about the author
Jon Mears is from the North East of England and has been building websites for nearly 15 years. He set up Creative Node in 2007 and specializes in producing content management solutions for all size businesses and public sector organisations.
A keen Sunderland AFC fan he regularly stuffered with the clubs form but now rather enjoys the clubs purple patch. Married with two children and has been known to throw some crazy shapes and spin the odd record here and there.
Becoming institutionalised - Where has the web design magic gone?
No doubt it has happened to millions of people across the globe and they don't realise it's happened. I'm refering to becoming institutionalised at work. I didn't think it happened to me but it has.
I've just finished nine years of employment at Newcastle City Council, where I have been responsible for the day to day running of the council website as associated applications. As well as being one of the only people who is regularly consulted with all things web within the council I also have close ties to content delivery and content management, in other words getting the various council departments' messages out into the public domain.
Public Vs Private Sector
Before working at the council I worked in the private sector during the dot com bubble and it was fantastic. MarketingNet, based in Lemmington Spa was a fresh, vibrant and creative web design agency. This job kept you on your toes, you were expected to work hard and play hard, long hours were the norm. I loved it.
Moving to the council after being away from my spiritual home, North East England, for five years brought great joy and it was great for 7 years. The work was good but could have been better. The training was poor and should have been better. But I have nothing but gratitude for the years spent there and the people I've had the pleasure to work with, Martee Reed, Jason Thorpe, Ray Kennedy and Scott Bradley to name and few.
Complacency is a death sentance
But familiarity breads complacency and complacency in web design is a death sentance. I want create, I want to meet new people. I want to help people craft their new web site or their new application, because thats what design is about; crafting something, making something and if I make things easier for people along the way all the better.
Exposure to new technolgy just doesn't happen that often at the Council and it's hard to see where it will come from over the next few years. The squeeze on the public sector will continue and the closest I would get to an iPad or a Android tablet will be Currys on a lunchtime.
New technology new opportunities
Already in my new roles with Different Aspect Software Ltd and Creative Node I'm coming into contact with new technology and new people.
The council was a calm port on the sometimes stormy emploment seas and it gave me stability to get married and start a family. But all good things must come to an end. I'm grateful for the time I had there but I've done the right thing by getting out now.