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Minions and How to Get One


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,



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?


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.


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!

We could all do with more minions in our life. Little creatures running around doing unglamorous tasks that need doing. Unfortunately they are in very short supply. Unless that is you own a business and have a daughter who recently turned 14. That is the happy case in our house as our middle child is now old enough to do boring data entry jobs which come with little in the way of fulfillment or self actualisation. What they do come with is a very small paycheck (min wage) and a scintilla of work readiness experience.
When my older son turned 14 he too joined WorkJuggle. At the end of the summer I asked him what he learned the most? “That I never want to work for you again and I need to get a real job next summer”.
That my friends is job done 🙂
I always bang on at home about skills and how my children, if they are not careful won’t have any. Lots of things are being a skill.. Being a barista is a skill. Coaching gymnastics is a skill. Waitressing is a skill. Fortnite is not a skill. FIFA is not a skill. Watching YouTube is not a skill. Passively sitting at a screen will never turn you into Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg no matter how long you sit there.
Working at a very basic level for me is at least the start of a skill. As part of starting work last summer my older son had to get on the phone and actually talk to real people. Both in the bank and with Revenue. For all the times teenagers actually spend on their phones when you actually ask them to speak to a real live human being it is surprisingly difficult. It is even tougher when their mother refuses to swoop in and do it for them.
Workplace readiness skills are a lot of what we do here at WorkJuggle. Women Returner programmes, graduate programmes there is a lot of commonality across the two. And lets face it. If I can whip two reluctant teenagers into shape a programme of highly motivated and flexible women returners or graduates can only be a joy to work on.
A huge thank you to Deirdre O’Keeffe who told me about the tax benefits of 14 year olds working for you!
In the spirit of this newsletter and the fact it is mid term I thought I would also share the following with you. These are words I am no longer allowed say in my own home.
NGL (Not Gonna Lie)
RBF (Resting B Face)
Litch (as in literally)
#harsh times (in fact I have been told to remove the word hashtag from my vocabulary completely)
Anyone else have words they are not allowed say?
Till next week,


Currently working my way through two very different texts. One is early research on Learner Motivation in Remote Learning Environments. Very interesting work done by Learnovate Centre, Trinity College Dublin and very timely. My favourite little nugget was related to learner readiness (Joosten & Cusatis, 2020) and of the six measures they identified three of them were linked to better student learning and satisfaction with the course.. One of those measures was socialization. When we build our programmes at WorkJuggle we always build this in! Whether it is an in person event or a morning huddle for 15 mins we always feel that the connection to other people is so important and so nice to see the research backing it up.
Am also reading “Tastes like Nostalgia, a Collection of Memorable Recipes”. This is a gorgeous collection of recipes and memories collected by Fingal’s Older People Council and published by Fingal County Council. Well done to Fingal, so important to gather these old stories and recipes. Free in your local library.
Listening To
My Therapist Ghosted Me by Joanne McNally & Vogue Williams. They have no fear (or filter!)
The Fablemans. Steven Spielberg’s ode to his childhood. More nostalgia but all good nostalgia.

Caitriona Hughes


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