Chris Croft's Personal Blog

November 5, 2016

The top ten pet hates of a management trainer

Filed under: Careers, Lists, Uncategorized — chriscroft @ 2:12 pm

If you’re going on a course, try not to do any of these!  and – enjoy!

 

 

  1. When the first thing someone asks you is “When do we finish?”.  They may have a good reason but it gives the impression that they are already wishing it was over, that they want to get the day over with using the minimum effort.  If you had an audience with The Dalai Llama or Einstein or Martin Luther King or John Lennon, would you start by asking “When can we finish?” or “Can we finish a bit early, because I’m a bit worried about the traffic south of Birmingham?”
  2. Sometimes I get someone coming up before the start looking really sheepish – I already know what they are going to say – and they say “I’m really sorry, I’ve got to go early, is that OK?”  Again, they probably have a good reason, picking up children from school for example, but I still find this annoying because it puts that little bit of pressure on me to do everything important before they have to go, in fact it implies that some of my course isn’t as important, and also makes me think about pulling it out of shape just for them – ideally you’d have something great at the finish, but now they are making me think I should more that part forward. And there’s this other implication that I will be upset that they aren’t going to learn quite as much as they would have.  Perhaps I should be?  But really, it makes no difference to me if they choose to miss part of my course – I’m doing it, the best way I can, for everyone that will listen.  Why apologise to me?  If you really DO think it’s bad to miss some then make more of an effort to stay till the end!  If and it it’s really only a mock apology, given out of politeness rather than really feeling bad, then don’t bother to lie to me.
  3. But much more of a pet hate than the first two is the person who just doesn’t want to be on the course.  Sent by their boss, they sit there with their arms folded, looking sideways or out of the window, putting a downer on the whole proceedings for everyone.  I always hope I can win them over, and occasionally I do, but mostly they sit through the day with their mind closed, and afterwards I regret not just chucking them out at the start.
  4. Introverted groups are another pet hate – you might think it’s unlikely that you’ll get 12 people who are ALL introverts, but it’s more common than you’d expect, for two reasons.  One is that it’s a company culture thing – often a whole company will be introverts, for example Engineers are often that way.  And the second is that you only need two or three extroverts to make a day lively and fun, the quiet people are then padding who have no effect, and on many courses this is what you get.  So all you need is those two or three people to not happen to be on that particular course and you have the morgue from hell.  If I was not interactive, if I just read out stuff from powerpoint, then the audience wouldn’t make any difference, but I like to chat with the audience, have a debate, have a laugh, and if you’re doing a training day every day, with travel in between each one, you need a bit of help from the audience.  So the introverted groups are much harder work. And it’s rude of them not to respond – they sit there with their arms folded thinking “someone else can answer that one, I can’t be bothered”.  Of course they might just be shy, but to an extrovert like me this is hard to understand, so I interpret it as laziness and rudeness.  Which I do think in some situations it is.  Although I am often pleasantly surprised by the feedback from introvert groups, who write that they learned loads and enjoyed the day – so maybe the fact that it was REALLY hard work for me wasn’t entirely wasted.
  5. The opposite of the last one is the super-keen Chipper-in Agreer.  This is the person who says “Oh yes, I get that situation a lot, what I always do is…..” and “Oh yes, we have that in our department and I always do what you are saying”.  If they amplify every point it’s nice to start with, but then it doubles the time it takes for me to make each point, so I can only cover half the material on my day – or risk finishing late which is a big crime.  In a group of 10 people it’s rude to take up more than 10% of the commenting time, so don’t!  The others in the group often roll their eyes – they know this person only too well.  If the person is saying they do it the same as me then they are merely repeating what I’m saying and it’s a waste of time, and if they are saying they do it differently then excuse me, who is running this course?  So I have to cut them off mid comment each time, which they don’t like, and they write something bad about me on the feedback form, but such is life!
  6. A common one but also one that really irritates me is the person who doesn’t write anything down …in fact often they haven’t even brought a pen.  As if there isn’t going to be ANYTHING worth making a note of, in a whole DAY of training!  This may not be their fault, because maybe nobody has ever explained that you learn more if you take notes, or maybe they are not good at making notes on the fly, maybe they can’t even write.  Or maybe they were expecting handouts for everything.  But still to me it gives the impression that they aren’t picking up anything good from my efforts.  A subset is the doodler, and they used to annoy me too, especially the ones who just colour in all the e’s and o’s, but I have learned over the years that often doodlers are taking it all in and they can often be the best students of all.
  7. Then there’s the person with the tickly cough, who usually sits at the front end arm of the u-shape, on my right, for maximum volume, suddenly coughing straight into my ear, all day. Variations of this are the person with the running spluttering cold who also sits right at the front and gives it to me; and the person who clicks their biro all day, again right at the front.  These aren’t bad people – they don’t know they’re annoying – but it’s hard to tell them!
  8. The next pet hate is one that I should really be pleased with, but I’m not!  This is the person who comes up at the end and says “That was better than I expected” with a slightly surprised and also patronising tone.  “You’re not a bad little trainer, you actually managed to come up with just one or two things I didn’t know already”.  They thought I wasn’t going to be any good – do I look bad, or did they have preconceptions?  Maybe it’s not about me, maybe the last trainer they had wasn’t any good, so I’m being a little harsh here?  I guess if they were massively enthusiastic: “That was BRILLIANT, SO much better than the last course I went on” – that would be fine.  It’s the begrudging admittance that it was just “OK”, the fact that they are judging me, and then saying to me that I was “OK”.  And if everyone else thought it was great, is it me that’s OK or them that’s hard to please?
  9. Next is the person who comes up at the end – when I am busy packing up and want to get on the motorway for my three hour drive home – and offers their advice on how the course could have been better.  Thanks mate!  I’ve been doing this for 20 years and you’ve wandered in to one course and you are now qualified to tell me how to do it better, from just your point of view, even though the rest of the course participants might not agree. “This section could have been faster / slower / shorter / longer” – for YOU maybe but what about the others?  Do you think I haven’t already thought about that, tried it on previous courses, and worked out the best way?  And if, let’s say if, one part of the day didn’t quite work for some reason, do you think I haven’t already noticed that and thought about how to improve it?  It’s what I DO, and NOT what YOU do for a living.   And I think sometimes the suggestion on how to improve is a bit of a game, it’s not really meant to be helpful, it’s “I’m cleverer than you” – or am I too sensitive, too vain, too arrogant?  Maybe!     A variation is the person who hangs around at the end asking me extra questions about the subject, about their own situation “I’ve got this person who I work with some sometimes does this and that…..  what’s your advice?”   – it’s good that they are keen, but do they not realise I have a home to go to?  Do they not realise that coaching is £100/hour?  Do they not realise that I may find my personal life more attractive than continuing to work after a long exhausting day, with 3 hours of travel still to go, on their problems?
  10. Finally there is being asked “Can I have a certificate of attendance?”  The certificate is worthless – can’t they see that?  It’s not accredited by anyone, it’s just MADE UP and printed out by me!  And they could have slept through the day but still get the certificate of attendance, so all it means is that they were physically on a course, in body but maybe not in mind.   But the main objection is that it shows they only want to tick a box and collect another certificate, rather than actually learn anything.

 

Ooof, I feel better now.  I hope you found that useful for when you are next on a course – we trainers do have our feelings you know!

August 18, 2016

“Sports” that shouldn’t really be in the Olympics

Filed under: Lists, Sport, Uncategorized — Tags: — chriscroft @ 10:07 am

This is just my opinion.  total respect to anyone who is world class at anything.  But I would ditch these….

 

  • BMX, it’s for children
  • Golf, because it’s boring
  • Sailing because you can’t see what they’re doing – they just bob around on the waves in the distance for a bit and then come back with a medal
  • Some of the swimming because there are so many distances and styles that there are too many medals given out
  • Football and tennis because they have their own competitions
  • I would keep dressage, even though it is basically showing off on a horse and isn’t really a sport, because it is at least clever
  • I would keep the cat and mouse cycle sprint because it’s hilarious, and actually very skilful, similarly the Kierin with the ridiculous electric bike
  • I wouldn’t allow the female gymnasts to be so young, I just think it’s probably bad for them as kids to do so much excessive exercise under such mental pressure
  • The synchronised diving was amazing but the problem is everybody was completely brilliant so the being judged on tiny details – so it needs to be made harder so we can distinguish the winner more easily

Apart from that, rock on!

 

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 11.11.56

December 14, 2014

My favourite tracks, ever

Filed under: Lists, Music — Tags: , , , — chriscroft @ 11:35 pm
  1. Jackson Browne: The barricades of heaven
  2. Van Morrison: In the garden
  3. Van Morrison: Celtic New Year
  4. Lynyrd Skynyrd: Sweet home Alabama
  5. Of monsters and Men: Little talks
  6. Don Henley: Boys of summer
  7. John Martyn: Solid air
  8. Wishbone Ash: Sometime World
  9. Led Zep – for your life
  10. The Pet Shop Boys: Being Boring
  11. Bruce Hornsby: The way it is
  12. Robbie Williams: The road to Mandalay

I wanted to get it down to one, or maybe 5, or at lest ten.  But I just can’t let any of these 12 go!

And here are the ones that nearly made it……..

  1. Love and affection (Joan)
  2. Once in a lifetime (Talking Heads)
  3. Driving with the brakes on (Del Amitri)
  4. Like a Rolling Stone (Bob)
  5. Tangled up in blue (Bob)
  6. Propane nightmares (Pendulum)
  7. Cajun Moon (JJCale)
  8. Romeo and Juliet (Dire Straits)
  9. Need you tonight (INXS)
  10. Afternoons and Coffeespoons (Crash Test Dummies)
  11. Mr Jones (Counting Crows)
  12. Tinseltown in the rain (The Blue Nile)
  13. Secret World (Peter Gabriel)
  14. Holding back the years (Simply Red)
  15. Read My Mind (The Killers)
  16. Treat (Santana)

October 20, 2014

Christmas Present ideas for 2014

Filed under: Lists — Tags: , , , — chriscroft @ 7:59 pm
My traditional list of best ones I can find

These were the cheapest prices I could find for the items, but…

  1. If any of the links no longer work, out of stock etc, then just google the description to find them from somewhere else.
  2. Also I haven’t checked the postage so if that’s a rip off then also google for other suppliers.
  3. Also while you’re on these sites you can see what else they have!
    • Light up glasses – see while you read or work in bad light  £3.50
    • Mouse mat that’s a real persian carpet – beautiful, and works well too  £15
    • Earplugs in a little tube on your keyring – with three levels of sound reduction – great for gigs etc  £18 but your ears are worth it!
    • 4 chemistry-style fun shot glasses  £10
    • This glass of milk light seems a bargain for £10
    • Tea man who dangles into your cup – fun and useful – £10
    • Candle that smells brilliant.  The ultimate classy candle.  It used to be called “Library” but boringly they’ve renamed it True Grace.  £25 but worth it!
    • Periodic Table of Texting mug – I need this to know what’s going on!   £7
    • Book of bad taxidermy – just hilarious!  Probably not suitable for a cat lover without a sense of humour….  £6
    • Finger nose hair trimmer – useful and funny, like my training courses, so therefore I want one.  £8
    • Penny Farthing sellotape dispenser – quite stylish actually.  £7
    • Wooden Guitar spoons for people who like both cooking and music… £10 for the pair
    • Secret box which looks like a book – for hiding things in your car, on your desk, where ever   £13
    • Coin counting jar – I’ve always wanted one of these!  This one is shaped like a pig and is only £6
    • I had a bug zapper before which was fragile when you swung it around, and not every powerful.  This one costs double but is The Business!  £11
    • For a trekkie this pizza cutter is a must.  £25
    • Kitchen timer that changes colour when the time is nearly up – fun and useful – £17
    • When I was about 9 I loved a game called Howzatt, a cricket game using two metal hexagonal prism dice.  These are modern versions for cricket and rugby (though it IS Rugby League).  I reckon any nerdy kid would love them!  £9 each
    • For the business or leisure traveller, some expensive but nice bags here
    • Go to sleep listening to headphones hidden in a soft headband – not cheap, but you need the wireless ones’ I think. I’ve not tried them but they look comfy enough.   £57
    • Card suits nibble bowls – cooler than they sound!  £13 for the set of 4
    • Ladies toolkit – now, obviously anyone should really get a set of the best tools (molewrench etc) and not in pink, but for a starter kit, maybe a youngish girl showing an interest, this might be a good present – £25  This one also looks good if you can find it.
    • a tin that looks like an Aga.  Classy, and people who have agas always love them and they might like this too  £10
    • Carry lots of garden or tool stuff in this little bag with lots of pockets – I know my mum would like this!  £15
    • The egg skelter is fun but also means you can rotate your eggs and eat the oldest first.  £20
    • monster eating garden gnomes for £25
    • If you have to move your jigsaw off a table half way through its maddening, and this could be the answer!  £10
    • If you live in London or visit it sometimes then these books look good – places and shops you shouldn’t miss – £11 each
    • Could be the answer to the Christmas pudding that won’t light, or stay alight?  £3
    • This biscuit tray is rather freaky  £10
    • Great desk accessory – a seal balancing a pen on his nose!  £13
    • One garden gimmick that I really do use – great for picking up hedge trimmings or leaves   £3.50
    • I greatly enjoy my subscription to Graze.  Very good for when you’re driving, or travelling, and want to be a bit healthy.  A fortnightly delivery would make a good present.
    • I use this keyboard all the time and people always go “ooh”.  £45 from amazon and my phone is almost as good as an ipad or laptop.  Better in someways – longer battery life, better keyboard for typing than an ipad, lighter and smaller than a laptop.
    • My success diary 2015 – £5, A5 sized
    • My happiness daily tips book – something for every day of the year, which can be used for ever – £10
    • Dog calendars. pdsa-shop.co.uk
    • Off centre umbrella 
    • Calendar of Britain’s Dullest Men
    • Keep half finished tomatoes, onions, avocado and lemon fresh without horrible clingfilm etc – £5 each
    • You Are Here cushion    £20
    • Pashmina infinity scarf £18 plus postage
    • For some reason I love this Chicken purse – looks better as it gets fatter.  £9  There’s a handbag too but I think there’s a limit….
    • If you’re a skier then this beard / scarf is both hilarious and practical, though £25 is quite a lot and I think you’d need to be a good skier to carry it off
    • I really want this Stone Face tissue holder – easter island lives on, though somewhat sacrilegious.  £19
    • Tissue box covers – pointless unless they are fun:  house with smoke £8.50    A pity this one seems to be out of stock at the moment
    • puzzle that’s both beautiful and quite hard, and only £7
    • A good present is something you want but can’t justify buying for yourself – and such is the magic rope wine bottle holder.  Only £5
    • A fun combination lock for £7
    • A rather cool waterproof beanie hat – there are lots of designs and prices if you google this, but I know that Sealskinz really are waterproof and this one looks good too – £28
    • For the keen cyclist who wants to keep fit in the winter – go as fast as you like, safely, without having to dismantle any parts of your bike – £46  there are posher ones with computerised readouts etc too.
    • Grippy pad for your phone in your car – a fun cheap present at £7, and very useful
    • I’ve got one of these folding saws and it’s amazing how useful I have found it – £10
    • I do have a bit of a fascination for combination locks, and I like this idea – a bolt for your shed or side gate with a combination lock on it.  £12
    • £40 is quite a lot, but this impossible-to-spill tray could be great for people who are older (or just clumsy!), or who eat out in the garden a lot.
    • Kitchen magnetic whiteboard weekly planner – these words are all music to my ears! – £15
    • One of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen, this musical birthday hat is pretty funny and for £7 I think it could be justified.
    • For under £20 a machine that spews out popcorn almost instantly!
    • Chemistry Beer Glass –  extra cool after than breaking bad series.  £12
    • Geeky Mug with The Element of Surprise on it.  There’s also an Omg one.  £8

September 7, 2014

The top ten books that have influenced me most over the years are:

Filed under: Books and Culture, Happiness, Lists, Managing People — Tags: , , — chriscroft @ 6:05 pm

Scott Peck – The Road Less Traveled
Rupert Sheldrake – Seven Experiments that Could Change The World
Susan Jeffers – Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway
James Redfield – The Celestine Prophecy
Rohinton Mistry – A Fine Balance
Ken Blanchard – The One Minute Manager
Eli Goldratt – The Goal
Richard Dawkins – The Selfish Gene
Peter Senge – The Fifth Discipline
Stephen Knight – The Brotherhood
Marlo Morgan – Mutant Message From Down Under

Get them and read them!

August 6, 2014

Cost Reduction – what you need to measure

Filed under: Lists, Managing People — Tags: , , , , , , — chriscroft @ 9:41 am

I wrote this:

http://blog.vistage.co.uk/the-no-nonsense-guide-to-cost-reduction-for-clever-business-leaders

I hope you find it useful

 

CC

April 28, 2014

PS Collection part 7

Filed under: Gadgets, Happiness, Lists, Music, News and Politics — chriscroft @ 12:36 pm

 

PS – Christmas music:  Rod Stewart’s Christmas album failed to move me. Solstice Bells (Jethro Tull) remains the best Christmas song closely followed by Fairytale of New York. But the Tull track I keep coming back to is Fire At Midnight http://grooveshark.com/#!/search/song?q=Jethro+Tull+Fire+at+Midnight   Even more romantic and perfect is this: http://grooveshark.com/#!/search?q=paul+mccartney+valentine (choose the LSO version not the cover).  If you want something more crunchy, try the amazingly powerful and also clever ‘For Your Life’ by Led Zep, who still stand above the world as the best heavy band ever, and always will do: http://grooveshark.com/#!/search?q=led+for+your+life   Others come and go, but Led Zep will always be there.

PPPPS – Last week I did a course in The City and my chair cost £3,000 (it was leather and it swivelled – it was quite comfortable) (there’s a photo at https://chriscroft.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=1114&action=edit&message=6&postpost=v2 ) and they had 15 of them in the board room. How scary is that?? Still, maybe the company that made them pay their workers really well and the workers spend the money in their local economies and so it’s all OK in the end……

PPPPPS – Several people have recently been amazed by this tip when I show it to them, so I’m thinking there may be more of you out there who I can make happy: if there is no wifi for your laptop then use your iphone (probably similar on android, I don’t know) as an instant wi-fi hub. Go to settings and select Personal hotspot and slide it to On, and then on your laptop you’ll see “Fred’s iPhone” as a wifi source, so just log in with the password that is shown on your phone. Magic! (Though you are now using up your phone’s data allowance. But for just emails that will be minimal).

PPPPPPS – sorry to all the people who asked me to sponsor them this year – I get several a week and can’t do them all, or in fact any of them really. I did my own thing last week though, I ran 2 miles dressed as Santa (I was quite relieved I could do it without collapsing, in fact it wasn’t too bad) so if you want to laugh at photos or even give some cash to the British Heart Foundation then it’s here http://www.justgiving.com/Croft-Centre   As you can see, we’re not quite in the league of Pudsey, but still, everything helps.    This is an interesting site too – http://www.easyfundraising.org.uk/ – check out their unusual model of buying things on line from places like amazon via this site so that a portion of it goes to charity.

PPPPPPPS – Free talk on the radio, which you can Listen Again at any time – me answering the question “Does money make you happy” http://www.letstalkbusinessonline.com/ltb/lets-talk-business-5th-november-2012/   (seven and a half minutes in) (hey, shout out to JB!)

 

PPPPPPPPS –  thanks for all the replies about Retired4hire – I’m going to do it. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

P -lost count-S  – British Airways let me down hugely on my (work) visit to Budapest last week – 2 hour delay sitting on the runway waiting for de-icing, not even a cup of tea or a sandwich, and on the way back, flight cancelled completely, when other people were still flying to Heathrow, stranded in Hungary, no explanations, had to pay more to get home (to Luton instead of Heathrow where my car was), no idea if they’ll pay the price difference, no email or text, either before to say “cancelled don’t come to airport” or after to say sorry. They just don’t appear to care at all. Certainly not worth paying extra compared to the other airlines. Budapest great though.

PPPS – Favourite phone apps at the moment: Sleep Cycle, which allows you to view your sleep patterns during the night (the phone is under your pillow monitoring your movements) and it wakes you up at the best point in your sleep cycle. The other day I was deeply asleep at 7 and then almost awake at 7.30 so that’s when it woke me up. You set a range of time for it to use. It seems to really work.  I also like Cadence which picks music from your collection at any desired BPM, so I just walked up a hill at 113, listening to Garbage followed by Deacon Blue and then Scritti Politti … mmmm, nice!

PPPPPS – Pet hate of the month: Ramekins. Are you supposed to each it out of the little bowl, or tip it out onto your plate? (bowl is too hot to pick up). And you always get smaller portions when they come in little bowls.

PS – Lewes Nov 5th celebrations verdict: good fun, a nice family evening out, (though for children and fragile people you might want ear plugs for the loud fire-crackers), great costumes, a few amusing effigies of politicians etc, amazingly long / large parade of people. Not as scary and full-on as the Ottery St Mary burning tar barrels which is still the most amazing thing I’ve seen.

 

PPS – ‘The Nasty Alphabet’ – thanks to Cathi Driver for finding this clever collection of words that you can use when spelling out your postcode in order to make it very hard for the other person to understand (though that’s a fairly niche market!) http://www.ooblick.com/text/NastyAlphabet.html   “A as in Aubergine” – hilarious!

 

PPPS – Inspiration Corner – a brilliant little audio clip about forgiveness and friendship:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/features/the-listening-project/conversation/p010nswp

 

PPPPS – I’m being plagued by texts from PPI insurance people – very irritating and not sure what to do about it. Joined TPS but I think that doesn’t cover texts. Any suggestions welcome!

 

PPPPPS – Sorry that some people got their emails filtered last time, I think it was the mention of the special IAT mug in my Christmas present ideas list. Anyway, the mug and all the other things, plus a few new additions, are all viewable at https://chriscroft.wordpress.com/tag/xmas-christmas-presents-suggestions-ideas-list/

 

PPPPPPS – Enjoying the new Killers album, Battle Born. They are slowly changing into Bruce Springsteen, but I think that’s OK, as long as they still preserve that fragile Killers essence too. For example, Deadlines and Commitments – very nice.

PS –  Time Management: you can hear the first of a series of 20 ‘Management Moments’ by me on the radio here: http://www.letstalkbusinessonline.com/ltb/lets-talk-business-29th-october-2012/   I’m on first but the whole show is pretty interesting so why not listen to it all?

PPS – James Bond and The Rolling Stones – why are they both suddenly cool again? And did you know that I am the same height as Daniel Craig with the same eye and hair colour. Just saying….

PPPPPS – Negotiating: written by my daughter so I’m a bit biased, but this is a great list of tips for bartering when shopping abroad (or even possibly in the UK?) http://pauper-to-princessreviews.blogspot.no/2012/10/how-to-barter-abroad.html Somehow you can tell that she really has done them all!

PPPPPPPS – Inspiration corner – great speech on Leadership and Success performed by Al Pacino http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyiohbbM51g&feature=fvwrel with sporting video clips behind it.

PS – Why can Italian men look cool with a man bag when I can’t?? Very annoying!

 

PPS – Wow – music: reviews of any album by every reviewer!   Very useful but might be expensive – for example I think I might have to get the new Bob album…. http://www.anydecentmusic.com/review/4849/Bob-Dylan-Tempest.aspx

 

PPPS – things to do in Siena: See if you can find and photograph all 17 of the fountains – each part of the city has one. Clues here if you want to cheat a little bit, but it’s still quite a challenge in a day

https://sites.google.com/site/betsydonnelly/siena%27scontradafountains

What would be a London equivalent? Email me!

 

PPPPPPPPS – if you’ve not heard this then blow your mind here, Sunscreen Song, and do everything he says without arguing – and then make your kids listen to it!

 

PS – if you don’t have an electric blanket, on a timer, then you’re missing out on an autumnal treat. They might even stock them at Robert Dyas, I’m not sure.

 

PPPS – an interesting checklist: http://wrightcreativity.com/2011/04/are-you-easy-to-work-with/

PPPPPPS – Inspiration Corner: the Olympics already seem an age away, and you may feel that getting fit is too hard, but look at this: http://www.godvine.com/Man-Barely-Able-to-Stand-on-his-Own-Does-the-Unthinkable-Amazing-1476.html

 

PPPPPS – ‘Worst ever album cover for an album that is actually very good’: The Poet 2 by Bobby Womack http://www.zemaitisclub.com/bobby-womack-the-poet.htm   Can anyone beat that?? Every track has a little bit of cheese but is still a classic, for example http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/If+You+Think+You+re+Lonely+Now/4sNzAM?src=5   Love his voice too! He’s still releasing albums and produced a pretty good one recently. Check him out if you like music with soul.

 

PPPS – And in DIY Corner this week: I successfully fixed two torches (with the help of my dad – What is it about dads and torches?) and in both cases the fault was the same – old batteries had leaked, and the bottom end cap (other end from the bulb) was where the circuit was broken. Capillary action seems to pull the battery acid inbetween the spring and the casing, where it then solidifies and blocks the current. So you need to pull out the spring, scrape the white powder out the end cap with a screwdriver, and reassemble. Done!

PPPPPS – Wondering what sport would suit you best? Why not compare yourself with the top people and find your Olympic doublehttp://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-19050139   It reckons I ought to be a fat bloke on a horse. Oh well!

PPPPPPS – Music: Did I mention The Fall? Criminally I only discovered them recently, (thanks Adam!)  thinking they would be too inaccessible and tuneless, but on the contrary, they have a great groove and the vocal is hilarious and brilliant – for example, a cover of the old Sister Sledge classic http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Prague+91+Mr+Pharmacist/3k1LfO?src=5 which feels like it’s being jumped on by a tramp but still strangely wonderful.

 

PS – As a couch potato for the last two weeks I have discovered that the best cook-your-own-from frozen pizza is Pizza Express’s Sloppy Giuseppe, available from Sainsburys and others – excellent!!  http://www.ocado.com/webshop/product/Pizza-Express-Sloppy-Giuseppe-Pizza-12/23100011    Don’t forget to drizzle on some olive oil before you cook it! Does anyone else have a recommendation? Most frozen pizzas are rubbish!

PPS – Problems with neighbouring cats  digging and dunging in your flowerbeds? Someone on a course told me they buried a fully-inflated balloon just under the surface, and when the visiting digging cat burst it with its claws it decided not to visit that particular garden ever again…..! Sorry if you think this is cruel – I think it’s not as bad as many other methods people use….

PPPS – A time management related jazz title: Make A List, by Art Pepper. Also a completely brilliant performance:  http://grooveshark.com/#!/s/Make+A+List/46mGM7?src=5

PPPPS – Dog years aren’t as simple as just x7. It seems that I am a ten year old dog (that’s quite alarming!) and my dog is a 37 year old (lucky thing!). http://www.onlineconversion.com/dogyears.htm

 

 

February 3, 2014

CV writing – my top tips

Filed under: Careers, Lists — Tags: , , , — chriscroft @ 9:25 pm

…and these are the same for on-line or paper CVs…

  1. No typos – use spell check and get a friend to check it
  2. Make it look clean and clear – all paragraphs lined up, with decent margins, easy on the eye, not jumbled, or you’ll look like a jumbled disorganised thinker.
  3. Don’t fold it – post it in an A4 envelope, on white paper, ideally 90gsm
  4. No quirks – the employer’s first step is to filter the CVs, so anything odd gets you binned, e.g. dates missing, odd spare time activities, pictures, attempts at humour, etc.  Have nothing that might get you filtered out.
  5. Don’t look high maintenance – no flowery language, criticism of previous employers, or anything too pushy
  6. Maximum 2 pages, ideally just one – otherwise they won’t read it and you’ll like someone who takes too long to get to the point
  7. Tailor it to the job – mention related experience and skills to whatever they have said they are looking for.  Mention something about the company to show that you have researched them and tailored it to them.  But…
  8. The upper middle of page 1 is the place the reader looks at most
  9. When listing experience and achievements put real facts (problems you solved, improvements you made) ideally with real numbers (increased sales by 17% in 2 years), rather than waffle.  “Committed’, “Hard working” “Team player” mean nothing without evidence.
  10. Don’t lie!  You will get found out at the interview, or when you’ve got the job – and both of these are disasters
  11. Put your age – if you omit it they’ll only imagine it’s worse than it is, and anyway they can work it out from your history – or if they’re ageist they’ll reject you when they meet you anyway.
  12. Interests and hobbies – don’t put reading or socialising.  But social, team and outdoor activities, just very briefly.
  • Send a tailored covering letter with the CV – and getting that right is a whole other subject…
  • Keep your CV up to date and ready at all times.  You never know what opportunities or disasters are just around the corner…

November 4, 2013

All time best rock and pop videos

Filed under: Lists, Music — chriscroft @ 11:47 pm

AHA – take on me http://youtu.be/djV11Xbc914

Peter Gabriel Sledgehammer http://youtu.be/OJWJE0x7T4Q

Jamiroquai – Virtual Insanity http://youtu.be/4JkIs37a2JE

Firestarter http://youtu.be/wmin5WkOuPw

Foo fighters – The Pretender http://youtu.be/SBjQ9tuuTJQ

Addicted to love http://youtu.be/XcATvu5f9vE
You can call me al http://youtu.be/uq-gYOrU8bA

Kylie – Can’t get you out of my head http://youtu.be/8UPT8u4Cq1w
come into my world http://youtu.be/63vqob-MljQ
love at first sight http://youtu.be/wf421JsG004
slow http://youtu.be/Omrp4QR_Rpo

Chic – Le Freak http://youtu.be/h1qQ1SKNlgY

George Michael – Fastlove http://youtu.be/kQVWYu4BdMo

Daft Punk http://youtu.be/h5EofwRzit0

Robin Thicke http://youtu.be/yyDUC1LUXSU

Peter Gabriel Sledgehammer http://youtu.be/OJWJE0x7T4Q

Madonna – Vogue http://youtu.be/GuJQSAiODqI

Rock DJ http://youtu.be/BnO3nijfYmU
let me entertain you http://youtu.be/ymPu2PdLW3I
Kids http://youtu.be/cvn6eYJh-0c

Gangam Style http://youtu.be/4JkIs37a2JE

Saturday night fever: Night fever http://youtu.be/FECFb1_YdII
Stayin alive http://youtu.be/Fa9n7GirhsI

Billie Jean http://youtu.be/Zi_XLOBDo_Y
Thriller http://youtu.be/hG6oy46qKE4

Your’e the one I want – Grease http://youtu.be/aataTbxlWeM

Where the hell is Matt http://youtu.be/zlfKdbWwruY

Oasis – d’y’know what I mean http://youtu.be/6NtqA5zywQA

Bowie – ashes to ashes http://youtu.be/CMThz7eQ6K0
– let’s dance http://youtu.be/N4d7Wp9kKjA

Teen Spirit http://youtu.be/hTWKbfoikeg

Another brick in the wall http://youtu.be/ViDECLF_l4Y

Boogie Pimps – http://youtu.be/t6HSlZBNwUQ

INXS – need you tonight http://youtu.be/w-rv2BQa2OU

Eurythmics – Sweet Dreams http://youtu.be/qeMFqkcPYcg

Beyonce Crazy in Love http://youtu.be/ViwtNLUqkMY

Jessie J – the money – http://youtu.be/qMxX-QOV9tI

Start Me up http://youtu.be/SGyOaCXr8Lw
Miss you http://youtu.be/hic-dnps6MU

Madness – house of fun http://youtu.be/GJ2X9SANsME
one step beyond http://youtu.be/SOJSM46nWwo

Foo fighters – learn to fly http://youtu.be/1VQ_3sBZEm0
The Pretender http://youtu.be/SBjQ9tuuTJQ
best of you http://youtu.be/h_L4Rixya64

Stacey’s Mum http://youtu.be/dZLfasMPOU4

Call me maybe – girls http://youtu.be/FIfbghHdG1s
original http://youtu.be/fWNaR-rxAic
split screen – http://youtu.be/O7zdr-82WAo

Nelly – Ride wit me http://youtu.be/RtSDWq6HsJE
Hot in here http://youtu.be/GeZZr_p6vB8

U2 – Vertigo http://youtu.be/98W9QuMq-2k
– Get on your boots http://youtu.be/JcDNilZbZg8

Missie Elliot – Get Yr Freak on – http://youtu.be/FPoKiGQzbSQ

Bob Dylan – subterranean homesick blues http://youtu.be/trosB4pa3vg

Californication http://youtu.be/YlUKcNNmywk

Little talks http://youtu.be/ghb6eDopW8I

Bryan Adams – run to you http://youtu.be/nCBASt507WA

Electric Six – gay bar http://youtu.be/HTN6Du3MCgI
high voltage http://youtu.be/2a4gyJsY0mc

Kelis – Milkshake http://youtu.be/6AwXKJoKJz4

Darkness – Thing called love http://youtu.be/sRYNYb30nxU

OK Go – on running machines http://youtu.be/dTAAsCNK7RA

Red Hot Chili peppers – Can’t stop – http://youtu.be/BfOdWSiyWoc

White stripes – seven nation army – http://youtu.be/0J2QdDbelmY

Utah Saints – Running man – http://youtu.be/oMLCrzy9TEs

Satisfaction (power tools) http://youtu.be/V5bYDhZBFLA

Macklemore – Thrift Shop

Rihanna – Rube Boy
Eric Prydz – Call On Me – http://youtu.be/L_fCqg92qks
Britney – Toxic http://youtu.be/LOZuxwVk7TU

Grace Jones – Private Life – http://youtu.be/yvLn_qC7QAs

bakerman http://youtu.be/ymdssZOAx3Q

all saints – never ever http://youtu.be/Vx6DtgW_uh0

Queen – I want to break free – http://youtu.be/o-Zo4AVL7AE

3oh3 -0 Starstrukk http://youtu.be/dvf–10EYXw

Azealia Banks – 212 http://youtu.be/i3Jv9fNPjgk

Will Young – your game http://youtu.be/YrZ1joBXiQw

Green drummer girls http://youtu.be/APtj3EvhfWA

 

what did I miss??

October 16, 2013

Christmas Present Ideas 2013

Set of 8 different coffee spoons £30 – very beautiful!

http://www.millyskitchenstore.co.uk/AlessiIlCaffeTeAlessiSetof8CoffeeSpoons-Product-20527.html

 

cheap and fun way to make your keys easier to find

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Indie-Rock-Keycaps/dp/B0076LB776

 

Increased safety when running or cycling at night – £14

http://www.buffwear.co.uk/buff-headwear/reflective-buff

.. and look at all those other buffs!

Handbag that holds a secret wine box

http://drinksbagcompany.com/

£45    So many places you could use this!

.

Hilarious calendar: hot guys with baby animals: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Guys-Baby-Animals-2014-Wall/dp/1449435904/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1384720433&sr=8-2&keywords=hot+guys+and+baby+animals    £8

.

I’ve got one of these and I love it

http://www.amazon.co.uk/TeckNet-Dual-Port-Lightning-Sensation-Blackberry/dp/B00A0NALHE

It can charge my iphone 5 times, (or any other phone or ipod etc) so if I’m away for a few days I don’t need to worry about power

£20

Slippers that look like cool converse sneakers

http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/sneaker-slippers-prod14367/

£20

And crocs that also look like cool sneakers, but have lovely comfortable soles

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Crocs-Mens-Hover-Lace-Boot/dp/B004M8HPGI

£30  But what’s a cooler colour, black or red??

Our waffle maker has delighted kids, visitors, and me for about 20 years now.  The best £20 ever

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gourmet-Gadgetry-waffle-maker-Waffle-Maker/dp/B00AN1WIGA/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1381776369&sr=8-9&keywords=waffle+maker

How about a pink one?

Most people reckon the new Bridget Jones is hilarious.  If it’s half as good as the others then it’ll be LOL

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bridget-Jones-Mad-About-Boy/dp/0224098098/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381776196&sr=1-1&keywords=helen+fielding

Six crazy golf balls for £13

http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/sports-golf-balls-prod13184/

Not sure if you’d be allowed to use them at a club, but I love them

Practical and also made me laugh – the crime scene beach towel – and it’s only £8

http://www.amazon.co.uk/GHI-POLICE-CRIME-SCENE-BEACH/dp/B005JZAIN0/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381776459&sr=8-1&keywords=CSI+towel

Animal face t-shirts ~ I’ve not seen them on a person yet, but in the pictures they are pretty spectacular

http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/big-face-animal-t-shirt-pug-prod13401/

£20

This little speaker is really loud, and you don’t even need a wire – it picks up what your phone is playing and belts it out.  Can use outside etc

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Veho-VSS-009-360BT-Portable-Rechargable-Bluetooth/dp/B007I03494/ref=wl_it_dp_o_pd_nS_nC?ie=UTF8&colid=1W1ARY3RCTL92&coliid=I2K8XO4HVB880Q

£28

Wearable 4GB flash drive

http://www.boysstuff.co.uk/girls-stuff/heart-flash-can-4gb/

possibly more suitable for ladies, but whom am I to presume?

these passive phone speakers are an interesting idea – no batteries needed, and they do work

http://www.boysstuff.co.uk/iphone-ipod-ipad-accessories/horn-stand-iphone-4/

Window bird feeder

http://shopping.rspb.org.uk/mobile/window-bird-feeder.html

£11 and you’re supporting the RSPB too, which is nice.

Or this ones a bit posher

http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/window-bird-feeder-prod8526/

£17

I’ve got one of these ( the cheaper one ) and they discovered it very quickly, and you do get an amazing close up view of birds.  I really like it.  And despite being held on with just suckers, it hasn’t dropped off yet.

Tetris light that you can plug together in lots of ways – £23

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Tetris-Version-2-Tetrimino-Light/dp/B009USUO68/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1381777055&sr=8-1&keywords=tetris+light

Rugby ball wash bag – well, I think it’s cool

http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/leather-rugby-wash-bag-prod13912/

Not cheap at £30, and possibly not great for compartments and mildew, but still, it’s so manly!

What I’d really like is a Go-Pro for £300, but for occasional use this £25 camera might be good enough

http://www.boysstuff.co.uk/spy-and-survival/mini-dv-camera/

You can put it on your cat or dog and see where they go, or use the motion activated feature to investigate , well, anything really.

and it films for 2 hours which seems plenty.

At the boat show I was really impressed by a man standing in a tank of water is just some socks – they were SealSkinz

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/sealskinz-mid-weight-mid-length-socks/ “7, merino lined.

They also make gloves and hats.  A baseball cap that was waterproof would be quite a useful thing to have, I reckon

http://www.wiggle.co.uk/sealskinz-waterproof-cycling-cap/ £22

(for cool people they have beanies as well)

Great skirts

http://www.nicolaquilter.com/products-page/skirts

this one is my wife’s favourite: http://www.nicolaquilter.com/products-page/skirts/navy-knee-globe-trotter

These little sub-packages allow you to find your socks etc when you’re travelling with a large suitcase – you don’t want everything just flopping around loose in there do you?

http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/luggage-packing-cubes-set-of-3-prod8969/?src=base&utm_source=google&utm_medium=base&utm_campaign=products&gclid=cj6op9kzh7ocfzmbtaodtvmalw

Not very glamorous as presents go, but I think i might as, for some for myself this year.  £13

Of the many jokey toilet books this seems to be the one that most people like – visitors are always outraged that it says Bob Dylan is a waste of time.  but apart from that, which is clearly an error, its targets are spot on.   http://www.amazon.co.uk/Cant-Be-Arsed-Richard-Wilson/dp/1906032378 £8

Save the life of a deer, maybe, as well as being safer when you drive – this is a really interesting gadget.  http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/deer-deterrent-prod14509/?src=base&utm_source=google&utm_medium=base&utm_campaign=products&gclid=covihmy0h7ocfclhtaodjbwa2g

£8

Possibly only for children (or men), luminous laces are only £3

http://www.presentsformen.co.uk/luminous-laces-prod9817/

You’d be mad not to have one of these, because sooner or later you’ll get locked out, it always happens

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Sterling-901R-SafeCan-Key-Rock/dp/B002ATR0DO/ref=pd_sim_lp_3

Needs a garden to be effective though!

This one seems big enough to hold most sizes of key.  £6

I wish I could afford the £40 for one of these

http://www.winebase.co.uk/tempour-4-in-1-modular-wine-gadget-cooler-pourer-filter-stopper.html

It has an aeration vent and an omni-gasket – how have I lived so long without those??

My gadget of the year, in terms of actual amount I’ve used it, without even changing the batteries yet, is my bluetooth keyboard which types straight into my iPhone, making it almost as good as a lap top.  £37.  works with any bluetooth phone.  Great for travelling light, using on trains, or abroad.  Full size and really nice to type on.  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Logitech-Tablet-Keyboard-for-iPad/dp/B0053FAL24/ref=sr_1_1?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1381242194&sr=1-1&keywords=logitech+bluetooth+keyboard

Folding ones are interesting but I think might be prone to breaking, and less good to type on?

Big thanks to Guy Osmond of http://www.ergonomics.co.uk/ for showing it to me in the first place.

For all your royalist relatives, how about a solar-powered waving queen?

http://www.glow.co.uk/solar-queen.html?gclid=CMLktJbuh7oCFRIPtAodvwsAeg

£15

How about a ‘Hogitat’ hedgehog shelter for £19

http://www.nhbs.com/title.php?bkfno=191397&ad_id=1495&gclid=CKD4wv6jiLoCFQbJtAodtTcAPw

They need help at the moment, and how exciting if/when one moves in!

A chemistry-based necklace with a time management theme! http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/58770171/focus-necklace

Pity it’s £70. but then it is Christmas…

Solar System necklace http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/123552050/planets-necklace-solar-system-the-nine?ref=cat_gallery_3 £20

Will your friends realise what it is?

Amazing colours-in-bottles necklace http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/105989082/rainbow-necklace-nature-findings-in £20

For people with a bit of OCD, like me, these pictures of coloured things neatly organised are really nice

http://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/sugartowne  £12-£15

I can’t decide if I prefer teh Garden Collection of the Sugar Series…

£80 but beautiful, especially if you like red wine (and Chemistry!)

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/62148227/red-wine-resveratrol-molecule-necklace

Pandora bracelet bead charm made with the real footprint or handprint of your own children £40 – £65

http://www.timestotreasure.co.uk/

Book scarf! £27

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/129986759/little-women-book-scarf?ref=shop_home_active

Personally I love a nice fleece-lined buff

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Multifunctional-warmer-balaclava-fleece-section/dp/B005U439LI/ref=sr_1_11?s=sports&ie=UTF8&qid=1381576576&sr=1-11&keywords=Buff

Swedart bracelets are very in at the moment

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/161173200/swedart-b02-moose-lapland-reindeer?ref=shop_home_active

Funky watch bracelets

http://www.shopbop.com/mer-collections/br/v=1/2534374302164012.htm

Compass ring with secret word inside

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/97448586/the-original-custom-compass-ring-sale?ref=related-3

Mobius one sided bangle with Buddhist peace prayer

http://www.museumselection.co.uk/metta-prayer-silver-bangle-prod6506/

£85 but then it is solid silver

Have your own handwriting, or loved one (deceased parents?) immortalised in jewellery

http://www.etsy.com/uk/search?includes[]=tags&q=handwriting+jewelry

3D printed  Icosohedron with captured sphere

pendant £22 http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/118227189/icosohedron-with-captured-sphere?ref=related-5

Amazing 3D printed object

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/112706208/geometric-intertwining-pendant-in?ref=sr_gallery_24&ga_search_query=3d+print+metal&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=GB&ga_page=2&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=3d+print+metal

£22

I wish I was cool enough to wear this men’s version of pandora

http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/sallyclayjewellerydesign/product/personalised-your-story-bracelet-necklace

£65

or this for £80 http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/fingerprintjewellery/product/men-s-leather-and-silver-story-bracelet

or this for £27 http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/chambersandbeau/product/men-s-personalised-rope-beads-bracelet

Expensive but beautiful

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/163917157/motorized-steampunk-usb-flash-drive-with?ref=sr_gallery_41&ga_search_query=steampunk&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=GB&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=steampunk

Maybe for your cool teenage kids?

http://www.etsy.com/uk/listing/88113391/steampunk-necklace-sightmares-pocket?ref=sr_gallery_36&ga_search_query=steampunk&ga_view_type=gallery&ga_ship_to=GB&ga_search_type=all&ga_facet=steampunk

A nice personalised jobs to do list chalk board for your kitchen £22

http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/seahorse/product/personalised-heart-chalkboards

some brilliant fun hats!

http://www.snorgtees.com/hats

and finally, the must-have item of 2013:

David Cameron pants for £16 http://www.notonthehighstreet.com/twistedtwee/product/man-pants-boris

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.