I'm a sucker for motivational talk, self-help books, good quotes etc and it doesn't get more touching and motivating than this:
For a very long time now women have been vehicles for men's procreation, recreation and domestic organisation. Yes, those times are changing but not very fast.
I spent a few hours this morning at the National Portrait Gallery in London where they have a photography exhibition going on; whilst I enjoyed the exhibition overall, I thought there were one two many images of women in the nude with the worst offending images being those of naked children.
Without the vagina, this picture would have been okay. There's art and there's excess and personally I think this is excessive exposure. There wasn't even the hint of a phallus anywhere in the entire exhibition.
This young girl who is justing reaching puberty is the niece of the photographer. Firstly, I hope she got the mother's permission to take the image but secondly, even if she did get that permission why would you send this to a public exhibition? This young girl is far too young to consent. She can't comprehend the consequences of such nudity at all. She could be tomorrow's prime minister and surely no one of such a calibre wants photos of themselves in the nude.
The most offensive picture. This child is four year's old and her father cut her hair whilst she was naked and then took a photo. One person I was with said she probably thought, "There's papa taking pictures of me again."
The little girl looks unhappy and the caption says it's because she doesn't like having here hair cut...hmm? The father must be deranged to want every Tom, Dick and Paedophile looking at this image of his innocent child. I'm surprised the judges didn't call the police on him.
I had to get this out of my system once and for all!
I'm currently reading A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson and realising that there are many practices that we now think of as new that are actually darn old:
1. Self publishing
Lots people that wrote books self-published them or funded the printing in days gone by. Some lost a fortune as a result.
What we now accept as the "traditional" publishing system actually replaced self-publishing and we've now come full circle.
2. Working past retirement
Most people stopped working when they died or when they simply didn't have the physical capacity to. This was especially true amongst the educated classes - they worked for the joy of working and discovering new things. They were many tinkerers.
Seeing retirement as a time when you completely stop work and get paid money anyway only came in post-world war 2. Regulators decided it was humane and fitting for the "civilised" world to give the elderly a break.
It's an ideal situation that is in fact completely untenable. To support retirees you would need an ever increasing class of working people; with the decline in both birth rates and death rates this won't happen.
3. Working from home
Many scientists in the old days worked from home. I imagine they rolled out of bed at 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. and continued where they'd left off the night before.
Now we're trying to revert to this old way of working - funny.
Admittedly, you will find that many early scientist came from privileged backgrounds and were unbound by the need to earn a living wage.
4. Being a jack of all trades
A lot of entrepreneurial literature talks about how the ease of technology means the same person can do lots of previously "specialised" tasks. This is true but people in the olden days didn't specialise either.
They didn't have the advantage of all this technology we now have but they all dabbled in a multitude of trades. If you look at profile of distinguished people of old you'll frequently see "Biologist, Chemist", "Writer, Geologist". Amongst the writers you'll find many people that wrote books on very different topics - "Economics, Psychology, Beauty".
On the other hand business schools also espouse the benefits of focusing on just one business. Personally, I think the idea that you'll do better if you just stick to one thing is complete rubbish.
If you've got four start ups on the go because you simply want to make money you'll probably fail. If you've got four start ups because you're passionate about all them and are committed to consistently producing some output for all based on a focused schedule - that's a successful result in itself.
Next time you're confronted with a new idea, know that it might just be an old idea coming back.
My cousin posted this video on her blog. I was so touched (almost cried but I'm made of stern stuff!) that I had to put it up too! It's about not giving up. At the bottom I add one of my favourite poems, When things go wrong as they sometimes will; I used to have the poem hanging up in my room as a teen.
When things go wrong as they sometimes will,
When the road you are trudging seems all uphill;
When the funds are low, and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh;
When care is pressing you down a bit -
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns;
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won, had he struck it out;
Don't give up though the pace seems slow;
You may well succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the Victor's cup!
And he learned too late, when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you never can tell how close you are
If may be near, when it seems afar.
So stick to the fight when you are hardest hit,
It is when things seem worst that you must not quit.
Author : Unknown
The pace of modern life means you need to be able to juggle many things at one time without stumbling, getting confused, angry or annoyed. Tall order? Yes, it is.
The comments on this article are even more interesting and insightful than the article itself. One anonymous comment reads: “My son recently went for a minimum wage menial job interview. He dressed smart casual - no jeans, ironed shirt, neat haircut and the rest. He didn't get the job but at least the manager took the time to write to him and commend him on his appearance and enthusiasm in the interview.”
That’s just it, right? If you receive a gift that’s been neatly wrapped and ‘ribboned’ you will take more interest in it that a carelessly packaged box wrapped in newspaper. The same applies at interviews. Even if you are applying for a low-skilled job dress smartly, smile and act enthusiastic. The very fact that this employer took the time to commend the young man for his presentation shows he was pleasantly surprised.
Overall, I would say that if you are highly numerate, literate, fluent, learned, disciplined, organized and well-presented and you still can’t find a job, it’s possible that it’s because you is black! Whatever the case stay positive.
Nowadays so many people have great GCSEs, great A-levels and a university degree so if you don’t have the same, it will count against you.
A couple of boys admitted to having a criminal record. One paragraph in the article read: "'I’ve been looking for a job for almost seven years,' says Gogo, 28, who served three years in jail in his teens for what he describes as a number of small offences. 'I would take any job, I don’t really care, I’ll take any job — but once you get a criminal record, even a minor criminal record, it’s hard to get any jobs.'"
Let’s be honest, if you were about to employ someone you would want some sort of signal that they are disciplined, right? That they will get to work on time, that they won’t be dishonest and overall that you can trust them to do right by the firm. In times of such high unemployment, when employers can afford to be picky, they will take a criminal record as a ‘signal’ of poor discipline. If someone has a criminal record the best they can do is admit to it before it’s ‘discovered’ and try to explain it away.
If an employer discovers the record on their own they are more likely to think you lied than if you are upfront about it. Everyone knows that having a criminal record does not in itself mean you’re a bad person but it’s part of your profile and as such indicates something about your character. Like as not, the signal is not usually a positive one although rarely it can be (see Nelson Mandela). Most applicants competing for the same job will not have a criminal record.
On 26-Mar-12 the Evening Standard produced a highly emotive article about the unemployment levels of young black men: Young, Black and Shafted. The interviewees were all from the low-income neighborhood of Dalston. Personally, I don’t think that this story reflected the unemployment levels of black people from wealthier and more educated neighborhoods.
Growing up in Malawi, the concept of race and racism almost never traversed the contours of my brain. As a result, when something bad or negative happens to me, I almost never think of it as “racism”.
I don’t argue that racism does not exist but I think this article lacked balance because it left some important areas unexplored. It entirely focused on race rather than the issue of: what are employers looking for and are these qualities lacking in the interviewed cohort? What is it that these lads can do to make themselves employable? And, if you can’t find a job, have you thought of creating one? I want to tackle the issue of employability in this blog.
WHAT EMPLOYERS WANT:
You don’t have to be a super mathematician but basic mathematical skills are needed in almost any job. I am not talking about simply adding up but being able to understand ratios, proportions and if you are in a desk job formulae in Microsoft Excel. A surprising number of people are severely lacking in this area. If it can’t be done on a calculator, they get stuck.
Literacy and Fluency
Being brought up and bred in Britain doesn’t immediately imply an ability to fluently speak in English. Many people’s grammar is all over the place. Hand them a piece of paper and ask them to write something and in the absence of a spell check the piece is riddled with spelling errors. It's also likely to have misplaced commas and full stops, a poor flow as well as an incoherent structure.
If the job involves writing to and communicating with clients this simply cannot do! You need to speak and write well, your grammar needs to be in check and you have to space your paragraphs. Effective communication is a must.
I understand that a top City law firm had to provide elocution lessons to a few of their new graduates because customers complained about their Estuary English.
By Heather Katsonga-Woodward
I'm always thinking, debating, considering and revising my views - some of those deliberations will be shared right here.