Please click all the links we offer and don't forget 'no link is an island'; each page you visit may have many more links to try, and always read the comments to see what other people think.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Apps aid productivity

I use a few apps on my Android phone to help me organise and speed up what I need to do. Here are my three favourites.

What apps do you use? Can you recommend some more?

Thursday, March 14, 2013

News about Google Reader

If you use Google Reader for reading and collating blogs such as this one you may be interested to know it will be shutting down in July.

Click here for details and how to work around it or here to find out about protests being made to Google.

If you don't use Reader, have a click any way as you may be interested in learning how to collate blogs you like.

Monday, March 11, 2013

"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars"

In my last full post I talked about getting out of the 9 to 5, run of the mill, chained-to-a-desk type work. There are however a lot of people, who are not necessarily in an office, who work long hours for low pay and who may feel trapped in their work situation. Yet their work is essential to the smooth running of everybody's day to day life. The pay is low and they get little thanks. They are frequently looked down upon by some. Yet imagine what life would be like without the binmen, checkout servers, hospital porters, cleaners, mechanics, farm workers, plumbers or factory workers. It may not be 9 to 5 but it can be very hard work. Thankfully there are people who are still happy to do those jobs.

For those who are keen to stay in their chosen trade or who are eager to work in roles that society relies on there is lots of help from state sponsored agencies and organisations, ready and able to help them find work where it exists. The services in place designed to help these people are, it seems, not able to help those who wish to get out of that sector, the people who want to take flight, do something radically different, live the dream or go it alone. There seems to be a huge gap in the available advice and assistance for the people in between, the ones who want to get out of the essential services or ordinary office jobs and who want to be like the highflyers. Social mobility? Where is the roadmap for it?

In that recent post I mentioned a few people who have escaped the rat race and gone on to live life on their own terms. They are inspirational and their insights are invaluable. They ooze confidence and give the impression of having had lots of support, great opportunities and to have been given the sense that anything is possible.

For someone who has only lived in the '9 to 5' world, in a company that doesn't use up to date tech, whose family are from the same world, whose friends are in the same sorts of jobs, it can seem like a fairy tale. The photos of a freedom-from-work guru on a beach, in the desert or up a mountain can seem just as far away as the banker in his Maserati living in a penthouse apartment on the Thames.  It doesn't seem real if it is too far way.

I know because that is how I feel. I hope that one day it might be me telling people how easy it is to live life the way you want. But not yet. At the moment I am still at the bottom of that hill looking for the right path to get me a bit higher up. As I search for a way to make my life my own I will continue to post links to advice and guidance, inspirational and aspirational sites and to anything that relates to the world of work in all its forms, in the hope that some of it helps me and helps you to get to the point where we can take flight.

I have two challenges for you today.

  1. Next time you see anyone in an essential job, such as those listed above, smile at them, thank them if you can. Just don't ignore them or look down on them.
  2. Ask yourself what skills you have to offer the world. Are you good with your hands, good at planning, good at communicating, good at problem solving, good at making people feel good? Think hard about what your basic skills boil down to and how they might translate into your life's work. Go.

*"We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars" Oscar Wilde from Lady Windermere's Fan.

Monday, March 04, 2013

March 4 - 8 2013

Careers week logo

It's National Careers week.
That means lots of additional information on the internet.
If you are looking for guidance try starting here.

Good luck

Friday, March 01, 2013

Not the 9 to 5

When I first set up the website I felt that the name of the site was self explanatory and would be understood by any readers who came this way. Now I am feeling the time is right to explain what Not The 9 to 5 really means.

9 to 5 is a well known phrase, in the west at least, and is a synecdoche, it is a description of a part of the world of work which stands for the whole of work.

Hearing the phrase 9 to 5 will invoke in many people an image of commuters jammed into a train, suited men walking across Waterloo bridge to the City, people head down hard at work in offices. In the USA it will summon the image of the ubiquitous cubicle familiar to anyone who has seen the Matrix or a Dilbert cartoon. In the UK where our buildings are older they may envisage people chained to their desks. 9 to 5 is a fairly neutral statement but it conjures slightly less than positive ideas of work being a chore.

In the pre-Industrial Age 9 to 5 made sense, daylight was available during those hours for most of the year and very little work could be done by candle light. Then the invention of machinery and electricity made it possible to work through the night but tradition and the need to interact with other workers meant that change didn't happen. Now we have connectivity and can interact with workers on the other side of the planet if we wish and 9 to 5 really makes very little sense. People working in London may have to work with people in Tokyo at 7am or San Francisco at 11pm, should they really be asked to work all the hours between? If your colleagues are a thousand miles away is it necessary to be in an office in central London or can you work just as well from home in the country?

In past jobs I have often felt how strange it is that bosses are happy for their staff to clock in at nine and out at five with very little regard for what they did in between. I knew staff who were penalised for not being at their desk on time or for leaving early and yet anyone working beyond those hours was never praised and anyone who achieved a lot in that time was given no more benefit than someone who slacked through the day. Seems a funny way to run a business to me.

I recently wrote on my other blog about ways in which the world of work is changing, hopefully for the better, in that some people believe a business should be measured not just by its bottom line but also on the good, or bad, it does in the world. The way employees are treated and feel about the company would be one of these measures. For now we live in a world in which there is almost nothing that is not business. Your health, wealth and free time are all tied to someone's business somewhere. How you meet, court and marry is now monetised. How you travel is almost never free, even walking costs shoe leather. Without money there is nothing in the modern world.

And yet we are still, by and large, tied to the 9 to 5 day. From shops and schools to doctors and bankers the majority live in the 9 to 5 world. But there are others breaking out.

Teleworkers, using home technology to 'be' at work any time of day. Crafters and inventors working in their sheds building beautiful things, people with big ideas about becoming Free Range, Multipotentialites or Paid-to-Exist. For many people there is no longer a need to be a cardboard cut out, boxed and packaged automaton or cog. And these roles don't need to be for internet geniuses. Any idea, any pursuit, any handmade item can be a success with very little start up funding.

Of course, Yahoo seems to disagree. But I planned this post last night and then saw this on my Twitter feed this afternoon:

 So Not The 9 to 5 is a blog about all those other opportunities, ways of working, places to work and ways to monetise your life for yourself not some remote boss who has nothing in common with you. For anyone sick of being a desk jockey, anyone who wants meaning in their work, anyone fed up of being a nameless cog in a faceless machine, anyone wanting to break out and do things their way, the posts on this blog and the links on the Twitter feed are for you, they may be inspiration, information, advice or other resources but I hope that through them you will find a new way to work - Not The 9 to 5.

Laura. (Don't forget our motto - No Link Is An Island - when you follow a link and arrive at a new website have a clickabout and see what else is on offer.)