The tranquility of a data center! – Lewis

WHHHHUUUURRRRRRRRR!!!!! No my keyboard isn’t broken that’s what I can currently hear as I write this blog for you all from inside one of IBMs UK headquarters data centers in North Harbour.

I’m here with 2 penetration testers from a 3rd party, escorting them through the data center and assisting them with tests to ensure our system holds up its accreditation for the next year. As I sit here fingers crossed they aren’t finding too many vulnerabilities that I will later have to re-mediate, it gives me a chance to think back on 2015 because it’s that time of year again… the PBC period (Personal Business Commitments: essentially the end of year appraisal process for ALL IBM employees).

One thing that my new manager highlighted to me when I left foundation to become a full IBMer was to think about what your wow factor was. Naturally in such a large pool of people all of whom are skilled, motivated and ambitious standing out in moderation’s is difficult. So what are my wow factors for this year?

I have taken ownership of my first network! All be it the smallest of those our account manages but a network none the less. In particular this has been a great opportunity to improve not just my networking skills but architecture as well. There are a number of things I simply hadn’t thought about before as a network engineer which this account has forced me to step up to and boost my knowledge. It has also greatly helped with my ability to make technical judgments and decisions independently. The lessons I’ve learnt here I’m sure are easily applied to other accounts and will stay with me throughout my career.

Also I have become a Cisco Certified Network Associate. A great achievement both for my CV and for IBM. This certification is a milestone of a competency in this area and can lead to many more deeply technical qualifications.

I could continue on with a few more highlights but there is something else I’d like to mention in this post which I believe will make IBM a more appealing place to work for any potential apprentices. As technology moves on so has IBMs appraisal process! Next year the appraisal process will move to quarterly discussions with feedback coming on an adhoc basis rather than the usual end of year rush to get it all done. In addition to this they are removing the “bell curve” for ratings. This is where a set number of ratings are available and the demographic must fit within this, which can see those deserved of higher ratings fall short simply because they couldn’t award any more of that rating. In the past this had been my biggest “rage against the corporate machine”. I believe the new approach to performance is more progressive and motivational for employees. No one is 100% sure on how this will affect the ethos and feel of the company however the process was created with the input of thousands of IBMers from all geographies and am looking forward to 2016 with a fresh approach!

Finally thank you all for reading this year! This is my last post so see you all in 2016!

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