It’s been a while

More than a month has passed since my last blog, for which I can only apologise, but I’ve been really busy seeing a number of our students who have turned their focus to job hunting now that their exams are over.

That’s meant that I’ve kept thinking of things to blog about, but not had the time to do so, so here’s a couple of the topics that have been whizzing around my head.

1 Influencing People – I’ve been helping a couple students think about how they influence people so that they can answer competency questions on application forms.  We’ve chatted about the power (or lack of it) of logical arguments, of flattery, of giving orders, and of course the famous ‘carrot and stick approach’ – threatening them (the stick) and offering them something nice (the carrot).  At the same time the following quote from The Four Voyages by Christopher Columbus, came up on my Penguin Classics Desk Calendar

“The Admiral was quite certain that they were near land….. He promised to give a silk doublet to the first sailor who should report it.”

Now, I’m not a historian, but I’m fairly certain that the sailors would have preferred a barrel of rum, a bag of gold coins or even extended shore leave, to a silk doublet.  I do wonder whether Columbus’ voyages would have been shorter & more efficiently conducted if he’d changed his motivational techniques.

2 Slacking? – One of my favourite ways of refreshing my brain during a working day is by visiting favourite web pages – looking at and thinking about something different usually helps me unblock my mind, be more creative and bolsters my energy levels.  To this end I was reading Oliver Burkeman’s article on the Guardian website on Monday (  Once there I realised that this week’s article was about the very thing I was doing – taking a break from work – and the impact it has on other people’s perception of us.

I know that I’m on the BBC Sport website to aid my work efficiency, but everyone who walks by & sees my screen probably just thinks I’m slacking.  Whilst how much this matters is  in question – some people judge by what gets done, others on what effort is seen to be put in – I suppose that the only thing we can do is be aware of how people perceive us and mitigate the consequences as best we can.

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