Trouble Posting

Pondering effective practices and self-imposed obstacles.

“It’s better to be fast and good, than slow and perfect”

Why didn’t someone tell me this when I was young? I spent my first 20 years of existence trying to get everything perfect. But this minute distillation of wisdom only perculated in my direction long after I’d grown. I see the logic and advantages of this approach now, obviously there are disadvantages too, but in many situations they are out-weighed. Too late for me though, I can’t change the habits of over two and a half decades, no doubt the derivatives of a slight tendency towards OCD, extreme perfectionism as it were, and a finely honed expertise in procrastination.

I’m not a defeatist – I am constantly trying to be faster, and happy with good – but the quality/quantity arguement rears its damn head. Photography is different, in that I’m always aiming for quality, but I like to click lots.

3am Fishing Trip, Białystok, Poland

This week brought a form of light balm to my pains; Read on, about travel, blogging, photos…

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Photo: Through

What do you mean, I’ve missed another Postaweek challenge? I don’t know how…

Nevermind, here’s some pictures that represent this (or last) week’s theme ‘Through’, although I think almost every shot I have from Valleta, Malta, could fit here nicely…

Through Malta's famous Mdina Glass


Through here to see the rest…

Photo: Indulgence (and Incredible India)

Some thoughts and photo’s for a previous weeks Post A Week 2012 theme ‘Indulgence’. These were very nearly posted for last week’s theme ‘Contrast‘, which is another fitting title for what it is I’m saying.

The first photo’s were taken in Varkala, a popular beach for tourists along the coast of Kerala, India.

And the thoughts; Why is the world the way it is? Why is the quality of your life more dependent on your place of birth than on your IQ? Why do some people have more things than they need, and others don’t have basic education, food, or water?


More ‘Indulgence’, a book, and travel photos from India

Photo: Contrast (and Catania’s Pescheria)

Another entry for Post A Week 2012! For this week’s theme ‘Contrast’, I chose two photo’s that I had already intended to desaturate before the theme was announced, because of strong sun and interesting plays of light.

The first shot was taken during an all-day barbequeue in Catania, where I retrieved my camera from it’s hiding place specifically to capture the slats of light filtering through some overhead bamboo. My unwitting subjects are from Germany, USA and Italy, it was a great multi-cultural affair.

The second shot and others from the fish market are here

Photo: Down (Mi Dispiace, é un po tardi)

A quick post while I’m in the zone! This is a photo I chose for last weeks Post A Week 2012 theme ‘Down’.

I’ll be choosing another one for this weeks theme ‘Indulgence’ in a day or two.

Some background – this photo was taken with my point & shoot while I cycled 1500 kilometres of the Danube Cycleway, from SW Germany at the river’s source, to Budapest in Hungary (2010).
More photo’s and info on the ride

Good Reasons Not To Write

Or, How Not To Complete NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo happened in November as it does every year, and once again tens of thousands of WriMers wrote millions of words to achieve their individual target of 50,000 words or more. Personally, I failed abysmally and barely got started. That’s ok though, because I found there were other things I wanted to focus on, instead of churning out 50,000 amateurish words without a real goal in mind.

50,000 words is too much to practice writing. Good typing practice tho

I did think a lot about what it is to write, while otherwise occupied, and came up with an interesting analogy. I started to think of creating a novel as much like creating a patchwork quilt. A novel is a collection of moments or sequences, spun together to create a larger piece of work. Some writers create incredibly intricate and detailed work, skillfully making the smaller pieces into a whole with a clever plot or premise. Others can choose to create short exciting pieces which stand alone, or a lengthy focused story that has no plot outside its narrative.
Read More and See Photos

Have a Crafty Christmas with Vegetabaubles

Only TEN days until Christmas! At the beginning of December I spontaneously decided to go super healthy.

This means meat free, low fat and no junk food. So obviously I love greens (and whites, and oranges, etc) but now I’m taking it further by attempting to decorate my Christmas tree with veggies too.   🙂

First I made Ski’s, that help you see in the dark. The snow started melting because it’s warm inside.

See the rest of my Vegetabauble pics

So, What Are You Doing Now? A difficult question… Pt.1

A post on jobs, self-employment and business, in 3 parts.

Part One

“Hey, how are you? What have you been up to? Are you working now? Have you moved back here?”

What Berlusconi Is Doing Now

All questions I have been skirting around like a well-oiled politico for the last few months. Since landing back in the UK in May from almost a year abroad, I have been trying to gainfully employ myself. So, what have I ACTUALLY literally been doing? This is a question it has been mighty hard to answer for friends and family, and beyond possible when talking to anyone without a fairly indepth knowledge about me in general. Often, I have been less than clear, and meeting new people I have been unavoidably opaque.

But after a few months of miscellaneous activities, and aside from 2 weddings, 4 birthdays, and 2 funerals, here’s what I have been doing, and why.

Half-hearted attempt at Option 1 – Get a job

The first thing I tried was searching for employment. Trying to get a financial services job at the moment is challenging in itself. Coupled with my refusal to work a) for peanuts, b) with dummies, and the snobbery evident amongst recruitment agents against anyone who has been out of work for more than a couple of months, the process was almost unbearable. Regardless of activities partaken in, charitable efforts, or even actual employment, (things normally applauded in any workplace, social group or obituary) mention of being abroad for anything longer than a holiday is met with the expression of someone who has just tasted sour milk.

CV: "I like to read...." blah blah

Networking and promotion: This time round, I knew finding a job would be harder than before, so I needed to help myself stand out from the crowd. I emphasised my maths and IT skills, showed my very real interest in the industry with all the extra reading and studying I had done, and started to learn how to program with SQL and VBA. I applied to lots of jobs, used LinkedIn and all the job websites I knew of, got in touch with recruitment agents I already knew, asked friends for more contacts to sound out, sent speculative CV’s and spent money travelling to London for the most cursory of meetings.

Recruitment agents: I am a proud individual. I have a lot of confidence in my ability, and a lot of ambition. My goal is to find something meaningful I can do in the medium term if not the rest of my life, work with people I can respect, and leverage my range of talents as much as possible. The goal of a recruitment agent is to place x candidates by friday, earn enough commission to cover their credit card, and they have the attention span of a dog on LSD to boot.

I see; someone with lots of interests, a habit of pursuing them, enthusiasm for life, the skills to work in a variety of jobs, and a broad education. They see; someone with a choppy CV, average qualifications, can’t be easily summarised in a sentence, let alone labelled in 3 words.

WE ARE NOT GOING TO GET ALONG. That’s fine. I don’t really want a job, which is why I didn’t have the patience to deal with their weak knowledge of the position I applied for, and inability to understand my previous job role. I’m not too disgruntled that I effectively wasted my time because, happily, the agent and their firm will not earn the 25% of my annual wage they would have, despite their only talents being nodding, smiling, and using a telephone. You vultures.

You wouldn't like me when I'm angry

I’m sure there are a handful of recruitment agents out there who are good at their jobs, I have met one or two, but there is a massive majority of cowboys. Unfortunately the recruitment game is just a glorified sales exercise. Earning cash makes you king, so why take time to really find out about candidates and work hard on their behalf, when it is simpler to cherry pick candidates that are easy to sell. The massive surplus of candidates for each job makes this even easier at the moment.

Job applications: In the past, I have come to the decision not to apply for jobs advertised through recruitment agents, and to look carefully at other aspects of how employers ask you to apply for a job. I prefer employers who have taken time to think about what they are asking you to do, and want to vet applicants for their job themselves. Everyone applying for a job has a CV/Resume, so if an employer creates a form that asks you to enter every single detail from your CV manually and the format doesn’t even allow for copy-pasting lines of information one at a time, it reflects badly on the company. Do you want to work for an organisation choked by red-tape and rule followers? In the current climate, someone looking for a job will apply to tens of positions, so the basics of an application form should be straight-forward. Similarly, should you attend their overnight assessment centre at the other end of the country if they have 5 different weekends, each with 30 candidates, for only 5 jobs?

This is the private office we mentioned! If you need anything, we're all upstairs!

Colleagues: Besides, working in an office job is frustrating. I was once told, on a training course provided by my firm, “You can’t choose who you work with”. It was a very depressing thought, because it was so cold, hard and true. What I did understand though, was that the speaker should actually have said ‘You can’t choose who you work with, if you choose to work for someone else’. After a year of employment with that company, I chose not to work with them, which felt great. It wasn’t my last job, but even since before I finished university, I knew I wanted to work for myself.

Admittedly, some jobs tick a lot more boxes for people. How do you fare?

Work-Life balance: Getting a job was just something I considered as a way to pay the bills while I worked on starting a business. But for the last few years I have been voicing my opinion that if I worked even 40 hours a week on my own business, I must be able to do better for myself than the wage I was being paid. Forget all the fringe benefits, such as the satisfaction of being your own boss, working where you would prefer to work, and (a big one for me) not having to work with people who act-like-buffoons/your-preferred-bugbear. I could be well paid working in financial services, but that is the only box a job would tick for me.

I know that a few months, or maybe a year or two down the line, I would be cursing under my breath at every opportunity. I hate the sedentary effect of sitting at a desk all day and staring at a computer screen, and not knowing who I could end up spending most of my waking hours with until I’m stuck with them. No, I decided to reject the safety net of a job, leave myself with more time and less distractions, and to take a more direct approach to things.

Location, location, location: Another thing I really value, is being able to choose my surroundings. I strongly dislike city life, without the ease of escaping back to nature and getting outdoors to keep in shape.

Urban sprawl around Hwaseong fortress in Suwon, outside of Seoul, Korea.

Endless buildings, even an hour by train from the capital.

I like to think of them as People Storage Units

Peter Parkorr

More to come in Part 2; Self-employment – what, how, and where, etc. Different ways to be self-employed.

And in Part 3; Start a business – which business, why, and why not.

Lights, Action, and I took my Camera

Some seasonal photo’s from a small town fair in Yarm (the North East of England, UK).

Look everyone, the fair’s come to town…

Get involved in the Madness, and come on down.

Hook-a-duck anyone?…

Or, Pick-a-Pooh…

Or run straight to the rides, waiting for you.

Take-off and Mayday, it’s all the same thing…

Dodgems have stopped, run into the ring.

King Frog is beckoning…

‘Roll up!’ shout the stalls…

Moody lit dodgems….

And Candy Floss for all.

Bright lights and dense heat, stream into the air. And the people happily jostle, without burden of care.

Last stop is a bonfire…

We all love the fair.

Hope you enjoyed the shots!

PP