28 Jun 2009

Democrats are the new Republicans

Though I'm a huge Bill Maher fan, I don't always completely agree with him. In fact, over the past few years, I've posted just three of his closing monologues from his HBO show Real Time with Bill Maher.

This latest clip, from the 19 June show, is absolutely right on the money as he accuses Democrats of not really being Democrats anymore. They've moved so far to the right as to now be a sort of centrist-right party, while Republicans have also moved so far to the right as to be, for want of a better word, lunatics.

At 3:16 in the video, Maher outlines exactly what a Democrat SHOULD believe in, in the traditional sense of the word Democrat. As he correctly states, these aren't radical ideas and a large portion of Americans already agree with them, while even more would agree if they were presented/argued properly.

But enough. For the third time, I completely agree with everything he says in this clip and think it's a shame that he's seen primarily as a comedian, rather than a serious political commentator (though this may be starting to change). Watch the video.

13 Jun 2009

The New Job

So yesterday I started a new job with telecommunications company Vodafone. It's the largest mobile phone service provider in the world and it's a company I've wanted to work for since 2004.

My role in the organization is that of "Real Time Business Support Manager".

I work in the Credit & Collections sector of the company. In other words, we deal with the contracts consumers and businesses have with us to provide their mobile phone service. Everybody from regular consumers, to small businesses, to large companies such as BMW or Johnson & Johnson, to government agencies such as the National Health Service, the cops, etc., get their mobile phones and service through Vodafone.

Specifically, I work in collections. When people or companies don't pay their bills on time, the information comes to us and we try to get them to pay their bill.

In my role, I look at the processes of 1.) how we try to get them to pay their bill, 2.) of why they don't pay it on time, and 3.) at what point during the collections process they will usually pay their bill. I have a team of three credit experts who work for me and together we look at all of the above data and we try to come up with ways to save the company money and provide better service for our customers. For example, I'll be given a goal by my boss to reduce costs due to late bill payments by x% and then my team and I try to find ways to reach this goal. If it looks feasible, we'll implement.

I also have to analyse data myself to see if I can identify ways to provide better service and/or reduce costs.

So basically, it's a role that encompasses management, IT, marketing, finance and business. I have quite a lot of experience in a lot of these areas (though not all) and so it seems like it's a great fit.

Now that I'm out of the USAF, I think I've finally found a company and line of work that I want to stay with for the long-term. I see my future working for Vodafone and in the IT/telecoms sector.

Vodafone have offices around the UK in Newbury, Banbury, Nottingham and Stoke. I'm based in Banbury which, as luck would have it, is about 20 mins. from my house in Buckingham! I'll have to travel to the other three location approximately once a month each, but I'll also be able to work from home four to eight days a month. The company issued me with a brand new Dell laptop and Blackberry.

The Banbury office is actually a complex of two huge buildings in a business park in the English countryside. Each building has its own staff restaurant and Wiis and XBoxes are dotted around the two buildings for the use of the staff. There's also free drinks and free tea or coffee which is great.

My boss works in the Stoke office (about two hours north), but has told me that she'll let me decide my own hours, when I work from home and seems very smart and really nice. I am part of a team of three managers who work for her and the other two guys are also very friendly and helpful.

In short, I think I may have found the perfect job. There are great prospects for moving up or moving to other sectors within the company such as sales (getting companies to choose us for all of their organization's phones) or marketing. Financially, it's great money. I get to wear whatever I want (which after years of business suits and military unifroms is quite liberating). The people I work with and for seem to be genuinely nice and it's close to home.

What more could you ask for?