Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Karma - a bit like Marmite

"Karma moves in two directions. If we act virtuously, the seed we plant will result in happiness. If we act non-virtuously, suffering results."

Sakyong Mipham


I often find myself among the masses of morning commuters in London, completely agitated by those who don't know where they are going, those who walk slower than I do, those who weave unnecessarily blocking the only clear pathway through the crowd of tens and counting. I also often find myself sniggering when something goes kaput on the Victoria Line and you hear a communal hum of sighs from 80% of the people in the carriage. 

Today was no different. 

Today I giggled quietly to myself in the corner when the driver gave the announcement that would undoubtedly annoy hundreds ... "I must apologise ladies and gentlemen but the train appears to have over-shot the platform and now I can't open the doors". There are two things that made me laugh about this statement - firstly, no the train did not over shoot the platform, the driver was going to fast and could not stop the train in time. Secondly, there were a lot of unhappy moans and groans the minute people were told that the doors would not open at King's Cross. It's strange that everyone understands the unspoken meaning behind the words of the driver - all it takes is for people to read between the lines. What he really meant was, "in order for customers to leave the train, we would have to go forward to Euston".

Well, that situation was fine for me. Yes, it may have meant that I quickly needed to develop sharp elbows to stop myself from being pushed around by far more than the average traffic of bodies that pass through Euston at 8.30am (especially those much taller than me), but I knew that when I got to Euston I would be on the home straight and regardless of the minor inconvenience on my way to work I would manage to get to my course on time (the ultimate goal of today). 

How wrong was I? 

After being stuck underground on a sweltering hot and stationary train for 10 minutes at King's Cross, the driver gave another announcement. "Hello again ladies and gentlemen, unfortunately this train has now become defective and we will attempt to get one door in each carriage open. You will have to change here and find an alternative route" - well I guess that was Karma. For laughing at the small misfortunes of others, I too had to find an alternative route. 

My alternative probably only added on an extra five minutes to my journey, not bad going really. Hop on the Northern Line at King's Cross to High Barnet and make an extra change at Euston to head towards Edgware - at least I avoided what had become a severe delay on the Victoria Line for the sake of one stop. 

Moral of the story - no matter how insignificant, don't laugh at the misfortune of others. 

FYI - I made it on time (with 15 minutes to spare) for my course. 


Over and out. Weez

Friday, 8 June 2012

Letter to Dear Ol' May

Dear May,


In all honesty, I feel that you've let me down. I usually look forward so much to getting to spend time in the sun with you - this year, not so much. I spent my time digging out my wardrobe simply wondering what to wear in your company, but truly nothing seemed good enough for you. I have never been one to be told what to wear and when to wear it, but you honestly dictated my every move. There were so many times that I didn't want to leave the house because I didn't know what you would do.


You have changed so much since our last encounter. Last year you were warm and had a sunny disposition. This year you seemed so cold and your personality was as much fun as a wet lettuce. Talking of lettuce, I should probably let you know that my homegrown lettuce and beans are thriving - so for this I guess I must thank you. I have to say that there were a couple of weeks where you seemed a little brighter and weren't so depressing to be around - I even sported mild sun stroke because I enjoyed your company and the fine weather.


You gave us (not so much) sun, massive hail stones, thunder and lightening along with many rain storms... not a month to be proud of. So far, June hasn't been much better - perhaps you could put in a word for all of us Brits. When we meet again, please make sure that it is on better terms. You always appear in my favourite season and usually make so many people happy. Out of all of the months, you are the bestest best month EVER!


Please take on board my comments, and I hope that you don't take it too personally - a little constructive criticism never hurt anybody. So long my friend. I will see you in 2013.


 Much love,


 Weez 


 P.S. **SINGS** I can’t stand the rain!

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Double Dip – The Fizzy Side of the Recession



Definition: Double - Dip Recession - When gross domestic product (GDP) growth slides back to negative after a quarter or two of positive growth. A double-dip recession refers to a recession followed by a short-lived recovery, followed by another recession (Definition courtesy of Investopedia.com).



We have all had to tighten our belts in one way or another since the first dip in the global economy in the last quarter of 2008 – in little over a year it was announced that the UK had defied the gravity of a mass financial downward spiral and had exited the recession with weak 0.1% growth. So even though the growth was slow, we as a nation were heading in the right direction right? Wrong.

Britain was headed for partial recovery after the initial crisis hit during the tail end of 2008. The crisis hit businesses in an often-perishable fashion seeing the closures of company branches as well as the administration and widespread insolvencies across every sector. One of the industries that were hardest hit by the downturn was real estate, housing markets and business activities according to the Association of Business Recovery Professionals. People were losing their jobs, homes and the country simply lost control of economic activities. Statistics show that shortly after the financial crisis hit, the unemployment figure was at 5.3% (approximately 1.6 million) - by 2009 the figure had sharply risen to 7.7% (approximately 2.5 million people out of work) and in 2010 increased by a further 0.1% according to World Bank data. By the end of 2011, employment rates began to rise – for some this appeared to be a glimmer of hope, the reality is that although there has been a rise in employment statistics show that there has been a decline in full-time work opportunities and an increase in part-time workers.

It seems that nobody is safe these days as far as employment is concerned. People applying for jobs, the lucky ones who make the cut from the interviews and the employees who have not been under threat with a company ‘shake-up’ or restructure – as soon as we find ourselves with a job (of sorts) things can change. The amount of applicants applying for one job has risen substantially since the beginning of the recession – some jobs have more than 70 applicants fighting it out for one position. Arguably sectors in customer service or admin have the higher number of applicants. The number of temporary positions has also soared as well as part-time vacancies on offer.

Until February I was juggling my life around two part-time jobs in completely different industries – fair enough, they were both customer facing but one was in an educational institution and the other was a bookmakers. In my opinion, it is increasingly difficult to choose a career path in these tough times – many employers require experience in order for an applicant to be successful, however how can one gain experience if there are no genuine ‘entry-level’ jobs where the experience can be gained? Not everyone can afford to take unpaid work experience. I graduated in 2009 in Television Production and would love nothing more than to become an editor, unfortunately when I was studying I had to work to keep a roof over my head and couldn’t juggle unpaid work experience.

With the battle becoming fiercer between applicants, it is an incredibly hard slog for school leavers and graduates who have limited experience. Perhaps it is time to go back to the drawing board and before making that decision about going to university ‘for the uni experience’ really think about what it is that you want to do and plan to go through the tough route – it is not unheard of for students to be under the assumption that they will be able to walk straight into a job… hell, I was one of them. This is why I personally would advise anyone currently going through school or Sixth Form to consider what they want to do and how they will achieve it. Anything is possible, it is just harder in times of recession to get what you want – don’t make sacrifices, plan ‘in case of’ the tough route and the easy route will be a doddle.

I should take my own advice and plan for the tough times… easier said than done.

Over and out. Weez 

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