Post University

Mind over motivation

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I wonder how many people find everyday existence a continual battle. And I don’t mean in I want to end it all kind of way. I’m just curious as to whether its a common trait amongst graduates in their mid 20’s find themselves in a scrap for fulfilment.

Not to lower the tone with pessimistic viewpoints but I just wanted to ponder this thought as a means to go on.

I’m sure anyone reading this will be thinking, this guy needs help. I can assure you that depression is not an issue, but I appreciate the concern anyway. No the biggest ailment I find that plagues me, is frustration.

Interestingly, my beef isn’t necessarily against the many difficulties of life. Anyone who is familiar with some of my previous posts will know I like to have a bit of a rant about many of life’s problems. The dreary state of the economy and joys of job hunting have been the main victims subjected to the sharp end of my pen. Metaphorically speaking of course.

Believe it or not I actually feel at peace with the problems in society. And I think its because society never seems to change. I don’t have the spirit or inspiration for change like of a figure head such as Nelson Mandela had, for example, therefore I figure there’s not much I can change. Obviously I can make my voice heard through a vote, but lets not get tangled into political intricacies.

As a result I decided to focus on myself. And therein lies the problem.

Its ironic that aspects of my job require man management because I genuinely believe that looking after the best interests of No1 is by far the hardest task. And I’m not necessarily talking about the basic life principles. After all its our obligation to forge an existence for ourselves. No its the stuff after that. The next stage. Being able to better ourselves. This I think is the hardest task. And its one, no doubt, that we will ever stop pursuing.

So at this stage in my life, 3 years on from being thrust into life after uni, the fight against myself is in full flow. The main problem I have is that I’m hungry to succeed. I’m all to egger to stamp my mark on the world. And the biggest raging problem I face is the task of turning creativity into cash!

Ideas and inspiration emanate from me like a explosion. And it all comes in a short injection of energy. The problem is, all to often, trying to harness and nurture these brainwaves into tangible tracks is like trying to keep hold of liquid gold that is quickly seeping through the cracks. A near impossible task.

So after all to often giving in to my popped balloon syndrome, this is the time where I begin to fight the fire. The first step in starting this process was to establish the problem. And it was quite easy to label. Motivation. My dirty demon holding me back in life is motivation. Letting laziness sugar coat my productivity has resulted in restriction. And returning back to my opening statement, I wonder if anyone else feeling the fight is in fact being defeated by this little diva that is motivation.

If motivation doesn’t want to play, nor do you. If motivation doesn’t want a new job, a new car or a nice house, the unfortunate reality is that your not likely to get one either.

The lucky thing that I have discovered however, is that that you can persuade motivation to cooperate. But it isn’t easy. It’s very much a working progress for me and I just hope that I can get motivation to crack. And when that day comes I think it might just be that little bit easier to push through those doors of success.

So I have a plan. And this plan is focussed on setting targets, breaking these down into manageable goals and then offering an award for completion. Simple I know but so far it seems to be working. The only hurdle that does seem to be cause for concern at this stage however, is overcoming problems. Even the most organised, enthusiastic and innovative worker in the world can come undone by a problem. So this is my next challenge. Motivation doesn’t like problems, so I now need to find a way to make motivation strong enough to work through them.

Its going to be an interesting battle and one I certainly look forward to sharing with the world some time soon.

Post University, Uncategorized

Hang the Hangover!

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Generally speaking my usual posts are very philosophical, thought provoking and somewhat serious in nature.  Considering my intentions of giving sound advice to the world of students and alumni, I thought why not mix it up by giving some plain speaking pointers on a much more pressing issue that affects the masses. And I’m not taking about meeting uni deadlines, balancing bills or winning at work… no this is a much more of a concerning pandemic.

How to survive the hangover?

How is it possible to have a great night out after a tiring week and wake up the next day without wanting to shoot yourself?

Judging by the fact that hangovers only seem to intensify with age (this I know to be true) over the recent years and many bad experiences later, I have quietly taken it upon myself to find a way of battling this dreaded demon. And I think I’ve found a way, not only to survive, but to actually defeat the tedious weekend spoiler.

I think the secret to success in defeating any deadly enemy, is attack. I think we all have a tendency to lie down like losers feeling sorry for ourselves. We let the alcohol win. Imagine you stupidly decide to start a fight with someone and then just lie down there on the floor saying please don’t hit me. What’s likely to happen? As strange as that sounds that’s kind of what we do when we’ve had a few.

So with that obscure comparison hopefully stamped in your minds, it’s time to consider a plan of attack. I have made one such plan. And I would say with an estimated 85% success rate in improved next day wellness, this may well be the best way to go. For those of you who say, oh well that’s not 100% effective then, it’s time to be realistic. Sometimes we just have to pay for our sins.

So here’s what I suggest…

Step 1:  Line the stomach- I’m sure we’ve all heard the saying eating’s cheating. This is just ridiculous. Follow this advice and you’re likely to end up in a gutter half way through the night trying to spew up your own guts because there’s nothing there to be sick. Disgusting I know and I swear that bit of advice is not from experience. Anyway moving on.

Step 2: Don’t drink more than you can handle! Yes I know this sounds patronising, obvious and more to the point, boring, but it isn’t really if you think about it. I’m not saying don’t push the boundaries. But I do think we all need to take a moment during our epic nights to think- if I have one more drink it’s going to be a point of no return. At this point most of us will end up vomiting out of a taxi window of something. Chose to ignore this and let’s be honest you deserve to have the hangover.

Step 2: Drink water between booze! –  Again many of the hard-core will say this is too sensible and who thinks to do that whilst on a session. Well be this as it may, I find that just sipping on water, even if it is just a small glass half way through the night, makes a world of difference. Hangovers are essentially caused by dehydration. Combating this inevitability early gives you an early advantage.

Step 3: Don’t drink to the death! We all get in to the habit at times of drinking and drinking and drinking until we are no longer in the presence of a bar. Think about it, its 2/3 am and you’re already extremely drunk. Stop drinking at this point and I can guarantee a few hours later you’re still going to be the same. Meanwhile you will be giving your body the much needed time it needs to start the recovery process. Let’s be honest, we all know deep down that the only real cure for a hangover, is time.  

Step 4: Grab a greasy take away on the way home!- I think we all know this trick of the trade by now. This may be because we are all educated individuals. Or maybe it’s because we all secretly like to use it as an excuse to fill our faces with shocking unhealthy grub. Let’s be honest most of us wouldn’t chose to eat it sober. Never-the-less eating food at the end of the night helps soak up the beer.

Step 5: The deal breaker!- This is by far the most important step to take to avoid a vicious hangover. Again it may be obvious, but it is essential. DRINK WATER BEFORE BED. Fill up a pint glass with the clear stuff and actually drink half of it before going to sleep. So it may wake you in the night for the toilet, but who ever said having a good night out was practical. Avoid this step at your peril. There’s nothing worse than waking up with a banging head and a cactus throat.

Step 6: Sleep!- Get as much sleep as possible. Apparently we don’t sleep very well after drink. God knows why. Try to have undisturbed sleep and lie in as late as possible. Yep that’s what I said. Fatigue is a major influence in the hangover plague. If you have to get up early for work the next day, then that’s just bad planning on your part

Step 6: Water in the morning!- Drink the rest of you pint of water when you wake up. This will continue your good work from the night before. It’s all about flushing that alcohol out of your system.

Step 7: Eat a sugary breakfast!- Many people make the mistake of going straight for the fry up. Wrong! Eat something easy on the stomach first thing, like sugary cereal. This gives your stomach a break and stabilises the blood sugar levels.   

Step 8: Exercise/steam- The prospect of leaving the house and actually doing something after a night out is unthinkable for some. But if you just push through those reservations you will find that this can be the most effective cure. Exercise makes you sweat out toxins and realises endorphins, which make you feel awesome. If you have access to a steam room this is also a great detox. It sweats out the booze.

Step 9: The fry up- Yes I didn’t exclude this one from the list. However this should be eaten at lunch time. After much debate studies now suggest that fry-ups do actually help. Again I think this is down to the fat content etc. I don’t really know but they seem to work. Including baked beans and tomatoes are meant to be particularly effective.

Step 10: RestAs I said earlier, fatigue is a major factor in a hangover. Spend the afternoon taking it easy. And make sure you keep drinking water. The battle is not yet won.

Step 11: FoodIt would have been great to keep this at 10 points, but there is one more important step in helping to slay the beast. Dinner time is important. Judging by the fast food queues on a Sunday evening, I think most people have this one cracked too. Again more greasy food is needed. It is rather grim that so many points involve artery busting fatty foods. I never said this was a health drive. I think it would be silly to think tackling a sin in such a way would be the way forward.  It goes without saying the rest of your week should be a healthy one. This should soak up the remaining alcohol like sieve. A certain fast food gravy can work wonders. It may actually be prescribed on the NHS in future years.

Success!

If you have followed all these points by the book, you should be feeling great now. Ok well maybe not great, but not death like. If not then you either drank too much or you were unlucky. Or my advice just didn’t work. I never said this was a guarantee.

I do hope this wisdom helps in one life’s great battles.  Any feedback might prove useful in innovating this cure so I will be on the lookout for enhancements. In the meantime good luck- in time we will beat the hangover! 

Post University, Uncategorized

The uncertainty of success

It feels like an eternity since I last posted on here! In retrospect it has only been a few months, however when I come to think about it, the last time I actually posted was actually last year; so happy belated New Year everyone.  When thinking back to New Year, the occasion involved a glorious trip away and this very much sparked sensationalized feelings of renewed optimism and hope for the future.

When considering the circumstances of the New Year time period, it is wise to appreciate that I was still very much basking in the glory of my newspaper placement days. The reality of these elated feelings however was that I was being unrealistic. It was approaching a month without my ego boosting front page appearances and not only had I already disappeared from the lime light, but my confidence remained shattered by a dream job rejection which would have tied in perfectly with my placement exit.

That New Year’s Eve as I gazed out at the Manchester City views and watched the sky explode with colour, a fresh wave of determination came over me. If I’m being honest though I think I was trying thrust the determination upon myself. My true feeling at that time was basically that of lost hope in finding a job now that I had graduated.

The three months that have followed those New Year celebrations have been a whirlwind blur. The predicted reality of full-time work in my unwanted job was being fulfilled. In sync with the mass student mentality that the system had failed me, many would assume that I had slumped into despair. In some respects I had fallen into this frame of mind, however bizarrely I never really gave it that much of a thought.  In fact I never really had time to dwell too much on this negativity. For me it was a case of getting my head down and doing what I had to do to make ends meet, and to be honest I began to feel as though life wasn’t too bad.

During these busy months however, I made sure that I didn’t give up on the job search. I knew it would be tough and I knew it could potentially take years to find something. I knew that if too much time elapsed I would have to do something else to make me stand out from the crowd, but what did I have to lose?

It has only been in the last few weeks in which things began to happen. The scenario in which this change came about seemed very peculiar to me. It began just as I started to fully adapt to my routine. Somehow things just felt different and I just knew that my life needed to change.

My first signal for change was a sudden rush of transition at work. It was evident that fresh young new faces were becoming the norm in a place that in recent years, has been unaccustomed to change. Moreover increasing numbers of veteran employees began to leave.

My next signal was that the additional casual work I had been completing for some time and what was very much helping to keep me afloat, was due to end.

In my opinion however the most significant determiner was the day I found the job. In terms of my aspirations, the job hardly cut the mustard. I thought I would apply anyway.  I sat there and browsed through the jobs description and a weird buzz of excitement overwhelmed me. Certain criteria aspects where ticking huge boxes in my brain and this left me swelling up with confidence. This made the application process easy; I finished it quick and efficiently and sat there feeling happy with myself.

I quickly adapted back to my everyday routine and placed the application to the back of my mind. However within that very same hour it was quickly brought back to my attention. I routinely checked my emails and there it was. I received the first email that was about to change my life. The email was from a random guy from an employment agency and he wanted to summit my CV to the company.

I was in a state of astonishment. The circumstances around this job seemed slightly fishy to me, however that positive gut feeling burned brighter than ever and things seemed to just snow ball from there. Slightly later than anticipated I was offered an interview. I went to the interview and I’m not going to lie I nailed it and I don’t know how. It was interesting because I was given an unexpected test and that was my downfall. It went horribly wrong! In any logical mind one would think that the game was over, however I just knew it wasn’t.

My instincts were proven correct, I got offered a second interview. In suit with the last two session interview I had, the nerves where due to kick in; but they hardly did. This was unusual behaviour for me and I couldn’t explain it. I was however knocked down a peg or two in round two. I got a grilling. For over one hour and thirty minutes they kept me there and I was digging myself into a pretty deep dark hole. Eventually they let me go. Relief was my first feeling and then I started to ponder. I thought that the job really wasn’t my thing after the interview; however I still had this positive feeling. It refused to go away. In fact my logic was leading me to believe to because I didn’t really want the job; I was destined to get it.

I was right. After making me sweat for several days I got the email. I am delighted to inform you, that you have been appointed for the position. I got the job. Like any overwhelming news it didn’t sink in at first. Then an incredible feeling of happiness gripped me. It was the happiest I had felt in a long time. It was as if it has been all worthwhile. I could have gone back and kissed the grotty grounds of UCLAN and saluted the place.

However the realistic side of my brain soon and unexpectedly brought me down to earth. I realised that it was going to be hard. I realised that I would be based in a place I didn’t like. I realised that I would be working 9 to 5 like everyone else. I realised that the money wasn’t the greatest. That’s when I realised, nothing in life’s ever turns out the way you want or expect it, in fact the majority of us are faced with a constant battle. Unless you’re one of the lucky few who are blessed enough to get that dream job, then I doubt you will ever be 100% happy and even if you do, who’s to say that it really will make you happy? As these thoughts continue to whizz around in my mind I just hope to myself that I’ve made the right move.

So it seems that after a ten month slog since becoming a fresh-faced graduate, the goal that I set out to achieve has effectively been achieved and therefore as I write this blog as guidance for you who are yet to graduate I can only give you advice based on what I’ve experienced.

Tip one:  get ready for a long battle and don’t lose patience or hope.

Tip two:  if you’ve not already, get yourself some kind of work. It doesn’t matter what it is, just take anything you can! I hated my job, but if it wasn’t for it I don’t know what I would have done.

Tip three:  don’t get your hopes up.  I made this mistake; it shatters your confidence and makes it harder to push forward.

Tip four:  get yourself some kind of work experience. I did and although I found it tough with little financial incentive, it was richly rewarding and invaluable.

My final tip: is to stay committed. Even if you look on job websites for days to no avail just keep looking and one day your job will find you.

I hope this advice will come in useful; it seemed to work for me. Now all that’s left for me two do is to move on the next chapter in my life. It’s daunting, nerve-racking and I know it won’t be easy, but that’s life. I imagine that many of you regardless of whether you take my advice or not, are likely to find yourself in my position right now. The only people who won’t be, is those who do give up. I imagine whose people will be very unhappy, whilst desperately and weirdly wishing that they had the nerve-racking feeling that I have right now.

Post University, Uncategorized

Coping with life after Uni

It’s been a while since I last posted on here. In fact it has been a lot longer than I first thought. The whole of summer has elapsed since my last post which marked the milestone of leaving University for good.

So how would I sum up the past months? I left University in the unknown, the prospect of finding my way in the world thrust upon me like an invading shadow. I think many of you will agree that this gut wrenching feeling was mutual.

The constant worry of finding a job, the lingering anticipation as to whether I would graduate and not to mention the horror of having my freedom tore away through the transition back to life at home were all tough pills to swallow.

I left life at uni however with a certain degree of optimism. Even though I was fully aware that my circumstances were somewhat detrimental, a part of me still felt and remains hopeful about the future.

As I began my decent into the unknown however the big wide world quickly started to dismantle the hope that lived within me. The stark reality of my situation hit home. It hit me fast and hard and I was powerless to do anything about it.

In the weeks after uni had ended my independence was shattered as moving back home with parents really took its toll. To make matters worse the collective depression surrounding the severe state of the economy also cast its poisonous misery upon me and the realisation that I had no money or real prospect of finding a job became ever so real.

As the weeks progressed my situation altered very little, the only change being that part-time work at my unwanted job turned to full-time leaving me slightly more financially stable.  To this day I still remain a member of the masses struggling to make it out there.  Even though my situation remains similarly bleak somewhere between now and then my mentality changed.

I began my post university life journey feeling dejected, depressed and let down by the system. In an attempt to combat these feelings I dedicated my time finding ways that I could better myself, regardless of the financial incentive. As a result I fought my earlier decision to shy away from the idea of completing work experience as a journalist and landed myself a voluntary position at a local newspaper. Something happened that day and my whole outlook on life began to change.

I think it was the first day I noticed my name feature in the newspaper that I really sparked hope and determination within me. A mixture of self-pride, happiness and disbelief at the concept of local people seeing my name and entrusting in my material was quite overwhelming and also quite emotional.

In the time spent dedicating my time bringing news to people I really feel like I’ve grown as person. My knowledge, skills and most importantly confidence within my own abilities has expanded beyond my wildest dreams.

Before my time there I really don’t think I was ready to take on the world and I think that’s probably why I never did. Even though I still haven’t made it to where I want to be I now truly believe in the concept that if you have the believe in yourself and you want something so bad that your willing to go out there and fight for it then  nothing can stop you.

I think it’s only fitting therefore that my advice to all you other graduates out there who have found yourselves like me (feeling dejected), would be to go out there and do something that’s going to instil faith in your abilities.

Who knows after that you might just be surprised with what you’re capable of?