My Working Day: Jonathan Beever on balancing speed and quality
Jonathan Beever tells us about his career pivot from bomb disposal expert in the British Army to Software Test Manager at Barclays, how he’s adapted to working from home in Wigan, Greater Manchester during the coronavirus crisis – and why his job “keeps getting better”.
My alarm goes off… at 6am. I take my dog Nugget for a walk, then come home to get ready, grab my laptop and start work. I make sure that while I’m working from home, I’m still following the same routine as if I was going to the office.
My job as a Software Test Manager involves… carrying out risk assessments and quality assurance tasks to ensure that we’re meeting demands for our business and customers. My role is still the same while working remotely – I’m always communicating with a variety of people across Barclays over the phone and through video calls.
I got the job… after I was medically discharged from the British Army, where I spent seven and a half years working in bomb disposal across multiple countries. I worked in a few retail roles until I found a company that was subcontracted to Barclays – they trained me up before I joined the bank. After spending two years learning the trade, my line managers offered me a permanent position.
My average day working from home… involves a pretty strict regime, always starting work, having lunch and finishing work at the same time each day. I make sure I keep in contact with my team throughout the day – we’ve had to take on some pretty big changes to adjust to remote working. We can’t use our technology in the same way we could before, so we’ve enlisted a third party to provide us with devices. We’ve adapted really well. I think that these adjustments will carry through to the way we do things in the future.
I always try to finish work at 4pm. After that I will either spend time with my partner and my dog, or host a social activity for my team. We do something each week, whether it’s virtual horse racing or bingo, to keep morale high while we work from home. It’s really important to separate work and leisure time to make sure that you’re still having fun. Work is important but so is your mental health.
My best day at work was… the day I was nominated by a member of my team for ‘Team Leader of the Year’ in the 2020 British Ex-Forces in Business Awards, which I was not expecting at all. Over my adult life, I have seen some of the very extremes of both ends of the management scale. The nomination makes me happy that I’m at the right end of that scale.
I think the qualities that make a great leader… are understanding that failure is a massive part of learning, creating an environment where failure is controlled and measured so that the learnings will be value add to the business in future – and being actively interested in developing people.
The most difficult part of my job is… trying to stop my dog from barking during my meetings! The biggest day-to-day challenge is balancing our speed of delivery with ensuring that our customers get the best quality of service we can offer.
The thing I love most about my job is… having the opportunity to mentor people who are just starting out in their career. I really get a sense of joy from helping people to develop – being able to share my knowledge and experience to give others that extra boost they might need. I feel that with every day I spend in my job, I love it even more. It just keeps getting better.
After work… I’m an avid rugby league watcher, so I always support the Wigan Warriors when I can. Before the pandemic, I also spent my free time teaching injured veterans to scuba dive. We work with veterans that have lost limbs or have had difficulties both physically and mentally – it’s a chance to give them some support.
If I wasn’t a Software Test Manager, I would be… teaching scuba diving full-time. That’s the only thing that could draw me away from my current job.