Farewell to Phonak

 

Typical day at Phonak

Well, today is my last day at Phonak.

Although I’m optimistic for the future and looking forward to my new job, I’m a bit sad. I’ve had some fab times here and made some great friends.

Above is a picture of me and my previous assistant Dan when we upgraded more than 200 pc’s in just a few weeks.

My door entry badge

The story’s become a bit of a cliché now, but its deserving of a re-telling for those that haven’t heard.

After 10 months of unemployment, I was contacted by the Halifax Building Society.

They politely told me, that I had 2 months to start paying the mortgage or the legal department would begin proceedings to take my house.

In essence I had 1 month to find a job, so I could pay it a month later. I’d been looking desperately for work for nearly a year and nothing, so what was I going to do.

With 4 days to go, I was offered the job at Phonak. My luck changed, and its continued to do so for the past 4 years.

Steve and Lee cabling the warehouse

Initially, there were loads of technical challenges and I was ably assisted by Lee Capie (left) and Steve the excellent caretaker.

Although not technicaly within his remit, whenever we’ve had a project to work on Steve has been there to help.

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I’ve worked closely with finance and Unitron, and on my first Christmas party (you take those things for granted until you’ve been unemployed) Glenn came along.

We play at a high level here at Sonova, so I’ve had joys and heartbreaks along the way. My “outside” friends like Glenn, Dan and later Nikki have always supported me.

On this occasion, the weather “went south” and myself and Glenn, who had a hotel room, catered for refugees who couldn’t get taxi’s home with blankets and hot chocolate.

Lisa in the middle and Tracey on the right. I’ve met more good people here than I can thank on this page, but just picking 2 examples.

Lisa and I famously debated whether a lion could kill an elephant in a fight. We later discussed who owned the better outdoor coat, as hers was north face and mine a Rohan waterproof (this would be settled for good later, when I purchased a mountain equipment down jacket).

Tracey. I once brought in a leather jacket I’d owned for ages. I was intending to wear it on a night out. Tracey honestly asked if I’d brought it in, so a friend could wear it to a fancy dress !. It went in the bin the next day.

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You might notice that most of the photo’s here are of socialising and stuff like that.

Please dont be deceived, its not been all champagne and wine. We’ve worked on a lot of highly technical and stressful projects. Thing is, our competitors would love to know more about how we work, and even though I’m leaving, I’m not allowed to discuss it verbally or in media, and I definitely cant put pictures up.

One thing in the public domain, which I can talk about is that we installed 2 Riverbed Steelhead appliances for application compression.

What I found hilarious, was you get a “free” screwdriver (pictured above) for your £5000 investment !.

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Having a bit of a celebration in our old building.

From l to r, Joe from Unitron marketing, Louise, who gave invaluable insight into Rebecca Brooks hair and helped me buy presents for Secret Santa.

The excellent Laura who I sat near for a while and shared lots of fun times.

My good friend Lyndsay, who was promoted to a job in our head office in Steafa, where we continue to stay in touch. At the back, the excellent Jean a mogul of customer service best practice.

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It was always the plan to move everything into the new building once it was built, but for a number of years, we were working out of 3 buildings on a campus network.

Linking 2 of the buildings was a laser link. Balancing one is a very specialist job, and these 2 guys become well known when they turned up for 2 hours and charged us £400 !.

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I sometimes I got to attend client events, to help out with local IT.

On this occasion, Unitron were doing a launch at Manchester Airport and we got to have dinner in a hanger underneath Concord.

Later I’d achieve a lifelong ambition by actually sitting in the cockpit. In front of me is the famous (mithering) Gareth and at the front Kate, who travels around like a sort of marketing Timelord.

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One other benefit of working for a hearing aid company, is you get hearing aids (if you need them) as part of the deal.

Above are my Ambra Nano’s. Made specifically for my ears, they’re 2 years  old now, but are quite simply the best hearing aids in the world

They fit completely inside my ear canal and you can’t see when I’m wearing them. I put them next to a 5p to show how small they are.

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Sonova are the main holding company. They own Phonak and Unitron, 2 companies that make hearing aids.

They also own Advanced Bionics, who make cochlear implants. CI’s are like the stuff in the bible. They allow people completely deaf from birth, to hear, like the lame walk and the blind see.

Their based in Cambridge, and the crew down there have become good friends. On one occasion, a customer in London was having some pc problems and we were asked to help.

I can’t say who, but its one of the best hospitals in the world, and we were honoured to be asked for our assistance (and we fixed it !).

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The main event was obviously the office move which 1 way or another occupied 2.5 years of my life.

Working with my team, our suppliers and Jo the project manager it remains the greatest technical achievement of my 25 year career.

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And after its completed, out for pints and a curry, with Dan & Adam, and that infrastructure genius, Markus.

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If I’ve got so many nice things to say about phonak, you might wonder why I’m leaving.

Its true. I’ve always been proud to work here and I sit on the train each morning proudly in my Sonova polo shirt.

I’ve frequently said, we don’t make cigarette’s or landmine’s, we make hearing instruments that genuinely make life better.

I’m leaving, because I want to do something different and try something new.

To everyone at Sonova, I want to say thank you for 4 amazing years.

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