Be realistic

You’ve found your dream job, the one you’ve always wanted – it is just perfect. Are you sure about that, or are you overlooking some important detail? How do you respond when a few potential problems emerge?


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Another use for the spirit of volunteering

The vast number of volunteers at London 2012 were widely praised for their contribution to the Games, and there are hopes that the volunteering spirit will continue long after the end of the Olympics and Paralympics. There seems to be a general recognition that many of the sports clubs which trained our Olympians relied on volunteers, and if we are to see more children grow and thrive in sport, then we owe it to them to volunteer our services.

I wonder whether the volunteering spirit could be extended beyond sport? The Scouts Association, for example, is always looking for volunteers and indeed the difficulty in finding them is a key reason for the huge waiting lists. It is said that many parents don’t want to volunteer their time to help with Scouts, Beavers etc because they value their time without their children. They look at it as a sort of low-cost childcare, where the children are well looked after, whilst the parents can have a peaceful time. Those parents leave it to others to entertain, engage and excite their children. I can imagine that the Scouts are likely to have an even bigger problem recruiting volunteers as people turn their attention to sports.

How about the post-Olympic volunteering spirit extending even further? Could we all share a little of our professional know-how with children? After-school talks; company open-days; bring-your-child-to-school days?

We don’t seem to have a problem with time. I wonder how many man-hours are spent at car-boot sales around the country every week, transferring old and unwanted “stuff” from one house to another – people traipsing from car to car in muddy fields, buying and selling semi-meaningless junk. I fully understand the value of re-cycling, up-cycling and even free-cycling, but it seems to me that it’s all about people doing (virtuous) things for personal gain, rather than doing something for others.

Many big corporations already have such activities as part of their Corporate Social Responsibility agenda. Small companies usually don’t have a CSR budget. But they would probably understand it better if it were re-labelled as “volunteering”.

Thursday 26th April 2012 – a special day

If you live in the US, today is a special day for sons and daughters…

What a brilliant initiative!  Check the link:

Of course, it’s only one day so all those lucky sons and daughters won’t get the widest of experiences but it’s a brilliant idea nevertheless.

There will doubtless be plenty of people who will resent the idea of “kids” coming into their workplace and distracting them.  But there will also be plenty of people who find themselves to be naturally inspiring and who will encourage young talent.  Even if that sometimes results in the sons and daughters changing their understanding of what work is all about, then that’s a good thing.  We all like to make informed choices and we want our children to have that opportunity too.  This looks like a great initiative!

Unlocking Britain’s potential

A fascinating report has been published at

Two quotes jump right off the page – “We are failing our youth and creating a lost workforce“, and “Education is failing employers and employees“.

And a few key statistics:

67% of employers think there needs to be a collaborative effort between government, employers, parents, individuals and the education system to ensure that those entering the workforce have the skills required by potential employers.

50% of respondents (46% of employees; 53% of employers) say that university does not equip graduates with the right skills for the workplace.

Employers rate future potential on attitude (91%); work experience (55%); education/ qualification (35%).

This report was an initiative from the Adecco Group, partnered with Deloitte and Cisco.  It is a brilliant read, with a number of key recommendations.  The only real worry is that it’s going to take time, money, lots of effort, joined-up thinking, and some serious collaboration to resolve.  That usually only happens when there is clear leadership.  In the report, there is a call to government to take action – will the resultant action be positive, or will there be an “official response”, acknowledging that something needs to be done but disagreeing with much of it?  Some of the actions proposed:

There needs ot be structured collaboration between employers, education, government and other stakeholders to better define what we need from the education sector, and how we measure it.

Employers need to be more engaged in education, and in particular not restricted to major employers.

Teachers need to be given wider support and training, in understanding the needs of employers and workplace norms.

Work experience in schools needs to be formalised.

It’s absolutely brilliant to find such a major study with such clear findings.  The recommended actions are clear.  Let’s see what happens next.