To most of us a necessary evil, but there is a simple way work can be made more bearable and, God forbid, enjoyable. My observation from twenty-five years in recruitment is that most of us can get more enjoyment from simply understanding and accepting our relationship with work. Rumour has it that people who’ve strong relationships in work are happier, more fulfilled people and by getting a handle on this, and by playing to our strengths, it could even be a bit of a hoot. Fish gotta swim, birds gotta fly, grateful people gotta thank, leaders gotta lead and the ingenious gotta invent!

mouth in foot

Having spent the best part of my working life telling people what not to say at interview, only for them to invariably say it, I reckon it’s about time I brought these pearls of wisdom to the attention of the great unwashed. Here’s my top-10 of things not to say at interview, unless you don’t really want the job and you’re only there as it was raining outside and you promised your mum you’d do your damndest that day: – “Sorry, I’m late.” Don’t be late in the first place. The prospective company doesn’t want you to be 25 minutes late every morning. Next. – “What’s your sickness policy and can I have all the Bank Holidays off?” Doh. Next. […]

ice to eskimos, coal to newcastle

It’s often said that the world’s first profession was prostitution. Personally, I’d contest that there was a pimp working his magic somewhere behind the scenes. At the risk of sounding like the ol’ codger from the fast show who, on every show, declared that the particular job they were discussing was indeed ‘the toughest job in the world’, I used to be a salesman and…it was the toughest job in the world! Nah, it wasn’t, it was a helluva lot of fun and because I was, though I do say so myself, half-decent at it, people often ask what was it that made me so. Is a salesman, or saleswoman for that matter, born or is he made? Selling is […]

the big apple?

There’s a couple of companies that embody the bright new future of the knowledge based economy, ebay, Google, Intel and Cisco to name several, but surely THE one to do so in an ecliptic manner is Apple. What may surprise you is that America’s largest company, set to launch the latest iteration of it’s all-conquering iPad this week, employs only 47,000. This figure, naturally prompts the question, is the knowledge-based economy also a jobless one? History provides the ideal context: when General Motors was America’s biggest company it employed in excess of 600,000 people. Do the current crop of lauded organisations prove the new hi-tech economy benefits the few and ignores the masses? And it’s not just Apple, Google employs […]

delete as appropriate

More than 107 trillion emails are sent every year, but its vice-like on our lives is loosening and this figure is starting to fall. Email, 40 years old last year, and once the domain of the cheeky geek is rapidly falling out of favour with the youth of today. Across all age demographics up to middle-age, email usage is falling by as much as 60% and even Mark Zuckerberg has proclaimed that ‘high school kids’ don’t email. Luckily for him however they use instant messenger and social networking ‘chat’ facilities to do so. The proliferation of spam has undoubtedly contributed to its demise. If your pc or laptop is not suitably protected you can easily expect 90% of your email […]

for sale

Several of you have asked me of my experiences in ‘selling out’ (business wise as opposed to personally or politically!) and in putting in place an effective ‘exit strategy’. Surprisingly perhaps, since 2008 there’s apparently a bit of a build up in the backlog of acquisitions and mergers and, rumour has it, there are a large number of corporate organisations, private individuals and equity firms that are sitting on piles of cash with an itchy trigger finger. However, it’s not every day you sell a business and understandably, when things are unfamiliar, mistakes, sometimes expensive mistakes, can easily be made. The first thing to say is that I do not believe you can build an organisation that will ultimately achieve […]

so, what do you do?

Since being fortunate enough to pack up the ol’ nine-to-five a couple of years ago I’ve grown to dread the inevitable small talk/cocktail party intro question, ‘so what do you do?’ Invariably, the honest answer of ‘well, nothing really’ is greeted by either looks of mocking disbelief or the sound of spinning heels as the questioner realises I have no networking influence whatsoever and his time is better served elsewhere. Self-help evangelists and business gurus have been promoting alternatives to ‘WDYD’ for years in the belief that impressive opening conversational gambits are the enlightened path to business building and network nirvana. Don’t ask the obvious they counsel, ask what they like to do for fun. Or ‘what’s important to you?’ […]

the big apple

I know I’m swimming against the tide of public opinion on this one, but I just don’t get the amount of praise, often bordering on zealot-like worship, that is lauded upon Steve Jobs and his company, Apple. Back in the day, we were retained by the company when they set up an office in Stockley Park to flog the supposedly superior object-oriented development environment, NeXTstep and the accompanying sleek black hardware box, NeXTstation. Needless to say, the graphics capability was awesome and what it couldn’t do with pictures wasn’t worth doing but guess what, no business bought any. If the terms of business was anything like the contract of employment then I can see why. Issued directly from the hand […]

work sets you free

I trust you’re working a twelve hour day, take a shiny apple in for the boss on Fridays, hobnob with the powers that be on every opportunity and are fully committed to the prospering of the rat race? Good on you if you are and shame if not. And if you are in the latter group you really do need to worry. The current thought in the developed world is that stress is good and lunch really is for wimps. Relax, chill and stay calm and you’re TAKING years off you life. Upping the pressure, striving and competing keeps you mentally fit. Recent neurological studies show that the frontal cortexes of our brains love it when we compete and succeed […]

on your jack-jones

A couple of days ago a pal of mine, frustrated and angered by her current employer, announced she was ‘going it alone’ and setting up her own business. The question she posed me was what was the best way of doing so, what was the best ‘vehicle’ to allow this to happen quickly, easily and cost-effectively? Self-employment is on the rise. According to the latest official figures, more than 35,000 people joined the ranks of the self-employed during the last year, raising the total number in the UK to just shy of 4 million. That, to my mind is a phenomenal amount of individuals and highlights our national talent and ability. OK, some of it will take place as a […]

big brother’s watching you

In a recent survey by management solutions provider (whatever that is) MDS found that employees use business landlines and work mobiles for up to 90% of their personal and private calls. Furthermore, with more than half admitting to accessing and updating their social media profiles on an ongoing basis it’s becoming blatantly obvious that a majority of us now conduct our social lives from nine to five by email and phone. Speaking from experience I didn’t ever have too much of an issue with this provided it was backed up by the productivity figures I needed to see and the social inclusion which created a happy place to work. But it needs to be managed and controlled by the employee, […]