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We get Owen Street's thoughts on working at Merrill Lynch in London

We get Owen Street's thoughts on working at Merrill Lynch in London

Computer Weekly, in association with human resources magazine Personnel Today, is searching for the best places to work in IT. We aim to put together an "alternative prospectus" of good places to work as selected by those who work in them. We have had a phenomenal response and week-by-week we will bring you highlights from some of the entries. This week we get Owen Street's thoughts on working at Merrill Lynch in London

Atmosphere

  • What colour is the carpet?
    Blue-grey, coffee-coloured.

  • How close do you sit to your nearest colleague?
    Three paces.

  • How much is a cup of tea?
    Free.

  • Describe your office
    Very lively, lots of things going on, be it work-related or chilling between jobs.

  • Do you and your colleagues socialise out of work? What do you do?
    Pub, cinema, go for meals, snowboarding. Did I mention the pub?

  • Any other comments
    The 10ft auto-return golf course is a must for any office. We couldn't do without ours.

    Location

  • Are there pubs in walking distance of your office? How much is a pint of beer?

    There are a lot of pubs within walking distance. Difficult to pick which one to go to. Beer is usually bought by the management (good on 'em).

  • Do you feel in the heart of the IT action?
    Yes.

  • Any other comments
    Centre of London, fantastic. Loads of restaurants, pubs and shops.

    Benefits

  • How much maternity/ paternity leave do you get?
    Two weeks paternity.

  • How many days holiday do you get (excluding bank holidays)?
    25.

  • Does your company provide a subsidised canteen? How much is a meal and what's your favourite dish?
    Yes, it costs a couple of quid for a decent lunch (pasta, chinese, roast, etc) and a large seven-item fried breakfast is about £1.50.

  • Is there a company pension?
    Yes.

  • Do you go on team-building events?
    Yes, generally a meal at a restaurant then clubbing the night away (all free).

  • Any other benefits?
    Dental plan, health insurance, company share scheme, ability to trade through company, gym, swimming pool, squash courts.

    Training

  • Has your company helped you develop a career path?
    I have always spoken to management about what my possible career paths are within the company. I have always received backing and support when attempting to attain personal goals.

  • Do you have an annual appraisal which is followed up by an action plan?
    Yes.

  • List the courses you have been on.
    Business, SMS, Win2000, TCP/IP, Bloomberg, Reuters.

  • Does your firm have its own IT training department?
    Yes.

  • Are there opportunities to move around within the company to gain experience?
    Yes.

  • Any other comments on training and development?
    Very well developed in-house computer-based training and material.

    Technology

  • Do you get access to cutting-edge technology? Give us some examples.

    Gigabit networks, ADSL, Firewire, mobile Web applications.

  • Describe any exciting projects you have worked on.
    Testing most of the above.

  • Is your software updated in line with new releases?
    Yes.

  • How big is your monitor?
    2 x 21in.

  • How old is the oldest PC in your department?
    Nine months.

  • Describe your IT department in three words.
    Young, immature, professional.

    I work here

    Name: Owen Street

    Job Title: System specialist

    Company: Merrill Lynch, investment bank

    Location: London

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