Too Narrow-visioned

Writing

For some of us, life revolves around a career, for others it’s family. But should life really have a sole focus? Is it wrong to lead an existence where we strive for one thing and neglect another? Benefit in one area of our life  to the detriment of another?

Need we only look at the rich lonely business with money to burn on himself but no partner or child to share it with. Or the family with 5 mouths to feed who are living off of rations. A dichotomous pair, with polarizing values. Are they both wrong? Should life be less about a ‘single’ goal and more about having a ‘range’of goals? Should life even be about having goals at all?

Personally, I’m annoyed at myself for having the blinkers on, and neglecting  certain areas of my life, life shouldn’t really be about one thing or the other. Truly, I believe it should be about balance.

And it has only  been through experiencing mistake after mistake via bad life decisions for me to realise this unfortunately. One example for me is infact career. I don’t know exactly where my obsession with gaining certain career goals originated, whether it was from the mouths of pale and stale teachers at school or from the rosy-pink lips of the celebs interviewed on TV. But either way, my obsessive drive to become ‘X’ as a career completely overruled any other aspect of my life as far back as my early teens.

At school I remember threats were frequent – ‘if you don’t do well at this subject then you won’t be employable. If you’re not employable then you won’t get a job, so you won’t earn money. SO you’ll die!’ This general spiel was a common go to for my college careers teacher. A spiel which struck me to my very core, instilling me with a fear and a drive to seek employment, to seek approval from others.

The beginning of a bad end was soon to commence in terms of ‘dream jobs’ for me. At this stage I think it’s best to announce my age, from the number of jobs I’ve had you’d think I was immortal but infact at 25 years old immortality is exchanged for a quarter-life crisis instead. What a trade-off!

Ofcourse I can’t just blame my teacher’s threats on being the reason I’ve experienced so many mishaps on the careers ladder, but it helps so I’ll just go with it (hehe).

Although I’m 25 years of age, I’ve had 8 jobs in 4 years (this should be a pub quiz question). No, each one didn’t last 6 months and yes, there were gaps of unemployment where I found myself crying in the corner of my room, the room I was soon to be kicked out of had I not have found a job to pay my rent. At one stage I kid you not I was down to my last £30 in my account.

But I guess the question isn’t – ‘how may jobs have I had’ but instead, ‘why have I had so many’? A question I do ponder over deeply at times. A short answer of which would be to simply say that I found each one of them boring. But the truth runs much deeper than this. Really, I think the tip of the iceberg is hinted at by a statement I mentioned earlier – ‘to seek the approval of others’. In my little brain I think at some moment in my life I had a eureka moment and I found contentment in knowing that if I obtained a ‘successful’ enough career in everybody else’s eyes then I myself would be happy. And with this mantra moulded into the neurons of my mind I set foot on getting a job in the music industry. Notorious for it’s glitz and glamour or so I thought. But shock horror hit when I actually found myself number-punching into Excel spreadsheets in an office where the perk of the day was getting a free biscuit with my luke-warm cup of tea. The moral of the story was the music industry I experienced wasn’t the music industry I had envisaged myself experiencing. And from this a trend of falling in and out of a jobs list as long as your arm commenced. At one stage I thought I’ll take any job just to pay my extortionate rent as I figure out what way I want to maneuver myself within the music industry. Which sounds good on paper but when you have a 12 hour shift as a host in a restaurant where you can’t sit down and get groped every 5 minutes by one of the bussboys then you suddenly start thinking that the luke-warm tea back at the office didn’t actually taste that bad afterall. Over the last 4 years that I’ve been in London, my job titles have changed, my salary has changed, my career goals may have even changed but one thing which has not changed is my exasperating attempts to achieve some sort of career pinnacle. Some role which will make my parents proud of me, make me enough money that I won’t have to continuously set things back at the checkout, a role which will make my friends say wow, and make me feel genuinely happy. But here comes the irony. That doesn’t exist. And why not?

Because there’s an imbalance, just as I’ve been stressing over obtaining a career everyone can give a thumbs up too, other areas of my life have been neglected. It’s all well and good landing work experience with a big-name company, but as you’re stapling their meeting packs together the thought of ‘I haven’t seen my friends in a while’ might just start to sink in. Or ‘when’s the last time I’ve been to the gym, or ate correctly, or been on a trip?’.

For me a big thing is being too hard on myself, like, I would never reward myself for any wins be them large of small. It was always on to the next goal without hesitance. Whereas if I made a mistake along the way to achieving a goal it would be in the back of my head for weeks at a time. This stick over carrot mentality coupled with my blinkered attitude towards career alone meant that my dearest relationships became frayed. On ths desperate hunt for career success I no longer saw my friends, I wasn’t interested in romantic relationships, all because I had this hardcore belief that I had no time for ‘distractions’, that I needed to focus on achieving my career ambitions. Meanwhile, had I stopped for a second and realised that the areas of life such as relationships, self-love and health hold equal importance to a career if not more. I was blind-sighted by my own obsession to seek the approval of everyone else around me all while I was slowly losing any care I had for myself.  

If you don’t take care of yourself this can manifest into snapping at those who you do care about the most – your family and close friends. For a while I felt so pressured to become something so specific, I put deadlines on every objective I had, most of the time unrealistic ones which meant I was always in a stressed-out mood. Consequently relationships with certain family members became strained. And this was the wake up call I needed to realise that I had gotten myself into a  heightened-state of disillusionment and pressure. If trying to get a high-flying career comes with the cost of losing touch with my family then I don’t want the career. Better yet, what I’ve came to realise is that having a good career in itself isn’t the key to happiness nor is it the key to sadness, the true takeaway point is having a good balance between numerous elements in life: social life, looking after your health, hobbies and job.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t aim to become ‘X’ but what I will stress is don’t become ‘X’ at the cost of everything else in your life! Trust me, balance is more important that you may think. x

Rejection – Don’t Fear It (Too Much)

Writing

“Rejection” 

 

A word soaked in stigma, in negative connotations, but do we have to be so damning to a term which in some respects, paradoxically takes ownership for so many of our successes?

 

It’s a stinging word, bringing with it an overcast of self-doubt and worthlessness. As Steve Harvey said  – “success is about being comfortable with being uncomfortable”, it’s undeniable how discomforting and belittling rejection can be to us. But is it true, can we really have success without first facing rejection? Can we really appreciate the sweetness that is success if we haven’t yet experienced the sourest of rejections?

Overall, is being turned down in the moment really as bad as we think, or is it the kickstarter to our successes to come? 

First, let’s take a look at some of history’s most memorable dismissals:

  • Walt Disney was fired from the newspaper ‘Kansas City Star’ for lacking ‘imagination’.
  • Oprah Winfrey was fired as an evening news reporter in her early days, for being unable to resist forming an emotional attachment to her stories she reported on.
  • Megastar singer Lady Gaga, once she was finally signed onto a major record label, was dropped only three months after being signed. 
  • Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team.

Not that I’m going to be the next Michael Jordan anytime soon, but I myself have been all too familiar with that stomach dropping feeling of rejection .Particularly when it comes to jobhunting. If  I started counting up the number of job applications I’ve received an automated ‘no’ email from to this date, they’d have to create a concept greater than infinity for me, I can’t lie to you. 

From work to love and everything inbetween, it seems rejection is friendly company to this thing we call ‘life’.

So if it can greet us in varying forms can it also show itself as a range of intensities?

Does a decline sting us more when linked to something we are heavily invested in? If your crush at school declines your advances, is this a tougher pill to swallow than if the village idiot did so?

If you’ve studied and worked your ass off for 3 years to get a promotion on route to your dream role, will a redlight on the careerpath derail you moreso than a rejection email for a role you’ve never even heard of?

Ofcourse it would, I think the bottomline is that none of us can hand on heart say that rejection has a nice ring to it, infact we at times go as far to say that we go out of our ways to avoid it as much as possible. But perhaps that is the real downfall of it all. By trying to reject rejection are we really infact doing ourselves more harm than good?

To try and understand this, let’s take a look at the reasons why us humans dislike rejection:

  • Physical and emotional pathways of the brain – studies have shown that the same areas of the brain are activated when we experience physical pain as when we feel rejection. So heartbreak really is a thing!
  • Blame the ancestors – as social creatures you can imagine that from a survival perspective, being ostracised from a clan has a high chance of meaning a struggle to survive and potentially even death.  Evolutionary psychologists have theorised that the human brain developed an early warning system to alert us when we were at risk of being outcasted. Perhaps this explains why I always bribe people with chocolate or smother them with chloroform if given any sudden inclination of their attempt to exile me.
  • Rejection swells aggression and anger – a report stated that  rejection was a greater risk for adolescent violence than drugs, poverty, or gang membership. Exclusion is a major factor being considered for rising knife crime in London at the moment. If people don’t feel accepted then they rebel. 

But with these negative impacts in mind, can there really be any supporting evidence for saying that rejection isn’t solely a bad thing?

  • Rejection could lead to greater levels of creativity – a Johns Hopkins university study alluded to the idea that although as humans we yearn for a sense of togetherness, a sense of belonging, it appears that some of us yearn for this less than others, and some more than others. Hence those who take a more independent path may actually find rejection from a certain social group a source of validation that they are not like others, this unconventional personality type could lead to greater creativity. Now, I’m not saying that we should all become loners and be ok with it, and in the process of doing so  we’ll become the next Picasso, all I’m saying is…..read the study!
  • Rejection gives you a chance to reset, refocus and have less regrets – The American Psychological Association shares that individuals who hold onto unresolved regrets exhibit more depressive symptoms than those who let it go. In my own experience the feeling of rejection is honestly easier to take than ‘if only I had done this…..’. 

Personally, I see rejection as a temporary sting that’s accompanied by alot of learning if you are open to the lesson in each experience.

If you can take rejection then it means you can take risks, if you can take risks then it means you will  increase your chances of being rejected more times. But guess what, it also means you will increase your chances of learning something from that ‘no’ and so increase your chances of getting that ‘yes’. The more chances you take the more likely you are to hit the jackpot. Think of the lottery! 

I feel like we hold more power to the act of rejection than we should. Life doesn’t fall apart on the bad luck of a lottery ticket, we don’t decide to declothe in the moment, crawl into a little ball and rock ourselves back and forth in our living rooms (that kind of activity is saved exclusively for Saturday nights), importantly we may even try and win the lottery a fortnight after again. And in this process of being rejected you have learnt an important quality of your character – your perseverance.

We ‘assume’ that the world around us will come crashing down if and when we are rejected. And for this reason a lot of us aren’t functioning at our highest potential. We aren’t taking the risks we have the opportunity to take and so we aren’t living to our full potential. As important as our primitive brains have been in our struggle for survival, in this day and age, the mind can sometimes be the matter. Don’t let rejection stop you from reaching your full potential. 

 

So to you I say – when are you going to be rejected next?

The Most Anticipated Movies Of 2019

Writing

We’ve already had Aladdin, X-Men and Rocketman set the bar high for this years siverscreen scenes, but wait, the year is by no means over, just check out the movie heavyweights to come:

 

Joker  (October 2019)

I just caught a glimpse of the upcoming Joker movie and it definitely gave me something to smile about. Noone could replace Heath Ledger, yet I’m pretty sure Joaquin Phoenix will give us his own equally engaging take on this superhero supervillain.

 

The Lion King (July 2019)

Truly nostalgic, I personally can’t wait to experience this one on the big screen. Something tells me I won’t be critiquing the CGI too harshly, although the cartoon original version will always hold a special place in my heart. WIth an allstar line-up including Beyonce, Donald Glover and Seth Rogan, you’ll be playing the game of guess the voice actor instead of admiring how cute baby Simba looks in the opening scenes!

 

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (August 2019)

Margot Robbie, Leonardo Dicaprio, Brad Pitt……Is this a move or model casting? Whether the film is good or not is secondary, all I want to do is stare at their perfectly formed faces. I know Tarantino is a bit of a marmite director,  I personally find him rather interesting and I’m a fan of his work so really looking forward to seeing his latest piece.

 

Frozen 2 (November 2019)

We just can’t seem to let go of this winter wonderland fantasy by Disney. I wonder how many more infectious songs will come from this sequel?

 

The Irishman (month tbc, year 2019)

Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci. Did someone say mob ties? Directed by Scorsese. Did someone say Oscar? Rumoured to have cost $125million and containing 300 scenes, this epic gangster film will definitely be a highlight in Netflix’s catalogue this year.

 

 

Poem: Rejection

Writing

Rejection

Rejection is like an unwelcome face.

All too familiar, you close the door on it.

Should rejection be ignored or embraced?

It depends on what way you look at it.

 

Rejection from a lover

The heat of their body touching yours is fading.

Now all but a distant memory.

The taste of their mouth on yours – erasing.

You yearn for the return of this reality.

.

Failure

Will it make you stronger or weaker?

Do you see it as a knock on the esteem?

Is it a chance to become better?

Or do you say farewell to your dreams?

 

Rejecting yourself

Just as you can have too much of a good thing.

You can have too much of a bad.

If rejection comes round to often?

Understandably – where do you stand?

 

My Face

Writing

I feel like today is one of those days were my face refuses to show any sort of expression, similar to what I can only assume the lovechild of an over-botoxed barbie and a saddened clown would sport had they just been given the news that their goldfish bubbles just died.

 

Yes, my face is frozen and I just can’t seem to thaw it out today. Do you ever have those sudden waves of melancholy, moments of introspection, of silence? It’s as if they’re somewhat uncontrollable, like, I don’t willingly choose to suddenly wake up and find it difficult to get out of bed somedays or struggle to strike up a conversation with people. For some reason, it just…..happens. Please tell me I’m not the only one this happens to?

 

Is it stemming from a subconscious place of unrest? Is there something in our lives we haven’t addressed which as a result manifests itself in our mood swings we exhibit on friends, in our  periods of worry and stress we bring out on ourselves?

 

As humans we are such complex creatures, why couldn’t life be more simple, I ask? Or is the truth of the matter actually that life is infact quite simple – and it is us humans who overcomplicate it?

 

In my opinion, probably the latter of the two, for you don’t see pandas suddenly having  mental breakdowns at the thought of wearing ‘those shoes with that shirt’, or any other animals for that fact! It’s just us humans who worry about the petty things and perhaps that’s why I’m sitting here with a face that makes a plank of wood look overenthusiastic.

 

Don’t be like me, please.

Can You Be Too Ambitious?

Writing

Can you be too ambitious in life? By being so are you just setting yourself up for overwhelming levels of stress and bottomless pitfalls? Or  by setting higher goals are you growing your skillset further and achieving more than you ever could even if you shoot and miss the target?

 

I ask this question because I feel like this alot, I feel like I’m maybe trying to do too much at one time, I struggle with organisation and procrastination eventhough I have a list of ‘ambitions’ as long as my arm that I ‘want’ to ‘/start’ doing. Spending alot of time thinking and planning and little time doing is my biggest issue. It really is a game of psychology, perhaps because I’m giving myself so many goals all at once I’m subconsciously feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of tasks at hand and so turn my head to making a stab at any one ambition in particular.

 

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with having multiple ambitions, and I don’t like the phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ but maybe when applied to the concept of time it is infact best to master one skill/ambition and then start incorporating another rather than tackling several simultaneously.

 

Another reason why maybe some of us find it difficult to keep on track with our goals is because we lead by the stick and not the carrot, by this I’m referring to the metaphor for the use of reward and punishment to bring about a desired behaviour. It’s a depiction of a donkey either being hit with the stick or chasing a carrot dangles infront of him in order to get him to move forward. For the most part we lead by the threat of something happening e.g. if we don’t do X then something bad will happen, and as a result we put ourselves under huge amounts of stress which may lead us to quit our efforts at reaching our goals. For example – if I don’t nail this presentation my boss will demote me, I need to earn above 50k per year or my wife will leave me, as opposed to if I nail this presentation my boss could promote me, my wife loves me for me not my money, I’m going to aim to earn above 50k to treat her more not to keep her!

 

I don’t think we reward ourselves enough when we do make progress towards our goals or even when we achieve them, maybe we think reaching the goal is the reward but it seems that no sooner have we reached one goal than are we back on the journey of trying to reach another. Perhaps we should give ourselves a pat on the back more often for even the small steps in the right direction. This would definitely help keep the motivation to reach a goal.

 

Bottom line is, I think it’s great to have ambitions, and even better if we start working towards them!

 

I wish you all the best with yours!

The Newbie In The Workplace

Writing

Let’s face it, noone likes being the newbie at work. You know the second you walk in the door you’re being judged by every single person’s beady little eyes. Small talk about the weather at the coffee maker only gets you so far as you fast realise you need to step up your conversation game.

 

The Dress Code & Awkward Intros

 

We’ve all been there, worrying about what to wear on the first day, dress code – ‘smart casual’ so we wreck our brains the night before questioning whether that’s code for casually smart or smartly casual?! The worst part isn’t even the fact that you decided to don the stained off white shirt with clashing suit trousers, instead it  has to be when your line manager decides to raise your blood pressure before lunchtime by briefly and awkwardly introducing you to everybody in the department. You smile and nod, pretending to remember each individual’s name only to find yourself forgetting your own in the midst of internally being an absolute nervous wreck.

 

Newbie 4 Life

 

Another question I ask is for how long do we ride the newbie train for? Are you still the new guy 2 months down the line or 12 months until the newest recruit trots through the door?Are you then jealous that or you are no longer the freshest face on the floor or relieved that you’ve now bedded into the background?

 

Probation Problems

 

I ask these questions as I’m currently the newbie on my floor, I’ve been in my job as a music coordinator for 3 months now and perhaps you still feel new even to yourself until you pass the ever dreaded judgment period of performance known as probation.

 

I’m quite bad with names in general and I think joining quite a large department doesn’t help the matter yet instead dooms me into referring to almost every person as ‘that lady with the red top or man with the mullet….’Yeah, please pray for me in making it through probation. By the sounds of things I’ll need it.

 

If you’re new to your job do you feel the same way or do I just have a serious bout of bad luck?

The Psychology of Value – Culture

Writing

Carrying on from yesterday’s post, I noted how this concept of value stems from our childhoods. How we internally form an attachment to particular items we deem as ‘ours’  from a young age.

Yet when comparing this globally, there are certain cultures where regardless of age, this trend does not appear. For example in a study conducted by scientists at Yale University , researchers ran a study on the Hadza people of Northern Tanzania to determine whether the Endowment effect took place within the community or not. When conducted it was found that of the Hadza people who lived closer to the towns or villages which exhibited markets and were therefore exposed to a society where money was exchanged for goods, 25% of them were willing to trade their original gifted item for a new one i.e. trade the lighter they were given for a biscuit or vice versa.

Comparing this to the Hadza people that lived further away from the villages and towns, in a more isolated community, a greater proportion – 53% in the group were more willing to trade. So why is this so? The people in the more ‘isolated’ environment, the hunter-gatherer population, they lived in an egalitarian society and so the movement of goods is much more open and shared more evenly between group members.

Looking at this one example, it can be said that emphasis on the society we grow up in, the environment we grow up in are key factors to how we value the things in our lives.

In relation to this, if we return to the initial point of ‘monetary’ value, socio-economic factors can be linked to certain types of culture, for example gang culture. With this I ask the question:
What does the word ‘value’ mean in an impoverished community?

Stress: The Real SERIAL Killer

Writing

According to the American Psychological Association, chronic stress is linked to the six leading causes of death: heart disease, cancer, lung ailments, accidents, cirrhosis of the liver and suicide.

 

The link between mind and body is far deeper than we may have realised. You only have to listen to Ted’s Radio Hour episode entitled ‘Hardwired’ to come to the stark realisation that stress and how we respond to it plays profounding roles on the biology of our bodies, right down to the cellular level. From changing the number of white blood cells  (immunity) in the bloodstream to affecting important DNA systems, the onset of stress can be deemed beneficial in short bouts but staggeringly damaging if prolonged.

 

“People are disturbed not by a thing, but by their perception of a thing.” — Epictetus

 

I write about stress today as I recline on my couch with a cup of tea in my hand, I’m overcome with the sensation of a pain in my lower stomach I soon come to realise is the release of tension I’d been carrying around all day. My shoulders lower, my jaw relaxes. My body deals with stress by tensing up, perhaps yours does too. I doubt anyone enjoys these sensations despite people saying they flirt with fear for the ’kick’. Perhaps they do momentarily but I doubt they want that affair to become full-blown mariage! As my body begins to relax, my mind starts to wonder – why am I so stressed, what effect is this having on me?

 

The Cause

Stress can enter the arena of our lives from a range of areas. From both internal and external sources, be it our own thoughts, the relationships we have with others, and our work environment to name but a few.

With stress mounting from various locations, it begs the question, who’s duty is it to alleviate the stress? Society? Your loved ones? Yourself?

Not pointing fingers but to not tip toe around the point of how stress-inducing the workplace can be. With the study conducted by Mind, the mental health charity, showing that 1 in 3 of us find worklife either quite or very stressful, that workplace stress has lead to an increase in suicidal thoughts. We therefore can’t shy away from the problems with worklife structure.

As much as stress comes down to our own perception of it, our internal coping mechanism, I so too believe that certain (external) facilitators in reducing the levels of stress experienced in our environment should be implemented. Specifically in that of the workplace. Do you think the same?

Another reason I wanted to write this post was to share with you the benefits I felt when my workplace did just that. I work for a TV broadcasting company and to my surprise they arranged for a handful of fortunate individuals to gain a  dose of ‘puppy cuddling’ (paws for life). Chosen by signing up on a first come first serve basis I was so pleased when informed that I’d gotten a place. Losing 30 mins of my time from work meant the company and I both actually benefited. I went back to my desk with a buzz and was alot more productive for the remainder of the day.

 

As you can see below:

 

 

What does your workplace do to reduce stress levels in your life?

And the even bigger question – what do you do personally to reduce the stress in your life?

 

City Life: The Love/Hate Relationship

Writing

Originally from a town of  several thousand you can see why I may feel like a fish out of water here in London. Living in the UK’s capital for 2 years now has taught me alot about other people and alot about myself.

But I’ll save that for another time, here are some reasons why I’ve developed a love/hate relationship with the ‘most vegetarian friendly city in the world’ I’ll have you know!

 

Cons:

  1. The Tube Journeys – if you want to develop claustrophobia and a strong affinity for your own personal space then I suggest you take the oh so hectic trip from Kennington to Angel. According to the Londonist, the Northern line was the busiest line in 2016/17 with customers making an eye-watering 294 million journeys that year on this underground line alone. But don’t start thinking you can cartwheel up and down the carriages of any other lines anytime soon, a close second was snatched up by the central line, where any cursed commuter of this line will know the need for an oxygen tank and full-faced mask is real.
  2. Shackled By The Chains – I don’t have anything particularly against our well-known high street chainstores, but there are a specific handful who lurk on literally every corner of this damn city! Is it so wrong to want to see a family-run business with some fresh produce in the city centre instead of yet another mass-producing brand?
  3. The Fresh Smell of Exhaust Fumes – if you didn’t have asthma before getting here, then hold on to those precious memories of gasping without coughing and sighing without wheezing. For that’s all they’ll be, little flashback’s in your mind’s eye as you drag another breathe from your new best friend – the inhaler. If I’m not out of breath in 5 seconds of brisk walking then I’m blowing clumps of soot from my nose. Mum and Dad – London life is great!

 

Pros:

  1. Events Galore – the most excitement I’d get back home is from winning the bingo in the local care home down the road, now it’s gigs, festivals, club nights and freebies every night of the week (I wish)! London offers some of the best events in the world and don’t we know it! Whether it’s soaking up the atmosphere at Ronnie Scott’s or celebrating Chinese New Year with thousands of others, you’re guaranteed to have a great time.
  2. A Melting Pot of People – London naturally draws people from all over the world, it’s fascinating to meet people from such a range of cultures and backgrounds. From food to music, language to fashion, you have the luxury of experiencing this richness right on your front doorstep.
  3. Endless Opportunities – If you want to make something of yourself, London is the place to be I feel. With so many companies flocking here, you have as a result an abundance of skilful minds which can collaborate to make great things. Ofcourse you can make anything happen wherever you are if you push hard enough but there’s that added advantage of being able to physically walk in to the office of your dream agency or mentor which may not be accessible in your village in the high hills of the Isle of Arran (I love this place, so scenic).

 

Have you ever been to the London, what do you love or loathe about it?

Best and Worst Christmas Decorated Offices

Writing

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What’s going on here? Bunch of Scrooges.

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Cute.

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Which way is up?

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Christmas or taxidermy?

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OK.

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Yaaassss, picture + frame combo.

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I’m not going in. You can’t make me.

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Someone has too much time on their hands, obviously.

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Perfect.

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Haha love this.

Does your workplace match any of these above?

Poem: A Job Is A Job

Writing

Knees buckled beneath me.

Feet gnarled, toes curled.

The whole world’s up against me.

Yet still I spin, I twirl.

 

Counting pennies until it defeats me.

I’m sedated by my lost dreams.

It seems the past always repeats me,

A path of unraveling seams.

 

Whispered regrets always greet me.

My childhood career was not what is now.

If only my parents could see me.

In dismay, they’d ask me ‘how’?

 

Does your work make you happy?

Is that the aim of your job?

If you’re not in absolute misery,

Then what’s the alarm?

Poem – Money

Writing

Money,

It slips through my fingers,

Like slithers of bottle-green seaweed submitting to gravity.

 

I chase it every day,

But yet I still feel drowned at its mercy.

I am submerged.

Will anyone take mercy?

 

Celebrities live a life of luxury,

Yet still, some show signs of misery.

If more money is all of our end goals,

Then how can we avoid this unpleasant possibility?

 

It’s a lie to say that money isn’t necessary,

It’s a lie to say we don’t want it.

Are we all doomed to live this rat race intensively?

Or is a mouse trap the only way round it?

Career change - best books to read 2018 wordpress blog

Career Change?: 7 Books You Need To Read

Writing

The 7 best books to inspire and guide you through career change

Making the decision to change career paths is no walk in the park. I myself have found structure and strategy  in making career decisions through a range of literary sources. Below are 7 books I would best recommend to anyone who, like myself at a stage, may be confused, cautious or just curious the bringing the steps to a career change  into fruition.

  1. How To Find The Work You Love – Laurence G. Boldt

It is estimated that the average person will rack up 90,000 hours  of their life in a job so is it really that wrong to like what you do? No. Infact, I believe you should love what you do. Boldt addresses the need for courage to start the search for a new career, and offers strategic advice on how to tap into our own resources to figure out what we are good at and what we would really like to do. This is an incredibly important point as I feel so many of us just rush life and get lost in the hustle of the day, the demands of the world around us and don’t really take the time that’s necessary to think of what’s best for us as individuals. Surely we owe it to ourselves to put research into something which takes up approx. 1/3 of our lives?

  1. Feel The Fear And Do It Anyway – Susan Jeffers

Perhaps you  already know what career you would like to pursue, step 1 in the list is ticked off, but even with a passion for a role you may be still tentative to make the change. Will you enjoy the new role? Will your friends and family approve? What if the new role isn’t actually right for you, will you be trapped? Susan Jeffers perfectly uncovers the inner workings of our minds and why making decisions especially life changing ones such as a change in career can prove so challenging. She then flips this mindset on its head by offering  a ‘no-lose’ model to make the process of decision making a win-win regardless of whichever choice you make. Sounds too good to be true? Give it a read.  Jeffers shares additional food for thought on fear across a range of areas in our lives.  She touches on the destigmatization of positive thinking, how it isn’t as unrealistic as society would have us belief. How simply changing a few words in your self-talk can transform you from victim to a place of power. And so it can be agreed that this  book is not only relevant to our working life but every aspect of life which requires us to face fear.

  1. Black Box Thinking: The surprising Truth About Success – Matthew Syed

Although this book is not career based at its core, the extremely effective method of intertwining real life examples of when humans have screwed up  with core principles of psychology make for a book I just couldn’t put down. So how does failure link to a career change? It’s exactly that, will I fail at even finding a job, will I fail at the job itself? These questions are daunting and Syed couldn’t explain any better in his book on why failure is essential in life. Even if it means you get fired, this is still a poignant moment for you to learn and persevere.  His go to reference throughout the book is the  comparison between the attitude of the aviation industry vs that of the health care industry in facing failure. With the former facing it head on and with honesty resulting in one of the lowest mortality rates of any industry, the latter in contrast, focuses on hierarchy – a surgeon’s pride compromising honesty when operations go wrong, nurses feeling inadequate to speak  up against doctors. Syed’s core take home message is that in order to learn and grow we must fail. And that by trying to avoid failure you are infact worse off than if failing in the first place. This book can be applied to how you may feel when facing rejection letters, fear of interviews and fear of disappointing those around you. It definitely changed my attitude towards failure. Infact I look forward to failing (ok maybe I’m a bit carried away).

  1. Elon Musk – Ashlee Vance

A man of the moment, SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk knows a thing or two about changing career paths. A ‘.com’ businessman during his entrepreneurial infancy, which in the tech company’s  selling could’ve left Musk with a fat cheque and enough snorkelling holidays to leave him permanently pruned.  But oh no, for he’s the ultimate risk taker. Investing millions and pushing it into fields he wasn’t initially experienced in – aerospace, renewable energy and car industries. Through Vance’s eyes, Musk’s ballsy go hard or go home approach in pursuing passions and making change on scales much bigger than himself makes for an interesting read to say the least. Surely sending off your application on Indeed.com takes a little less effort then trying to get humankind colonizing the red planet, no?

  1. Man’s Search For Meaning – Viktor E. Frankl

Everything can be taken away from us except the ability to choose our attitude in any given circumstance. This is the core message Frankl emphasizes in this truly thought-provoking read – a Viennese psychiatrist who was held captive in both Dachau and Auschwitz concentration camps. The relation I make between his book and in changing a career is that so many times we base decisions off of the opinions of others or rely too heavily on external situations. Will my family approve, will they fire me? If your family don’t approve but from your perspective you love the job then that should just be accepted. If you get fired from the job you will learn skills on how to find another route into the career of your choosing. One’s own perspective on a situation can leave them feeling the victim or the power holder. And in no truer a situation than in the one of pursuing your career can this mindset be incorporated to bring the outcome of most optimal success.

  1. Get a Life, Not a Job: Do What You Love and Let Your Talents Work For You – Paula Caligiuri

With the message that ‘ employers no longer show any loyalty to their employees, it’s up to you to take control of your own destiny’, Caligiuri provides a very hands on and intensive approach to gaining the career of your desires. Practical steps including exercises and questionnaires in the book help dismantle the stigmatized airy fairy idea of ‘following your dreams’ and instead cements dream chasing as it as an achievable goal so long as effort is put in. For anyone who doesn’t want to be just a passive listener, this book should kick start you into action.

  1. Do What You Are: Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type – Paul D Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger

Built around the Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator (MBPI), this book plays matchmaker between personality type and job fit. So chances are if you’re of a nervous disposition then maybe bounty hunting isn’t for you, in contrast if you like using tax payers money to buy new sinks plugs and paperweights at the cost of a small family car  then perhaps take up politics. Either way the authors aim to take it to a personal level so you can show the world your true talents in your ideal role.

 

So there you have it, 7 and not 8 books which will get you in that dream job by Christmas (potentially). As you’ve came to the end of the article you may be thinking that several of the books chosen here aren’t strictly career focussed and that I’m taking you on some monk-like journey of self-discovery. To me, I see a career  as such a big part of my life that the intertwinement of self-discovery and career cannot be divided. So if you don’t like my cushy self-help books then stay in your miserable job!!!!! (joke(not)). In all seriousness, I know job-hunting isn’t easy, I got fired from my very first job at 21, so I can empathize. So I wish you all the best in your career endeavours, you can do it.

5 Extraordinary Jobs That I Never Knew Existed

Writing

If you thought working 9 to 5 was all about number crunching and pencil pushing think again:

  1. Certified Seat Filler

Empty seats at some of the biggest events in TV are an absolute no no so random people may actually be paid to make up the numbers. My question is – how the hell can there be gaps in the audience at these events, surely you’d donate a kidney just to be a row away from Sir Elton John, right?  Anyhow, if you fancy sitting pretty at an awards show near you perhaps check out some companies online where you can register. (See how I didn’t mention any names – noone pays me on here :p )!

  1. Swan Upping

Did you know the Queen exercises her ownership rights on all unmarked swans along parts of the River Thames and its Tributaries. Stocktake of The Crown’s swans is conducted by livery companies – Vintner’s and The Dyers. This practice dates back to the 12th century when swan-meat was deemed a little too precious!

  1. Professional Bed Warmer

You really can’t make this stuff up, supposedly there are hotels (Holiday Inn to be more exact) who hire people donning hygienic sleep suits to jump into your bed and make it all toasty for your arrival. What happened to a good old fashion water bottle? Or have they not heard of electric blankets?

  1. Panda Cuddler

Cuteness overload! This would melt even the coldest of hearts! Aimed to actually help the little bundles of fur adjust to life minus humans and hence give them a chance to habituate to life in the wilderness, this role plays a vital part in the rehabilitation of Pandas into their natural environment.

  1. Professional Mourner

So, I thought I’d end on a high note here, obviously. This is infact a paying job. Originating in Egyptian, Mediterranean and Near Eastern cultures, the role is to help comfort and entertain the grieving family. The paid mourner may be asked to deliver a eulogy or  lament for the passing of the individual. Thus, their attendance holds a high level of significance for the families and not just as a means  to nick the last few remaining cucumber sandwiches at the wake.

Have any of the above made you want to give up the day job then?

Why Being An Adult Isn’t Fun

Writing

Gone are the days when finger painting and daytime naps were as common as the cold. Instead , replaced by finger tapping and continuous bouts of the common cold! If only we knew as tiny humans, the pure agony that lay before us in the adult world. Let me list just a few for you:

  1. Bills Bills Bills

Anyone who gets giddy at the sight of a £10 decrease in their electricity bill because they forced themselves to have ‘luke warm’  instead ‘hot’ showers all Summer knows full well that they have reached adulthood.  Having to pay your rent, water, electricity, mobile and Wi-Fi bills every month means giving up a tiny piece of your soul with every transaction. A tough trade off but then again who really can live without Wi-Fi?

  1. The Rat Race

Remember at school when you felt a long day was waking up at 10am and finishing at lunchtime? Didn’t your heart just sink to your stomach the first time you experienced the dreaded moonbeam illuminating your face through the office window? Yes, that’s right ‘the dayjob is just so I can get enough money to really enjoy myself with the little time I have to myself’. Just keep telling yourself this.

  1. The Cardigan

You were going so well up to this point. You kept on top of the latest fashion trends, you even set a few of your own but then the adult moment hit you like a lightning bolt and since then you’ve resorted to the tatty woolly throw over which would pass as your dead grandmother’s favourite shawl if worn in just the right light. The point being you now dress like an old crow since the first sign of crow’s feet set in. Word of advice, if you want to stay fashionable then get some damn wrinkle cream because heaven forbid the granny cable knit cardigan moment strikes you when you’re vulnerable!

  1. Topics Of Conversation

You now find yourself conversing on why you prefer courgette over mushroom in your spaghetti Bolognese, where instead in the midst of your youth, you’d be out getting laid. It also now feels weird to use or hear other ‘adults’ use slang words such as  ‘dope’ and ‘amazeballs’ (who uses this last one anyway?).

 

I guess there is one thing to look forward to when you reach adulthood. Retirement.

5 Overrated Creative Jobs (Plus Alternatives)

Writing
  1. Travel Writer: picture sipping martini’s on the coast of Mexico, you do the odd bit of typing up here and there but all in all the job is a doss about. Most of your time is spent chatting up the coastguard and asking locals where the best restaurants are. Or do you? Perhaps instead you’re sitting sweaty in a non-air conditioned hotel room, torrential rain outside and you now have to go speak to local farmers on how they grow their Scarlet Queen turnips. Oh Joy.

Salaries: £20,000+

Alternative: Newspaper columnist, comfy office chair and no need to talk about turnips (hopefully).

  1. Chef: This is creative. Don’t tell me it’s not! From food presentation to taste combinations the job seems like a creative haven for the budding food lover. But! Slaving over a hot stove for 10 hours straight, all while getting an earful from the head chef who’s just broken up with his wife (for the second time) all because you blanched the cabbage that millisecond too long.

Alternative: Cookery school teacher, restaurant owner, TV chef.

Salaries: £25,000+

  1. Model: How glamorous, ‘everyone wants to take pictures of me’, you get to sport all the latest gear, set the trends and perhaps even develop an eating disorder in the process. Not to stereotype the industry but this serious issue can’t be brushed under the rug when it comes to modelling. Strenuous work schedules, constantly living out of suitcases all for a 2 hour photo shoot before your whisked off to the next place. Not saying the whole industry is a farce but it certainly has room for improvement.

Salaries: £25,000+

Alternative: Fashion blogger/influencer, Stylist, Fashion Designer, Social Media Influencer.

  1. Animator: No quicker way to go blind than trying to sketch out Ariel for the millionth time. Sure, seeing The Little Mermaid make it to the big screen would be such an achievement if you weren’t squinting behind your bi-focals.

Salaries: £24,000+

Alternative: Caricature artist, (wear better glasses), Gallery artist.

  1. Event Coordinator: You can see it now, ballet dancers break off to the wings to reveal the dazzling host for this year’s major corporate party. Everyone applauds you in the audience for organising the event , it ran so smoothly. Then you wake up from your sweet slumbers and realise you have to phone up 50 doughnut vans before lunchtime for next week’s charity supporting injured stunt dolphins. You then check the diary only to realise you have a meeting in two minutes for Friday’s city parade. You’re spread too thinly and underpaid!

Salaries: 20,000+

Alternative: Wedding planner (stick to one kind of event)!

Note all of these jobs may seem overrated in general but at the end of the day if you have a passion for any job regardless of general critique. Just bloody go for it and be the judge for yourself whether it’s overrated or not.

 

**Please note this article is intended for ERIC Mag, and I will link to the article on their site if/when it becomes live.

 

 

How NOT To Get Hired

Writing

What’s a job if it isn’t but the only way to make some money so we can afford to feed our scrawny selves in hope of keeping up appearances enough to attract some other average being to spawn with so to carry on our everlasting dreams of immortality.

So, maybe the above is  a bit far fetched! Cutting to the chase, you want the wonga, so what steps must you avoid in order to land the job that will have you crowned #BALLER in no time.

Check out my article for ERIC MAG to find out here.

 

 

*This post is linking to the article which is intended solely for ERIC Mag.

No Good, Bad And Ugly Work Habits

Writing

As creatures of habit we therefore succumb to many repetitive behaviours we wish we hadn’t! As I wallow in this thought and share them in writing by teaming up with Go Think Big, I suddenly remember,  my annoying colleague wants another tea, no sugar.

So whilst I brew the perfect cuppa, why don’t you have a browse over at the  Go Think Big site for the 9 reasons why we all aren’t perfect! Some stunning examples include:

  • Too many tea breaks (what’s wrong really with trying to get the perfect shade?)
  • Complaining about other colleagues
  • Being constantly late.

Why not let me know what yours are in the comments below?

man and woman doing high five

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

**Please note the featured image logo belongs to Go Think Big. This post is linking to the article which is intended solely for Go Think Big.