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My Univ: Jeremy Franklin

Jeremy FranklinAfter taking early retirement from my previous role with Oxford City Council’s Legal Service in April 2019 I decided that I should find something else to do, or as my wife Karen put it “to keep me occupied and out of mischief”.

In June 2019 I found myself at Univ on a casual basis. To begin with I was asked to look after 17 and 18 Merton Street. I started at 7.30 am and finished at midday, which suited me down to the ground!

What immediately struck me was the friendly atmosphere throughout the College. I began to enjoy my new role, although I had no idea how long I was going to stay. In late July 2019, whilst on holiday in Thailand, I became aware that a full-time position had become available and I decided to throw my hat into the ring. After a series of long-distance emails and a jet-lagged interview I joined the Univ ranks on a permanent basis in August 2019.

The job involved looking after the College accommodation at Harberton Mead (HM). HM is approximately 10-15 minutes cycle ride from the College main site. To begin with cycling up the hill became a physical and mental battle! That said HM does have its compensations. A fantastic garden complete with its own rhubarb patch and a plentiful supply of raspberries. I also enjoyed a cordial relationship with the students living at HM. I found myself being called on as a mentor, which I found extremely flattering and very rewarding.

Being able to call in to the College for lunch on my way home was a real privilege. I cannot emphasise enough the value of a conversation over a meal and the opportunity of getting to know colleagues from the wider Univ community. The daily cycle commute also helped to burn off the increase in calories!

My first Christmas at Univ is something I look back on with great fondness. The lunch and raffle on the Friday followed by the staff party on the Saturday provided further opportunities to forge new friendships.

I returned to work in January 2020 with a far greater sense of enthusiasm than I had ever experienced in my previous role. Two months later COVID-19 came over the horizon and the world went mad! I worked through Lockdown 1, something I was very thankful for. Being shut indoors day in day out is not something I would have taken to very easily. Throughout Spring and Summer my role and my place of work varied greatly. This exposed me to more new colleagues and the College Annex at Staverton Road.

Come September 2020 my role had changed again. I was asked to take on the role of Operations Team Supervisor on an interim basis. To date I have enjoyed the challenges thrown up by this new opportunity. I can add marquee assembly, building electric pianos and furniture removals to my skills set!

I can definitely say that the last 18 months has definitely taught this old dog some new tricks! Univ is a great place to work. To my many new colleagues and friends thank you for your help, guidance and above all your patience!

I hope 2021 will be a better year for all of us.

Jeremy Franklin – Works Department

Published: 8 January 2021

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