Thursday, 26 November 2009

How old is old?

How old is old?

When does ‘an old lady’ become an old lady?

How old is old to qualify as ‘indigenous’?

These were a few of the questions posed by people I met this week as I travelled along life’s journey. I like questions, particularly those that are posed with an air of intrigue and curiosity. Some people may use the term nosey or even inquisitive and indeed that may be the case. I guess that depends on the questioner and the intention of the question. But hey, sometimes it makes for an interesting conversation if perused in the spirit of openness and fun.

As a little girl anyone over 20 was old! However, as the little girl grew up and became 20, 30 etc – old moved much further down the timeline. Currently it sits at 80 something.In fact, I’ve found myself referring to the ‘old’ word as ‘mature’. Well it does bring about a certain life experience with it, don’t you agree? One of my girlfriends was promptly reminded of walking the timeline when playing a game with her little grandson. After a triumphant win he shared that he didn’t want to be beaten by ‘an old lady’… ouch!

Then there’s ‘indigenous’. I love that word. It takes me back to travelling days when the tour guide would point out trees, plants, and fauna, all indigenous to the area. For me, there was something about the sound of the word which conjured up images of trees, plants and fauna that had been around for years and years, as in once upon a time, long before my days as a little girl. A friend of mine told me about an interesting discussion he had about ‘indigenous trees’. How old were they? How old do they need to be to qualify as ‘indigenous’? We don’t know the answer but if you do, let us know.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

In every job that must be done ...

In every job that must be done there is an element of fun, you’ll find the fun and (snap) the job’s a game. For every task you undertake becomes a piece of cake …

Okay, I know some of you will already have recognised the lines from Mary Poppins, that charming, talented and witty nanny of some time ago. I do think it’s important to have some fun at work, after all most of us spend a lot of time there. At times it can all become quite demanding and even stressful. I read a report recently where ‘more than 13 million working days a year are lost because of work related stress, anxiety and depression’ (UK figs). This can be a big expense to employees and employers. We seem to factor in less ‘fun’ in the workplace these days; maybe we’re too busy to have fun?

However, it has been brought to my attention that there are little pockets of work and play beautifully balanced. If you need some thoughts for your next team building event, you may wish to be a little creative in your planning. I know Mary Poppins would approve!

Monday, 16 November 2009

The Lake Isle of Innisfree

A little poetry to start the week ...

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for a honey-bee,
And live alone in the bee-loud glade.

And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow,
Dropping from the veils of the morning to where the cricket sings;
There midnight's all a glimmer, and noon a purple glow,
And evening full of the linnet's wings.

I will arise and go now, for always night and day
I hear the lake water lapping with low sounds by the shore;
While I stand on the roadway, or in the pavements grey,
I hear it in the deep heart's core.

W.B. Yeats

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Webinars - a first for me!

A first time for everything and last night was the first time I participated in a webinar. Big deal some of you may think (those of you that have done loads of these already!) but I hadn't participated in one before and I have to say it was a novel experience and I was most impressed.

A webinar is a great opportunity and novel way to learn something new via the web - like how webinars work, how effective they can be to market your product and/or resources on line. It's like a training session on line. You are invited to participate, given a unique link or number to contact , invited to call in at a specific time and join over 100 other people on the call. Last night's webinar had over 400 attendees! The presenter presents his material for one hour. Now that's impressive, conveying a message, information, education to all of these people at the same time in different parts of the world! Powerful. I participated here in the UK at 8.30pm, a one hour webinar - convenient, it allowed time to cook dinner, feed the family and have almost all the dishes washed before the webinar started! Anything that assists and improves my time management skills scores extra points. It avoided having to go out on a wet and cold autumnal evening too ... just retire to the study and listen. I guess you could change into your pyjamas (dependent on time zones) but I refrained.

So what did I learn in one hour - lots. How webinars work. How to use them effectively. How to link up with colleagues and work collaboratively. How to sell services and products via webinars. How to use the same material and maket it in different ways to accommodate the needs of your clients. How to maximise sales. How to build business by incorporating webinars as part of the marketing plan.

All in all, a well delivered, informative and educational one hour delivered on a dark and wet evening and in the comfort of my warm and cosy study too.

Friday, 6 November 2009

It's just a job - or is it?

It's been a relatively busy week and I'm glad that the weekend is here.

There has been several business meetings and events this week, some productive and others not. However I did meet some interesting people in the process - like the lady at a local business event for women planning on starting their own businesses. One lady is planning to start her new business in commercial bee keeping. I have to say that I found this fascinating - not sure why, I guess that I liked the 'business with a difference' idea. I do like 'different'. I learned much about bees, their behaviour, their atuning with nature and of course the commercial side of the business too. I do enjoy connecting with people with different interests and I believe that this particular lady will make a success of her business because she held such passion, belief and experience about her intended business. I wish her well.

Then there was the lady photographer who visually 'loved her job' and that could be heard when she recounted details of her work, the challenges and changes she had to deal with in the early stages when she set up her business and how she hoped to see it develop in the future. Now here was a lady happy with the job she did and wondered why she hadn't gone into photography sooner.

Work - 'a means to an end' or 'an end to a means'?

I wonder if there is something about having to try out several jobs, places of work, positions of respnsibility before we get to find the job or position that provides us with real job satisfaction, enjoyment, contentment and happiness ... and a reasonable income too?

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Island Cross Talk - Pages from a Diary

I’m currently reading ‘Island Cross Talk’ originally written in Irish by Tomas O’ Crohan and translated by Tim Enright. (Publisher, Oxford University Press). This book details a fascinating account of the life and times of the Islander, Tomas O’ Crohan, living in the Blasket Islands between 1919 and 1925.

The Blasket Islands are a group of remote islands off the west coast of Kerry, Ireland. Now a place which is no longer inhabited. I am enjoying reading about the history of the islands and you may do too, so I’m enclosing a link to a site providing further information on the Blaskets.

I particularly enjoy how the book has been written, as diary extracts which detail a way of life, the hardships, the poverty, the interaction of people, the friendships, the sense of community, the challenges and how tough life was at that time. I also enjoy the use of language and the musicality of O’Crohan’s voice telling the stories. In a way it reminds me of a time I attended a story telling session at the Irish College in Ranafast many years ago. My Irish wasn’t good enough to understand the finer details of the story at the time but there was something about the pitch, the tone and the sound of the story teller’s voice that engaged me. I note too that many of O’Crohan’s stories were told via the oral tradition and later how the author had been persuaded to write the book which in turn captured the essence of life in the Blaskets for future generations, people like me, perhaps?

It does make me think about the power of the written word. What pictures, memories, history can be shared and enjoyed by future generations. What do we learn from how life used to be? What of the people then and the people today? How do we compare? It also makes me feel privileged to have an education, the joy of being able to read and write and being comfortable with the three ‘R’s. For me, it’s wonderful that we can record events and times of the past and who knows perhaps even provide thoughts and musings for the future? Will our journaling and blogging of today offer that to the readers of the future?

Emm …must read through the Máire Rua journals and scribbling and see if there is something of note for readers of tomorrow!