Quarter life crisis: Quitting a perfectly good job at the BBC to do a startup
I love the BBC. I may have loved it since I was born.
I’ve had what some may consider to be an unusual upbringing. My parents were brave and adventurous. I grew up in the tiny pacific island nation of Vanuatu; a land of volcano’s, cannibals, cargo cults, sacrificial pigs, Pentecostal bungee-jumpers, tree-houses and jungles, sharks and reefs.
Amusingly to friends today, I was the lone white kid in my class. I played my Ni-vanuatu friends after school, in their homes made from tin, cinder blocks, and sacking.
I cannot imagine a better way for a boy to spend a childhood.
One of the side-effects of such a remote upbringing was a lack of contact with the outside world. There was the odd cruise ship entering port, or the yearly VHS recording sent from family in New Zealand (which explains why I can recite Star Wars word-for-word), but not much on a local scale.
The sun rises and sets with precision timing and surprising swiftness that near the equator. My fondest boyhood memory is waking up, right on schedule, to the sunlight streaming through our bedroom’s wooden shutters, the illuminated dust dancing and glittering in the solid steam of light.
In the kitchen we’d hear the table set for breakfast. A bowl of 2 Weetbix, UHT milk from a box, a glass of orange cordial.
My Dad, sat at the end of the table, would turn on the radio, and on the hour the iconic beeps of the BBC World Service would herald in the morning news from around the globe. Beep beep beeeeeeep.
Just hearing those 3 simple beeps takes me back to that breakfast table. I can see my Dad’s still-black beard. It’s warm and sunny outside.
Almost 20 years later I arrived in the cold, dark UK. Originally contracted to a small startup company, one of my dreams of my stay here was to work for the BBC.
So when my initial contract finished, and I was presented with a chance to work for BBC WorldWide I jumped at the chance – 1/3 pay cut be damned! I was working for the BBC!
It’s been a great year and a bit; I’ve had the honour of being a lead developer on the BBC’s homepage, and as a developer i’ve been full of purpose knowing my work will effect the lives of millions of users each day.
Sadly my time at the BBC is coming to an end as of today. I turned 27 years old a month ago and decided it was high-time to start chasing my own startup dreams – so, in a romantic display of independence, dressed in my Birthday Suit (I wear my suit 1 day a year) I handed in my notice and announced I was leaving.
I’ve met some great characters here. There’s a lot of talent within this organisation, and they’re capable of amazing things. I hope they get the opportunities to make them a reality.
Even today I like to think that somewhere, in some desolately isolated part of the world, there’s a young kid like me waking up and marveling at the dust dancing in the light, hearing the beep of his Dad’s Macbook in the dining room, and rushing to sit on his knee as they browse the news on the BBC’s homepage.
That sounds egotistical. But I hope the BBC’s reach continues with all these new technologies for many more generations; I only wish I could have somehow snuck the beep beep beeeeep onto the homepage.
About this entry
You’re currently reading “Quarter life crisis: Quitting a perfectly good job at the BBC to do a startup,” an entry on Flog, written by Adam Burmister.
- 16.01.10 @ 12am