Tag Archives: worry

Alarms bells

A senior individual, heard recently on BBC Radio 4 (discussing government help for young people in finding employment and affordable housing):

“Look, just forget the young people, will you? It’s the older folk who are really struggling. They need the help!”

And a more junior individual, on their Facebook acount just after the Brexit vote:

“What an embarrassing day to be British. No surprise, it’s the 65+ vote that screwed us over.”

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My forecast for your life: Bad stuff. Do you want the details?

I have a brother who has a thankless job.

He’s a severe weather warning meteorologist, covering southern Ontario in Canada.

Whenever there is severe weather, be it expected or unexpected, I can find him in the news. He’ll get interviewed and quoted by journalists (most recently, at time of writing, here).

Tornadoes, lightning strikes, blizzards, hurricanes . . . . . for all of them, he’s the face of Environment Canada’s weather forecasting service.

Get the forecast right, and he doesn’t get thanked, he’s just doing his job. Get it wrong . . . . . and he gets it in the neck.

What peeves me about this most recent blizzard event in New England is not that the forecasters got it wrong. They didn’t. They predicted a blizzard, and there was one. It just wasn’t as severe (in New York City, at least) as their mathematical models and scientific judgement predicted.

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Creativity without service = Zero

The flavour of the moment seems to be creativity.

Everywhere I look, people are finding new ways to be creative.

And we’re celebrating and promoting this surge of creativity (quite rightly). Seth Godin’s Linchpin and Poke the Box, Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art . . . . . . there are probably plenty of other books all championing art and urging us to be ever more creative.

It is overdue, of course. It resonates with me. I feel that somewhere in my youth, I allowed creativity to be squashed out of me. I remember drawing copiously in my formative years. By my teens, I’d stopped, for some reason.

A few decades on, now, I am experimenting with new musical and business ideas, which a decade ago I would not have had the courage to do.

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The talent shortage is a myth

At last, someone else saying what I’ve been saying about the so-called talent shortage.

The Wall Street Journal yesterday published an article entitled Why Companies Aren’t Getting the Employees They Need. Well worth a read.

In essence, American companies (and to a lesser but still significant extent, European ones as well) can easily fill their skilled worker vacancies if they adjust their expectations and use a little imagination.

There isn’t a shortage of skilled people.

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Damn the journalists, full steam ahead

The radio comes on in my bedroom at 6am.

It usually takes 30 minutes before the irritating sound of BBC 4 finally moves me to haul my carcass out of bed. Lately it’s been only 20 minutes, as I’m now having to chauffeur one offspring unit to a new school, which calls for a 10-minute sleep-in deficit. (Growl)

This morning, it only took 15 minutes.

Cause I was mad at the flippin’ radio.

Doom. Gloom. The markets have fallen again. Politicians wringing their hands and covering their backsides. Commentators pessimistic about the economic data, short-term and long-term. All of them hopeless, and focussed on money, money, money.

Oh shut up, the bunch of you.

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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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Living standards to improve, as things get better!

On my way to the office this morning, barely a hour ago, I detoured via the coffee shop, as any self-respecting engineer would. Morning Mel!  A latte please.

On the newspaper rack was the Telegraph. I haven’t bought a newspaper in nearly a decade, but I always eye the headlines while Mel’s steaming my caffeine fix. This headline said, in big 72-pt font letters:

Standard of living to plunge, says Bank governor.

And the thought, the very first thought that crossed my mind was, Not if Idon’t let it happen.

I find that headline irresponsible. It feeds people’s innate fears, which say, Bad things are going to happen to me that I can do nothing about. Life is going to get worse, and I’ll have to take it on the chin.


Only if I think it will get worse. Only if I let it.

Attitude. Think proactive. Make tough plans. Act. Things will get better.

Five Suggestions for Happiness!

I got to musing this week about the Five Rules for Happiness that I posted a while ago. It occurred to me that, while admirable, they are very general platitudes, and therefore easy to argue away.

So I thought I’d make them a little more specific, to make it easier to identify when I have (or haven’t) applied them.

An appropriate thing to do on the eve of a New Year.

1. Seek to develop a relationship with someone you would ordinarily avoid. What kind or person makes you uncomfortable or fidgety? For no rational reason? This year, identify someone with those characteristics, and go out of your way to find out how they think, what makes them tick, why they do what they do. You will surely gain an education, and possibly even a new friend.

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Deathbed wisdom

And that wisdom would be, Do your homework!

I came across some lesson for life this week, that I thought were pretty cool. (Still do.)

And, thinking them to be original to my source, I asked his permission to reprint them here. He agreed. They were purportedly given by a dying man to my source in person. He posted them on a limited access LinkedIn discussion group. I copied them to this post, really pleased with myself.

It hadn’t crossed my mind to check for duplicate content elsewhere on the net. So much for my journalistic skills.

Turns out the words of wisdom didn’t belong to my source at all. As point out by an old friend of mine, the words were originally posted by Regina Brett in 2001 when she turned 45, and expanded in 2006 when she turned 50. No deathbed, no dying man, in fact no man at all, but a woman, and a live one at that.

I’d failed to do my homework, albeit negligently. A check for duplicate content on the web reveals no less than 21 links containing the same content. Snopes has the real source and story documented.

So Yours Truly has had his ego chastened (quite rightly) and his confidence in the human race slightly shaken. My apologies to Regina Brett for inadvertently using her material. That’s the last time I use anyone else’s material, even with the best of intentions and all permissions given.

Hopefully the individual who passed the material on to me as his own feels similarly.

Regina’s words of wisdom are still really cool, and worth a read and a reflection. Do it. Tops marks to you, Regina.

Are we really getting this desperate?

Something scary is happening in the UK.

I can only hope it’s not happening in the whole developed world.

Last night I heard Harriet Harmon declare on national news that while Sir Fred Goodwin’s (that’s the recently departed chairman of RBS, for the uninitiated) £693k per year pension might be protected in a court of law, it’s not protected “in the court of public opinion, and therefore the government must act.”

In other words, even though it’s legal, the people of the land don’t think he should get his pension when they, the hard-up taxpayers are going to be paying off a back-breaking national debt for at least a generation. Therefore he should be stripped of his money. The government apparently agrees, and is going to explore all possible avenues for seizing his pension.

If Sir Fred . . . oh let’s just call him Fred, if public opinion is going to strip him of his cash, it might as well strip him of him knighthood as well. If Fred had any shred of decency, he would voluntarily give back most of his pension to the public coffers. (Nope. That’s not the sound of me holding my breath.) Continue reading