Designed by happy accident

A few years ago, back when I worked in a factory I coined the term “geographical independence”. My friend dave and I used to dream of a time when we would no longer be tied to the factory and could make our living from anywhere. Back then it was just wishful thinking; a dream if you like. A few years on I added another fanciful notion, to add to “geographical independence”, I decided that I want to hang out, drinking coffee, with interesting people, most probably writers, who have cool things to say. And I suspect when I was a boy, like every other boy, I dreamed of having a Ferrari. Yesterday I was visiting my friend and author, Ali Campbell. (He makes the best coffee ever). He told me about his latest book, which is a cracker. We didn’t get out for a hurl in his new Ferrari because it was a bit icy, so we will save that for a sunny day. I haven’t been tied to an office for over ten years and have been fully geographically independent for at least seven. I have worked from France, Spain, Czech republic , canada and Ukraine, over the last few years and nobody noticed. I have witnessed fanciful notions and boyhood dreams materialise for me and some of the people I know. At the time I asked for these things I had no idea how to achieve them. I’m not sure I initially believed it was possible. But as the dream persisted I had more ideas as to how to bring it to reality. Ali has never mentioned...

It’s great to work with a company that really gets it

Just spent a great afternoon with a client that really gets it. They understand that people are human, not machines. They are genuinely looking to make it work for their employees, their clients and their management. It’s a tall order. Few companies ever manage to meet the needs of all three. Usually one party at least suffers. So how do to delight all three? Simple, remember they are all human. They all have human needs. They will behave as humans and as such this behaviour is predictable; good or bad. Appropriate or not. But the biggest thing is to appreciate people and remember that different personality types need to be appreciated in different ways. To go out of your way to find a way of expressing appreciation, is a very smart and decent thing to do. It promises huge...

24 Years

This weeks most disturbing news came via a book review I received. As you know my new book “Career Change” is coming out soon, so I have asked some people to review it. They have very kindly looked beyond the typos and written some pretty cool stuff. What disturbed me however was that one lady told me that my book confirmed why she had hated the place she worked for 24 years. To be more specific “I hated every minute I worked there for 24 years.” I wish I had got there sooner. I wish I had got there 24 years ago. No one should stay in a job they hate – NO ONE. You have options and alternatives. Everyone does. I don’t care what the economy is doing, even at it’s worst, you have options. So why would anyone stay in a job they hated for 24 years? The psychology is interesting and complex. I can’t speak about this particular case but I can talk more generally. I am going to refer to an old friend of mine, Estrella the elephant. (see photo below) When elephants are being trained they are initially tethered with a chain around their ankle. But after a few months the chain is replaced with a bit of rope. Now the elephant could easily break the rope but it never tries to. It accepts the tether because it is conditioned to behave that way, even if it doesn’t like the tether. This is one of the reasons why someone stays in a job they hate for 24 years. Don’t let it be you. You...

Hospital patience

I am sitting in the hospital watching the people around me. It’s a long day of waiting. Most of the people here are outpatients awaiting treatment. They come from all backgrounds, are of all ages and diverse social backgrounds. Illness doesn’t discriminate. I people watch. Not because i’m nosey but because I genuinely find people interesting. These days I also have a professional interest. I’m sitting thinking about how our personality affects our health. If you consider the very word “patient” you can already see that some people are. More suited to illness than others. Me personally, I try to take of my health as much as possible. I take natural medicine when I’m ill. It helps me prevent side-effects and at least in my experience this alternative cures my illnesses much faster than conventional medicine. I strongly recommend it. If you would like to try this for yourself than you can find out about herbs here. Patience is not something that comes naturally to me. Its a personality thing. Waiting isn’t good for me. And everyone around me is waiting. Waiting for treatment. Waiting for news. Waiting for results. For all those people who share my personality trait, making them wait is positively cruel. It’s stressful. It induces stress. Now other personality types are ok with waiting. They are naturally furnished with patience. Patience however, is not a virtue, it’s a personality thing. The amount of patience you have is determined by your personality type. It’s ok to be impatient. Simply knowing this and accepting it will help. Is it not impatient people who try new ideas? If...

The ultimate test

So here goes. Years of study in psychology and personal development are about to be put to the test. I face the biggest challenge of all. I face the one thing that could unravel me. As I write I am standing in the queue about to try and board a ryanair flight to Barcelona. It would test the dhali lama himself. Wish me...

Email Marketing

I was asked to contribute my thoughts on an article about email marketing for StartUps.co.uk a site dedicated to helping people start their own business. As someone who has sent over 20 million emails (no exageration) in the last few years, I suppose I am qulified to say something about email marketing. It’s something I spend a lot of time on and it’s something I study. If you are interested in email marketing then you may want to have a read at the article over at...

Martin Gibbons Headhunters Workshop

I wrote a wee post about this over at Martin Gibbons Headhunters Workshop but I wanted to say something else about it here. You may be wondering why I am doing a workshop, when I am a champion of remote, online working. I believe the world will be a better place if we all spent more time at home and less time commuting. After all this is how it used to be. In human history it’s a relatively recent thing to split up families all day. For the largest period of our history we worked and lived close to our families, often side by side with them each day. with the exception of war, it was only the industrial revolution that created what we now consider normal; where husbands and wives and children are all split ¬†up, going their separate ways each day, only coming together late in the evening. I spend most days with my wife and son. A least we all float about the same house. And in this day and age, this is very unusual. However I think this is something that should be encouraged. It is how we existed for thousands of years. Up until someone decided it was more profitable to do otherwise. So we sent the men off to work 12 hours a day in a factory. We sent the kids of to school and we then sent the wives out to work too. Call me crazy but do you think this may have something to do with the general breakdown of our society? But I digress. The reason I am doing a...

Isabel was in town

It was an exciting week. Isabel lisardi was in edinburgh as part of her book tour and stayed with us for a couple of days. This is someone who really suffers for her art and for her readers. She puts herself through experiences that most of us would run a mile from. I’ve enjoyed the book and been inspired by it’s author. If you think there are things you cannot attempt, things that are beyond you, then Isabel will make you think...

There’s more to movies Part 2

Been an important week for movies. Shared two important films with Ruaridh this week. The Shawshank Redemption and Mad Max 2. Neither film was on any of my top 5 lists last week but having watched them again, they deserve an entry. Lots I could say about max but I have to mention the music. An exceptional score. Released in 1981 I was therefore about the same age as Ruaridh is now. This in itself is poignant. I don’t remember noticing the music before but in many ways it made the film. The film symbolises a lot of things that are important to a young man. Freedom, the open road, no responsibilities. A simple life and a lot of Cool. Not sure if there is a message I want Ruaridh to take from Mad Max but enjoyed sharing it with him all the same. As for Shawshank he simply loved it. Again I have no idea what message is in there but it feels important. Morgan Freeman just adds gravitas to everything he touches. So am I any further forward with my top 5 lists? No. If anything I am further away. But enjoying the journey. So it looks like there will be a part...