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Written by Aaron Brigatti  
Thursday, 30 November 2006

Well it's that time of year, and although a little bit premature, I have already sent out my Christmas cards accompanied by the annual Christmas letter (and e-letters to those whom I only have their e-mail addresses). Pleasant reading...

Dear all,

Well another Christmas, another Christmas letter. 2006 has been a year of ups and downs, lots of ups actually, but a few ‘opportunities’ along the way (both work and personally) that I have had to deal with.

I’ve had the opportunity to partake in various social episodes with several of you, apologies to those whom I have not had the opportunity to meet-up recently. You know how it is, work gets in the way – okay lame excuse, but I will promise to make more of an effort in 2007! Gives me more chances to improve my pool and drink more Guinness!!

Following the completion of the American Express IT Graduate and Masters programme in late-2005, I was admitted to the “Masters of Science” (MSc) degree in 2006. The Winter Graduation Ceremony was held in the Brighton Dome on 24th February 2006. A really memorable day, and my friends and family were extremely proud of my achievements – and more importantly so was I!!

I’ve actually been working for almost-3 years (on 1st December) with American Express; I’ve certainly enjoyed the experience, and compensation wise it’s been pretty good, thus far. Not only did I get the Masters out of it (as above), I’ve also had plenty of rewards this year as well – I feel that I’m going in the right direction at least, and it is being recognised.

Work-wise itself, it hasn’t been too bad at all. I am definitely still enjoying the work I am doing – and the team-folk are really supportive. There are a few folks which make work challenging at times – but isn’t this everywhere? It is also quite a pressurised work-environment and it doesn’t seem to be getting any better, with extremely challenging targets to meet. These are the key low points of the job; but then again, tell me a job that isn’t similarly pressurised!

Onto the positives for 2006, not only did I help launch the MBNA American Express card in the UK, I helped launch AXP Partnership in Slovakia, Serbia and the first Chip Card in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (receiving glowing references from the CEO of the AXP Saudi Joint-Venture Bank - ASAL). I certainly have experienced a lot this year and became a SME in a few discrete subject areas – I see this as an important step-up on my career ladder. I feel I am succeeding in what I do!

I must admit that I have been looking for alternative opportunities within AXP, to broaden my scope and experience, and was approached for an Interactive Marketing role based in London. This would be been a great promotion for me, albeit a slightly different role than what I was probably aiming for! I would have seen this as a great platform to really focus on a strong subject area, which I have built upon a good reputation within my current division. Unfortunately, I was not successfully, but this has not stopped me looking forward. Options are always open to me, both internally to AXP and externally, and there is always the chance of promotion in my current role to a Senior Project Manager, so let’s see how things plan out, going into 2007.

Talking about rewards, I also managed to utilise the ‘rewards’ trip I received in 2005 for my Iceland Express Airline project. I took my mother in May 2006, and we enjoyed it thoroughly – certainly a fantastic and beautiful place to visit, especially the Blue Lagoon. Would highly recommend it! I was also invited to attend Day 7 (3rd July) of Wimbledon 2006 with a Centre Court ticket, courtesy of AXP – it certainly was a fantastic (but hot!) day.

Apart from the trip to Iceland, I’ve only had one large holiday this year so far, a 2-week trip to Morocco. I decided to also go with my mother and brother, and we certainly enjoyed exploring the fantastic country. We visited Marrakech (we couldn’t avoid not to go!) and stayed in the southern beach town of Agadir. The break did me good, and the place was extremely captivating.

Mother is still working as a Nurse in Princess Royal, Haywards Heath, although there have been rumours of the hospital closing, which is impacting morale and the working atmosphere, my mother is trying to look at the positive – in that she is hoping to retire in a few years.

My father is still enjoying the free-life (semi-retirement), but occasionally finds it hard going at times, especially now not doing anything too strenuous! I can’t believe that the Italian Restaurant closed over 6 years ago now (due to the floods which severely affected Lewes).

My brother is trying his luck at working at Gatwick Airport full-time, and is actively looking to find his own place currently.

And me? Well I too am actively looking for my own place, having found stable employment (currently) within AXP, I now want life-stability, and this means finding my own place (after years of saving!). Since I spend most of my time down in Brighton and Hove, this just makes sense to be the area to be based in. We will see my plan is for some significant change in the first half of 2007, also a way of shaking off my bachelor-hood too.

Anyway, a pretty good 2006 all in all, a few challenging times, but generally pretty successful. Onwards to 2007 and beyond. Look forward to hear, speak or see ya soon (hopefully)!

Keep visiting to keep in touch and find out my latest adventures!

Many best wishes for the festive season and I hope you’ll all have a prosperous 2007!



Written by Guest on 2006-12-24 15:35:45
Always nice to read your blog posts. Good to see work is going well, and I hope it continues into next year. :) 

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