I have just completed a survey for my old university - I won't name them here, but researchers will be able to find out who they are easily enough, as I made a comment and recommended one of their courses - which actually competes to some extent with what we do - in a comparison chart here recently, and my "vanity" web site includes my CV.
I have some fond memories of "X.X.X." as we knew it in those days, but have long since lost realistic touch.
A sprinkling of school re-unions in the distant past, looking through lists of past graduates and what they're doing in the university's newsletter, and my school's one too, has brought few if any re-contacts with people who's company I enjoyed, and as I was living at home / commuting to both of these establishments, with a handful (school) and none (university) of my fellow students living in my own town, no firm "outside learning" links that have endured were established. Indeed, I can recall returning - just once - to my prior school. I was well received and have an endearing memory of realising that Mr Wood, the Latin teacher who had been a real tartar, was a truly lovely gentleman when I saw him in a different light. However, the overall feeling I've got from such events from the staff who taught me is "nice to see you - very briefly - now let us get on with our current job
and I can't say that I can blame them for this attitude.
So my University survey was filled in looking fairly negative
- "no, I don't use these facilities", "no, I don't read your bumph very much", "no, I don't attend your alumni events" and "no, I'm not going to give you shed loads of money". Yet at the same time, I have said that I am happy to advise current students and talk to groups of them / lecture, etc.
Times move on.
Had I been resident at the University or School, had I been on a course / with a group who all get involved in reunions themselves, then I would be far more interested in reunions and even arranging them. But I'm not going to spend time and money attending events that past experience has not brought me to enjoy. I will add that Lisa and I have attended a number of her
school reunions - and we host her class site on our servers and she does the updates. They are fun - I get involved through the osmosis, and really it's a post-school club where the school itself is not involved in it as a form of self-promotion.
Times move on.
And I no longer live anywhere near the University or schools involved; beyond the very occasional involvement, I can make better and more focused use of my resources with current people and issues, and in my current place - what I can do, though, is go give heartfelt thanks to the people and institutions who helped get me there, and I'm happy to do so in public too.
Times move on.
And I can find more local and focused ways to make gifts (financial or otherwise) that subsidising / promoting educational establishments which were paid for in one way or another at the time. My parents put in a very great deal financially - and we did the same for our children and would do it again. Others may wish to be philanthropic and bestow scholarships or pay for rebuilds of places they went to long ago - but isn't that just a case of putting in my money where others (such as the government / local authorities) have taken a look and decided it's not the best way to spend? It's notable that there's a new school being built 400 yards from where I live, and it's not funded by voluntary donations.
And yet ... for all the negativity I'm expressing, I would be more than happy to share appropriate life's experiences with current students.
Via email, on the phone, in person, singly or in groups. But the key is in 'appropriate' sharing and (from an unscientifically small sample), I've felt that past attempts to help in this way - at the request of X.X.X. - have been so far off target as to provide little of use. I'm not requiring that every request for help should result in a life-revealing meeting, and indeed "success" could be regarded as having just one in ten such meetings make a difference (rather like selling a house - 10 people view and 9 do not make an offer, but it's a successful sale)
The final page of the University's survey asks for additional information, and I don't know if my logic / reasoning above will be of any interest to them - but I will send them a link to this text (the form box gives me 4 lines, which suggest that only a short comment is expected, so I'll keep it short). I'll admit to thinking that I won't hear further ... as the emails to fill in the survey all come from Paulo Gxxxx, who is "Head of Alumni Relations", but he doesn't invite me to contact him in any way - he tells me to contact Cxxxx Exxxxxx-Hxxxxxxx, who has a much modest role. I expect Paulo would want to talk with me if I was offering him shed loads of money ...
Learning from the above ... since Well House Consultants is also into the training business and we have a lot of 'Alumni', many of whom read this Blog.
1. I love the subjects I teach, and I love to hear how people are getting on with them. There is a DIRECT FORM back to me here
to comment on the blog, and here
to follow up on technical questions or for any other comment. I might
end up answering with a suggestion of a course if I think it's appropriate - yes, that would bring us revenue - but I will not ask for a financial donation to give us extra for your course which will already have been paid for when you took it.
2. Our past delegates are our ambassadors, and we want to encourage you to remember us, and to be in touch. And we enjoy it when you do
. "Come as a Student, leave as a friend" we say and - if you happen to be passing - stop by for a coffee. Gratis. If you want to stop over on your way to the South West, we'll provide a room at delegate rate at the hotel
and I'll put aside that extra time to catch up with you if I possibly can.
There are other differences too, of course. More recent delegates v experiences than ended over 30 years ago. A tiny organisation where you WILL know the proprietor - he taught you - versus a huge organisation. And an owner operated business v one with purely employees.
Keeping up with past customers is such a pleasure when your heart is personally in it - and mine is. And that will endure while I remain (written 2009-06-13, updated 2009-06-21)
Associated topics are indexed as below, or enter http://melksh.am/nnnn for individual articlesG501 - Well House Consultants - Customer Service 
Train works for me! - (2013-05-02) 
Palty or Parliamentary? - (2013-04-30) 
The Information age - not yet truly with us? - (2012-08-12) 
Can you put names to faces? - (2012-07-19) 
New product - ensuring that supply matches demand - (2011-08-03) 
It's not just about the jam in the sandwich - (2011-05-19) 
The importance of feedback - (2011-04-30) 
Thank you - and Happy Christmas - (2010-12-24) 
Customer Service - the boundary - (2010-11-27) 
Initial handling of phone calls and walk in visitors - (2010-09-19) 
Getting in touch - Please allow me to see you when you are online - (2010-07-21) 
Getting a phone line changed ... - (2010-02-25) 
Taking a knock over Santa - (2009-12-08) 
Questions I have been asked on answering the phone - (2009-06-26) 
Building down expectations - (2009-04-09) 
What do people think of our Apache httpd / Tomcat course? - (2009-03-24) 
Why Choose Well House Consultants for your course? - (2009-02-20) 
Service Excellence Awards - (2009-01-30) 
Rules for a King - (2009-01-13) 
Learning to program as a part of your job - (2009-01-10) 
23:30 bookings and midnight checkins - (2008-10-12) 
Providing exceptional service - and carrying on doing so. - (2008-05-09) 
Sheep Shearers, Marathon Runners and Ocean Sailors - (2008-04-09) 
Pictures you can use - for free - from our library - (2008-01-23) 
An answer to a student asking 'Help' - (2007-11-27) 
Market survey - to learn, to prove a point, or to sell your product? - (2007-11-17) 
Customer feedback - lifeblood of a business - (2007-08-25) 
Keep in touch with PHP, Perl, Python and old friends too - (2007-07-09) 
Bounce, bounce, bounce - (2007-01-20) 
Friends and family - (2006-12-25) 
CSL, KISS and RTFM - (2006-12-05) 
Products that our customers want more of - (2006-12-03) 
Just ******* Google it - (2006-11-25) 
Eventful evening - a lesson in looking after contacts - (2006-09-02) 
Forum help - a push in the right direction - (2006-08-21) 
Better communication - (2006-05-19) 
A customer service company - (2006-05-11) 
A person of few words - (2006-03-18) 
Active Learning - (2006-02-28) 
And the staff put the icing on the cake - (2006-02-23) 
Been on a course, but still not got it? - (2006-02-16) 
Instructions for bright people - (2006-01-19) 
May all your screw-ups be big ones - (2006-01-16) 
Keeping Customers Informed - (2006-01-02) 
Different ways of selling - (2005-11-01) 
Upgrade! - (2005-09-09) 
Trainer answers phone - (2005-07-28) 
Want to be one better - (2005-06-17) 
How far should our support go - (2005-05-28) 
Business practise, 2005 style - (2005-04-03) 
Giving customers best value - (2005-03-02) 
Customer service - examples to warn us - (2005-01-30) 
Tuesdays and Fridays - (2005-01-25) 
Confession - (2004-12-13) 
Feedback shows the tip of an iceberg - (2004-11-22) 
On line every 24 hours - (2004-10-17) 
On Customer Service - (2004-10-03)Z403 - Organisations 
Seed Swap at Well House Manor - (2013-03-10) 
Melksham Community - Annual Report / MCAP - (2013-02-26) 
Melksham - a new dawn - (2012-06-23) 
Some unpublished and historic pictures - Museum of Melksham - (2012-04-28) 
The Bowerhill Villager - a newsletter for Bowerhill, Melksham - (2012-04-22) 
Some advise for guest speakers at meetings - (2012-03-31) 
Melksham Campus - a blog you can read, and a place you can comment - (2012-02-08) 
Melksham has a heart - have your picture taken and support the defibrillator appeal - (2011-11-06) 
A Melksham Timeline - Domesday to present day - (2011-10-17) 
Self Portrait (in words) - (2011-06-04) 
Community consultation - a true open input - (2010-08-04) 
Contact Information for Melksham Oak Community School - (2010-07-13) 
Canal through Melksham - the options and issues - (2010-06-13) 
Consultation in Melksham, on Melkshams future - (2010-01-17) 
Summary of Wiltshire Core Strategy responses - (2010-01-13) 
Dogs Trust, Dog Show, Newbury - (2009-07-06) 
Wiltshire - where everybody matters - (2009-04-13) 
Melksham Climate Friendly Group - (2009-02-05) 
The Wiltshire Police - (2009-01-29) 
West Wilts - no longer Wet Wilts - show - (2007-07-28) 
West Wilts Show - (2007-07-26) 
A day looking ahead for Well House Consultants - (2007-07-05) 
Finalist reception - Wiltshire Business of the Year - (2006-12-13) 
Are you free on 29th October - Charity ball - (2005-10-21) 
Farming yesterday - (2005-05-10) 
Call Centres, selling, and a pause for thought - (2004-09-22)
Some other Articles
How do I query a database (MySQL)?Cornerstone Cafe, MelkshamHandling nasty characters - Perl, PHP, Python, Tcl, LuaTaking a pride in the communityAlumni - revisiting and supporting the old UniversitySending awkward characters by email in PerlLoading external code into Perl from a nonstandard directoryTransforming data in Perl using lists of lists and hashes of hashesWhy sendmail one way, and pop3 the other?What is CGI.pm / A dozen new examples