That Sinking Feeling in Dissertation Writing


Yes, we’re all at that point of year (well, some of us), when we prepare to get our theses/ dissertations/ research papers in and not like most, I was quite excited about having to write my very OWN piece of work which will probably be the most important piece of research I have ever done but as we know, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies – not just graduation gowns and distinction certificates; its sleepless nights and thoughtless hiccups.

But as I come to the completion of my work I have started to realise that the hardest part of writing one is not finding the right topic (which too is trick because it’s difficult to find the balance between inspirational and realistic) or the right supervisor (which too is absolutely essential) or the sources. Infact it is the moment when you start to write things in your study which are completely novel and new, which noone has yet spoken of, about or for. I love writing essays – I understand how to structure them, how to make them rock solid by having genuine sources etc – And this practice makes me scared when I start to write something which is not out of any paper, journal or book, for which there could be no reference but my brain. While this feeling is exciting and the sole reason what makes writing your own research project so exciting, at the same time it brings the feeling of self-doubt and fear. Sometimes analysing my results, I think to myself ‘I hope I am not being stupid’ and well it’s a bit unsettling of a feeling.

That apart, I couldn’t be unthankful, I got a wonderful supervisor, a reasonable topic and a smooth journey – hopefully I can finish it off in time and the effort is reflected on the grades and who knows what else!

What we can learn from the Gentlemen…


From time to time, I self-evaluate myself, my life and everything around me which I can have an impact on. So that I could try and be my better self every single day. I have been observing and thinking and I came across some striking and very constructive habits, predominantly possessed by men, don’t get me wrong, some women do too, but I believe it comes naturally to men while women have to strive to develop these habits, like myself. While these habits have constructive implications for most things we do in life, I see them as vital for career progression and growth, especially in a work force which is more or less a ‘man’s world’ (Its changing!). So here’s the two of my favourite ones:

Solve the problem
They say sometimes when women talk about their problems, they don’t want solutions, they just want to be listened to. That’s alright as long as the one you share your problems with is limited to a trusted, close few. But we do this at work and in social circles excessively, women or men neither is it appealing nor constructive. Infact many would see it as a waste of time. If you can appreciate that there is a problem, don’t just leave it there – Take it, twist it, shake it, break it – Do whatever until you make peace with it. If it happens so, that there is nothing you can do about it, then is it really worth your time to discuss it?
Having said that to even understand or recognize a problem you must hear and say – but excessively complaining about things doesn’t seem like the most productive use of time, when you could rather be changing and shaking things.

Be full of yourself
It’s an absurd thing to say but I have seen way too many women shy to own their successes and achievements. The idea is: If you don’t believe in yourself, who will? You have got to start believing in your abilities and your decisions. And above all you need to know that you deserve what you are striving for. Sure, you learn from others, you need the luck, prayers and blessings, support from others etc but in the end YOU need to make things happen. Self-awareness is a gift, you need to know your strengths and your weaknesses, and especially when it comes you career you have got to build the former and manage the later. Personally, I find power posing to be an excellent help in this department.
Both of these habits, I believe, would make us more constructive, productive, happy and successful individuals and professionals. But these, with everything else, need to be adopted in moderation. No one wants to know or work with an arrogant bully or a complete bore.

On that note, keep learning from everything and everyone!

Why Recruit by Referrals?


Having graduated only a year ago and graduating soon yet again (MSc.), I am surrounded by countless number of jobseekers (including myself) and I hear about the frustration of having to ‘network’. And seeing others with more valuable ‘networks’ progress faster in their careers as compared to the ones with less valuable networks. Working with a recruitment company showed me why this happens to begin with.

 

First and foremost, the truth that many people forget is that recruiters WANT to recruit and find the best person and what keeps them doing that and makes job hunting for new graduates so hard is that the skill misfits are endemic and so many people don’t effectively communicate what they have to offer. So, naturally it is a very costly matter for the organisations to find the right people by advertising, paying commissions, interviewing, carrying out assessment centres etc. Referrals on the other hand do not need to be advertised and this makes the process not only cost effective, but quick.

 

Money is not the only matter. They say.. Recruit the character and teach the skill. And everyone would agree, judging character can be very difficult through a set of questions or activities. However, when you get referrals from people you trust, you can probably trust them for their opinion about the referred individual too. By no means do I think it is the best way of recruiting, but it has started to make sense to me why it happens so much.

 

In my personal opinion the skill and talent are just as important and networking as people want to have likable people on their teams, who would not only work efficiently but also get along with them. But networking surely helps you achieve things you are capable of earlier and easier. 

Regulatory Split: Too costly a transition?


Cry over the hefty fines issued by FCA of over £470M in 2013 alone, one after another since mid last year really doesn’t surprise. It has been happening for a while now and despite the recovery in growth and economic indicators, the fear of penalties haunts the existence of most financial institutions. Now, here’s the perspective not many seem to be taking much notice of, the fines are if anything justified – extreme for sure, but that’s the kind of attitude that’s required for a truly deterrent impact to take effect.

Second is the idea of dynamic v static effects. All colossal changes seem impossible and painful in its initial stages, there is letting go of old habits, learning new things and getting used to them. And a change so radical is ought to be painful in the beginning, but it will only lead to a system more reliable, sustainable and greater (reasonable) profitability. This profitability doesn’t only emerge from the reliable operations, but also the investors trust in the performance of these financial institutions post-regulatory enforcement. Especially, as UK seems to be the most concerned one at this point about rising of regulatory standards. This although worries at the same time! Some foreign banks have already started to face trouble adjusting to the new UK regulatory standards, especially as their home bases including the SEC have still not put the matter under such great scrutiny. The regulatory standards for sure are a painful, yet fruitful move for a more sustainable future; however the regulatory discrepancies in a global financial space could be a problem. I think the transition might be longer than expected!

World at Night: The Triad


earthlights2_dmsp_bigThis picture was taken in 2000 by a NASA satellite. A very unique and amazing picture it is, but there is something about the picture, beyond the serenity. It describes the idea of economic prosperity in very simple terms. If you haven’t already noticed the obvious, go back and spot the regions with most ‘light’. Its implications could be understood very well if you took the word ‘enlighten’ literally. It is indeed the ‘triad’ of world economic leaders which are most ‘enlightened’ in the picture and otherwise in terms of their GDP and technological development. The ‘triad’, which means three, of the world economic leaders are America, Europe and some regions of Asia (Japan/ China). These are the major trade hotspots of the world, which means the ‘prosperity’ in the world is distributed as clusters, the extent of which is beautifully and simply shown in this picture. The map below is just an illustration of world GDPs per capita, which show trends of the sort, not very different from the picture taken by satellite.

Image

Cows explain World Economies


ImageSOCIALISM

You have 2 cows. You give one to your neighbour.

COMMUNISM
You have 2 cows. The State takes both and gives you some milk.

FASCISM
You have 2 cows. The State takes both and sells you some milk.

NAZISM
You have 2 cows. The State takes both and shoots you.

BUREAUCRATISM
You have 2 cows. The State takes both, shoots one, milks the other, and then throws the milk away…

TRADITIONAL CAPITALISM
You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

AN AMERICAN CORPORATION
You have two cows. You sell one, and force the other to produce the milk of four cows. Later, you hire a consultant to analyse why the cow has dropped dead.

ENRON VENTURE CAPITALISM
You have two cows. You sell three of them to your publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your brother-in-law at the bank,  then execute a debt/equity swap with an associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via an intermediary to a Cayman Island Company secretly owned by the majority shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option on one more. You sell one cow to buy a new president of the United States , leaving you with nine cows. No balance sheet provided with the release. The public then buys your bull.

ANDERSEN CORPORATION
You have two cows. You shred them.

FRENCH CORPORATION
You have two cows. You go on strike, organise a riot, and block the roads, because you want three cows.

JAPANESE CORPORATION
You have two cows. You redesign them so they are one-tenth the size of an ordinary cow and produce twenty times the milk. You then create a clever cow cartoon image called ‘Cowkimon’ and market it worldwide.

GERMAN CORPORATION
You have two cows. You re-engineer them so they live for 100 years, eat once a month, and milk themselves.

ITALIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows, but you don’t know where they are. You decide to have lunch.

A RUSSIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows. You count them and learn you have five cows. You count them again and learn you have 42 cows. You count them again and learn you have 2 cows. You stop counting cows and open another bottle of vodka.

SWISS CORPORATION
You have 5000 cows. None of them belong to you. You charge the owners for storing them.

CHINESE CORPORATION
You have two cows. You have 300 people milking them. You claim that you have full employment, and high bovine productivity. You arrest the newsman who reported the real situation.

BRITISH CORPORATION
You have two cows. Both are mad.

IRAQI CORPORATION
Everyone thinks you have lots of cows. You tell them that you have none. No-one believes you, so they bomb the **** out of you and invade your country. You still have no cows, but at least now you are part of Democracy….

AUSTRALIAN CORPORATION
You have two cows. Business seems pretty good. You close the office and go for a few beers to celebrate.

Source: A Tale of Two Cows