Our tale begins with you; our protagonist - an individual hero/heroine who is truly challenged, grappling with various decisions, setbacks and even defeat in some form, often bringing them to question everything they know. To help overcome these adversities our leading character is met by a guide, mentor, coach, friend, parent who appears to help them decipher the answers they seek and fight as the hero they are meant to be.
In terms of movies to consider with this message:
- Superman (1978, various other adaptations)
- It’s a Wonderful Life (1946)
- A Christmas Carol (published 1843, first film adaptation 1938)
Despite beliefs to the contrary, an optimistic attitude and focus on the good in any situation can often grant a sense of appreciation that gives you a new perspective on how your reality is not without hope. Life often sends you sceptics, people who disagree with you, crises, challenges, hurdles and obstacles, but also believers and people who agree with you, moments of contentment, victories, opportunities and advantages - if you change your perspective you can truly see them.
“Psychological research has repeatedly shown that when we are thankful for the good in our life, the good grows and we have more of it. The opposite, sadly, is also true: When we fail to appreciate the good, when we take it for granted, the good depreciates.”
When it comes to your career, for most people who are in full-time work spend around 50 hours a week, including commute-time, at their jobs out of 168 hours total in a week. That’s 30% of your weekly life involved with going to, being at and coming back from work. It's our view that you deserve to be positive, fulfilled, content and enjoy that 30% of your week so that you can be happy the other 70% of your time. Even more so, you need to be positive about your career so that your annual leave is at its most enjoyable.
Our suggestions to solve the above problems in the long-term are:
- improved careers and job skills literacy embedded into the secondary school curriculum from the ages of 11 onwards to the extent that literacy and numeracy, formerly known as the the 3 R’s of reading, writing, and arithmetic, are considered essential;
- increased access to work-based training in educational courses at all levels and improved access to educational opportunities whilst being in full-time employment;
- introduce flexible working arrangements or flexible leave policies to accommodate further education, skills and training to upskill the workforce;
- sandwich-placement and year-in-industry job opportunities throughout full-time degree-level qualifications; and
- encouraging the benefits and access to good-quality higher level apprenticeships for access to the top employers and professions.
All of the above would be fantastic, but it has to be combined with a relentless focus on access to excellent wellbeing and (physical and mental) health advice services as essential.
In the medium-term, this means:
- affordable access to good careers coaching, cv writing and job search assistance services;
- tax-based incentives for recruitment, training and development for employers offering employment with a contractual minimum of 18 months service;
- increased access to grants and scholarships widely available to people of underrepresented groups in further and higher education as well as across career sectors; and
- a stronger focus on essential life skills and knowledge/experience during secondary-school education to better prepare students for the next stages of life;,for example about tax, self-employment v PAYE, paying bills, moving out etc.
In the immediate future, we would encourage:
- a conscious commitment to supporting mental health wellbeing and a commitment to implementing the systems required to help colleagues, including making available counselling sessions and access to periods of leave;
- maternity and paternity leave to be fully acknowledged on equal footing and sufficiently handled, allowing parents the appropriate time needed and an ease of transition back into work;
- greater emphasis from a younger age on learning languages and participating in electives and other extracurricular activities to nurture the vast array of young talent;
- eradicating the stigma surrounding going back into education as a mature student or a late career change.
There is no shortage of answers, to the numerous issues concerning working life, that could truly help us see a more positive future beginning from the origins of our heroes. But what we truly believe in, is putting people - the most important part of any society - in the best possible position to succeed and thrive.
No two stories are the same. No hero’s path has a perfect script. Your life is your own, for you to conquer and be the greatest version of yourself. There will be obstacles. There will be hurdles. Do you accept the challenge?
Poignant and apt-words by one poet are: “I am the master of my fate. I am the captain of my soul.”
For the avoidance of doubt, like much of the English language and its literature, any use of the masculine includes the feminine or any other self-description of gender, and vice versa.