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April 2012

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“People universally tend to think that happiness is a stroke of luck, something that will maybe descend upon you like fine weather if you are fortunate enough. But that’s not how happiness works. Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it…”

IT is a crazy industry. I learnt that during Day 1 at University studying my BSc in Computer Science & Business with E-Commerce. There are so many areas you can specialise in but how on earth are you supposed to know the area of IT you want to get into when you haven’t been exposed to the industry yet or have experience?

That is one of the biggest hurdles I have faced. An Undergraduate BSc and an MSc at Graduate School later, I can honestly say that it wasn’t until a good 3 years ago that I knew exactly what I wanted to do within the IT Industry.

While at University, I was lucky enough to have an internship with a huge worldwide Engineering company. In fact, I was the only one put forward for it by my University. It was during that time that I really started thinking about what direction I wanted to take. I did Software & Hardware IT Support for the entire site; slaved hard drives, replaced broken computer components, fixed software issues, helped with network ports, designed websites… I pretty much did it all. I loved it. However, at the end of the internship, I still had no clue what I *really* wanted to do.

After I graduated, I couldn’t find an IT job at all. Most companies wanted more work experience in IT rather than a fresh graduate. So I went in a completely different direction. I started working on Bids & Tenders for an Oil Company. Even though I loved my job, I was a Computer Geek at heart so I decided to do my Masters. I quit my job, moved cities and went back to school.

By this time I decided that I loved the mixture of IT & Business so I did my Masters in Information Management with the aim of eventually getting into IT Project Management or Consultancy after specialising in Desktop Support. Hard for someone with pretty much no hands on IT experience, but at least it was finally an aim!

Then I graduated…

The job market crumbled.

I applied for pretty much every IT job going even if I was under qualified for it. Money wasn’t important, I just wanted the experience. I did temporary agency work doing Audio Typing or basic Admin work just to get some work experience even though it wasn’t what I wanted to do. When I was applying for jobs, I was told I was either too over qualified education wise for the job or I was too under qualified work experience wise for the job. Now, how is a fresh University graduate supposed to get work experience if they are deemed too educated? It’s a Catch 22 situation which affects near enough everyone, no matter what degree they studied.

Over a year later, I finally got the golden phone call. I got my first proper IT job. It was nothing like I expected it to be. Everything I learnt at University doing my undergraduate and graduate courses was thrown out the window. Everything I had learnt was no longer relevant. It was all about experience, common sense & figuring it out for yourself. The job? Remote Accessing users machines to resolve software issues. I dealt with everything and anything you could think of, from users who didn’t know how to set up an email account to users with nasty viruses from visiting dodgy websites. It was then I finally realised what I loved about IT. Fixing things, problem solving & learning new things every single day.

After nearly 2 years of working at that company, I was headhunted by a huge IT company to work within a new department they were setting up here. Talking to the HR Team & a Technical IT interview later, I realised that this was my dream IT job. It was exactly what I wanted to do and the job was mine! It’s now been 7 months since working for the company & I love it. Once again, everything that I studied at University has never once been used. I was trained up for 2 months on the various systems, the ins & outs of the role then set loose. A lot of what I do is from my own knowledge of IT and fixing things, things I learnt in my old role but a good 60% is new things that I constantly discover & learn about.

Knowledge, Discovery & Constant Learning are key to working in IT. IT is extremely fast paced and as a now Infrastructure Systems Administrator, I have a constant need to keep up to date with all the latest trends in IT. I need to keep learning new skills, increase my knowledge on a variety of different aspects and of course, share the knowledge with my co-workers. That is one of the biggest elements of team work after all.

Was University a waste? Not at all. I doubt that if I hadn’t been as educated as I am, that I’d end up where I am today. I came to realise that even though I may have had less work experience than others in my old job, I was actually paid much more than my co-workers purely based on the fact of my education. Do I think being female in a male dominated field hinders me? No. Sure IT is pretty much male dominated but slowly but surely more women are getting into the industry. Salary differences between the sexes? I got paid much more than 90% of the men in my old job. I don’t think being female has put me at a disadvantage. I think it has actually helped break into the market, opened a lot of doors for me career wise, even if I still get odd looks from men when I tell them what I do for a living.

You need to keep yourself educated within IT & that is why I am hopefully going to eventually do some direct learning courses to get more Microsoft Certifications under my belt. Due to the fact IT is so competitive, it’s a must these days. The good thing about my current job is that we have an online learning portal where we can access pretty much every single IT certification study guide online, do mock tests and learn about different subjects for free. The only thing we’d need to pay for are the actual exams.

So those of you expecting to stop studying, learning & sitting exams when you leave school are sadly mistaken.

It’s a never ending battle! A battle to better yourself and I wouldn’t swap it for anything.

On Sunday, I turned 30 *gulp* and my mom wanted to take me out for dinner, with my choosing any Restaurant in Glasgow to eat at. I choose Bo’Vine after hearing good things about it from my friend Stephen and then recommending it to my parents before I even tried it. It was about time it was my turn!

Before going to a Restaurant, I always check out the menu so I can drool and with Bo’Vines, I did just that! Everything looked great, but I was in the mood for steak AND lobster. Since I was the birthday girl, why ever not!

We arrived around 6:30pm, the Restaurant was pretty quiet. My parents who had been at Bo’Vine on a Saturday Night a few weeks prior, said the Restaurant was fully booked. I’m always very wary about going into a Restaurant when it is nearly empty, but because it was a Sunday, it wasn’t abnormal.

In my head as I looked through the menu again was lobster, a whole lobster. I wanted the Chateaubriand with Whole Lobster, to share… naturally. Best of both worlds.

That’s when lobster-gate occurred…

Bo’Vine had no lobsters left, they all sold out the night before. Unfortunately, when handed the menus, we weren’t informed that there were no lobsters left, which is the norm. My birthday cravings were dashed. After silent cries inside, we settled for the Chateaubriand (Medium) with Triple Cooked Chips, Rocket & Parmesan Salad and Fiery Peppercorn Sauce on the side for our Main Course. For Starters, I ordered the West Coast Scallop, Smoked Ayrshire Pork Belly, Pumpkin Puree & Pickled Walnuts. My mom ordered, Stornoway Black Pudding, Poached Hens Egg, Pancetta & Red Wine Jus.

When our starters arrived, I loved the way they were presented. My mom grabbed her fork and was ready to dig in before I let out a scream “NOOOOOOO I haven’t taken a photo yet!”. My mom, of course, is now used to me taking food photos so much so that she just responds with a little sigh and says “Hurry up, have you taken it yet?”.

Now we can dig in…

I’m very picky with scallops. I adore them but I’ve sadly had times where I’ve had scallops that weren’t cooked properly and suffered from the consequences à la The Great Scallop Disaster of 2009. I stopped eating scallops for 2 years after becoming drastically ill 20 minutes after eating them at a very famous Seafood Restaurant in Merchant City that shall rename nameless. I’ve never set foot in that Restaurant after the incident. Shame really.

Back to Bo’Vine… My scallops were cooked perfectly. Just the way I like them. My starter tasted amazing. The Scallops with the Pork Belly and Pumpkin Puree worked so well together. I could have eaten it all over again. If I had to find a fault with it, I’d say I wasn’t keen on the Picked Walnuts, but that’s just because I don’t actually like walnuts unless they are surrounded by chocolate.

My mom’s starter could be passed off as a fancy Scottish Breakfast without the Square Sausage, tasting so much better, I might add. The Stornoway Black Pudding was moist and full of flavour, a perfect soft poached egg on top ready for the yolk to be burst all over the plate and a piece of crispy pancetta to complement it all.

Needless to say, we couldn’t wait for the main course.

Perfectly cooked Chateaubriand served in a giant frying pan, complete with a mountain of Triple Cooked Chips, Rocket & Parmesan Side Salads and a little pot of Fiery Peppercorn Sauce on the side. The thing I love about Chateaubriand is the cut of meat is so tender, full of flavour & of good quality. Not to mention, the fact you can build up your own plate full of food; as little or as much as you like.

The meat was so tender while cutting it, just the right amount of pink & tasted great. I couldn’t fault the meat one bit. It was a great cut, full of flavour, seasoned to perfection & melted in my mouth. The Triple Cooked Chips were unbelievable. So crispy on the outside, light & fluffy inside. I so need to try making them at home now. They are worth it! I’m a huge fan of Rocket & Parmesan Salad, so simple but so tasty. The only downside was, the Salad was rather salty. I’m not sure if it was seasoned with salt or another dressing but the taste of salt was evident. I’m not a huge fan of salty foods so the Salad wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. My mom however, said that the salad wasn’t that salty. This goes to show that everyone’s taste buds are different! Needless to say, I stuffed my face before starting to feel like I was going to explode. But I kept fighting through it! It was my birthday after all 😉

After a good break, I found the strength to want to order dessert. Only problem was, I couldn’t choose. Luckily for me, I didn’t have to. I ordered them all. Oh yes. I ordered the Bo’Vine Grand Dessert for Two which consisted of: Chocolate & Chestnut Brownie, White Chocolate & Caramel Bavoise, Vanilla Pod Crème Brûlée with a Walnut Biscotti, Iced Popcorn Parfait with a Salted Caramel Foam, Plum Crumble, Cherry Oil Cake & a Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae with Profiteroles.

All I can say is WOW! My favourites were the White Chocolate & Caramel Bavoise, Vanilla Pod Crème Brûlée and Chocolate Ice Cream Sundae with Profiteroles. I had no complaints about those 3. I could have eaten them again and again. The others? I wasn’t such a great fan of unfortunately. I found the Brownie rather dry, it needed a cream with it to give some moisture. The Iced Popcorn Parfait with a Salted Caramel Foam was far too sickly sweet. I could only have one spoonful of it before having to move on to the next dessert. The plum crumble was far too sweet for my liking as well, my mom devoured it though. I was now at the stage where I could hardly move & couldn’t face eating anything else so I didn’t try the Cherry Oil Cake. I left it for my mom to try, which she said was extremely nice. I just couldn’t eat anymore.

Would I go back to Bo’Vine? Yes. I’d have the exact same Starter & Main Course. Dessert? If I had any room left I’d choose the White Chocolate & Caramel Bavoise. I would recommend you try Bo’Vine if you’ve never been before, Chateaubriand a must.

Bo’Vine Meat and Wines
385 Byres Road, Glasgow G12 8AU.
Tel: 0141 341 6540
http://bovinerestaurant.com/

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