices and employs about 6,500 staff. Its goal is to incorporate sustainability into all aspects of its work, said Dougas, and Enviros’ expertise, particularly in climate change and energy, should assist in this.

SKM works in four “broad markets”: buildings and infrastructure; mining and metals; power and industry; water and environment. Founded in Sydney in 1964, the company is seeking to grow and has completed 56 mergers and acquisitions since 1996. In autumn 2008 it bought UK sustainable building design firm Environmental Design Consultants and in spring 2008 it merged with Australian environmental consultancy REM.

Meanwhile, Enviros is ranked as the third-largest consultancy (by turnover) in the UK climate change/energy and waste management/recycling sectors in Environment Analyst’s 2009 market assessment. In the boom years running up to the current recession Enviros failed to grow at the same speed as its competitors, however, it has a strong reputation and pedigree. Recently-released financial results for 2008 indicate a turnover of £26.4 million, down 4%, and an operating profit of £1.7 million, spectacularly up from £384,000 in 2007 (Environment Analyst 24-Sep-09).

Globally, SKM claims an environmental consultancy turnover of £70-80 million and a network of environmental staff numbering approximately 1,000. Until now, SKM has been a far smaller player in the UK environmental consultancy sector than the likes of Enviros, although still ranked within the lower half of the top hundred companies in the field, according to Environment Analyst’s market assessment.

Environment Analyst understands SKM’s UK environmental consultancy turnover to be less than £3 million per annum, generated by a team of around 30 staff. SKM’s primary UK environmental revenue streams have been environmental impact assessment/strategic environmental assessment and contaminated land-related work, both of which are likely to have been affected by recession.

SKM’s imminent purchase appears to be popular with Enviros management and staff. “It has gone down really well. After having been owned by private equity and then two plcs it is reassuring for our staff that SKM is an employee-owned company,” commented Enviros’ marketing director, Nigel Clark.

Nevertheless, Clark described Carillion as a sympathetic owner: “Carillion’s been a good home for us in many ways, particularly during recession. Senior management at Enviros thought SKM was the best fit amongst the potential buyers, but we weren’t running the sales process, so we should be grateful to Carillion for choosing such a good owner for us.” Carillion has also become an important new client for Enviros and the two organisations have a trading agreement in place that will continue after the sale.

Environment Analyst understands that interest in Enviros was strong, with trade buyers dominating the bidding. Chief amongst leading bidders were consultancies already active in environmental consultancy seeking to expand their UK activities and/or consultancies wishing to develop environmental advisory practices. Direct competitors from within the UK environmental consultancy sector are not thought to have been significant bidders.

Hopes are high at both SKM and Enviros that the purchase will bring growth and stability. Dougas told Environment Analyst that the cultural fit between the two companies is a good one and emphasised that SKM feels it already knows many figures within Enviros, the two consultancies having worked together in the past. Clark echoed this sentiment, describing the two companies as having a “similar style” and adding that Enviros is excited at the prospect of increasing the amount of overseas work it does.

OUTSOURCING never works (for empolyees)

oh Why oh why oh why, company like to outsource services to a 3rd party.

My company has sold our former IT support department. They sold the business for big bucks and outsource our IT services within the deal, win win situation. They get the business and contract we get the cash.

But someone has to lose, and we the employees are the one to lose. In order for this new company to make money, they would have to make cuts, the quick cut is to move office offshore, to India for example.

Today, I called the helpdesk and was surpised it has happened so soon, it was no long a Bromie, it was a non-english speaking Indian. He can’t even say Simon and kept calling me Diamond. Fair enough form filler, just fill that IT request in.

So I thought I would get a called back from someone British. No, the phone show the India IDD prefix 91. Rathinder or whatever his name was, I would just call him Rat, was trying to tackle a simple problem for me.

My laptop has a program installed to monitor and maintain the Windows profile size under 10Mb. This is basically the Application Data folder. I have many applications, the whole MS office + Visio +  IE etc, and other personal settings there are big enough to go over the 10Mb limit. And when I plug in my USB sticks with Portable Apps or U3 apps. The profile size shoots up.

What I really want them to do is INCREASE my profile limit to 20MB? Anyway, he started to clear my IE cache files, some temp files, but it was still over 10MB. Next he blacked out the sceen,  so I couldn’t see what he was doing, He rang me back and said he gave me a new blank profile and said I won’t have that problem again.

DO NOT treat me as some STUPID Westerner Rat! I knew exactly what he has done and point out to him, firstly you have removed all my settings, personal preferences, printers, favorites, templates, the list goes on. Secondly when I add these back in, the profile size will be exactly the same as before!

Therefore all you have done was wasting my time. So then I told him to bugger off, spent sometime feeling angry and reset my laptop to what it was.

They need to watch more Eastender for their English course (that is what they actually do right?). and give up IT support because they can’t do it.

So I have just lost my IT helpdesk, it is now IT wastedesk.

No support, we are on our own.

I am contemplating a complaint or just a quiet protest by never ever speaking to them again or both.

So that profit of selling the business is translate into employee dissatisfaction. Surely now that we are a customer of service we have our rights, yes, looks like the complaint is a must.

ps feel sorry too for all our previous Bromies IT support who might have to contemplate a new career in India!


Passing on tradition

One recent time, I was at a client site.

An engineer said: “I thought the presentation you guys did was very good”

And he went on, “I actually print good ones out and keep them in this pile.”

He then said, “It is as good as the presentation given by March Consulting on Waste Minimisation years ago”

HANG ON, did you said MARCH CONSULTING??????

I am actually the LAST March Consulting employee before March became Enviros. (I still have a March Consulting contract.)

We luckily have some proof on us, so it was really to our amazement more than anything that we HAVE maintained the standard if not exceeded it.

I was over joy. To me, it was a really good compliment.

Hip Hip Hurray. Hip Hip Hurray. March Consulting will always lives on.


Branding makes business Sense

You can only make money out of something if you can brand it.

Branding is very important and makes perfect business sense.

A product is not the same without a brand. This is also true for service.

Have you not heard of priority service, gold service, silver service etc. These are branding.

Even Credit Card has branding, Gold card, Platinum card, Black card etc.

The name is the important part of branding, whether this is the company name or the product name. Then there is the logo, slogan, etc…

The M&S food advert is a good example. It is promoting M&S branded foods are different and better. It is also trying add luxurious to their branding of food. You would pay high price, because you think you get something better quality. This might be the case, but do we actually know? or is it just a gimmick?

Anyway, branding make business sense.

Name, Logo, Statement or Slogan

Just some for my work! (for fun)

Is it energy efficiency or carbon management?

It is not just an awareness programme. It is an engagement programme that will change the world.

It is not just an opportunities database. It is an robotic project manager that help you track progress and savings

It is not just an technical audit. It is world leading expert innovation and advice.

Whether it is right or wrong, big part of the value of the product or service is in the Brand.

And I have to say life would be boring withing branding…

Half Empty or Half Fool


Please refers to my last post

1 FULL glass + 1 Empty glass

um… I make it half fool.

precious water wasted
electricity for water chiller wasted
adding life to water filter when no required
extra washing up liquid required
extra washing up WATER required
extra washing up time required

On the above 6 counts, does the jury find the defendant guilty or not guilty.

Angry Men in Office

What is it? An office move and an invasion of new colleagues from parent company.

At least it is quiet down (only in terms of no more removal man moving furniture)

So let me tell you little bit about my new colleagues. Some look high up and some just aren’t not. The car park today became a white man van parking yard.

The splash of new identity is to doing my head in. I am one for historical stubborn values.

March Consulting shall live forever.

What do you expect, my parent company is a building services / construction company. There are just more men behaving badly men about.

There are a couple of tough ladies though, I guess they got used to be in a rough men dominant environment.

Anyway, nothing bother me most than this.

The gents stinks. There is a Chinese Phase

“Angry men have smelly poo”

So there you go, we have angry men in the office!


Laptop/Browser Puzzle

Now that I am working for a big corporate company and recently got a new laptop.

It is very lockdown as expected but the spec is so good that I am quite happy.

At first I was trying to find as many loophole, hidden channels as possbile. I like a good look around and do what I want!

The first puzzle – IE6 / Internet Assess

There was two options of lock down, either the firewall has lock down what application allow to connect to internet or a proxy server.

I remember when I was in Uni. how to set up internet access via proxy server.

The proxy server was great for downoading stuff even compare to now. Let me explain.

The proxy server simply was acting as a cache server. Popular downloads were already downloaded and stored on the server. Therefore it was just a case of file transfer from server to your computer. I still remember seeing my first 1Mbytes/second speed.

Back to my work’s laptop.

So stuck with IE6 and no way of installing firefox or changing firewall settings.

(USB) U3 is a pain to startup. Although (USB) Protable apps was better, with Firefox portable able to run, but no connection.

Today, I was trying to listen to Hong Kong online radio through WMP. It flagged up a login prompt for the ITproxy server. Obviously part of the windows install, the setting would be automatic to detect proxy!!!.

But now that I have address for the Proxy and next I need to know the port.

Let have a guess, 80 then 8080 bingo!

Puzzle solved

Now I am running Firefox Portable with built in Flash plugin. No more IE6.

I have my tabs back…

To solve is to know and to know is to solve!

get it!


Enviros Christmas Party 2008

This year the office do was held in Tiger Tiger, outside the Printworks.

As usual the venue is shared with other people. One group being “Manchester City Council”

We got vouchers for 2 free cocktails which was very good indeed.

I was prepared very well this year.

NEW Steel and Jelly shirt + NEW Base London shoes. (plus a hair cut early on the week!)

First thing was how strange most people are in the climate change team. We were all wearing stripy shirts. This ended up being a big topic and team uniform! Sh1t!

There were already people in there from other companies. We didn’t exactly get the warm welcome.

A female came over and ask who we work for, etc, etc. I said “Enviros”, an Environmental Consultancy. She didn’t have a clue!

And then she noted that there were only us guys have arrived and ask so no girls works in your company?

I honestly said, our girls take lot longer to prepare, that’s all!

Then came the thought of either us guys not good enough for her or is she like girls (the other side!).

Both thoughts have triggered me to set my task for the night.

  1. Finding out her name
  2. Have a conversation with her

Unfortunately without going to too much detail, I FAILED!

The night wasn’t as good as I was hoping. There was drinks but I didn’t get really drunk, there wasn’t much room for my dancing and I wasn’t as humorous I wanted to be.

The food was buffet style and was ok. It is not fantastic but actually the buffet style for party is excellent.

I will tell our “Party Animal” Organiser, Andrea (our office support) this.

As the night went on, most of the girls was dancing. Also a mention goes to the 2 slick movers from CLIMATE CHANGE! A and E.

It was sometime quite funny and sometime quite boring!

I was going to spend the night at someone’s place, since he has rented a 2 bedroom apartment all to himself.

But I didn’t as a punishment for my failed task, I went home.

In fact I walked. I was going to get a taxi but, I just walk further and further to the point it is not worth it.

This has helped me to work off all the alcohol and so I didn’t get any hangover the next morning. Great!

Anyway, it took me about 45minutes. (Not bad going!)

Merry Christmas everyone!


Back to the Past

Today and Tomorrow I am back to a site I once work on 5 years ago, It is in Barry nr Cardiff.

Time passes, people move on, and up. But memory are still there,

I remember the first time on site. We have to hand it all our phones. There is a big hazard on site.

The receptionist mis-spelled my senior’s name. There is the Welsh version and the Scottish version.

Anyway, my name is still on the computer system. Sometime it is nice to be remembered.

I also hit the other famous on-site custom. CURRY Wednesday!

Every Wednesday they have curry for lunch, 3-4 different types of curry.

The surprise is I didn’t have one, I just had a sandwich.

As a fan of different accent, I do enjoy my day in Wales today.

Oggy! Oggy! Oggy!
Oi! Oi! Oi!