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############################ EXIT, STAGE OXON ############################ [This email is an update. If you haven't got one from me before you'll find I write them two-four times a year. Please email me to opt-out or opt-in - I'm not very methodical about updating the list of people I send this to!] So I'm finishing this email one chilled out rainy day in San Sebastian with my brothers, and five months ago I moved to London and got burgled. In between all that some stuff happened. A lot of stuff. Life is busy, but very very good. Most recently, graduation. Oxford's graduations are all in Latin and no more interesting than anyone else's (one of the Professor's down the front had his kindle out, I wished I'd brought mine too), but the superman robes are fun. Graduation and the days leading up to it was also the first time my immediate family has been in one place since...? Whatever, I don't actually know. A very long time. Anyway, we were, I loved it, and I'm very grateful they had journeyed from all the distant, disparate corners of the world! Ultimately, that was the point of the graduation, not the robes. The holiday me and my brothers left for the day after graduation has also been great. We had a couple of days together at Easter last year. Before that it was Christmas 2008 in Vienna. But now we've agreed to holiday somewhere every year, just the three of us, and San Sebastian is the first. Next year? Tentative plans to do something in the Carribean or Florida. Living in three non-contiguous time zones means we need them, lest we become strangers... Talking of young men on holiday: http://bit.ly/icK9Da Of course ours is much more civilised. So far. Enough scene-setting. On with the work at BCG. It takes up quite a lot of time. It's been interesting, challenging and a lot of fun. I'll never go back to being an academic either. It was nice being an academic and knowing everything about nothing, but being a consultant who knows nothing about everything is a million times more for me. Except that it's not true, knowing nothing. The training at BCG is amazing. Most recently: an introduction to the insurance industry with someone who's worked there more than 20 years. On-demand and as necessary interviews with experts inside and outside BCG. Interviewing skills, a slew of other business, professional and people-related subjects. Training sessions in the office. Virtual sessions, via conference call and web presentation. Regional and global training. Coming up: a 2-week mini-MBA in Boston, another regional week in Paris. And that's just the officially organised stuff. I don't bother to count the number of times I've been able to sit down with someone more senior and pick their brains, and I don't bother to count the number of times people have offered it to me and those around me, without being asked. Needless to say, the people are friendly. They're also varied, smart, really good to work with and intimidatingly competent at their jobs. It's a high standard, but a good one. It means I don't spin my wheels because of some incompetent colleague, and the aforementioned training also means they aren't waiting on me. Problems and gaps get filled quickly. This ubiquitous competence is gloriously refreshing, so much so I doubt I'll ever be able to express it. Talking of varied people: http://bit.ly/gySckh On the other hand, my chances of ever winning a Grammy are nil. Back to the work. What do I actually do? Well, mostly I talk to people and read things and make Excel models and powerpoint slides. Very rarely does anyone tell me what to do, and even more rarely does anyone tell me how to do it. Instead, I usually get a vague description of what needs to be done - "a presentation of XXX to present to YYY [a multinational media company] tomorrow" - and I talk to other people on the team. Then I or we (depending on everyone's commitments) sit down, think about XXX, the analysis this needs and the presentation story line it creates, and then I or we do it. If diaries align there'll be another slot of time later that day with the manager to iterate, but not always. Which brings us nicely to the hours. These are long, and I'm not sure when I last had a weeknight dinner at home. I think Monday 9 May. The time before that was sometime in April, or maybe the end of March. Of course, the advantage of everyone working long hours is that the people in Australia are in the office when you are, and vice versa. I'm pretty sure that's called globalisation or something. The hours also mean it's almost impossible to do anything on a weeknight and so I've had to give up jitsu for now, which makes me sad. All the other evening things got shifted to the morning too, which means I'm busy then as well. Whether it's an early morning work call to the US, going to the gym, Chinese language classes or skyping with family in NZ, I'm not often sleeping in. So yes, I'm busy... But it turns out I don't need as much sleep as I thought I did, and I wouldn't have it any other way! And now we come to the burglary, just 7 days after my flatmate and I moved to London. Ouch. They took my laptop, my camera and my iPod. And my backup hard drives. Ouch. They left my alcohol unopened and neatly piled on my bed. Confusing. But apparently normal - the police officers say the burglars are all addicts, and the dealers will take electronics in lieu of cash. At least the clean up was straight forward. The final ouch? The police take 42 days (and want £10) to send you the police report of your own burglary. But enough moaning. In my spare time? Relaxing Stories is in beta test and it is going extremely well! Alex, Deeksha and Akshat have done amazing things, the stories sound great and the app's UI is getting rave reviews. More news to come on this front soon, and I've attached the logo to this email because I love it! In my other spare time I've become a school governor at Old Oak Primary. This is an amazing school, and the head teacher and staff seems great - but North Acton can be pretty grim, the community is very transitory with lots of refugees and socioeconomically its very deprived. Also, Wormwood Scrubs is right next door, they need to hire a new deputy headteacher and they're changing from a 1.5 form model to a 2 form model, which means growing from 330 students to nearer 500. I'm looking forward to getting stuck in. San Sebastian hasn't been the only holiday either... Katie and I had a fantastic time up in the lakes district, made sure to drink a bottle of champagne on our anniversary and raced up and down mountains most other days. Lots of photos attached. We'll be in New Zealand at Christmas and walking the Routeburn with family. More immediately, we've got a weekend in Amsterdam coming up too. Life? Life is busy, but life is good. And this is hilarious: http://bit.ly/lqydVd FINIS