Are our rights more important than our duty to others?

This is a thought that’s been resonating with me with growing repetition during the journey of the global pandemic here in the UK.

It seems to me humankind has become more and more inward rather than outward looking over the years.

As the restrictions enforced by the pandemic have continued, the more amplified our disregard for our duty to others seems to have grown.

By that I mean consideration of the potential consequences our actions can have on others.

Each week, local small patches of council green areas outside residential houses are scattered with litter comprising fast food wrappers but lately discarded alcohol bottles. I haven’t seen people having picnics on these areas so assume it’s household fly tipping by residents, or people returning from fun in the park with their friends.

Why? Each household in the UK has rubbish collection weekly. There is no need to spoil the environment for others through laziness and/or entitlement. If there is no public rubbish bin locally, or if there is one, it’s full – why can’t people take their rubbish home and put it in for their rubbish collection?

I don’t doubt this is happening in every part of the UK.

Clearly the thought of the right to personal enjoyment of the individuals dropping these items far outweighs any thought of their impact on others. Children play on these small greens. Pet dogs are taken for walks by their owners. Residents look at these green spaces from their windows – vital when housebound or shielding. Where is the thought for the impact on others – the anxiety and isolation caused by thoughtless, ‘my right’ attitudes?

We see this time and again on a larger scale when the sun is shining in the debris left behind in parks and at coastal spots. There is a huge cost in clearly this up.

We know the dangers to the environment of discarded rubbish which has been proven to get into our water tables and food chains. By discarding rubbish thoughtlessly instead of taking it home, those individuals are potentially affecting their health and that of the ones they love. Ironic isn’t it?

Isn’t now the time to start to think of our duty to consider the impact of our behaviours on others?

Are employers solidifying employees’ fears?

The BBC News online featured a piece from the PCS (Public & Commercial Services) union today whose research suggest the majority of JobCentre Plus staff fear returning to their offices. Out of 1,299 members the PCS surveyed, their results shared showed 3 in 5 workers want to continue working at home and are fearful of returning to the workplace due to Covid.

PCS claim they should be allowed to continue to work from home as they’ve proved this is effective during Covid restrictions. Mark Serwotka, General Secretary of PCS union warned industrial action could follow.

The fear of returning to the workplace after so long working from home or on furlough during Covid will be many employees’ fears and this is something their employers need to address BEFORE they are asked to return.

There is so much fake news on social media and possibly amongst friends, families and community leaders. Add in the continuous illogical updates from Government, it becomes completely understandable the fear that can be brewing. Trouble is, this fear and be intrusive and longterm.

We all know facing our fears are the only way to conquer them. If we give in to this, anxiety, isolation, debilitation will grow and possibly cripple individuals, business and communities.

As individuals we have to find evidence from experts we trust to enable us to make decisions and resist listening to opinions/views of non-experts.

JobCentre Plus staff do a difficult job supporting the most vulnerable in our communities. If they go on strike, what happens to those in dire circumstances?

If Employers don’t support their employees to overcome their fears and gain confidence to living their lives to the full again – what happens to those employees? Remember not every person has gone through the pandemic living in a nice, safe home, in happy, nurturing relationships. For the majority, it’s been one of the hardest, loneliest periods of their lives.

Business is a core part of our lives and communities. If businesses aren’t flourishing, growing and employing people, taxes aren’t being paid to support the vulnerable, provide healthcare, education etc. Where will the money for these come from?

For many businesses, continued working from home for their employees won’t be tenable. If work can be done from home, might some employers start to ask why can’t it be outsourced overseas to a cheaper workforce?

Giving in to fear is not an option. As actor Will Smith said some time ago –

“Success lies on the other side of fear”

What say you?

Passion Map – Do You Have One?

The global pandemic and yo yo-ing UK restrictions over the past year + has enabled a period of reflection for us all.

“Where are we?” “Are we happy and fulfilled?” “Is something missing?” “Am I on the wrong road?” “Are my relationships healthy or toxic?”

Just some of the questions we may have considered over this time.

Catching glimpses of the highlights of HRH Prince Philip’s funeral over the weekend and seeing some of the unique things he had planned – such as symbols of his love of carriage racing and land/range rovers – got me thinking about how much planning we put into living our best lives.

How many of us run on automatic pilot? Doing everything as habit almost on automatic pilot just means we are existing not living.

Having a Passion Map enables us to really examine all areas of our life and ask ourselves those difficult questions. Especially “am I where I want to be?” or “am I on the path to get where I want to be?”

Slowly, we are seeing the seeds of change – restrictions are gradually lifting. Is now the time to devise our own Passion Map?

Life is too precious to return to automatic living.

What do you think?

Inspiring….

Despite Growing Talent, an inclusive employment programme I run, being on hold due to the pandemic, it’s always lovely to catch-up with some of the people who have participated over the years on how they are doing especially now.

Amongst the doom and gloom, uncertainty and insecurity the global pandemic has spread, some heart warming news!

Catching up with Jane, Debbie & Sharlene from past Growing Talent programmes, it was great to see their ignited self-belief and drive for personal growth has not been diminished by the challenges presented by Coronavirus.

Jane updated me on her current role. Still with Baxter Storey, who she joined on completion of Growing Talent 4, but now at a different account, she decided to use some of her personal time volunteering in her local community to help young people. Despite the application and joining process – rightly thorough screening – Jane is determined to support and encourage those that need it. Just as enthused as she was at the start of her journey all those years ago, it was a joy to learn how well she’s doing.

Debbie contacted me to share she had made it into print! Yes, her Christmas jumper, almost as bright as her smile, lights up the PwC welcome floor in the Welcome Team’s newsletter to raise money for charity on the annual ‘Christmas Jumper Day! Despite a challenging year – more so for Debbie who loves her intrepid travelling to far flung places, Debbie has also just won a new internal role after being interviewed by a Partner at PwC! Fearless as a lion and always up for a challenge – Go Debbie!

Just this week I learned Sharlene had come full circle. After completing Growing Talent in 2019 she joined a national facilities company in their facilities administration team. Unfortunately, like so many, Sharlene was made redundant earlier this year. Did she retreat into herself? Of course not! She moved house and got a job with Department of Work and Pensions as a Work Coach encouraging unemployed people to find the right role for them – and hopefully referring some to Growing Talent once the pandemic is over!

I am always in awe of the spirit, determination, innovative, empathetic DNA of the amazing people I work with on Growing Talent.

I know the next chapter for Jane, Debbie & Sharlene is going to be amazing because they will make it so.

For more information on Growing Talent check out – http://www.growing-talent.co.uk

V- Day has arrived!

Listening to @TalkRadio this morning, I listened to the news of a new figure in history. What a joy!

Maggie Keenan 90 years young with her 91st birthday next week became the first person to receive the PfizerNBiotech Covid-19 vaccine at 6.31 this morning.

This amazing lady only retired four years ago. She is already encouraging her peers to accept the vaccine. Role models, beacons of strength come from all ages, cultures and backgrounds of humanity. Let’s not dismiss anyone based on our own assumptions. See the heart and strength within everyone.

A much better 2021 is now looming thanks to the ingenuity of scientists, supply chains, manufacturers working together to deliver solutions.

Nothing is impossible when we work together and share ideas and innovation.

A much more positive approach to this weekend than last when a feature in the national papers showed the mental stress on our NHS throughout the global pandemic.

My positivity has just shot up………. how about yours?

New month, new outlook maybe?

It seems like Covid-19/Coronavirus has always been with us! As a new month dawns, we can be forgiven for feeling it will be with us forever!

At a time when we are all feeling the pressure of the continually changing situation with no end in sight, it’s easy to let our negative thoughts take over and slip into a negative spiral. Perfectly natural behaviour for humans but not at all empowering nor nurturing.

I came across this feature on the global flu pandemic of 1918 written by Richard Gunderman and updated in August 2019:

https://www.healthline.com/health/1918-flu-pandemic-facts

This feature busted number of myths. I wonder how many of the information about Covid-19/Coronavirus will be deemed ‘myths’ once this pandemic is over. Check it out for yourself.

Some myths in 1918 included:

25 million people were killed in the first six months globally sparking fears this was a ‘super virus that would wipe out humankind’. Following the end of the pandemic a rational look at the ‘fears’ reveals they were myths but, I feel, not dissimilar to our fears today about Covid-19/Coronavirus. Remember the First World War was still in place in 2018:

“Much of the high death rate can be attributed to crowding in military camps and urban environments, as well as poor nutrition and sanitation, which suffered during wartime. It’s now thought that many of the deaths were due to the development of bacterial pneumonias in lungs weakened by influenza.”

Even though we are still in the middle of our pandemic today, researchers/scientists have considered a higher death rate amongst our citizens living in poverty/overcrowding. Sounds logical and makes me question how much have we really learned from history?

Thankfully we now have an annual flu vaccine for our elderly and vulnerable citizens.

A key thing I took away from this piece by Richard, what how overwhelming it must have been to live through the pandemic of 1918 BUT, it did end. Covid-19/Coronarivus will end too.

If we can dig deep to get the strength and courage to stop wasting energy focussing on things we have no control over – Covid-19, Brexit, Weather etc – instead, reflect on where we are and where we want to be to enable us to start plotting small targets to get to that overall goal instead of running through life on automatic pilot, how much more would our resilience and empowerment grow?

Let’s switch off all the negative news, stop looking at social media, stop listening to negative people and learn some positivity tools.

If we plan where we want to be this time next year with small achievable targets in the journey, we might actually get there. Just how empowering would that be? Let’s grab hold of the opportunity this new month brings….

‘Build them up – knock them down’

A couple of things struck me whilst reading this feature about doctors fighting Coronavirus/Covid-19 in Italy.

  1. It isn’t just us in the UK suffering although from the constant negative reporting by ‘experts’, ‘Government officials’ and media – we could be forgiven for feeling it is.
  2. All humans seem to have the same trait. We praise someone for doing something great and follow it by knocking them down. Whether it’s a healthcare professional, charity leader, celebrity with a social conscience – why do humans feel the need to do this? In the UK we spent months clapping our NHS – as many countries did. Now in the second lockdown, we don’t.
  3. Contradictory reporting gives mixed messages, causes confusion and spreads disbelief. As the feature in the photo says, experts in Italy have given contradictory messaging on Covid. Some medical staff are now being singled out for abuse. How is this acceptable.

Balanced, unbiased reporting of hard facts is crucial to enable people to make informed choices. Whilst we constantly want to ‘sell’ news – and let’s face it ‘good’ news doesn’t sell – we will constantly be dragged into this quicksand of confusion and suspicion.

Accurate communication in all areas of our lives – work and life – are essential to enable us to flourish.

What do you think?

Hidden Figures – Acceptable?

It’s long been known and accepted within business that figures will be ‘fudged’ to give a more favourable report on their performance.

 

Take a look at Estate Agent’s house descriptions – often not the same in reality.

 

Today Times Radio reported on the results of their Freedom of Information request from all healthcare trusts in the UK and found there are over 15 million people waiting for their hospital NHS appointments having been referred by their GP for further investigations.  Times Radio went on to report the Government’s official figures of this waiting list is just over 3 million as their stats are not centralised.

 

It’s accepted tough decisions needed to be made during the pandemic but there seems to be no clarification on whether the 15 million is accumulative backlogs from prior to the pandemic or if this figure is due solely to the decisions made to protect the NHS during the pandemic.

 

Either way it seems unacceptable to ‘fudge’ figures when lives are at risk.

 

We’ve already seen countless people who have discovered their unknown cancer has now spread as they couldn’t be seen during the pandemic.  For every individual there is a family who will carry the lifelong scars of these tough decisions.

 

Whatever the real figure, we can’t change what’s happened but we can come up with a solution to address this backlog now.

 

Will there be action or blame shifting?

 

 

Deflated? Never at Growing Talent – ready for any challenge!

We all know the pleasure and the pain that Coronavirus has brought. Although we’ve all been in the same sea trying to get to the other side, we’re all in different boats.

It’s been a rollacoaster for everyone – maybe just to different degrees.

For those able to work from home, there’s maybe been the challenge that others in your family have been doing the same! Home schooling for those with children has been an added dimension – not all bad but not all good either!

Some of us have been forced to look at our own wellbeing. If we’re lucky enough to have gardens – they are likely re-designed and weed free! Some may have set some space aside for a veg plot having seen the advantages of growing your own – especially in a pandemic!

Some have taken the time to learn new skills – learn a new language, bricklaying or joined an online choir or logo class.

For some living in rooms without their own space or garden the initial lockdown is particularly tough.

Now we’re nearing the end of lockdown and the end of the furlough scheme which is seeing the unemployment figures rise exponentially. Graduates and those who have finished A levels are leaving full-time education. There has never been so much untapped talent in decades.

The poison chalice of unemployment quickly strips away self-worth and belief even in those previously highly confident with solid work histories. This needs addressing. It won’t work for everyone being put into a job without a programme of rebuilding their self-esteem – enter Growing Talent!

After six years collaboration with Job Centre Plus on Growing Talent, I was approached by two key cheerleaders of Growing Talent – also managers at JCP! – to run some programmes to address this self-esteem void along with knowledge for job searching to give those looking for work the edge wellbeing and so on.

Next week kicks off a week long programme for Jill – JCP manager at Bromley for some of her customers. Followed by two sessions the following week specifically aimed at Graduates. We’re really pleased Sophie and the team at Smart Works are joining us on these session to showcase their amazing offering.

In August a week long course is deliver for Rajen of Job Centre Plus in East London.

Meeting and exceeding the Government’s Kick Start programme our partnership will deliver empowerment to participants to sustainably move forward.

Ask any Growing Talent Associate or Graduate – we’re never deflated and always ready for any challenge!

Can’t wait to get started!Deflatd

I caught a news item on Aljazeera this morning which posed  thought provoking, ethical questions about a vaccine for Coronavirus/Covid-19.

 

Who should be the guinea pigs for a potential vaccine trial?  We know someone has got to try it without knowing any side affects etc.  Is it right to trial it on healthy people and then expose them to the disease?  Is it right to trial it on those who are already sick?  I know I wouldn’t like to make this judgement call.

 

The question was then posed, once there is an effective vaccine, who gets it first?  The citizens of the country who discover it, the poorest countries with little access to healthcare, the healthiest population to prevent them getting ill keeping businesses going? medical staff, carers?

 

 

The world is a very small place.  People have friends, family, connections globally not just in the country in which they live.  We are used to travelling far and wide.  We know Coronavirus is related to the flu viruses and will be around now.  The genie is well and truly out of the bottle.  A quote I heard from  one of the speakers on AlJazeera this morning is ‘no one is safe until we are all safe’.

 

One thing is for sure, how humanity answers and acts on these questions will determine if humanity has a bright future or if it’s going to be a ‘me me me’ scenario.

 

What do you think?

 

 

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