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!

all work and no play

What with the impending ‘Bank Holiday’ season quickly approaching, a late-Easter and the smashing royal wedding granting us all an extra day in bed, it seems the planets have conspired to grant most people a potential glut of two, three and four-day weeks. And, to further bolster our unabashed delight, the weather promises a near-tropical experience. Wahay! Oddly enough, the four-day week was once openly discussed and envisaged as the way forward for the working population. In the 50s Winston Churchill saw a time when accelerating technological advancement would enable us to “give the working man what he’s never had – four days’ work and three days’ fun”. Interestingly, as the then Prime Minister, I don’t think Winston considered himself […]

let them eat cake

There is a major psychological difference in the way the two predominant western societies view bankruptcy. In the US it is seen as a natural component of the business cycle and part and parcel of The American Dream. Their traditional right wing free market society views the risking of capital as the ultimate embodiment of an individual’s opportunity and as such should be encouraged at all costs and, upon pain of death, be curtailed. I’d like to think that ‘sub-prime’ couldn’t possibly have been invented anywhere else in the world other than the States. God bless ‘em. Over in dear old blighty I believe we’ve taken a slightly more jaundiced and cynical view of the whole bankruptcy issue. Looking beyond […]

knock-knock, who’s there?

Without a shadow of a doubt one of the most unnerving of business experiences I’ve ever had to contend with is when the bailiffs came a calling. During 2002/3 we’d been a bit fly with regards to both our corporate tax liability and employer NI contributions and it was only a matter of time before the powers-that-be realised this and sent in their boys. And no amount of official registration documents could disguise the fact that they were ‘heavies’ as the ill-fitting suits, white socks and barely disguised tattoos spoke volumes. Did I say ‘unnerving’? Terrifying would be far closer to the mark. The rules governing the conduct of bailiffs are apparently so complex that even ‘plod’ struggles to understand […]

hey capitano

Over the years, and in whatever walk of work-life you find yourselves in, we all undoubtedly have the conversations and heated discussions as to what constitutes the elusive ‘good manager’. We all seem to have experienced both good ones and, invariably, perhaps more often, the not so good ones! As you know, I do love my sporting metaphors so what I’ve done is look at the role of both the captain of the footie team and the manager of the club. I’ve then tried to apply it to my place of work, the target-driven heated sales office of a recruiting company. Personally, it was an equally enjoyable and enlightening exercise to do so and when you’ve a spare ten minutes […]

hear, hear

In what many pundits describe as the speech of his presidency, Barrack Obama showed again, with his emotional ‘Arizona’ address, how important it is to deliver a speech in the correct manner. Along with the likes of JFK, Bill Clinton and our own Winston Churchill, Obama has now elevated himself to the lofty ranks of the truly great speakers. Whilst we ourselves may never perhaps have such a platform we all do make speeches and presentations, and have open conversations, were similar attributes, qualities and styles needs to be employed, so what makes a great speech? Here are my tips on making you a Tony Blair of the lectern and not a George IV: 1. The most important point, by […]

you’re hired

Applying for a job used to be so easy. You’d see an ad, send a CV, turn up for an interview, accept the offer and Bob’s your uncle. That was until the influence of reality TV started to make its presence felt in recruitment. Increasingly, candidates for all manner of positions have been asked to undergo ‘Simon Cowell-esque’ interviews or perform tasks that demonstrate they have the X-Factor. Excel, the London-based events organiser is running a graduate recruitment competition under the auspices of ‘the Eventis’, whilst many others are asking potential applicants to post youtube videos, poems and even songs to compete for positions, placements and internships. Even relatively well known ‘blue-chip’ organisations are getting involved in downright wacky recruitment. […]

the question that needs asking

Would you have paid £27,000 for your degree? Thankfully, it’s not a question I needed to ask at the time. My maximum grant award, conservative spending habits, penchant for week-long chilli con carne and tuition fees being no more than a twitch in Michael Gove’s father’s trousers, meant I entered the academic world of higher education with n’er a care in the world and left without a penny’s debt to my name. However, as we all now know , the game’s changed and the question now has to be asked and answered by everyone intending to spend three years potentially building for their future. This includes my own wee boy, Tom, who’s hopefully off to Warwick next year to read […]

he’s behind you

Forget your magic-carpet trip to Aladdin, cancel your Snow White & Her Seven Midget Lovers’ tickets and don’t even think about blagging a freebie at Cinderella’s Ball. Oh no, for this year’s pantomime just switch on the goggle-box and tune into our authorities annual inept and hysterical approach to the inclement weather of the last week or two. Planes, trains and automobiles writ large. Yes, I accept it’s been bl**dy cold and the snow did come a little earlier than usual but does it always have to end in the same manner, could we not just plan for the eventuality a little better? No. The bad news is planning costs money and, as we are all painfully aware, there ain’t […]

of mice and men

Several of you have asked, that seeing as I spent a lifetime recruiting for technology start-ups, whether or not I’ve noticed any changes of late within the IT arena? Broadly speaking and in a nut shell, there aren’t as many start-ups as the West Coast heartland just isn’t spawning as many as it did but following the Nasdaq/ crash of 2001/2002 that’s no bad thing. Hopefully we’ll never again be faced with the premise of any idea being a good idea. More interesting though has been recent speculation that Google, now one of the industry’s stalwarts are now allegedly haemorrhaging staff, with most of them crossing the road (boulevard?) to Facebook. Google, which only 12 years ago was itself the […]

do you mind?

Stop. Look around. Listen. What do you see? What do you hear? Yeah, I agree, not a lot. Once upon a time, not that long ago, you’d have heard the buzz of an office – the calls, the conversation, the photocopier, the clacking of typewriters, the kettle boiling over, the slurred words of the boss as he returns from another boozy lunch. Now, you’ll hear precious little but the ‘white noise’ of gadget static and the irritating buzz of a ‘too loud’ iPod. Actually, that’s not strictly true. You’re just as likely to hear the clink, chink, clatter and slurp of someone stuffing down a rapidly consumed meal while staring at the blue screen of death…or facebook as it’s become […]