Coming down on the train to London Neil and I sat next to a group of people heading to a conference in Eastbourne. The carriage was full. It was overly hot and felt like a cattle truck. The group were mostly women and worked in adventure playgrounds. Many of them worked for North Tyneside Council, where I used to work, and it was pleasant to hear their northern lilt in an otherwise southern sea.
The conference was about how to get children to be more active, more adventurous and play outside like we used to when I was a lad. Times were different then. Now everyone is a weirdo or an online stalker. The world is a dangerous place.
When I was young I would play out from first light and only come home to eat. I spent half my life up a tree, not always the same one, and it never did me any harm. You may think differently. Anyway I will leave that to you.
Back on the train, I went to the toilet and by the time I got back Neil had shown them a couple of card tricks. He always has one or two up his sleeve. They were impressed enough to give us a couple of cans of beer and a conversation ensued from there.
We got around to talking about what we do and we replied that we worked in IT. This immediately put us upon a pedestal. We represented something special. We were marked out as clever, (unfairly). The world in which we operate was exotic, beyond their reach and somehow mysterious. They told us how they struggled with their technology as if we would be able to help them, which of course we could not.
We described what we do and I realised how lucky we were to work in the field that we do. Here we were, on a train, off to visit some companies to help us with our new ways of working programme and doing something that we enjoy. The area that we in is innovative, creative and exciting. Every day brings new challenges and new opportunities.
Having said all that I don’t think ICT people (if there is such a thing) are necessarily more clever, more innovative or more creative than any other group yet we sometimes come across as such. We need to keep this in the backs of our minds.