Very varied organisation with a broad range of staff and cultures.
Various Positions, Various - February 5, 2016
A typical day at work for me is atypical, and at Scottish Water it is the same for a lot of the other employees. Working for a utility usually means that you have to be able to quickly adapt to ever-changing situations to keep whatever you are supplying to your customers in supply.
There are some roles at Scottish Water that are fairly predictable, routine and structured. But in others no two days are the same.
What have I learned? That being able to relate, work and communicate with a broad range of personalities and work-styles is key to success in this organisation. That if you work hard it will get noticed (most of the time) and you will find yourself with more responsibility and opportunity as a result; that if you are keen and put your hand up you will get more opportunities than if you keep your head down and just plough on; that a negative mindset is never good in any job; and that you have to rise above gossip, petty quibbles and office politics in order to concentrate on the task at hand (easier said than done).
Management are generally very approachable, competent, friendly and keen to work as a team. Very flat organisational structure means that sitting next to a junior employee is one of our top managers, working away throughout the day. I like that aspect of the culture.
The hardest part of the job can vary - sometimes situations or individuals (both internal and external) can be difficult or challenging, and on occasion long hours are required to get through a potential or real incident affecting customers. Water supply is something we take for granted and when it goes off it can be very disruptive, and oddly this is when you will see Scottish Water at its best - our field people digging holes at 2am in the rain while in the office our customer contact team get down to answering calls and getting the right response, while the communications element manages everything from social media to press releases to letters to customers and ensures a consistent, timeous message. Thus the hardest part of the job is the most enjoyable - when we turn a seemingly disruptive situation that could result in huge amounts of inconvenience for our customers into something they never even knew happened because we got it sorted in time - that's very satisfying.
I'd say this is the best job I've had, although some aspects of the culture were antediluvian for a LONG time - the organisation has been very slow to embrace technology and has made many mistakes along the way (but that's key to learning). Also there is sometimes ignorance of advice by senior people from the very people they employed to learn about a particular role and subsequently advise them - I'm sure this happens in many organisations, and I have seen it myself in nearly every job I've had. Just because there is a risk it is common to adopt a "do nothing" approach a lot of the time.
The company also espouses agile working - but doesn't always like it when employees do it, and this is down to individual managers and their ignorance of how it can benefit in the long term. There is still a culture of people having to be in an office 9 to 5 Mon to Fri which is very, very outdated.