Today has been a terribly special day.
To those outside the BBC looking in, this post runs the risk of – yet again – appearing totally self-obsessed. What’s new?
Those inside the BBC will I’m fairly certain recognise what I refer to.
Over the past few weeks I’ve seen an increase in the number of colleagues donning orange lanyards with the BBC logo on them. At first I thought this denoted an individual who could be relied upon or even depended upon in the event of some kind of emergency. A chance conversation with @billt the other day put me straight: fire wardens wear bright yellow high-viz jackets.
This bright – perhaps even garish – coloured lanyard is the visible sign of one very important milestone in the BBC’s history. So too, a new chapter in the organisation I work for. And a moment to cherish. ‘I was there when ….’
The orange means you are allowed to get into New Broadcasting House.
Buildings matter, you see. Those who work for an organisation need to feel that sense of part-ownership. That’s where the sense of responsibility comes from. The sense of pride.
That’s why – I’m not ashamed to say – I wore my stiff new lanyard with pride on the walk back to Oxford Circus tube where I ended up removing it and my shades before descending to the train platform. I mean really. Wearing shades on the tube? I don’t want to look like an idiot, do I?
I got my lanyard this morning. And I’m happy admitting I felt ten foot tall when I did.
I clung on to my lanyard for a few minutes after I received it. I wandered around a couple of floors, marvelling at the interior, gasping at the as yet unoccupied newsroom. It is an amazing sight.
I have seen the future. It’s shiny, has a distant whiff of new-car and is a bewilderingly wonderful thing to look upon. Think Charley Buckett wandering around the chocolate factory in the first (proper) Willy Wonka film and you’ll get a reasonably good idea what I’m talking about.
It doesn’t mean anything that different in the long term. Not really. The job hasn’t changed, in any way. I’m not a better person because of it (far from it). And don’t anyone think for a moment I think it a sign of permanency. I don’t.
But what donning it and wandering around this new building has reminded me of is something fundamental. Something I remember feeling when I first arrived at White City, stepped onto Wood Lane, took in the sight of BBC Television Centre and met my first line manager at the Broadcast Centre on 5 July 2005.
I am lucky. I am proud. And I am grateful.
And I will do my very best. Promise.