Thursday, 25 February 2016

Marc Garner

We had a bit of a shock at work yesterday: me mate and boss Marc Garner is moving on from HostelBookers (well: we're part of HostelWorld now, but we still mostly work on the HB brand n our London IT dept). This is a bit crap for HB, but good for Marc, so that's cool I guess.

I've been at HB for closing in on six years now (April is the six-year mark), and when I first sat down I was parked next to Marc. Poor sod (him, not me). At the time he was just a senior developer, as was I. However Marc was the old hand, having been there for a coupla years, and obviously knew the ins and outs and vagaries of how the HB website - and the other projects I came to be working on - all came together. So he was basically my mentor. This was an excellent time as Marc's a bloody good CFML developer, and we shared a lot of commonality in the ways we liked to see things done, so we made a good team. One of Garner's assets is that he's a pretty bloody patient individual, so was also happy to endure my bullshit on a daily basis (well: I say "happy"... perhaps more like "resolved to ~" and he managed to endure it and maintain a positive countenance throughout).

He was also a good honest bloke who liked to have a pint after work too, which was handy. He was always slightly more sensible with how often was appropriate to go for a pint than I was though. Heh.

Another thing I'm thankful for is he has a kid slightly older than my own boy, so when my lad was on the way, he was a good sounding board as far as the concept of being a dad goes, which was a completely foreign notion to me.

Anyway... work stuff... Before too long Marc's technical skill and HR skills meant he was promoted to be our team lead, and I'll always remember he apologised to me when it happened as he didn't want me to think that it was because he was better than me or anything, just had been around longer. Which was bullshit: he was far more able in that sort of role than I'm likely to be. Technically: I could do it, sure; but I'd be a nightmare for HR. Ha.

Marc also excelled as a team lead, running interference between our lads in the team and the bosses of the department, and always came to bat for us. All whilst still delivering the message down to use from above.

One thing I deeply respect Marc for is that occasionally I have needed to get  a bit of a ballocking for one reason or another (usually personnel issues, as you can imagine), and he was... well... good at doing it! He was always firm and put his point across, but still always listened, and maintained an approachable demeanor throughout. And then that was that, and we were back to work and there was never any lingering "situation". I think this is a good personal strength to have.

When HostelBookers was subsumed by HostelWorld, there were personnel changes at the top of HB's IT department, and it was clear to the management at HW that Marc was the right person to step up into the Dept Head role. I will be honest and say I think there were a coupla wobbles initially - but nothing major - and the thing is Garner's a pragmatic person and just refined his leadership as he goes. He's really stepped up into the role, and has the respect of everyone in the department (both down to us bods doing the coding, and up to the big bosses over in Dublin).

Over the last year or so we've been reimplementing and rebranding the HostelBookers website. I mentioned this went we went live with the new site a few weeks back: "The end of ColdFusion". But now that project is done, and Marc has seen this as a good opportunity to move on again, to tackle someone else's challenges. I can understand why he's moving on.

Anyway, Marc was a bloody good boss, and I just wanted to put that down "on paper" somewhere.

Take it easy, fella.