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A Tween on Growth Hormones

 

So another mid term break has come to a close, it all seems to be flying in so fast, no doubt helped by the fact that the shops have been pushing Christmas decorations since the end of September. I foolishly went into Pennys a couple of weeks ago to buy Halloween decorations and left with Christmas decorations in my hands instead ( a lovely Late Late Toy Show blankie thank you for asking). The place had been completely cleared out of Halloween and the freshly arrived Christmas decorations were being picked over by those annoying people who always snag the best stuff and are only thrilled when you ask them where they got it from (Pennys, hun).
And with Christmas comes pressure. And most of that pressure lands on women. To produce the idyllic Christmas day, to have cherubic children wrapped up in matching pyjama sets (and now course a Late Late Toy Show blankie as well). Most of us are smart enough to know it is completely ridiculous and far from it we were reared but still it takes a better woman than me not to be sucked in. For most of us we are also working (hello quarter end), trying to see all the relations, lose a stone for the big day and have an Insta fabulous table setting. Our rational minds know that is impossible but still the gnawing feeling of not ever having done enough is nearly always present.
But sometimes a trend comes along that is so completely nonsensical in its own right that it sort of snaps you out of your stupor and make you sit up and think “you must be fecking kidding me”. This trend has been bubbling along for the last couple of years and it is of course the complete nonsense that is foraging for Christmas decorations. I am not talking about picking blackberries on a summer day but rather the completely insane idea that a grown working woman will not have an ideal Insta fabulous Christmas without heading down to her local verge and cutting out branches and twigs. Now obviously if you are super crafty and have been doing this for years then knock yourself out. I am more speaking to how the bar for perfection is always getting higher. The expectations and pressures society puts on ourselves are beyond the point of what is possible. We talk a lot about expectations and values in our Female Leadership course and how to manage them. Sometimes it helps just to articulate what those expectations are and sometimes even just saying them outloud makes you realise how completely unrealistic they are (which brings us back to forgaing).
Talking of all that is possible/ impossible, I attended the Tangent, Trinity’s Ideas Workspace Generative AI workshop last week. It was very well organised and pitched perfectly. There were a few gob smacking moments I thought I would share here:
Microsoft have spent $10 Billion Dollars on the exclusive license of Open AI
60% of Microsoft code is currently written by AI
Less then 10% of companies are using AI at scale
The number one barrier for AI Adoption is Cultural Resistance
All very interesting stuff and lots of food for thought. Expect to see more from us in this space.
Till next time,

Ciara

Reading

I pre ordered Adam Grant’s new book “Hidden Potential” ages ago and promptly forgot about it until it appeared on my doorstep a couple of weeks ago. Am only half way through but not really loving it so far, can’t say there is anything massively new or insighful in the book? I could be wrong and I know Adam Grant is a huge deal, I saw him being interviewed on Oprah (Oprah!!) recently but so far it is nothing I haven’t heard before? What does everyone else think?

Watching

It’s football season! The Beckhams, Wagatha Christie all totally enjoyable & completely voyeuristic. It is an insight into how the press works, how incredibly misogynistic the press coverage was/is but also how lots of money and time can make you look pretty fantastic at any age.

Listening

This Diary of a CEO episode was recommended to me, it is an interview with Scott Galloway. I don’t agree with all of it and I certainly didn’t appreciate the language sometimes but it made interesting listening and I did think there were some good points in there. Always good to listen and read outside your echo chamber anyway which is something we recommend in our Unconscious Bias training. Easy to say, harder to do!

So I have a confession to make. Next year I turn 50. I have spent most of this, the last year of my 40s freaking out that next year I will be 50. 50 sounds properly grown up and a time of your life by which you should definitely have your act together.
I think part of the reason I am freaking out, is not because I want to be 25 again (I really don’t, my liver couldn’t take it) but it is more the insidious sound of doors closing, options vanishing. The feeling that time is running out, if you want to do something new or bold that maybe that moment has past, the time has been spent.
Sometimes you need to remind yourself that don’t need to be defined by how others perceive you or even what your peers are doing. I for one am completely allergic to conversations that start with “When I am retired” and I don’t think I am alone in that. I was reading an old book at the weekend and came across the Schwartz Exercise (that is not a catchy name but stick with me, its worth it, I promise).
Basically, the premise is this: your working life does not start at 24 and then finish at official retirement age of 65. Really, many people start their productive lives at 20 and can keep going till 80. Being productive can mean the work important to you, not necessarily a paid role.
So then you have 60 years of productive life. The trick is working out how much of that productive life is still ahead of you. Here is how the exercise works: take your current age and work out how many years you have left till 80, in my case that would be 31 years, divide it by 60 and multiply by 100. So in my case I have over 51% of my productive life ahead of me (curious to know what most people have?).
And that does change things, it changes your perceptions of what you have left and what you are capable of. Time is not an enemy to be chased down but rather it can open up before you, full of promise and opportunity.
At WorkJuggle we are ambitious, we may all be approaching mid life but really we feel more like a tween on growth hormones ūüôā Part of this growth is officially launching Learning at WorkJuggle. The Learning side of the business has grown exponentially since Covid when online delivery changed everything. So this week I am very proud to launch the new WorkJuggle Learning website. It showcases all our work here from Early Careers, Returners, Design Thinking and much more, I really appreciate all the super testimonials from our customers, they mean so much to us.
Expect to see more from us in this space.
Watching
“Live to 100: Secrets of the The Blue Zones” on Netflix. Very much on trend for this article and totally inspirational.
Also Flora & Son. Really enjoyed it. I know Eve Hewson is a nepo baby but she is our very talented nepo baby!
Reading
“Never too Late to be Great: The Power of Thinking Long” by Tom Butler-Bowdon This is the book I referenced above. I read it years ago at the ripe old age of 42 when I was thinking about starting WorkJuggle. It feels very different reading back on it now, I don’t love it quite as much but he still makes some really good points.
Till next time,

Ciara
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Caitriona Hughes

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