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Sunday, 4th September 2016
One of these days I'm going to lose this. I've left it behind in so many places, and thought I would never see it again. I left it behind at the cinema last time we went to see the new "Star Trek" film - and had to return to the theatre. I've left it at the University Centre where we play Go on Thursday evenings - and was lucky they had in lost property a week later. I've left it behind at Girton Baptist Church and had to reclaim it at the next service. And they are just a few times . . .

It may seem I don't want this baseball cap, that I regard it as a bad luck charm I'm trying to lose but which keeps coming back to me. In fact it is a precious souvenir of halcyon times. Times when my employers considered me worth sending off to software engineering conferences. Times when I could combine a visit to an Oracle conference in Seattle with seeing the Olympics and Mount St Helens and the Boeing Construction Building and eating at a Benihana Steakhouse. Great times. The baseball cap was part of the welcome pack to one such Oracle conference.

Those days are long gone. My current employers, a large American multinational, want software engineering to be an assembly line. Constant desk moving even down to every two weeks is part of the de-personalisation. The desks are arranged in open plan typing pools with noise levels approaching those of call centres and trading floors. Only people on the management ladder travel, or get real training (in some very desirable destinations) instead of the rat maze online training courses we ordinary plebs find imposed on us.

I'm glad I'm not a manager - fear of how one scores on one's superior metrics drives behaviour, it's all about how you project yourself upwards that matters, a ladder I would fall off if I were even on it.