Bye to Collins



My old office
Originally uploaded by viralbus

Seven years ago, I was still living in Aarhus and was looking for a job, when I noticed the following email on the ling-tex mailing list (a very specialised list about TeX/LaTeX for linguists):

Date: Wed, 09 Jan 2002 13:42:14 +0000
From: Paul Boot 3267 Systems Manager To: “ling-tex@ifi.uio.no” Subject: Ling-TeX: Interested in working with dictionaries?

Collins dictionaries are looking for an experienced programmer/linguist
to join their team in Glasgow. If you have 3 or more years experience in C++, Perl, Unix, (Solaris) systems and especially if you have knowledge of typesetting solutions on a Unix platform, it could be you we’re looking for.
You will need to be a fas-paced and team orientated, able to work happily with linguists and lexicographers and to adhere to deadlines. In the first instance send your CV and covering letter explaining why you want this role to….

I thought that sounded more interesting than the jobs I had seen in Denmark, so I decided to apply.

I had no money at the time, but fortunately they paid for my flight and hotel to go to the job interview, so there was no reason not to go.

I guess the interview went well, since I got the job at the salary I asked for, and I moved to Glasgow and started my new job as analyst programmer in March.

For the first few weeks, I was sitting alone in a tiny cubicle, but soon they moved me to a double cubicle that I was to share with a lexicographer called Phyllis.

Soon we started talking, and we’re now married with a daughter.

Working at Collins has changed a lot over the past seven years. The cubicles made way for an open office, the MD changed two years ago, the department changed its name and remit from Collins Dictionaries to Collins Language, and lots and lots of colleagues and friends have left in successive rounds of redundancy.

And today was then my final day there. Phyllis of course left months ago, so in some ways it’s just going back to the good old days of sharing an office with her.

We’re planning to start up our own company, but I’ll blog about that separately in a few days’ time.

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