Friday, 10 June 2011

Newsletter Issue 202, June 2011

Sam Young Newsletter

Issue 202, June 2011

Hi guys,

Me-time is good for our mental wellbeing. Check out Alone Again (Naturally) below.

For career practitioners, advising The Greening Workforce in New Zealand is a bit of a problem. 

Don't forget, if you want to be taken off my mailing list, click here to send me a reply e-mail and I will remove your name.

Alone Again (Naturally)

To quote the words of John Cooper Clarke (1984, p. 102), Geordie poet extraordinare;

    "nothing isn't anything

    it's tasteless and it's flat

    nothing, if it's anything

    is even less than that".

Most of us would reply, when asked what we are doing when alone, "Nothing".

Doing nothing these days is considered a bit of a luxury, or seen as being a bit anti-social. Yet when I was growing up, doing nothing for at least part of the day was normal. Normal to have time to recharge and be comfortable in your own skin.

Catherine Woulfe from the Sunday Star Times Sunday Magazine said in an article recently (29 May 2011) “To me, alone isn’t lonely at all. In fact, loneliness is not a state I’ve ever felt. ‘Alone’ means just being in my own head”. Woulfe pointed out that nearly a third of a million New Zealanders live alone. That's 20% of Kiwi adults. Granted, some by circumstance, but probably a lot of us by choice.

Woulfe (29 May 2011) went on to say that psychologists are apparently advising us to spend more time on our own, because of the benefits to our moods and empathy and increases in creativity and memory, plus the added bonus of a decrease in stress. That whole "time out" thing.

Time to reflect, time to assimilate, time to be yourself without constraint. That's a good thing. Making sense of the world might be difficult, but the idea of meditation - prayer - doesn't necessarily need to be solely the province of an organised religion.

Woulfe (29 May 2011) quoted an Auckland-based clinical psychologist, Dr Susan Hayes. Hayes thinks that alone-ness is a coming thing. Hayes was quoted as saying “There’s a very strong human need for just space, to recharge. I think our culture is very judgmental about aloneness and I’m not sure where that came from. I mean, we are social animals and we do need social interaction… We do need and crave a sense of belonging and connection to others, but we also need and crave space to ourselves, just to think. And I think a lot of us get peopled-out without realising it.”

Interesting phrase, 'peopled-out'; one I have used for years when I crave some 'me-time'. That is solo time; not time with someone else about, where, no matter how relaxed you are with their company, you are on the alert for the other's cues. And not time with the telly either, because, although that's further down the involvement continuum, it's still people-watching.

What we are after here is solitude. Time to be willingly alone with our own thoughts, to reflect on life, to be free to be ourselves and meander around naked in our heads. Solitude deliberately created by turning the phone off and reading, listening to music, walking, spending time with animals, painting, drawing, woodworking, carving, maintaining, sewing, sunbathing, skimming stones, gardening or just enjoying the view.

What was thought-provoking is Hayes (Woulfe, 29 May 2011) on the reduction of creativity when group brainstorming. “It’s almost like the thing where if you close your eyes your hearing improves. It’s like if you shut down everything else then the creative energies come through more strongly. You’ll find most artistic people far prefer to work in isolation". Hayes felt that this was due partly to dealing with the strain of other's demands, and partly that being alone gives us a better self-connection.

I am not so sure about group brainstorming reducing creativity, and no proof of Hayes statement was offered by Woulfe (29 May 2011). I tend to think that both strategies (solo creativity and group brainstorming) are different processes with different aims, objectives and outcomes. Group brainstorming is necessary for consensus, shared goals and socialising; solo creativity is for individual development and personal wholeness.

Hayes (Woulfe, 29 May 2011) also talked about the benefits of creativity on our individual happiness, about it being "incredibly healthy" to lose track of time through absorption in solo tasks.

Hey, talk to any model railway builder and they will tell you all about being healthy :-)



  • Cooper-Clarke, John (1984). Ten Years in an Open Necked Shirt. UK: Arena.
  • O'Sullivan, Raymond Edward aka Gilbert (1972). Alone Again (Naturally). UK: Management Agency & Music Ltd (MAM)
  • Woulfe, Catherine (29 May 2011). "Me, myself and I". NZ: Sunday Star Times Sunday Magazine. Retrieved online 8 June 2011 from

The Greening Workforce

Why has there been such a rise in eco-consciousness over the past couple of decades?

Perhaps mirroring those late-Victorian sensibilities before the British Empire came crashing down, it is because of affluence, and from being in a relatively stable environment, that we too have the luxury to start thinking about the world around us.

To quote David Suzuki (G Magazine, 2011), a scientist turned eco-evangelist, "we need clean air, clean water, clean soil that gives us our food, clean energy from the sun, and a diversity of other living species in order to stay healthy and alive". When we in the West (a) have the luxury of time to think, and (b) feel that resources are declining, we finally started pondering whether we should maintain diversity and keep clean air, water, soil, food and energy.

There is some argument about whether the green movement is company-led or consumer-led. Personally, I suspect this is largely consumer-led, and is only now, fifty years on from hippie-hood, reaching mainstream critical mass. Individual company leaders, such as Interface's CEO Ray Anderson, have had personal epiphanies causing strategic change in existing organisations (Posner, 2009; 11th Hour Action Network, 2010); whereas relatively new start-ups such as Google have always been green (Vise, 2005).

Considering consumer trends, highlighted by Dutch marketing gurus Trendwatching (2011), the trend toward ecologically superior products is growing. Trendwatching have been monitoring the greening of consumer products for some years. Global Trends (February 2011) also notes a growth in social goods - something that "benefits the largest number of people in the largest possible way". Additionally,

Now started on the green track, the next question was "How?" For we career practitioners, the answer is an increase in 'green' jobs.

So what is a 'green' job? There is quite a bit of debate about what constitutes green-collar work. A large number of the positions are with green energy companies (hydro, solar, biofuel, biogas, wave and wind) or in agribusinesses or organics. However, there is growth in green consultancy, waste management, manufacturing, nutraceuticals, landscaping, building, biotechnology, health, law and research sectors. Together, these result in a corresponding rise in the need for green-collar professions; scientists, engineers, researchers, doctors, architects and consultants (GoingGreenJobs, 2009).

A 'green' job is more about what a green-collar worker does. Considering the management process, a green-collar worker reduces resource inputs, reduce the transformation cost, reduce waste and maximise outputs; all the while considering the environment, society and use of renewables. A green-collar worker takes a stewardship role and aims to live a good life and ensure there is plenty for those to yet to come.

Who is driving the need for 'green' professionals? Companies who have become green evangelists are tending to lead the way. US Carpet maker Interface has a "Mission Zero" policy aiming to be carbon neutral by 2020 (Posner, 2009; 11th Hour Action Network, 2010). Two leading multi-nationals, 3M and Google, both have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policies in place whereby each person who works for their companies is expected to spend 15 and 20% respectively on projects they are personally passionate about, a number of which are 'cradle to cradle' (Collins & Porras, 1994; Vise, 2005; McDonough & Braungart, 2002).

Globally, the Worldwide Workers on Organic Farms, or 'woofer', movement is increasing. Volunteers get full board and lodgings in exchange for organic agricultural or horticultural work. Currently there is no cash changing hands, but if you are young and fit, it is a great way to see the world while living a good life (see and

But not everyone has the luxury of volunteering. Most green workers will need to live a good life AND accumulate some assets.

A green-collar worker will want to find work with a company which has a authentically green credentials. Not for green-collars is the PR-papered-over Nike sweat-shops, Phillip Morris' tobacco, Starbucks' jute coffee-sack chair covers or BP's oil-spills. They will only want to work for genuinely green companies. This means that we career practitioners need to understand which companies are really green, to be able to better advise our clients.

Determining whether a company is truly green or just 'green-washed' is difficult, generating far more debate than what constitutes a green job. Overall, it is my opinion that few New Zealand companies are truly green. The New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development is probably the closest that we have to a national body bestowing the green stamp of approval. However, while members include Hubbard Foods, Ecostore and Interface (NZ), the remainder of members look like pretty ordinary - or even your stock-standard capitalist rape & pillage - businesses to me (NZBDSD, n.d.).

This makes providing sound advice about green employers to a green-collar career client very difficult. In addition, however, there is another problem. There is no New Zealand-based 'green-exchange' for work. Seek and TradeMe advertise roles, but there is no oversight; green-collar workers have no surety about the green credentials of the advertiser.

So while the green-collar trend is growing globally, there is not enough infrastructure to support this sector yet in New Zealand.

For now, the best the practitioner can do is to can direct clients to global green-collar jobs at:


Windows 7 Defrag Scheduling

If you are running Windows 7, you no longer need to schedule a defrag.

This is because Windows will now run it for you, one day each week at 1.00am.

However, the rider is that you have to have your PC on. If you, like me, turn your PC off at the wall, you might need to set a different time, where you can leave your PC on and get the maintenance done. To do that:

  • click Start | All Programs | Accessories | System Tools | Task Scheduler
  • On the left, navigate to Task Scheduler Library | Microsoft | Windows | Defrag
  • Look for the Scheduled Defrag activity and make your change to suit.

TLAs for SMEs

Here are this newsletter's TLAs (Three Letter Acronyms) for you:

  • LUN, Logical unit number. A unique identifier for assigning hard disk devices for SCSI, iSCSI, Fibre Channel (FC) or similar address protocols. Like the E:drive on your PC :-)

Please feel free to email me with any TLAs that you want to get the bottom (meaning!) of.

Tips, Short+Hot Keys

In this newsletter, we look at all you can do with Alt, Shift, Ctrl and W:

  • Access "Close the active database window" Ctrl & W
  • Excel "Close the active workbook window" Ctrl & W
  • IE "Close the current window " Ctrl & W
  • PowerPoint "Close a presentation" Ctrl & W
  • Publisher "Turn Snap To Guides feature on and off" Ctrl & W
  • Windows Media Player "Close or stop playing a file on the File menu" Ctrl & W
  • Word "Doc Close" Ctrl & W
  • Word "Word Underline" Ctrl & Shift & W

Hot Linx

Need an email-tutorial? Check out TechRepublic's top nine hints for writing shiny emails at

According to NZIM, there's turbulence ahead in the recruitment market. Read their newsletter editorial at

If you are managing workers of all ages, check out the diagram on Global Trend's website. It gives you a rough rule of thumb for what members of each sector need at

TechRepublic have a tip on "Avoid a Word Find and Replace gotcha that could prove catastrophic" at

                                Catch you again soon!! E-mail your suggestions to me here

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