The Case of Chopin: To go or not to go?

For many years Katherine Hough, now a twenty-seven year old woman, suffered excruciating pains in her body that made daily life difficult. She seemed to suffer from strange symptoms that started out from a sense of unease and tiredness and progressed on to stomach pains. And when she was off at University her health declined even more. She began to faint frequently. Her hair fell out. She suffered from severe joint pains and was often simply just tired. Her mother thought it was down to what she termed a hectic student lifestyle. Then Katherine visited her GP.

For many of us a trip to the GP may come perhaps at too late a stage. We all suffer from niggles here and there which do not warrant a trip to the doctor’s – such as having a cold and a temperature. In fact, the better thing to do would be to have a rest at home instead of trekking out to the doctor’s office, possibly infecting other patients, or picking up something worse from the airborne atmosphere of ill patients. What do you do? You simply phone in work or school and then leave a message to say you are unwell.

This may be the most common occurrence in Great Britain, but strangely enough, in the Far East, in some countries you are expected to go to the doctor’s to be certified unwell, receive a medical certificate advising of home rest of a certain duration (usually two days’ leave for a temperature or a cold) then produce this certificate when you return to work or school. This medical certificate, or MC as it is commonly abbreviated to, is your proof that you were unwell and a legal work requirement in some countries.

Imagine have to trek to the doctor’s for him or her to write you a note, telling you that you are unwell when you already know that in the first place!

Footballers have to continually find a balance between playing, or knowing they cannot perform at their best. Arsenal captain Mesut Ozil has often been slated for missing big games with colds, but perhaps it is good to give up your place to a team mate who can do better if you cannot perform to your best.

The classical piano composer Frederic Chopin died young – on a trip to Majorca in the winter, he and his partner George Sand failed to find accommodation and had to seek refuge in an abandoned monastery. Chopin was quite frail anyway, but no doubt spending a whole winter in the wet and without heating didn’t do much good for him! Perhaps he should have sought medical help instead of toughing it out. Always two sides to a tale!

Food for thought

What would your first thoughts be if someone ran this idea past you – that before entering a store, you would have a small amount of money debited from your bank account, and then after you had done your shopping and paid for that, you would be refunded the amount taken from you initially in the first place?

If you were open-minded, you might investigate the idea further. What would the store do? Would it cost customers to simply have a browse? No. What would the store do with the money? Invest it and then return it after three days, like banks do? No, it would simply give it back to you. Would it affect the cost of shopping in any way? No, the cost of your shopping is a separate matter altogether. So why would a store charge you simply for the duration of your time in the store?

It seems like a crazy idea but this is of a refundable entry charge is to discourage shoplifting. If someone enters a store with the intention of leaving with a few items without paying, the entry tax is twofold. One, it would make it financially unfeasible to steal a few small items, and secondly, if someone were emboldened by the idea, there would be an electronic trace by examining the time on the CCTV that the perpetrator entered the store and matching it to the corresponding entry charge.

The purpose of an entry charge is to discourage theft, although it may nor be immediately apparent.

It has been such a successful idea that some are considering extending it to combat theft in another area. Fuel theft costs the economy and also takes up police time when incidents have to be investigated.

It may be a silly idea, but in the future if it is proven to reduce crimes such as fuel theft and other forms of petty theft, maybe this will catch on. Already this has potential in other areas. New ideas always start out on the periphery and get established with time. For example, when Arnold Schoenberg pioneered his twelve-tone music, it was not widely popular at the time, but it has at least claimed a place in music history, and been accepted (not necessarily liked) over the generations. The same oould go for what amounts to security payments for entry to supermarkets and service stations.

Population growth and the need for new skills

The current rate of world population growth has reason to give us cause for alarm. Every fifteen to twenty years, the world population increases by a billion people. That is the staggering reality of the world population growth. In fact, in the year 1999, it was estimated that the world population surpassed six billion then. It is difficult to forecast populations exactly of course, and as population growth is a derivative rate from the population itself, growth is also difficult to estimate.

Population growth is difficult to estimate because factors such as natural disasters may skew the number of deaths each year through earthquakes, typhoons and famine. Other factors such as migration, and when census in different countries are taken may also affect data. (If for example, a million people in the United Kingdom migrate due to Brexit into Europe, and the census dates between the United Kingdom and Europe are different, a million people could lapse in between somewhere.)

At this current rate of growth the world population is expected to reach eleven billion by the turn of the century. By 2200 we would double the existing world population. The world population growth at its current rate is hence unsustainable. We must take measures to curb it, it appears. And why? If you think about it, at its current level there are already people who suffer from poverty and hunger and do not have enough to eat. The world’s resources cannot feed so many people at its current level; how is it going to feed an additional billion or two?

It is unsurprising then that there have been greater publicity towards a move towards less meat, more vegetarian and even vegan diet. Meat such as beef from cows accounts for nearly a quarter of greenhouse emissions. If we were to reconsider our diet, some reason that it just might allow us to produce enough to feed a growing world population.

Population growth also means a drive towards accumulating more skills for employment. When there are people than there are jobs, it means greater competition, and a need to be more skilled and creative in promoting one’s skills and knowledge. If you were a footballer, for example, you need to have more football skills on the pitch, but also to know how to market yourself. It is no point being the best footballer if you do not take advantage of the opportunities to make income through sales of jerseys, advertising, promoting products and off the pitch.

So that is the case for footballers, but what about the rest of us? We could look at developing more general skills. For example, just because you are an accountant does not mean you can’t have musical interests. You may be an actor, but have good computing skills, Or if you are an artist, there is nothing stopping you from doing other non-artistic courses in your free time. These skills may come in handy and give you the edge over someone else with the same qualifications. The hardest part is finding time to practice what seems like irrelevant skills to the job, but developing these may be a good way to stand out in an ever-populated world!

Being Human

On the face of things, there are many reasons we have to stop ourselves reacting to people in need we see on the street. They do not necessarily have to be homeless. They may just be someone who has fallen over. They may be an adult with many children that need help – perhaps one has got sick, and the adult has a baby in the stroller or arm. But stepping in to help is more of a thing people increasingly do less, because they don’t want to overextend themselves.

So imagine perhaps if you have overextended yourself to help someone in need. They may have fallen over in the street, or become unconscious, or in some way been unable to look after themselves and be trusted to be safe. You stay with them until you are convinced that they are safe, help has been delivered and you are safe to carry on. Now because you have been with them for a long time, you are perhaps suddenly aware that you have your own needs to attend to. Perhaps you need to use the public facilities. You head inside a pub or cafe outside which help has just been rendered and just before you are about to step in, the staff politely inform you that toilets are for patrons only. Never mind that this is just outside the place where you had given help, rules are rules, and not meant to be broken. Never mind that the staff had seen that you had given help. Would you think this unreasonable?

If you had spent three hours talking someone off jumping off a bridge, and then needed some physical respite, would it be unreasonable?

If you stopped to help a stranger who was injured and had your clothes covered in blood, would it be unreasonable to expect to use the toilet to clean up?
Or if you stayed with a stranger on the street in the cold because there was someone else threatening them and they feared being alone, would having a cup of tea for your efforts be reasonable – without having to put a price on every action?

The composer Vaughan Williams was famous for his generosity and willingness to embrace his fellow human beings. Apparently he once donated the earnings from a published book to help someone on the streets. (You can read more about Vaughan Williams from the pp@funcraft.infoPosted on Categories player motivationTags

Dressing for the job

Can your style of dress affect your chances of promotion at work? Some people claim that this could be true. If you dress to impress, and dress for the job you aim to get, you might find you have put yourself in the frame when the time comes when a position is being vacated. In fact, some suggest that you even dress like the person who you could be potentially replacing!

Of course this may be something for which the converse may be true. If there is a job opening within your organisation, and the person vacating the position is not well-liked, wear a style that is different and offers a new perspective. Or else you will never get the position because the person in mind is someone who is different, and you will remind the interview board too much of the status quo!

Will the trend for outfit rental extend beyond special occasions and into the commonplace? This is the question to which many are trying to answer, and where opportunists may sense there is a business area ripe for commercial exploitation. And just who exactly will form the majority of the target market? It is believed that the aspirational and ambitious thirty-somethings will make up the largest share of the market, while those in the previous and later decades will form a smaller but equally significant minority. But why is that age group more susceptible to be tapped?

Sociologists believe that those that make up that age bracket in the workforce will be looking to move up before it is too late. Most people in their twenties will spend time choosing the job that gives them the career they are after, and hence they will be job hopping. As their choice of career stabilises, towards the end of their late twenties and early twenties, they will be thinking less horizontally -in other words, thinking less about different careers – and thinking more vertically; about ascending within their career. They will be coveting the higher managerial positions, the ones with the greater responsibilities and salaries, so that they are well positioned within the organisation before they reach the crucial forties.

The forties are crucial for a couple of reasons. One is that it is normally expected that people in managerial positions will be at that age, when they have accumulated some work experience and life experience. Those in their forties are the ones bossing about and lording it over the newly graduated and those starting out.

An organisation is not going to put a young member into a managing role because they are career trialling and it would not work to invest all that time in someone and train them and have them leave. And if they don’t leave, training and promoting them too soon will mean that as they progress within the organisation they are going to command higher salaries. So the first importance of the forties is that it is the age where managing positions become more open and available. And those in their thirties are going to be jostling for these opportunities, doing what it takes to get them; these includes dressing for the intended job to get noticed.

So some career advice as you approach the forties is to dress for the job you want. Look to attain a managing position. You might want to consider renting outfits if the job requires you look smart. Look at football manager Antonio Conte when he was in charge of slick Chelsea – always with his suits on. If you are football manager of a blue-collar club, then maybe a tracksuit isn’t that out of place either. The classical music composer Joseph Haydn was often derided for his clothes as a young boy, yet when he worked in the courts of Esterhazy, from his mid-thirties, his style of dress would remain impressive for the decades he spent in the managing position of music maestro. (You can learn more about Haydn from the Piano Teacher N10 website. Find out why his tomb has two skulls!)