As I wandered back home in the early Sunday evening following a lazy hour spent in the garden of the village pub, I passed several people walking dogs and a few children playing on bikes before I stumbled upon a frail old lady on a mobility scooter, walking her elderly dog.
I say “walking” – the scooter was barely moving over the uneven ground which led through the woods, and I was unsure whether it was the dog which was taking its owner for a gentle exercise or the other way round. It was certainly unclear who was taking the lead.
My initial reaction was one of surprise at the slightly incongruous sight, but only a few minutes later my mind had distilled out a few of the critical dependencies which appeared to be involved in that little excursion. Continue reading
Followers of this blog will know that I am completely passionate about giving young people an opportunity to stand out, to shine, stretch and extend their capabilities. I find few things more inspiring than helping young people develop their skills, enabling them to achieve outstanding results.
Have you ever been asked the question “What would you want your friends to say about you at your funeral“? It’s the sort of question we’re sometimes asked on training courses aimed at understanding how well we know ourselves, and it’s one of those embarrassingly awkward questions which modesty or lack of self-confidence prevents us from answering truthfully.
In the past year I have attended three funerals – elderly relatives and friends who had been ill for a while and whose time was finally up. On each occasion, I learned far more about them through listening to their eulogies than I ever did during their lives.
[Image courtesy of smartcanucks.ca]
This week the Chancellor of the Exchequer presented his spring budget to the British people. As usual, I wouldn’t have his job for all the tea in China, as it is always an opportunity for everyone to complain, and for very few to congratulate him on a job well done.
I came across a great quote attributed to King George V who reigned from 1910 to 1936.
“I am not a clever man, but if I had not picked up something from all the brains I’ve met I’d be an idiot“.
I don’t know the context in which he said this, but it makes so much sense to me. Continue reading
“Act your age“, I heard myself saying when my daughter recently did something silly the other day. Whatever she did, I don’t particularly recall but I’m certain it wasn’t actually that silly – especially considering that she is only eight. In retrospect my comment was more a reflection of my frustration at that particular moment – something else was irritating me, and I blew something minor into bigger proportions.
Acting one’s age seems to be one of those things at which we are perceived to only ever under- rather than over-deliver. Only an hour earlier, my daughter had sat at at a laptop, produced a beautiful piece of extra homework in PowerPoint, complete with photographs which she had taken on my phone, embedded sections of a map and pictures which she had herself scanned from hard copy. It was all perfectly formatted, and she had taken time to neatly align everything. It was faultless, and the quality far exceeded that which I have seen in many “professional” presentations. Considering the fact that it was only “optional” to do this work, I was impressed that she was doing it.
This is an off-topic post, but as it is Valentine’s Day I figured it would be appropriate to talk about hearts.
You might remember a post from April last year, in which I likened the struggle of getting employers to create student work placements, to the struggle which the NHS has to get people to sign up for blood and organ donation. We (almost) all seem to agree that it makes sense to do this, but somehow we don’t do it.
Well I was very pleased with myself for having signed up straight away as a blood donor, and will soon be making my third donation. I could have done this many years ago but somehow didn’t, so there’s no particular reason for me to feel proud or smug. Anyway, better late than never.
On Wednesday evening ITV aired a programme called “From the heart“, looking at the staggering statistics associated with people waiting for an organ to be donated.
Wanting to climb the corporate ladder is a perfectly natural feeling feeling for most of us. After all, it is a clear demonstration of progress – not just to ourselves, but also to our peers. Few graduates would deny that they have such aspirations.
Corporate organisations are like a jungle. There is a clear hierarchy, with a well-developed food chain and an inherent superiority at the top of the trees. The view from the top is no doubt spectacular and far-reaching but it is a long way from the jungle floor where most of the activity is.
The further up the tree one climbs, the more distant becomes the view of the undergrowth and the life which thrives in it. Learning about how a business operates involves a great deal of studying the undergrowth – spending time there, understanding how everything fits together and what makes it work.
One of the questions I am most frequently asked when I’m speaking to students, is “How do I stand out from all the other students? We’re all applying for the same jobs, and we all have the same qualifications“. It is a fair question to ask – with supply exceeding demand employers tend to be picky. Very picky.
What practical steps can a student take? Actually, it is surprisingly easy. Continue reading
I recently found myself having to explain something which would have been straightforward enough, had I been talking to another adult. But I was talking to my eight-year-old daughter, and it was more complicated than I could have imagined.
She wanted to take a camera with her on a school trip. She has only ever seen me taking pictures with a Nikon D80 SLR, or with a multitude of different mobile phones – most recently the hugely impressive 41 megapixel Nokia 808 PureView or the Nokia Lumia 900. She hasn’t ever seen photos taken on anything other than a D-SLR or a mobile phone. Indeed, she’s never used anything else herself, but as the rules expressly forbade even old mobile phones without a SIM, she was left wondering what the alternatives were.
The solution I proposed was a disposable camera.