Tag Archives: change

The joy of uncomfortable conversations

I made a cool discovery this year.

Or more accurately, made a cool re-discovery.

Success is a function of your willingness to have uncomfortable conversations.

Last week, I quit my contract job. Without another one to go to.

I had been working flat out for a year, with only a couple of short breaks. My mental health was suffering. I wasn’t enjoying the work at all. My weekends were spent recovering from the week, just in time to go back in for more punishment Monday morning.

A confluence of unexpected family circumstances meant that, if I quit before the end of the contract, I’d be able to recharge, do some much-needed DIY around the house, and enjoy a holiday with my youngest daughter before she shoots off to start university.

And I’d be able to rethink what I do, and why I do it. I’d have some time to write posts like this one.

I had to bid farewell to colleagues I’d been working with for a year. One or two of them, I’d grown quite fond of.

A voice in my head was saying, Are you nuts? Continue reading

To live or die? Hmmmm.

Do you want to live or die?

Think carefully before you answer.

Don’t be silly. Of course I want to live.


Do you want to live in the real world? Or the one you think is real?

The two are rarely the same. (Though there might be a good measure of commonality.)

I just got off the phone with a recruiter. He wanted me to work full-time for a client of his, who was a long drive away. (I didn’t. I might if I was desperate, but I’m not.) Continue reading

No easy answers

Very interesting post from Tim Ferriss. He’s up in arms over the Washington DC local council‘s decision to protect the local (and purportedly corrupt) taxi services from upstart startup (pun intended) competition. And he’s calling for people to hound the council politicians, until the decision is overturned.

The idea being: Competition is always healthy, and any initiative that stifles it in the name of protecting fat-cat monopolies is inherently evil.

Not being American, I won’t be taking the action Tim Ferris requests. I do think he is right to feel angry. Whenever the powerful few collude to protect their privileged position at the expense of the hungry many, we are right to feel angry.

Look for this kind of story to occur more frequently over the coming years.

As the revenues of governments and many traditional business flatline (or decline), the temptation will be strong for them to collaborate, legally or otherwise, against anyone threatening further erosion of those revenues. Continue reading

They Shouldn’t Teach You This in School

Here’s a cool site: They Don’t Teach You This in School. Articles and short videos by people, some famous, some not, each expressing what they wish they had learned a lot earlier. All of them very inspiring and motivational.

It’s a site created by a 17-year-old. Mighty impressive. I wonder what he’ll post on it in 30 years’ time?

Can’t help but wonder, though, if there should be a sister site, They Shouldn’t Teach You This in School?

It should include the following:

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The New Customers are after more than your money

Who’s the customer in any transaction?

Early on in life, I somehow got the impression that the customer must always be the one holding the money.

That’s was true in a world that was short on cash and opportunities, but long on time and attention span.

But in so much of the world now, the reverse is true. (That’s not to say that we all have plenty of cash, and no time. But we generally have plenty of options for acquiring more cash quickly with the time they have available.)

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To change or not to change

A couple of days ago, a freelance colleague asked me if I know any freelance engineers who are currently out of work.

I don’t. (A year ago, I knew a few that were out of work. None today, in the UK at any rate.)

He replied to the same effect, then added that a recruiter friend of his had over a thousand openings for permanent-staff engineers that he simply couldn’t fill.

From a purely selfish standpoint, this is good news. I’m on the winning side of that equation. I’m as busy as a freelancer could wish to be, and I regularly have to disappoint recruiters calling in search of a solution to their particular problem.

It isn’t good news, of course. This is a big problem. The economies of the western world are struggling to grow, governments are (seemingly futilely) trying to balance their budgets, skilled and unskilled people are out of work.

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Here’s an interesting quote. In the July 2011 issue of Freelancing Matters, Julia Meyer (CEO, Ariadne Capital) says, “I don’t know a single person under 30 who wants to work for someone else.”

This does not bode well for traditional mindset companies that need to backfill their retiring baby-boomers.

I’m finding the same thing. Most of the teenagers I know are aiming for careers as freelance something-or-other. The last thing on their minds is a traditional career in accounting, law, medicine, science, engineering, etc.

Old-school HR managers have still not clued in.

To ensure the future, old traditional-culture corporations will have to take one of two options:

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This is your captain speaking. We can expect some turbulence soon, folks . . . .

Baby-boomers retiring at 65.

Or 60, if they possibly can.

Wanting to live to 95 in the same manner to which they have become accustomed.

On full pension, with plenty of health care.

With lots of “young” people taking care of them.

The generation that inconvenienced their seniors, and brought about so much change.

Now seeking to avoid inconvenience and suppress change.

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Why you hate change

Change reminds me that I didn’t treasure yesterday enough. It’s gonso. I didn’t use yesterday very effectively. I didn’t appreciate the people it brought me. Yeek, today is passing quickly as well.

Change reminds me that life isn’t fair, and it doesn’t always feel good.

Change reminds me that I can lose as well as win.

Change reminds me that I am not really the captain of my soul.

Change reminds me that ultimately God is in charge, and I am not.

I hate that.

Continue reading