Archive | November 2013

#127 (2013) Black Friday Shame

We have become like scavengers at a carcass. Bullying and fighting for the last scraps of a tired dead body. That’s what we have been reduced to by introducing Black Friday American style sales into our shops.

We don’t even celebrate Thanksgiving as a nation and yet we have absorbed their crazy shopping sprees in a bid to wring the last pennies from already financially bust customers. It’s like Boxing Day but a month early.

I guess they think that getting in a month before Christmas will boost the poor sales afterwards as everyone skips 26th December in favour of post New Year and Spring sales. I’m ashamed, I have to say.

Fighting in Asda’s over cut price televisions, hospitalisations and arrests. Big companies to small, all are trying to cash in and boost their profts, or their balances, just a little bit.

It’s scenes like this, and a reduced income which have taken all the love out of shopping for me. I only do what I absolutely have to do and I won’t battle with crowds. It does nothing for me. Nothing at all.

Crazies (source)

Crazies (source)

# 126 (2013) Economic equality isn’t possible – some people have low IQs

The Metro may have today slammed Boris Johnson for ‘mocking people with low IQ’s’ but the reality is a classless system is not possible for this very reason. There are people who can manage banks and there are people who can build walls. None is less valuable than the other, they just require different educational levels.

The fact is that in bygone days (right up until the 1980s) there was a job for everyone because there were requirements for people of all abilities and all educational levels. You might get someone born into poverty, but they could climb up the ladder a couple of rungs. Generally everyone had a role in society within their class or higher if they aspired to it and that meant they could find work enough to support them.

These days, many hands on jobs or those not requiring degrees have been sent overseas to those with far lower educational experience than most people in the UK. And all the while our non academics are in part signing on, or struggling to stay in study to try and get them into jobs they are not destined to manage.

Retake students struggling to pass just one or two GCSE’s above ‘Fail’ are going to do what exactly? The vocational courses and the apprenticeships they should be aiming at just don’t exist and we live in a mentality that University is the target educational aspiration.

Even so there are people being told to knock their hard earned degrees off their CVs. Overqualified or simply expecting too much from the job market? And just how valuable is a degree when the majority has them and many of the jobs graduates are applying for just don’t require them (see post #125 (2013) Over Qualified).

What’s the answer? Well of course in the real world I would suggest reigniting the market in jobs for less than perfectly qualified employees. But of course that would mean a huge turn around in the way we manufacture and bringing industry back to the UK. A likely course of action? Not yet but with stuttering in supply and demand and problems with import, who knows. Watch this space, for some time.

For a balanced view of Boris Johnson’s speech rather than the selective diatribe spouted by the media, look on the internet or read it here. Also listen to the last 20 minutes of PM on Radio 4 broadcast on Thursday evening for some further constructive insights into his presentation.

Boris Johnson mocking low IQs (source)

Boris Johnson mocking low IQs (source)

Being A Girl Is Really Hard Work

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But only if you make it so.

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# 125 (2013) Over Qualified

The problem with university is that it fills its attendees with delusions of grandeur, that somehow because they studied for three years and got a qualification that it somehow entitles them to the career they planned or that finding a job would be easy.

The problem is that, as highlighted in a BBC news article last week, there are more people in jobs they are over qualified for than ever before. And that’s because menial, office or retail jobs are filled by graduates desperate to do anything that looks better than signing on or spending another year doing a free internship that is supposed to bag you an actual paycheck.

Getting a second skill is essential, especially if you took your degree in the arts, like everyone else, and realised there was no paid job at the end of it. Equally it’s important that your second skill is something desirable, that pays a living wage and that you can potentially stand doing for the rest of your life or along side all the free stuff you will be doing because you love it enough to do it for nothing and at least it reminds you that you are good at what you do.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow but if you’re reading this now and studying and if you’re not doing business, marketing or medicine, plan your second skill. Get good with your telephone manner, type fast or become a filing whizz. It may be a sucky job and not what you planned but maybe, just maybe, it’ll be enough for you to be able to live a life and work on the dream.

# 124 (2013) Small Minds And Olympic Golds

Those of you who have been watching ‘I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here!’ will have seen Rebecca Adlington’s emotional outburst on Thursday night when the two camps were united and the subject turned to Amy Willerton’s career choice as model and pageant queen. It was met with mixed emotions – Amy doing her best to come across as a level headed, savvy woman when others saw ‘model’, and the likes of Lucy Pargeter asking if she didn’t feel as if she was being treated like a ‘piece of meat’.

Whilst Ms Adlington’s outburst might come across as an over reaction, the reality is that the psychological damage done by such unobtainable images of perfection in the media (in this case personified by Amy Willerton) is doing women and girls a lot of damage.

That at 24 years of age Rebecca is one of our country’s most successful athletes, a double gold medal Olympic winner no less should, many would think, be retribution enough for any imperfections she may or may not have. None of us are perfect and she has achieved in her few short years more success than most models or social media trolls can hope for in their entire lifetime.

But that she was reduced to tears when the conversation about body image started, is a telling sign of our general attitude and how it really affects those who don’t fit in to the ridiculous notions of the ‘ideal’. In a society where very few are blessed with Ms Willerton’s assets I find it quite remarkably but sadly not surprising. And despite her profound abilities Rebecca admitted on tv that she receives insulting and abusive messages from mindless idiots telling her that she isn’t pretty enough or thin enough.

It should be like water off an Olympic swimmers back. I doubt the people making such criticisms are anywhere near up to the ‘standard’ they have criticised her for apparently falling short of. But you don’t have to look very far to see the ridiculous pressure we are all under. It’s in every music video, magazine, advertising hoarding, high street and shop you come across. You have to learn to switch off to it. Otherwise you’ll go mad.

I hope that at some point Rebecca is able to be less affected by such hurtful remarks and remember that she is far better than most of these people will ever be. I appreciate that she moves in the celebrity world and that must it a difficult thing to switch off from.

If you are one of the shallow, mindless individuals that likes to send messages like this to people no doubt far better than you will ever be, shame on you. It’s time you got some help for your over inflated sense of self worth or for the towering sense of inferiority you clearly feel.

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Four times Olympic medal winner – enough said (source)

Even in the jungle cameras have perved, but is it all about the eye candy? (source)

Even in the jungle cameras have perved, but she’s making it easy for them (source)