Are You Reasonably Good At Everything?

Proof that I'm reasonably good at everything

Proof that I’m Reasonably Good At Everything

This weekend I picked up a trophy at my cycling club’s awards dinner. I have won the B.A.R. trophy (Best All-Rounder – a prize for the fastest average speed over a selection of time-trial distances.*) It’s fantastic to win something, and I feel more part of the club know that I have my name engraved on one of their trophies!

It an interesting category of prize because it doesn’t favour a specialist time-trialler at any particular distance, just someone who’s reasonably good at everything. And that brought to mind this little scrap of paper that I found the other day while clearing out my office:

Would you answer a job advert like this?

Would you answer a job advert like this?

It’s the cunningly worded job advertisement that I answered nearly twenty years ago. What I have always loved about this advert is the focus, not on existing skills, but on outlook, attitude and aptitude. It takes a certain type of individual to see that advert and to think “Yes, I am.”

Back then I was young enough and arrogant enough to think I was what they were looking for. I think, in the end, I must have been, because I still remember that job fondly as the best job I’ve ever had.

That advert and its clever language helped recruit some of the cleverest, nicest and most interesting people I’ve ever worked with, many of whom I still count as friends. The work was mostly fun too. I learned enough doing that job to tide me over for the rest of my career. Sadly all good things come to an end and that job no longer exists, but it was a lot of fun while it lasted.

I’m not sure whether an advert like that would jump off the page at me now like it did back then. I wasn’t even actively looking for a job at the time when those words snared me in. Then again, maybe I would be interested, after all, now I have a trophy that proves I really am Reasonably Good At Everything!

* I should probably point out, since some of my cycling friends will probably read this, that I won the B.A.R., not by being incredibly fast, but by virtue of being one of only two riders who completed all the required distances. The other guy is 71.


  1. A trophy is a trophy. Good effort.

    1. Thanks Iain. Maybe we’ll see you out on some time-trials this year?

  2. I wish I had a clipping of the ad that got me to work for OCTS in 1990! It was an earlier version of this one. Indeed, that group of people that got together in Oxford was amazing. From the perspective of the time, I can see how everyone was a bit special, in a positive way, able, and willing to push themselves for the pursuit of an intelligent, yet very useful solution to our customers’ questions or problems. I count myself as being very lucky to have had my start there, and it was a pleasure working with you, briefly, too. I miss the Oxford days, sometimes.

  3. […] It was one of the best times of my life, probably the best job I ever had, and I see that I’m not the only person working who thought so. The people I worked with there have gone on to achieve great things in their respective fields: IT […]

  4. Love that you still had the cutting; I was ensnared by a similar one about a year later! Loved that place.

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