Graduate jobs: should you accept the first job offer you receive?

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I came past this article the other day and it made me think. A recent research for the Complete University Guide reveals that graduate starting salaries in professional roles dropped by 11% between 2007 and 2012.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-26992728

 

Obviously, I was aware of the fact that this is not the best time for a student to graduate, as the job market is getting tougher and tougher over recent years but reading this kind of research can really affect anyone who is about to graduate. At the same time I am wondering whether this information should push graduates to accept any offer they receive regardless of their priorities.

 

It is definitely very hard to find your dream job as soon as you get out of University. However, I believe graduates should aim to look further than the first job offer they receive. You need to ask yourself what you like doing and what motivates you. Accepting the first job offer might be the easier solution but it can also mean postponing your goals at a later stage in your life for no reason. When starting a job it is not easy to quit it. As soon as you find yourself in a comfortable salary position you will keep repeating to yourself that you are going to quit it as soon as you find a ‘better’ place. This, however, will not come anytime soon in the majority of cases as looking for a job after a long day at the office is usually the last thing that will pass through your mind when you get home. So, why not start applying only to job roles you actually like from the beginning?

 

Making a list of the things that you like and that you are good at can be an easy but effective start. Moreover, when you get the first job offer it might be a good idea to allow yourself plenty of time in order to decide whether to accept it or not. You might choose to opt for work experience instead. This can be a very good option as long as you are in a company you actually like and that you are getting valuable experience. If you are stuck doing the same things every day and not learning anything from them, then it might be the time to reconsider your position.

 

Thanks for reading my post and good luck with your job hunt!

 

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Are you dealing with conflict in the right way?

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I have had quite a good response from the previous post about conflict so I have decided to explore the argument deeper. This time I would like to talk about the way we deal with conflicts. Thomas-Kilmann (1976) distinguished five different conflict resolution approaches depending on how each party is assertive (standing up for your own rights without violating the other person’s rights) or unassertive in pursuing its own concerns and how each party is co-operative or uncooperative. The five different categories are the following:

1)   Competing/forcing

2)   Avoiding – avoid having to deal with conflict

3)   Compromising – reach an agreement quickly

4)   Accommodating – don’t upset the other person

5)   Collaborating – solve the problem together

You can take this test to find out what dimension better defines you; http://www.bus.iastate.edu/amt/Readings/Negotiation/Thomas%20Kilman.pdf

Thomas (1977) argued that people usually tend to always use the same style/s to resolve conflicts. A big challenge for managers would be to adapt to each single situation and adopt the right style. Especially when a manager is personally involved in a conflict, he/she should aim to leave their feelings aside and think rationally of what style of resolution is best and stick to it. I argue great managers stand out from others because of their ability to deal with conflicts under stressful circumstances. There are some steps that should always be followed when managing a conflict: listen actively, win yourself a hearing and work to a joint solution. Listening (NOT HEARING!) is the first and most important step as it is the only right way to approach a conflict and get the best outcome out of it.

Here below there is an example on how a conflict is handled in the wrong way:

What Gordon Ramsey is doing is just hearing instead of listening actively to what his counterpart is saying. His attitude probably made him famous and a successful personality but I personally find his approach wrong. In my opinion the video shows the opposite way of how to best deal with conflicts.

Did you take the test? What was the result? I am interested in hearing your opinion on the matter.

 

 

Can conflicts relieve workplace stress?

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The Organisation for Economic Cooperation Development (OECD) has used the last edition of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos to raise the awareness of stress related issues in the workplace. Due to economic crises there has been a significant increase of stress in the workplace over recent years. In the UK alone, half a million people were off work in 2013 for mental health reasons. Because one of the main causes for stress is conflict, I think business leaders can tackle the problem by considering conflict to be an opportunity.

Traditionally, conflict is seen as a bad thing happening in the workplace. People tend to avoid it and perceive it as unnatural and a cause of stress. Huczynski and Buchanan define conflict as “a process that begins when one party perceives that another party has negatively affected, or is about to negatively affect, something the first party cares about”. Now stop and think: Does this definition resemble your last conflict at work? Do you agree with this definition?

You can see how this depiction does not describe conflict as synonymous for fight or argument but rather, a potential cause of them. I argue that when we think about conflict we should start seeing the positive sides of it. If conflicts are present in an organisation, it usually means that the organisation is composed of people willing to ‘battle’ for their ideas rather than leave the problems lying under the surface. Conflict can be a constructive force for any organisation. The secret is dealing with it and not trying to avoid it. By having positive and constructive conflicts we can be able to produce creative and original solutions to problems.

Conflict in an organisation can take different shapes and forms. The cause of it can be numerous but I honestly think that we should never see it as a problem but an opportunity. Having no conflicts can be a direct symptom of dangerous apathy in the place of work and a cause of stress. In my opinion, managers should encourage and control conflicts instead of repressing them and this can be the first step in tackling the scourge of workplace stress.

Thanks for reading.

When was the last time you experienced a conflict? Do you perceive it as a positive or negative thing?

 

Is there really such a thing as privacy?

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Privacy

Pronunciation: /ˈprɪvəsi, ˈprʌɪ-/

  • A state in which one is not observed or disturbed by other people: she returned to the privacy of her own home


  • The state of being free from public attention: a law to restrict newspapers’ freedom to invade people’s privacy

 

Above are definitions of Privacy from the Oxford Dictionary Online. People generally have a standard perception of what the word ‘Privacy’ means, but I find that it seems to change when applied in certain situations. I feel that no one has privacy these days. Whether it be in your own home, at work, face to face socializing, writing a private journal or online.

 

Freedom of speech or freedom to express yourself has gone out of the window and to be honest, the world has become such a disastrous place because people are doing such horrible things, which could have been prevented, such as online bullying and terrorism. With adamant monitoring, these things could possibly be prevented more than they already are. But I understand that it is difficult to know where to start. The world’s privacy is continuously becoming invaded because so many negative things are happening out of site.

 

Online bullying is something that I strongly feel could be prevented with in the home or are just the repercussions of putting your personal like on the Internet as it some times ends in victims committing suicide. Terrorism on the other hand is something that the world needs preventing on a serious level.

 

But back in October I read an article by Josef Joffe titled: ‘Stop Complaining about snooping – all states spy’. This article went on to talk about national security issues and how different states of government (mainly focused on France and Germany) spy on enemies and friends too. Joffe goes to say “…And why not unearth what homegrown terrorists might be cooking up with their comrades…” which is something I completely support. I believe that should terrorist’s plans be intercepted, we would avoid future disasters. I think back and think maybe 9/11 wouldn’t have happened if federal agencies such as the CIA had spies on the case before hand, but obviously not everything can be premeditated. The US alone, have 16 agencies spying on the whole world. Also there are between 4 million and 5.9 million CCTV surveillance cameras in the UK, meaning that your every step is watched.

 

I feel like this situation has me stuck between a rock and a hard place. This means that on one hand the government are trying to protect us from potential harm and on the other you can have your privacy invaded like a criminal under investigation. The only way I feel to solve this issue is to become a ghost in the system, keeping any form of freethinking to a minimum, but then this challenges our right to be expressive and to document things. I think that when signing up to social networking sites, using online shopping sites and selecting an email provider the site controllers make it too easy for people to sign their lives away so to speak. Maybe we are all supposed to just be slaves to the system.

Do you get the feeling that were cast-members of the Truman show?Image

Keep calm and start getting healthy

The issue of obesity in this country has reached unpredictable levels. Recent news has stated that previous predictions of 50% of the population being obese by 2050 have been underestimated. Current studies from Public Health England estimate that 60% of men, 50% of women and 25% of children could be obese by 2050. People see fast food as an easy and cheap way to get meals during a day. Coca-Cola and McDonalds etc. are a dangerous enemy for the UK population.

The problem is that there is a lack of education in school and in families on healthy life styles. People are too focused on their career and busy lifestyles that they underestimate the importance of a healthy and varied diet. The 5-a-day campaign did not provide major changes either as well as all of the other campaigns promoted by the Government. Some people blame big supermarkets like Tesco for stocking too many unhealthy convenient products with an excess of salt, sugars and fat. However, grocery retailers are obviously after profits and they cannot do much apart from warning the consumer with labels such as the traffic light system. Looking at the issue from a student’s perspective, I am concerned that young people are tempted to always go for a cheap and easy food option, which is most of the time very unhealthy. These bad habits are then carried over into adulthood and then passed over to the next generation.

Would you say that one of the main reasons for child obesity is due to the laziness of parents when shopping and preparing meals? After a long day, it’s far easier to cook a ready meal as opposed to cooking a meal from scratch. In today’s society, would you say that parents seem over-stressed about job achievement, meaning other things get overlooked?

I reckon the UK government should definitely place the obesity issue at the top of its agenda following all of the latest dramatic studies. I am interested to see your opinions, what do you think is the major cause of obesity in the country? The population, schools, the government or the supermarkets? Perhaps you think about this issue from a different angle, I am curious to see your thoughts.

UK Immigration: Bulgaria and Romania

There has been much debate over the latest immigration scandal, with the usual arguments being used once again. One of the big ones is idea of cheap labour. This is something I had previously thought was bad, but after looking at an example, I have a much more open-minded opinion on the topic. A logistics organisation recently came under fire for trying to exploit cheap labour from Bulgarians and Romanians. These claims were false, but after looking into the topic, from a business sense, why wouldn’t an organisation want to do this? Keeping with logistics, there are an abundance of policies that have to be adhered to with insurance etc. Those under 25 do not fit the insurance bracket and require expensive training. Why would they do this when, say a Bulgarian driver with 10 years’ experience (keeping with recent headlines), is going to do the job for the same hourly rate, but without the training? This would save a substantial amount of money in the long-term. Until an apprenticeship or training scheme is developed, then this will continue. I assume there are similar scenarios in other industries too.

The Huffington Post states that ‘recent immigrants to Britain are better educated, pay more taxes, and draw less state benefits than native Britons.’ From this sense, they are actually boosting the economy. Another issue is the idea of jobs being ‘stolen’ from native Brits. Are the reasons the UK population has jobs ‘stolen’ from them down to pure mediocrity and laziness? This links to the above point; an employer will surely hire the more appropriate candidate, whether that means they have more experience or qualifications. It should not matter what nationality the applicant is. This is why I don’t buy into the idea of having someone steal a job. The job is there to be won – it is not a requirement because of the nation you are from.  Also, when we entered the EU and opened the ‘floodgates’ we should be open and treat all fairly.

One thing I do agree on though is that Britain should not be exploited by those looking to use benefits alone. There looks to have been legislation passed on this though, with no-one being able to claim benefits for 3 months having moved to Britain.

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Something that people seem to dismiss is the number of British people living permanently abroad. According to the BBC, almost 1 in 10 of the UK population is living abroad, with the most common countries being Australia and Spain. How can we be in a position to moan at immigration when we, in the UK, are doing the exact same? The media went crazy at the thought of 50,000 Bulgarians and Romanians ‘invading’ the UK, when there are around 750,000 British people living in Spain alone. This is hugely hypocritical and makes it look as if we just turn a blind eye on the issue to fit certain people’s needs. This isn’t a neutral stand-point.

What do you guys think on the topic? All your comments are greatly appreciated!

Should the UK follow Colorado’s example on marijuana legalisation?

2014 started with a big revolution in marijuana legalisation in the USA. From the 1st of January it is possible to buy marijuana for recreational purposes in Colorado for anyone over the age of 21. Reading this news I was wondering whether anything like that could happen in the UK and if this would be beneficial.

 

I personally think marijuana should be legalised in the UK, not only for medical use but also for a recreational one. I assume that most of you are already aware of the multiple positive effects that this drug brings against various diseases and, if not, quick research on the web will give you all of the information you are after. Moreover, European nations like Holland and Portugal have shown how legalising the use of this drug also for recreational purposes can be a positive solution. I live in a city in the south of England where finding ‘weed’ on the street is easier than buying cigarettes in a shop for someone under age. I assume that this is the same for any other city across the country and this is the first issue: why would something so easy to get be illegal? The police will never be able to win the so-called ‘war’ against this drug because of its diffusion in first place.

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The reasons why marijuana should be legalised can go on and on but I would like to focus on answering the question this post started from: should the UK follow Colorado’s example on marijuana legalisation? Or rather, what would happen to this country if cannabis coffee shops opened alongside pubs?  I honestly can’t see major negative effects as results of that. In the Netherlands for instance, the amount of marijuana users did not increase after the legalisation of it. Maybe the UK is not ready for it yet but if you think just for a moment, would that be so bad? Research shows that cannabis is not as addictive as nicotine and alcohol for instance. Alcohol is culturally accepted in this country and so people tend to ignore the evidence that its abuse is more dangerous than the abuse of cannabis. It is weird that we are so quick to judge people that smoke but accept alcohol even though it is worse and can do more damage to others and us. Consuming soft drugs in a controlled environment is a solution; the chance of controlling the quality of the drug itself and the major benefits for the nation finances. Creating a controlled environment is possible following same basic rules already applied in Holland. Cannabis coffee shops will be opened away from school and playgrounds and strict rules will be designed in order to control who is allowed to grow marijuana plants and in what quantity.

I would like to hear your opinions on the topic, is there something I am missing? I am interested to hear other point of views; it is already a positive thing to talk about this topic seeing it as a taboo.