Monday, 24 June 2013

I'm afraid you need experience for that experience!

After years of living and breathing tests, fuelled with the firm belief that education is the key to success, now that we have wrapped up our SATs, GCSEs, AS levels, A levels, End of Year exams, Mocks and Degrees, the job market has changed its mind..'erm, actually we don't care about your degree, experience is the new must have'.  Since when is the job market as fickle as fashion? 

It would appear that us twenty somethings are the unlucky generation who endured the tests obsession and education overload, and then graduated in the pit of the recession. Why do we have no experience? Maybe it was a little hard to fit in midst the endless exams and part time jobs we needed to fund our hooch jackets and new Nokia 3310s. We were sold degrees with the assurance that they guaranteed you a job, yet now they are so common place the 'essentials' bullet point 'Candidate must have a degree' reads as unimpressive as 'Candidate must be able to speak'. When applying for a job in a bar or cafe it's detrimental to your success; 'degree' reads as 'WARNING this person will leave you as soon as humanly possible'. Can I get a refund on that degree because it definitely doesn't do what it said on the tin.

Negativity aside, university is an incredible life experience and I still believe in the value of education. But a word of advice for employers out there; give us twenty somethings a chance. Remember we still worked for three, four, five years for that degree. Don't bin that CV and assume that lack of experience means lack of skill. Plenty of us are trying to get our hands on some experience, but apparently you need experience to get work experience nowadays!

Thursday, 20 June 2013

Run Away!

So, I'm going public with some personal info ... I'm training to run a half marathon. I'm telling you this so that I can't back out of it, which is becoming an increasingly tempting idea (I'm not a quitter, I've just come to my senses!). After watching my boyfriend complete a triathlon in 2011, I told him how proud of him I was and (foolishly) suggested, ' hey maybe someday I could give it a go?'  (not expecting to be held accountable for my throw away comment). Two years later, after 15 months of indulging on Asian noodles and cheap beer, and in what can only be described as the biggest slump of my fitness ever, I am signed up to the 'Run to the beat' half marathon. Gulp!

My first run really can't be described as a run at all, more a steady jog...or a dad run, which is really just an exaggerated walk. I *ahem* ran along the canal, fuchsia faced and hair slicked back with what looked like wet look gel (actually a pool of sweat). I did all of the classics; striding along full pelt with a fake smile plastered across my face when a dog walker strolled by, forcing a cheery "hello!" and collapsing when they were finally out of sight.  

The biggest fear of a non runner braving a run has to be running into someone you know (pun totally intended). Running into your ex would of course be the worst. Nobody wants to  bump into an ex when they are an unfortunate shade of beetroot, wearing ugly ill fitting, thigh enhancing Lycra sweat pans and an old Nike hoodie. Thankfully this is something I have managed to avoid (touch wood!).

Anyway, the reason for broadcasting this is to encourage you to get out there and do it. Swim, gym, cycle, run. Get active and get that serotonin flowing! Even if it's just fifteen minutes around the block, get your heart pumping and get some fresh air. You know you'll feel better for doing it!

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Emotions are contagious!

Emotions are contagious; worries are transferred from daughter to mother, giggling is infectious and one person's negativity can ruin a whole evening. The phrase 'I feel your pain' is often very true; if someone upsets my sister, they upset me too, and I know it's the same for my mum so god knows how she coped with two hormonal monsters during our teens (total mum respect).  Watching a sad film, whilst cathartic, really doesn't make you feel any happier. Whereas a romantic comedy is bound to turn that frown upside down (no, 'Marley and me' does not come under the 'romcom' genre).

A couple of days ago I contracted happiness when I jumped into my boyfriend's cloud nine success bubble. He was offered a fantastic job: exciting, great team of people and impressive starting salary. His feelings of elation, relief to finally launch his career, and joy at being able to chill out in his free time rather than job hunt, seeped through my skin. So much so that I had to prize the celebratory bubbly out of my hand and remind myself that I'm not the one who bagged the dream job (yet!!). I didn't experience an ounce of job envy (ok, maybe a tiny bit on my way to complete a hectic split shift at the pub). More than anything I was proud, excited, and soaking up his happiness like a dry sponge.

Although surrounding yourself with purely upbeat, positive people, is probably an unreachable goal, do make sure you spend some time with the people who can make you smile and feel like the world is your oyster. Try not to get dragged down by other people's negativity. Channel your inner Mr Cheerful and when you pass someone in the street, offer them a cheery grin; smiles are as contagious as yawns! (warning, this may not work on the streets of London)

Saturday, 15 June 2013

The Power of Sleep

Ignore the people who say 'you get enough sleep when you're dead'. They are wrong. If you hadn't heard that phrase before now, pretend I didn't say it because it's ridiculous. Sleep should be appreciated, savoured, and given the time it deserves, 6 hours is just not enough!

Today, with the power of 8 hours sleep I have been transformed from a grouchy, migraine suffering, puffy eyed, runny nosed mess, into a functioning human being again. Yesterday's heavy lidded, heavy hearted state of misery has been slept off (mum breathes a sigh of relief - no teary skype calls today!). Today I woke up fresh at 7am, on my own, without moaning or the incentive of a cup of tea in bed (yes, my boyfriend spoils me). Half of you will think that getting up at 7am for no reason is madness, and the other half of you will label me a lazy slob for having a 7am lie in, but for me this is progress. I'm kicking the late to bed late to rise habit, investing in some beauty sleep (it worked for princess Aurora), and remembering that there are two 7 o'clocks in the day. It would seem I have reached the age where going to bed at 9pm is totally acceptable, encouraged even.

Sleep is not a symptom of caffeine deprivation. Don't deprive yourself of those forty winks because you're too busy, because sleep is what keeps you going. Get your eight hours and make sure at least one is before midnight as I swear that makes all the difference. Not sure if sleep is all that important? Sleep on it and I'm sure you'll see sense in the morning.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Just keep going

The most useful, vague but valuable advice there is. When you're panting, sweltering and fantasising about collapsing into a pool of icy water half way through your run. When you have another two thousand words to dream up to finish your mind numbing, tedious essay on French politics. When you've been dieting for six weeks but have yet to loose that stubborn stone which hugs your hips like a needy child not letting go. It can be the most annoying advice to hear; of course you should keep going, but you just don't flaming want to! 

Today I hit a brick wall (metaphorically of course), I was moaning about work,fed up of internship hunting, and had a severe case of writers block.  Bad combination. All I wanted to do was to spend the morning lazing in the sun (which I continue to be amazed is still here and hasn't gone into hiding again). I compromised and took my work outside with me. In true English fashion I developed strawberry pink shoulders and wonky T-shirt tan lines. Yet somehow, between intermittent groans and sipping on the most delightful coconut bounty smoothie I've ever tasted, I managed to finish my work and tick off my never ending to do list. 

I'll keep this one short and sweet so you can get on with your own to do list (which I'm almost certain you have).  Whenever you feel like giving up, remind yourself of the reasons why you're doing whatever you're doing. Re motivate yourself; visualise yourself at the finish line, handing in your essay, a trim size 10.  If you're writing like me, don't over think it (something I'm totally guilty of)! Most of all just keep going... And if you happen to venture to Biggleswade (which is probably never going to happen) try a bounty coconut milkshake, they're amazing!

Monday, 3 June 2013

Leave your phone at home

Remember when there was only one computer at home and you had to sacrifice the telephone to use it? Remember when you rang people from your home phone, arranged to meet them, and just had to be patient when they were late?  My cousins wont, they were born into the age of technology, they grew up with mobile phones for toys, and they never experienced that awful dial up noise of the internet getting warmed up. But you remember it right?

Nowadays having no tablet makes you behind the times, having no computer makes people question how you continue your day to day life, and having no mobile makes people question your sanity. 

I'm sat here with my iPad in lap, phone in pocket, and mac by my side, exasperating at how over faced with technology I am. It's madness to think that fourteen years ago I would have had none of the above. In fact I would have to wait a whole year until I would be presented with my first, extendable aerial, giant plastic button, kilogram brick of a phone. That trusty Motorola hunk would bulge through my school blazer pocket, awkward and indiscreet, but I loved it! And it seems my love affair with technology has continued to develop.  When I first got my iPad i took it everywhere; to the shops, the gym, the bathroom (true separation anxiety). My sister's suggestion to leave it in the car when we went shopping made me physically sick. This is how I know I'll be a hideously protective mother (I apologise in advance to my future childminders and yet to be conceived children). 

So upon highlighting the difference, I began to wonder, is this surge of technology good or bad? We can now video call family and friends on the other side of the world, share photos, articles and videos at the click of a button, we can even promote ourselves to stardom uploading videos to Youtube. Of course technology is incredible, but it also makes us distracted and dependable.  This was exemplified perfectly yesterday when I failed to navigate my way to a nearby village because my Google maps lost signal, despite having the road signs right in front of me. I noticed how our phones and gadgets have us staring at screens instead of observing the world around us. 

When did my notepad become an app rather than a pad of paper? When did a tablet stop being a paracetamol? When did apple and blackberry become more associated with phones than pies? The world is changing so quickly it's hard to keep up, just remember to look up from your screens every now and then and take a look at the world we constantly instagram (It's pretty amazing even without Brannan and Valencia settings)! Enjoy the thrill of technology, but every now and then have a break from candy crush and go take a walk outside, and leave your phone at home.