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The Nature of Time

December 22, 2012

Timey-wimey, wibbily wobbly stuff. So perhaps Dr Who’s explanation of what time is wasn’t exactly on the money, but it isn’t all that far off, in that it’s suitably vague at least.

The ever-present nature of time is fascinating, as is the nature by which we as humans observe it. Time is one of those interesting constructs that is most notable by it’s absence, when we have an abundance of time it’s easy not to realise it’s there. Yet, when our time is under immense pressure the brain attempts to find other means of occupying itself, rather than making optimal use of what’s available. Perhaps it’s a design flaw in the workings of the human brain, if I may be so bold as to suggest so!

I can’t help but wonder, though, why humankind for thousands of years has been so keen to constrain everything to a given timeframe. From the Mayans and their calendar to the likes of Stonehenge or the study of History itself, we seem to be fascinated by the concept. In cultures gone by you can understand the importance for, say, harvesting crops, but in modern times everything seems to have accelerated massively, from seasons to months to days to hours. I suppose that’s just the way the world is moving though, with the advent of ‘anywhere working’ it would seem time is all about squeezing every ounce of productivity out of us before we become worm food.

Is that right though? Should we be so time pressured all our lives or would people actually be happier being a little freer, though granted, less productive? I suppose it is with a certain irony that I pen some musings on time when I have so much else to be doing (the reason for the length of time between blog posts, incidentally). Nonetheless, sitting here on hold to Energy companies, I think if I make any New Years resolutions this year, I think I they might revolve around time.

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Young Britain Works–Academia vs. The ‘Real’ World

July 3, 2012

The below is a blog post discussing the alternative options to University that I wrote as part of the Young Britain Works volunteer initiative at Microsoft. Young Britain Works is run by Interns as an extension to the wider ‘Britain Works’ Microsoft campaign to get 500,000 people across the UK into jobs within 3 years. You can find out loads more by visiting the Young Britain Works Facebook page.


Speak to anyone who is at or has been to University and nine times out of ten you’ll get the same response – “Do it!” But the reality is that Uni just isn’t for everyone. Some don’t like being away from home, others can’t handle the workload or step it up to the next level, however what is sure to be the biggest deal breaker for the foreseeable future is the cost. No matter how much your mates might tell you the nights out are great and the government might tell you there are affordable repayment plans, £8000+ a year is a lot.

This means that in a couple of months’ time there will no doubt be many more people opening their A-Level results without then hurriedly checking the UCAS website to make sure they’ve secured their Uni place. If you’ve decided you just can’t justify the cost, what’s next? What other realistic options are there?

Well, one thing is for certain, the very worst thing you could do is nothing! Nobody can deny a summer sitting at home playing Xbox and scrounging off the rents was great whilst at School, but now the real work starts. This can take many forms, all of which we’ve covered on the Young Britain Works Facebook page before in some shape or form, so I won’t dwell on them too much.

  • Enrol on a vocational College course
    It might be that what you want to do with your life just can’t be taught by academics and text books. There’s a massive range of courses available for everything from Civil Engineering to Acting which often include an element of work experience too. Try taking a look at the ‘Education’ section of your Local Council’s website.
  • Apply for an Apprenticeship
    An apprenticeship differs from a college course in that you are an employee of the company where you’re carrying out your apprenticeship, earning a wage and gaining loads of practical skills along the way. Take a look at earlier YBW posts from Zac at Inframon for his experiences and head over to Apprenticeships.org.uk
  • Just get a job!
    There are plenty of full-time jobs out there that only require your A-Levels alongside the ‘soft’ skills like teamwork that people always talk about. Take a look at Monster.co.uk or one of the many job sites online for a whole range of opportunities.
  • Go it alone
    Nothing else tickle your fancy? It might be that you have some unique talent that you’ve been developing in your spare time, so why not take the opportunity to make money from what you can already do, who knows where it might take you.

There’s no rule that says you have to make a decision right away, in the meantime you can build your CV and gain great experience in loads of ways. This is by no means an exhaustive list; let us know your own ideas in the comments!

  • Volunteer
    The word ‘volunteering’ instantly conjures up images of litter picking or scrubbing graffiti, which whilst all worthwhile pursuits in their own right aren’t necessarily everyone’s idea of a good time. Why not try working the summer festival circuit or even going abroad and helping on one of a range of different projects?
  • Keep on your part-time job
    It’s great to still have some money coming in while you make your mind up, and you’ll be picking up all those key skills that you’ll need when you apply for your first full-time role.
  • Take a gap year
    Increasingly employers are looking outside of someone’s work experience to make sure they’re hiring a well-rounded individual, so not only will a gap year be an awesome experience, combine it with some volunteering and it can help when you get back home too.

There are countless examples of people who have never been to University, or been and dropped out, but continued to be a massive success. Everyone knows the Alan Sugars and Mark Zuckerbergs of this world, and these are great people to aspire to be like. However it is also important to remember that you don’t need to be a business genius with a whole heap of luck to not go to Uni and make a success of yourself, because there are millions of everyday people who have done just that. All you have to do is pick the right path for you and commit to it.

A Couple of Months On

April 15, 2012

So, a couple of months on from creating my blog, we’re still awaiting insightful ramblings of any description. The truth is, whilst I love the concept of writing a blog as a means of blurting out thoughts and feelings for the world to see, if they’re (un)lucky enough to stumble the right way, I rarely have time enough to arrange them in my head let alone put finger to keyboard.

I feel that this little corner of the internet is lacking a bit of focus, which I suppose is in it’s very nature as a tool for externalising thought. Nonetheless, I shall soldier on with this particular post.

As I continue through Q4 of my Internship at Microsoft I’m starting to focus more and more on what lies in store for the next year or so of life, the dreaded Dissertation and final exams back down in Portsmouth. I’m now in the weird position of having two very different areas of research to consider, having had a sudden brainwave on my way home from work last Friday.

So the question is this – do I focus on cultural shifts in China or the impact of Mobile/Tablet Applications on digital advertising? A key consideration for me is the viability of carrying out the research whilst at Microsoft, and I think both are possibilities, but more importantly which would interest me most?! I’m in two minds on that one. Both are very ‘current’ subjects and of great relevance to my Business Studies pathway in different ways, I do wonder if there may be a bit of a lack of existing research on the latter though.

Looks like I have some reading to do…

So, Welcome…

January 31, 2012

Whilst I feel a bit like Jekyll talking to Hyde here, hopefully someone somewhere will someday read this… so welcome. That’s all for now, hopefully time permitting there will be some insightful stuff here in the months and years to come!