So why are weekly commutes so scary, again?

When job hunting you come across the oddest reasons for being turned down, one of the oddest is geographic proximity. If I look for a job in the London area, a likely scenario, what is the big deal with me doing a weekly commute? On my dime and time, might I add. As long as I’m in the office 8.30 Monday morning isn’t that all that counts?

Is is this purely a UK issue? It being an island and all?

I frankly don’t understand, which is why this BBC article is so strange for me. While we’re not all property tycoons living in South of France I still don’t see the big thing about weekly commutes.

On the contrary, I see it as a possibility to personal growth and professional development.

http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20141118-the-worlds-longest-commutes

After careful consideration….

When job hunting, this is an automated message we’ve all received and we know that those words isn’t the beginning of a new and fruitful relationship. Fair enough and not that much of a problem; an organisation should recruit the person they believe can do the job.

No, what bothers me is the time lapsed between the application and this answer. Yesterday I submitted my CV to a large company for a Communications Director position. I immediately received a confirmation that they had received my application. And 32 minutes later I received this follow-up message:

Thank you for your recent application to XXXX.

After careful consideration we have decided not to progress with your application at this point in time as we have identified candidates that more closely match our requirements.

Please continue to review our current opportunities on the careers page of our website at xxx, to ensure consideration for future roles.

Thank you for the interest you’ve shown and may we wish you every success in your search for a new role.

Yours sincerely,

XXX Talent Acquisition

Really? My application was carefully considered for the whole of 32 minutes. And that during a time of day when not many are at the office. How careful can you be in 32 minutes? Personally, I not only find this behaviour unprofessional I also find it rude.

I understand we all play the Taleo guessing game and unless my CV doesn’t contain the correct key words it won’t show up. But I would advice the responsible managers to programme an automated timer to the answer and hold it for 24 hours. It would at least make you look minimally professional.

 

Gender Equality in the Board Room

To all of you crying out for women in your board room I have the following question and comment:

  • What is you think a woman can do but a man can’t? (And vice versa…)
  • Instead of crying, open your eyes and look around. We’re here and we’re competent.

Is Microsoft the Global Police Force?

Right or wrong Microsoft is pushing their cloud solutions and I’m sure they are good, or at least no worse than other cloud solutions on the market. What I wonder about though is the strategy behind the commercials, it’s all very nice and worthy to be the cloud solution behind big public events. However, what I don’t understand is why Microsoft are so proud over their Digital Crimes Unit, or proud might not be the right word, but personally I would think twice before publicly and globally market the fact that a privately own company has taken on a global police role. While I can see the need to keep up to speed and even anticipate threats, it’s always good to be able to stop attacks on a cloud solutions. But posing as an alternative, private, police? Has the support for and belief in the police force sunk so low that companies retreat to their own cyber crime solving units? I’m not speaking about research and monitoring, I’m speaking about Crime Units that helps find criminals – all according to Microsoft’s own words. Public Private Partnerships, PPP, is a fairly usual way for the public sector to work with the private sector and it can be a very good for all involved. But I personally believe strongly in the so-called state monopoly on violence. I am certain Microsoft’s Crime Unit finds cyber criminals, I mean it’s their job, but what happens then? Are these criminals reported to the national police force in the country the criminals are found? Microsoft deals with them themselves? And what in the eyes of Microsoft constitute a crime? It’s not a subject for a commercial, true, but I’m not so certain that I find this approach of Microsoft’s reassuring.

Google’s Tribulations – Déjà-vu all over again…

By now it hasn’t escaped many that Google’s UK boss Matt Brittin didn’t know his own pay when asked in the cross party hearing about Google’s UK tax polices. While it must be a nice problem to have, that’s not my gripe. Nor am I discussing the tax deal whether it was fair or not. But I wonder about why Google seemingly doesn’t seem to see the PR snafu in this story. If I headed up a company and a senior company representative floundered like this at a question and was called “evil” on camera I’d definitely consider that as something of a [minor] PR disaster.

The whole thing reminds me painfully about the SOPA hearings, the same thing there – the IT industry at large sent one lawyer that like the Lone Rider faced a committee of hostile Senators and even more hostile pro-SOPA representatives. And if companies like Google hadn’t shut the Internet down for a day, SOPA would have been introduced there and then.

I so surprised every time I see this happening. One of the biggest companies in the world and they behave worse than a start-up managed by a 20-year old from Mother’s walk-in closet. It’s like Google don’t care about their reputation. Or does Google think that their reputation is so good that they are impossible to harm? Or that because they of their size and market position have nothing to worry about? I find their arrogance amazing. And what more I find their attitude to me as a customer demeaning. Look at the situation – Prime time TV and one of the main star actors doesn’t know his lines. One can argue that Mr Brittins salary wasn’t the subject of the hearing, but he should have been prepared. I feel a little bit insulted on behalf of my métier, weren’t we (and I speak about PR and Communications practitioners) involved in the preparations? Or did Google didn’t feel it was necessary?Where we involved, but not listened to? Did Goole think that this was purely a fiscal question? And that once the deal with the UK government was closed, that was it? No repercussions? No questions asked? And what more, why seemingly no preparations, foresight or strategy from Google’s side?

As said, Google’s tribulations and floundering – déjà-vu all over again…

Perception is all…

Am sitting at home and in general feeling like the weather here in Zurich today i.e. grey and dreary. At least yesterday it was a thunderstorm where at least one has the impression of something happening not just muddles along. I have lost my voice, which soon will pass, I look for a new position which a process hopefully soon is accomplished, I’m nursing a herniated disk – but life has that quality that you CAN lift yourself in the shoestrings, pick yourself up and start again…

So in times like these I do like I always do, muse about the little things around me and isn’t it interesting how perception is all? I mean we are aware that it’s the case but somehow it doesn’t strike home all the time. I just pressed two oranges, I know that I will get the same amount of fibres, vitamins and juice by eating them but somehow they taste better as juice. Molten butter on toast tastes far better than molten butter on un-toasted bread. Molten cheese tastes far better as fondue (after all I live in Switzerland) or as cheese chips than molten cheese that has been left out on the kitchen counter. How come? And then there is the matter of semantics, my favourite – as those of you who knows me privately will know – is umbrella, it can just as easy be a parasol can’t it? At least in Northern Europe, we’d much more prefer to use a parasol because it’s connotations than an umbrella. Right?

But what makes it so difficult to change these perceptions? Sometimes when I go on about the umbrella/parasol twist the person in front of me stares at me as if I was Chewbacca’s country cousin just landed from a Galaxy far far away. Is it because change is difficult? Is it because turning our old truths upside up or down is hard to manage? Is it because someone shedding new lights on something we thought we knew how to makes us feel uncertain?

The Disenfranchisement That Isn’t

They are disenfranchised

we’ve heard it more and more in various political analysis always in relation to the so-called grievance parties and their voters, think UKIP, Front National, Sweden Democrats, Vlaams Belang, and even if they are not parties – Trump and to a certain extend Sanders (although for his voters it’s more “quaint but unrealistic”). It’s an argument which has been repeated with higher and higher voices and more and more intensely. You know, like we all do when we are trying to convince ourselves that something we doubt are really the gospel.

I started with looking up what disenfranchised means, and Merriam Webster defines it as

to deprive of a franchise, of a legal right, or of some privilege or immunity; especially :  to deprive of the right to vote

in other words, in the original meaning it is a conscious act of someone that puts another person in the position of disenfranchisement. But in the criticism I have read is has come to mean a group of people that seemingly have removed themselves from [mainstream] society.

However, my question is – have they? In the latest Edelman Trust Barometer their results show an increasing trust divide towards businesses and governments. Neither, it is felt by the large majority, deliver. Personally, when it comes to politics I agree. More and more I have the sense that [national] politics is kindergarten for overpaid party players that has been elected, not so much based on competence, but because they turned up and that doesn’t dare to take real responsibility. The difference is that since I belong to the informed public, as defined by Edelman, aged 24 – 64; college educated; in top 25% income per age group in each country; report significant media consumption and engagement in business news; my criticism is more likely to be seen as well-informed and to the point while someone not from this group saying the same will be considered as disenfranchised.

Again, I ask, are the voters that vote on these “grievance parties” disenfranchised? Maybe they have looked at their society and see a reality where their worries are not listened to, where they have increasing difficulties in finding jobs that makes ends meet, where ghettos are on the rise, where jobs are moved elsewhere and where politicians, whom frankly often should know better, seems to be locked in endless wars of power instead of doing what they where elected to do – deliver a society of [relative] inclusion. Based on this maybe, just think the thought, these so-called disenfranchised voters have made their analysis and decided to protest almost the only way we can protest in a democratic society – by casting our ballots.

But what happens when they turn up, and don’t forget, grievance parties often get their voters to turn up and vote in a much higher extent than traditional parties, and decide to exercise what at the same time is their citizen right and obligation? They are reproached for voting on the wrong party. If that was me treated like that, I’d be raving mad in white linen. And not only that, I’d be even more convinced that I am right.

So, my advice, to the mainstream parties, should they care and bother – if you want to bridge the widening gulf of distrust meet the grieved electorate and show, with measurable actions and without retreating into populism I mean e.g. globalism is here to stay; that you take their world view seriously and continuously and not just when it’s that time in the election cycle.

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