A day in the life of John Cutt
Published: 19 Jun 2018
My day starts at 6am, usually by watching one of the breakfast programmes on TV. Like most people I only half watch these shows as I go about my routine, but I’m always impressed at the amount of engaging content and obscure visits the producers arrange for the unnaturally perky presenters.
Breakfast is usually coffee and toast, followed by a leisurely shower. Before I leave for work, I like to relax for a while and browse social media before refocusing on the day ahead.
After a thirty minute walk from George Street to Queens Road, my working day starts at 8am. The walk itself is rather dull, but being mostly uphill it provides a fairly decent cardio workout if taken at a fast pace. So many people I know struggle to find time for exercise in their busy lives, so I’m lucky that I can combine mine with work and never have to endure the guilt of skipping the gym.
The task that dominates the first few hours of the day involves reading, analysing, and categorising public contract notices. In doing do, I help to create sector specific and regionally targeted reports of new and future business opportunities for companies and organisations of all sizes and descriptions. While the work is labour intensive and intellectually taxing, it is also fascinating: every day I learn the intricacies of how our taxes are spent.
Whether it be the supply of school meals, missiles, social care, nanotechnology, or pretty much any product or service you’d care to name, on any given day I become immersed in a dense and eclectic mixture of information. While most of the contracts I read originate from across the UK and Europe, I frequently encounter notices from Aberdeen City Council and other public sector buyers in the North East. Much of our local media coverage focuses on public sector expenditure and efficiency, so it’s always interesting to gain a detailed insight into projects that are often the subject of frank discussion and controversy.
Throughout the morning, continuous reading and analysis is punctuated by frequent customer queries via phone and email, often involving conference calls, screen sharing, and live chat. Regular refills of coffee help me to soak up the vast amount of information and keep on top of other tasks, and my trips to the kitchen provide an opportunity to stretch the muscles and rest the eyes.
Lunchtime begins at 1pm, after the team has reviewed and categorised the bulk of the day’s newly published contracts. I usually bring a sandwich or fruit for lunch, which I’ll have either at my desk or in our staff room. Our office is located in the pleasant surroundings of the West End, so I try to spend as much of my lunch break as possible strolling in the fresh air, resting my mind, and appreciating the Victorian architecture. Occasionally, I’ll venture to Union Street and treat myself to a take-away latte.
The afternoon sees a shift in focus to other tasks. As an account manager, I have over five hundred clients to assist. On the average day I’ll speak to a dizzying array of people, from aspiring bid writers from SMEs attempting to win their first public contract to veteran bid team managers at established multinationals seeking an advantage over their old rivals. Calling and emailing proactively, I make sure they’re happy with our services and find out if they have additional requirements. The afternoon hours also provide an opportunity to contribute to other projects, such as assisting the marketing team in content creation, contributing to the roll out of the latest ICT systems, or meeting with the wider team to discuss and implement new processes.
Although the presence of modern ICT hardware is ubiquitous, our current office is an old granite mansion with a floor plan more akin to the set of a period drama than a 21st century office. While we have a modern extension housing much of the workforce, the building as a whole is a kind of time warp in which many of us toil away in what used to be servant’s quarters and palatial parlours.
I’ve been resident in Aberdeen for many years and have both family and friends here, so hardly a working week passes without a trip into town after I finish at 4pm for a catch up. On most week nights I try to get the head down early, mindful of the early start and intensive efforts that the next day will bring. Being a science fiction fan, I’ll generally end the day by losing myself in some fanciful futuristic media. Having spent so much time focusing on the mundane reality of how present day society functions, flying off into outer space always provides a fitting and therapeutic close to the day’s proceedings.
8 things I love about my job
1. I learn something new about the world every day
2. I have interesting interactions with people from all walks of life
3. I gain satisfaction from assisting customers who genuinely appreciate my help
4. In our relatively small but dedicated workforce I feel like a person, not a number
5. All the teams in the company work together closely for the common good
6. I have an interesting variety of roles and responsibilities
7. I am given regular opportunities to develop existing skills and acquire new ones
8. I get the opportunity to attend social and team building events