Not working…

Last week I was in Albania of all places. It was a good trip with dramatic mountains, wide beaches, and good food.

It did also, of course, also prompt a few other thoughts and observations.

Why do we work?

It is of course easy, no longer caught up in the rat race, to dream of staying on your holiday a bit longer… not returning to the office, selling up, and moving out to some exotic location to run a beach bar in flip flops and shades every day. Who hasn’t considered this and admittedly there does seem to be some collective madness in our current work pattern… work really hard, just to be able to save up, to go on holiday to not work for a couple of weeks.

Would doing something you enjoy, working a little less hard maybe, be more effective (mathematically speaking).  Ie working on something that you don’t need a break from…?

Now before I go and break out the hessian shirt, backpack, and travel pants from my 20s, there are of course other reasons to work hard and work hard at things that at first sight may not seem easy.

  • Learning new skills, for one – if we don’t stretch ourselves, it can be hard to master anything new, taking the easy path is great in the short term, long term it is easy to feel stuck.
  • Meeting new people – working together to achieve something beyond what you can do individually, build relationships, and expands your network, all of which can lead to new opportunities for all (a bit of adversity helps too, there is greater satisfaction in completing something hard than easy)
  • Passing on skills and knowledge to others – This I suspect depends on where you are in your career, however, helping others develop their skills and passing on knowledge has a certain sense of satisfaction – it is a legacy of sorts I suppose 😊

It is just always good to have a bit of perspective, something which can be difficult in the thick of it at work.  La Dolce Vita still beckons, although maybe I am just not quite ready for it just yet!

Are mobile phones helping or hindering society?

Looking at my fellow travellers, the one thing that struck me was just how much we are all enthralled by our mobile phones. At the airport, in the restaurant, by the pool, on the beach, everyone was living their lives through the devices in their pocket… as an example the security at the airport, took a break and came in for coffee at the café I was in.  They each sat in silence looking at their phones, rather than chatting with each other.

It seems we are increasingly inhabiting cyberspace, our default community is online rather than the people around us. Geographic boundaries seem to be constantly eroding, no matter where I am I can carry on as normal (the language barrier, maybe being one of the last borders to go – although even this is eroding). 

It is all something I could have done back at home in close proximity to cups of tea and chocolate biscuits.

There are of course advantages to this hyper-connectivity. Communicating with family back home, ordering that shopping for your return whilst on the beach, even making sure you have your boarding pass ready, but we are missing the world around us.   It does increasingly look like addictive type behaviour, not allowing us time to think, interact or be present with the world around us.

Admittedly I can be just as bad as everyone else, but it is something to think about and make some change, now I am back (after I have finished wordle of course!) – I may even read a book.

The allure of cheap

Modern low-cost airline travel can be frustrating, I mean we all like the headline rates for flights, only to discover that my the time you have added on luggage, priority boarding, and printing your boarding pass (because electronic ones are now taken at the airport), the cost of the flight has doubled, being close to the major airline you avoided booking with (and this before car parking, which can cost as much as the initial flight sometimes).

I suppose if you know the system and can work the process, there are some good deals out there.   For the rest of us, it leaves a bad experience.

In some ways, this is no different from the experience say of buying a car.  The base model looks cheap/reasonable but does not have any of the finishes or luxuries you really want – you end up paying more.  Or with software, the base price is good, but the features you need, require an extra fee.  Just like hotels, should pricing be room only, half board, full board, or all-inclusive!?

The big drawback with all-inclusive pricing is, despite giving certainty, customers may be tempted to think we can save money by looking at alternative providers with a lower headline cost (even though in reality it may be more).  

… you are ruled out of the running before the race has even started.

We should of course be focused on value.  This is something that is much harder to determine, and a bit of expert support and prior experience can go a long way to help.. with the multitude of choices this is not an easy challenge.

Rather than looking for value, our psychology it seems is dominated by cheap.

Just look at my low-cost airline experience – I dislike it, I grumble, I complain, I will say never again, but the siren song of cheap is strong and I know I will be flying with them again.

Have a good week everyone.

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