We won’t lie, we look for a certain type of character at Nutbourne – and Ade Ajayi fits that bill.
When we sit down to talk, he has some wise words for me. Having taken a sabbatical from the middle of last year until he joined Nutbourne in April, he’s had a lot of time to reflect on his career, which by his own admission has been varied.
“I’ve worked in the post office, for the Melville Housing Trust and for a few other different companies. I’ve been a postman, field engineer and an IT guy. I’ve been very hands-on before moving into management and done some jobs I like and some not so much.
“It’s taught me that the only constant in life is change, and if you embrace that then you’re going to be prepared for challenges.”
The six-month sabbatical spent travelling to Cuba, Vegas, Nigeria and Kenya has done Ade a lot of good. He tells me he’s been working for 30 years straight, no break, no let up, and that the time abroad has allowed him to refine his focus, to relax and to reframe his career.
“I was 50 last year and I’m thinking I need to take stock of my life; you think back and you just take stock of your life and realise you’ve been working for what ... 30, 32 years now? It's just nice to relax, take some time off from this. Find myself.”
He finds himself now immersed in the world of MSPs, having worked predominantly in-house, in IT support. The small and agile nature of Nutbourne is different to the large organisations he’s worked for where autonomy and freedom were harder to come by. He’s used – to a certain degree at least – to keeping his counsel, but with Nutbourne he’s taking the floor a little more. Perhaps he’s coming out of his shell?
“I’m wicked to work with, the best” he jokes. “But seriously, the people here are a nice bunch, very honest and very open. It’s close-knit, which helps build trust and confidence, which is only a good thing.”
Ade reminds me again that he’s 50 (he does not look it, by any stretch), when I ask how he sees his career growing with Nutbourne. He remains open to the evolving nature of his work and to the evolution of the company offering more pearls of wisdom with his characteristic smile.
“Anything you do, you've got to do well. Even if you don't stay for 15 years, at least you're going to leave your mark,” he says. “And if you do stay for 15 years, yes you will have progressed, and there will be things you will have built on.
“For now though, I’m just embracing the change; it’s good and it’s welcome.”