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The Uncertainty is the Worst Bit


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!

Feb 3rd ’23

I was speaking to a few people this week who are waiting. Waiting on news, waiting to hear about possible jobs losses. The headlines are slowly becoming reality as LinkedIn lights up with tales of people getting emails in the middle of the night telling them their job is gone. When I was speaking with those people the one thing I echoed again and again is “This is the worst bit. The uncertainty is always the worst”.
In my experience that is true, it is is the not knowing which is a killer. It is not being able to plan, wondering who is next and if that person could be you. I have had two personal experiences of job loss. The first was well flagged, a voluntary redundancy package which I had eagerly stalked for over a year. It was a substantial sum of money and I was drowning trying to manage a job with no flexibility and two small children. The day I got the news my name was finally on the list I opened up a bottle of champagne and started the plans to build a new house. The package gave me financial stability and the freedom to stay at home for a few years. It was a great day.
The second time I was impacted by job loss it was most definitely not a great day. The news came in on Christmas Eve. It was not expected and by then we had three still quite small children, substantial outgoings and I was not working. It sent me into a tailspin of sleepless nights, spreadsheets and budget planning (Hello MrMoneyMoustache & Caitriona Redmond, you are still my heroes!). It became impossible to plan for the future and it was an incredibly stressful time.
I imagine for most people who are being made redundant they will fall somewhere between those two extremes. There will no doubt be people who had become tired of corporate life and had other aspirations but for most people I imagine it will be unplanned and difficult.
Having been there (twice!) my advise is this.. Plan for the absolute worst. I appreciate this may seem counterintuitive and runs contrary to the toxic positivity mindset we have all been inculcated with. However in my experience planning for the absolute worst is actually really helpful. The key is to write it all down. Think about what is the worst that could happen (losing your house is always top of my mind) and then work out what that would look like. Once you have your health it is often not as bad as you may think. From there work out a financial plan. If you are worried about money it becomes very difficult to think creatively about what your future may look like. Once you have a plan I think it becomes a little easier to look forward.
Finally as I mentioned in my first newsletter, LinkedIn is very definitely not your friend. Not now. There is nothing to be gained from hearing other peoples stories. Later when you are looking for a job LinkedIn is great but right now head space and clarity of thought are vital and social media never provides much in the way of either of those two.
There are always fresh starts. We are hiring for tech jobs at the moment the need for people to work in Technology has 100% not gone away, you can take a look at them here. We are also delivering a programme for Women Returners on the 13th of March which you apply for here. To new beginnings.
Till next week,
What we are Reading
I read this article in the NYT about a best selling author, Elin Hildrebrand whom I had never heard of who hosted a hugely popular weekend in Nantucket where many of her books are based. I was intrigued and bought her book “The Hotel Nantucket”. It is a hugely comforting beach read and just the thing for these still dark nights. The sunshine practically bounces off the page.
Listening To
Big fan of Claer Barret’s, The Money Clinic. Although UK based it is always interesting. She sounds just like what you might imagine the head girl in Mallory Towers would sound like, which I find oddly comforting.
What we are Watching
Somebody Somewhere Set in Kansas, the NY comedian Bridget Everett imagines her life if she had never left her home town. It is funny, sweet and believable.

Caitriona Hughes


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