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20th April 2015
Welcoming Women at the Workplace

welcome women to the workplace

Having always worked in Retail, I've forever been fascinated by the absurdity that a lot of retailers have a vast majority of front line staff made up of females whilst the vast majority of management (at any level) is generally male dominated. Statistically it is madness, surely. This article (here) highlights in a study exactly that.

That aside, here's just one area of male / female interaction in retail (possibly other sectors? Possibly in people's lives? Possibly a British thing? Who knows.) that I find extremely strange: the anxiousness involved in welcoming women.

Even the BBC agrees.

A man to man encounter at work is simple. At least in Britain. One person, almost without fail, always offers the other man a handshake. That's it. Job done.

Now, I have never really understood why this differs with women.

There's the hand shake, that's always an option. There's also the single kiss greeting, sometimes the double kiss greeting. Sometimes it's the kiss and hug manoeuvre.

Rewind to the fact that the majority of front line staff are female and the management is male.

Time and time again, when I have watched interactions with people, I see a male member of management confidently shake male workers hands and then fail to acknowledge female workers or colleagues with anything more than a "hi".

The only reason I can think of why this happens is the man is unsure of which greeting is appropriate and the lady is waiting for her more senior colleague to initiate the greeting.

So a little bit of social awkwardness suddenly leads to a bazaar situation where a portion of women don't even get greeted properly. Madness, right?

I think we all need to be conscious of the little things which can have an impact and I also think that anyone in a managerial capacity has a social responsibility not to hide away from these things.

My advice: If in doubt, go for the hand shake.

Thanks for reading!

For more of my thoughts see "Stand Out" which I wrote on train journeys to and from London. Find out more here.

I hope this silly little article helped provoke some thoughts about equality.

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24th March 2015
You Should Unplug The Internet Next Weekend

LinkedIn Disconnect

Last week the world ended.

Or at least that’s how my land lady phrased it after she found out we had to endure a week without internet.

Suddenly, you realise just how connected everything really is now a days. I’m not talking about just having to check Facebook or send a tweet, but even just playing a movie on my TV turns out I don’t even have the cable to do that anymore and my Google Chromecast needs a home Wifi network to stream it over. Maybe I’ll watch TV. Nope, even that requires internet in my house for some bizarre reason I don’t understand!
And then something happened. My week flourished as time went on. Here are three reasons why I am now going to do a monthly turn off of the internet, even just for a day or two.

1) I want to become sociable again

With all this new technology: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and many more, being social has never been so easy. Just as it’s got easier to become social it seems to have become a barrier to becoming sociable.


This is the wonderful moment at our Christmas meal where we all got together and had a really nice time. It’s retail and you don’t often get the entire team in one place at the same time after all. Yet, in this snapshot, an entire side of the table was on their phone “being social” with the rest of the world whilst simultaneously being unsociable with the people directly around them. How ironic, right?

And whilst this was only a moment in time for an entire night, it’s easy to imagine household dinner tables like this for the whole duration of people’s interaction together.

2) I want to listen more

With the internet I think I can multi task. I think can check my emails whilst talking to someone. I think I can take in a conversation whilst liking an image on Instagram.
I can’t.

It took the internet to be unplugged for me to realise that. To really listen, to really participate, you need to focus. I learnt more about the people I care about in a week without internet than I did with a month with it.

3) I want to get more done

The World Wide Web is a wonderful place. We are all better for it. My breadth of knowledge is greater thanks to places like the Open University. My career is in thanks to recruiting companies which found me on websites such as Monster.

Yet every time I am on the internet I procrastinate. I go one click away from where I intended to go (maybe that’s why you’re reading this, too!) and then I look at the clock and hours have gone by.

Without the internet for a week I intensively cleaned my room, I fixed my car’s bonnet (which I ordered the part for two months ago!), I washed my car, I finished a research document outside of my day-to-day job to give to execs at work. I spent time with my family, I spent time with my girlfriend and I spent time alone reflecting on what I’ve done and what I want to do. I finished my final essay for my University course. Anything which was worthwhile but I had been putting off got done.

And I felt better for it.

Give it a go.

Switch off.

Even if it’s just for a day.

Thanks for reading!

For more of my thoughts see "Stand Out" which I wrote on train journeys to and from London. Find out more here.

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9th March 2015
The Secret to Education is...

Probably my favourite and most inspiring quote to date:

“Formal education will make you a living; self education will make you a fortune” Jim Rohn

Luckily I got through school and college rather well without actually being that interested - I got A's and B's aside from one history exam where I read the question as "talk about three political leaders who have or could've changed the course of history" when actually it said "talk about three British political leaders....". Turns out if Hitler is your first talking point then you're understandably going to get a U as your mark on that exam!

I also have 5 adorable siblings some of whom are preparing for those same exams at the moment. Yet I find it hard to give them the words of encouragement to study hard and take it seriously.


Because the secret to education is being interested.

You're not educated when you learn but you'll become educated when you want to learn - James Markey

Sure, my quote doesn't really make any sense, nor does it involve riches but hopefully you get the point.

Now that I'm a bit older I have a real thirst for learning. I think some people get the bug when they're at school and some don't and that's fine.

So, if like me you've caught the bug outside of school education, or you're at school but want to learn something else, I want to share with you THREE TOOLS to help satisfy that craving.

Future Learn .com (FREE!)

Top university courses (from Aberdeen to Warwick) at no cost to anyone with a computer and an internet connection, it's fantastic. The courses are split into weeks to make them digestible with everyone starting at the same time so it's like being part of the class and a lot of the Professors use actual university students to help contribute to the discussion and answer questions. The sooner Oxford and Cambridge get involved the better, they'd be mad not to!

Open University .ac.uk (PAID)

Okay, Future Learn is actually ran by Open University. You got me. But Open University is, in its own right, a fantastic place to learn from. It's cheaper than traditional University and you can obviously do it alongside work or even college as I did at the time.

The books are easy to follow, you get a tutor for your group and the fees also include day / night schools in a lot of the courses. And finally Open University is starting to get taken more seriously by recruiters.

Khan Academy .org (FREE)

This is the ultimate tool for the curious and also the school goer. If your child struggles with the want to learn at school, create them an account on here and let them choose what they're interested in.

Started by City genius Salmon Khan this is a really interactive site that is geared up with points and prizes to encourage you to keep going. It also builds on what you know and what you learn by having its own prospectus to follow.

Though this may have been what got me that U in my history exam because of how interesting the history videos were about WW2!

Thanks for reading!

For more of my thoughts see "Stand Out" which I wrote on train journeys to and from London. Find out more here.

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