Business, Psychology, Society, Work

Who Did The Work, Exactly?

Woman with phone screaming.How do you make someone feel like nothing more than an automaton, like some kind of puppet operated by an all-knowing master, how do you make someone feel like they’re pretty worthless?

I’ll tell you.  It’s happened to me, it’s happened to many people I know, it happened to my mum and her colleagues when she was a care assistant at an elderly people’s home.

As the staff member you spend much time finding out information, you carefully manufacture something, you arrange for some work to be done, you do all you can to make an elderly relative’s final months as comfortable as possible – add your own job role here.  At the end of the process the person who you’ve done all this for – i.e. the customer, the client, (in my experience usually well off, a business owner) doesn’t say thankyou to you but instead says, to your face, “oh, pass my thanks on to [insert boss/manager’s name here] and tell them I’ll owe them a bottle of wine for all he/she’s done.”

Well, you’re welcome, you think.  You may not be doing the job for the thanks or praise but a little of your soul gets worn down.


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Psychology, Work

Lunch, Rebooted

On | Off

On | Off (Photo credit: catorze14)

It’s been quite a while since I have written anything.  I’ve sat down at the keyboard and either felt overwhelmed by the amount of stuff to read or been completely lost for anything to say.  Some subjects have seemed too daunting to tackle (for example the very modern issue of governments’ attitudes to what they can just have a look at on the internet, and how similar it seems, superficially, to people who say “if it’s on Facebook then you can do what you like with it) whilst others just didn’t seem wasting what little energy I felt I had on.  I didn’t think it mattered, I watched repeats on TV.

In hindsight I may have been suffering from a bout of depression again, brought on by stress (another issue I intend to tackle on this here blog soon), the feeling that this blog and other things I enjoy being utterly pointless being one indicator.  Something has changed in the last week or so and I feel more ready and able to stand up and be my true self again.  One step at a time.

Psychology, Society, Work

Unrealistic Expectations

Clock watcher

Clock watcher (Photo credit: Craig A Rodway)

It was once accepted that the average working day was nine-to-five, now it’s about eight-to-five, five-thirty at most.  Most people accept that everyone works generally those same hours but there seems to be an increasing expectation, perhaps perpetuated by supermarkets that are open either twenty-four hours or until late, that companies should work round the customers’ work hours.

You might expect a company to provide an emergency service, plumbing or electrics for example, but I’ve heard of people who were waiting for a visit for something non-urgent actually saying “well it’s ok, he can still come out at six or seven o’clock” – oh, can he?  Like the person carrying out the visit doesn’t have a home life to go to when his actual working day finishes.  The same goes for people who work during the day who often won’t actually ask “do you do evenings?” but just say “you’ll have to come out after six o’clock because I work.”  This just takes the old idea of “the customer is always right” to new levels as people behave increasingly selfishly, with little consideration to other people’s lives.

If I need to have some work done then I arrange to have a day off, so the work can be done in normal hours, unless it’s really an emergency.  If it’s non-urgent and I have no holidays left then it can wait.

Food, Random, Science

Drinking Is Not The Answer…

A glass of red wine. Photo taken in Montreal C...

A glass of red wine. Photo taken in Montreal Canada (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the question is “what will get rid of my cold?”  This post relates to my personal viral episode.

Gizmodo recently scientifically challenged the theories that alcohol can cure a cold.  Firstly they explained that to have enough alcohol in your bloodstream to kill the virus (60%-80% ethyl alcohol) you’d kill yourself first, as usually a concentration of 0.2% will render most of us insensible.

Then they showed that the alcohol doesn’t disinfect your throat, or soothe it but in fact simply numbs your pain response and can actually further dry out the tissues of the throat, making things worse.  Concluding with an “amusing anecdote” about a submariner gargling with 99% alcohol.

Lastly they reported on a study by Carnegie Mellon University in 1993 on the relationship between smoking, drinking and the common cold.  Those who smoked got sick more often, smoking and drinking brought average results whereas drinkers got sick less – with those who drank 14 glasses of wine per week, especially red wine, being 60% less susceptible to colds.  This is probably down to the antioxidants in wine and dark beers like Guiness – which is good news for me, I enjoy a good dark beer.

Roll on Friday!

[Gizmodo UK]

Health, Society

Exercising Confusion

English: Exercising outdoors is healthier than...

English: Exercising outdoors is healthier than working out indoors. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We are often told that in our society today we don’t exercise enough and don’t eat healthily.  Much of our dietary tradition is still tailored to when people carried out more physically demanding work during the day.  People drive to work or take public transport, often because of the distances involved.

But it seems that the advice is becoming confused, particularly regarding exercise, research now shows.  Guidelines advising regular exercise were seen as not particularly clear and some studies were uncertain as whether those taking part saw any benefit at all, such as in cardio-vascular health.

So now new guidelines have been published including specific advice for different age groups.  The department of health said “Being active can help protect against heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancer which is why we have guidance on physical activity tailored to each age group.”  It is also meant to provide benefits in terms of mental health and happiness too.

I’ll remind myself of that when I arrive home after walking two miles from work, in the rain.  Nevermind, it’s for the best.


Health, Meta, Random

Longfellow Has Been Unwell, Again

English: Promethazine-codeine cough syrup

English: Promethazine-codeine cough syrup (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m just about over a nagging cold that has had me not wanting to do much after work other than sip hot lemon and watch tv for the last week and a bit.  I have only ever said it was a cold but I was still asked (by men, I might add) “you got the man flu?”

Then the best one, a new one on me: “got a dose of Manthrax?”

I must have looked bad that day.

Health, Psychology, Society

Being Yourself, Being Happier

Cherai Couple

Cherai Couple (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These days we are bombarded with imagery and articles telling us we should look a certain way, wear certain things, use certain perfumes or aftershaves and act certain ways to find love.  Most of this only makes people feel inadequate and depressed because they can’t achieve these ideals.

As this article by Ken Page describes trying to be someone who you just aren’t is emotionally exhausting and will either attract the kind of partner who won’t really be right for you or will put everyone off altogether.  You also need to be patient and not obsessed with “not being single”.

The most important thing to do is to respect and encourage your authentic self to surface, some people won’t like you doing that but being true to yourself is more important than keeping everyone happy.  Once you accept your gifts and flaws then your let your authentic self out you will feel more relaxed with yourself, will feel happier and can then attract the right kind of partner, one will be in harmony with you.

[Psychology Today]

Health, Society, Work

Longfellow Has Been Unwell

Example of dark circles

Example of dark circles (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What happens when you combine frequently disturbed sleep, daily exercise involving cycling – usually against the wind, two weeks of work where you have been unusually busy so that you’ve barely sat down never mind had a proper half-hour lunch break all the while dealing with multiple tasks at once where you can’t quite get one done before the next walks through the door expecting to be dealt with immediately?

What you get is fatigue, and if you’re me a blog that looks abandoned.

Normally I balance things nicely, get enough rest but even then I still often find it difficult to sit down and write a blog post; I know what I want to say but just can’t get into the right frame of mind.  The last two weeks have been an exploration of the effects of fatigue and what I consider was probably mild compared to what some people have to deal with was eye-opening.

Each day I went to work (and these two weeks I volunteered to work Saturdays to cover a holiday) so woke up early, cycled in, stood up all day, went home full of good intentions and…

…collapsed onto the sofa with a microwave dinner and the TV remote.  During this time I felt too tired to do anything and could summon up no enthusiasm for anything either.  Nothing mattered – not even tidying up my apartment; I felt that nothing ever would; I didn’t want to talk to anyone; the slightest things going badly annoyed me; I certainly couldn’t put together an article on the joys and perils of 21st century life.  As such I was irritable frustrated and I didn’t feel like I was even in the real world.

The contrast was striking with the week off I enjoyed at home three weeks ago where I got lost of sleep (though still woke up at the same time) got lots of projects done and even managed to squeeze out a couple of posts for this site.

Today I’ve felt much better following a couple of quiet days at work, and some good nights sleep.  The things that fatigue us are cumulative if you don’t have a chance to properly slow down and recuperate.

It’s often difficult or even impossible to get sufficient breaks at work and sleep at night but I’ve found that it’s really important to aspire to getting both.

Health, Science

Step Away From The Computer

old hairdresser sleeping at work

old hairdresser sleeping at work (Photo credit:

No, not yet, read this first.

The reason I’m telling you this is that it’s good advice if you want a good night’s sleep.

I have read many times on Lifehacker that staring at devices that emit blue light before going to bed can disrupt your sleep patterns but had never tried it.  I have, however, been complaining for years that I often felt tired during the day no matter how much sleep I got.  Of course this can be a symptom of many other physical and psychological problems but having remembered the advice to switch off the computer, tablet, TV and so on and do something else like reading or listening to music I thought I’d give it a go.

The problem is that these bright light emitting devices cause the brain to stay alert and it is worse with computers which are typically close to your face, how close depends on what you’re looking at.

So far for me the results are encouraging and I feel significantly better.  If however you try this but don’t see any benefit and continue to suffer excessive tiredness then consult your doctor.

Night all, sleep well.



Time for a Siesta?

The Siesta

The Siesta (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Lifehacker reports on a study that has found that if you’re feeling a bit weary during the day then a short nap will help but only if it’s between 1:00 and 3:00 due to your natural sleep cycles being affected if you nap outside these times.

Right then, I’m off for a lie down after lunch.