Why?

Camerasutra

So why am I retiring from what quite possibly could seem to be one of the best jobs there is? I mean we get to swan around the world at someone else’s expense, stay in four star  hotels and get front row seats at the best events, don’t we?

Well not really, no. And over time I may explain the reality of this peculiar line of work.  But it’s very far from the worst job in the world either. Looking back it’s probably one of the  the best and most interesting jobs I could reasonably expect to have had had given my qualifications, experience and aptitudes. I was lucky to fall into it. And I did fall but again, that may be another story for another post.

None of which explains why I’m retiring. I think the most succinct answer is, “Because I can.”

Six months ago I got a letter from the BBC’s pension fund. Six months hence my pension would, for want of a better term, mature. I would be sixty years old and have forty  years worth of contributions (the maximum) in the scheme. (I chose to pay slightly increased contributions from the word go in 1980)

For old gits like me that means  a full, index linked final salary pension which, I have been reliably informed by previously retired staff, is plenty.

(I’ll insert here the standard apology to my younger colleagues who’ve had their pension entitlements hacked back. Sorry, guys, but there’s not a great deal I can do about it. )

 

At the same time I was noticing that the job–at least for me– was becoming increasingly routine and even, on occasions a bit tedious.  That was partly my fault I suppose for not keeping up with the technology and learning laptop editing or one man satellite truck operation and a handful of other new skills but there you go.

The Old Bailey has a certain charm occasionally but getting up at 04:30 on a cold February morning to go and stand there for several hours in the rain is not inspiring.

And I was going to be sixty. The job was getting increasingly physically harder with more to carry . (Many colleagues have spinal issues. Something I have, thankfully been spared, but for how long?) In short, I was getting tired. Why not go while was I’m still healthy and with–I sincerely hope–many more years to find something else interesting to do?

So I talked it over with Karen, the other ‘arf, and in April, after a morning standing in Downing Street for little apparent purpose, I told by manager I was off on my next birthday.

I don’t think it came as much of a surprise. He probably knew I’d turned down a trip to Glasgow for the Commonwealth Games on the grounds that I might be retired before they ended. It didn’t actually work out like that but it would have meant being terribly busy at a time when I’ve been making strenuous efforts to wind down.

That’s all there is to it. I can’t do it for ever, so I chose to stop when wanted rather than go on a bit too long and have someone whisper in my ear that I really ought to stand aside.

If you want to try to talk me out of it–although it’s a bit late–comments are open.

 

 

 

Setting the scene

Camerasutra

OK, the blurb to the right is a bit premature; I haven’t actually retired yet. That happens in a couple of weeks but I wanted to get this up and running in advance .

(Old mates can skip the next paragraph.)

I’ve been working for the BBC for nearly 35 years. All of them in Television News, and the vast majority of it on the road. I’ve travelled a bit and seen a few things but with a Significant Birthday looming I’ve decided it’s time to move on and maybe do some Other Things. This blog might be one of them.

I don’t really know where I’m going with it yet. I got the idea when people started to tell me I should write my memoirs. Well, I’m not sure that’s going to work all that well. I’m not convinced I have enough material to turn into a book. On the other hand I do like telling (and retelling and repeating ad infinitum) the odd anecdote. I do it on Facebook a bit and it’s always seemed a shame that material there scrolls off rather quickly.  So expect Tales from the BBC from time to time.

I might get a bit ranty on current events as well. Some things in the news infuriate me and I like to vent.  I might even want to shout my approval occasionally. While I was employed by a national news organisation I was a bit inhibited by their Social Media policy.  I think they would have liked their social media policy to read DON’T but that was clearly impractical so they asked us to be careful. I can be less careful on my own page.

The point is that it’s my  blog. I can put whatever I want here (within the law)  It might evolve in unexpected directions or I might decide it’s just not worth the effort any more.

Comment if you like. Or not. Up to you. I’m all ears, er, eyes–whatever.

 

Stream of consciousness from the top of my head