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25 Jan 2019

New Horizons – Starting Work at Cobalt Sky

Charis Muir - Articles, General - 0 comments

It’s been six months now since I joined Cobalt Sky and, as the old cliché goes, the time has really flown by. Having spent the past few years pouring over ancient texts and reciting verb paradigms that were far too long for their own good, I didn’t have a clear picture of what kind of work I wanted to do or what kind of company I wanted to work at. I suppose this actually made me open to a lot of different options and ultimately led me to where I am now.

From what I remember of my first day, it was the height of summer, repugnantly hot, and I’d got up at 5.30am (utter insanity, I know) so that I’d be extra ready to make something of a good impression. Following a rather varied journey of bus, DLR, tube and train, I was in Putney for only the second time, fretting over a distinct lack of shade on the infamously polluted high street and wondering how early I should arrive.

With this being my first time working in an office, I suppose I didn’t really know what to expect. Whilst I’d met some of my colleagues and grilled them about their experiences – they had spoken very positively and genuinely about their time at Cobalt Sky, struggling to name anything they truly disliked -, even the most in-depth conversation can only tell you so much.

Outside of that, the only images of office jobs I could consult came from the ever-reliable source of information that is TV and film. There was the proverbial cubicle mill, as it is so affectionately nicknamed, stiff and austere, where each employee, little more than a cog in a machine, languishes in his boredom whilst his fat cat overlords sit in luxury getting rich. And then there was the office that resembles a high school more than a place of business, characterised by drama, outrageous behaviour and a whole lot of dysfunction. Of course, I knew that these notions were little more than caricatures of questionable entertainment value at best.

Perhaps surprisingly, I wasn’t nervous, but looking back, it would’ve been quite reasonable to find the prospect of stepping into a new environment and joining a group of people who have been working together for years rather daunting. And yet, I wouldn’t have needed to be apprehensive about the situation at all – everyone welcomed me and helped me settle in and, most importantly, there was no shortage of banter. In between meeting my new colleagues and taking in reams of information, we had a lunchtime trip to what I hear is the best pub in Putney, including company-sponsored chips and a very serious and lively discussion on the topic “who’s the best bear?” – I’m sure you’ll agree it’s Paddington.

Over these past five months, I’ve really appreciated having great teachers who’ve introduced me to what were once completely unfamiliar fields – namely, data processing and survey scripting – and who keep on giving me new challenges to further my progression. Increasingly, I can think up solutions based on what I’ve already learnt or on what I can hypothesise from understanding some of the underlying principles and frameworks that make up these systems. And as I gain a clearer view of the big picture, I’m better able to see how each component of a project fits together, contextualising the details and enabling me to shape the way one part of a job might impact other parts down the line. Now that I’m trusted to do good work and to put what I’ve learnt into practice reliably and accurately, I’m becoming more confident in what I’m doing.

Looking ahead, I’m excited that I don’t know what I don’t know – maybe that sounds a little strange, but not being able to fathom how much there is to know means that I have so much to look forward to learning. And I’m glad that it’s at Cobalt Sky that I’ll be learning, alongside a motley crew of colleagues who really are great to spend the working day around.

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